One gamer's love for change
David Turner
United States
Dallas
Texas
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I can’t stop myself. The majority of my favorite games I have a great compulsion to change the rules. This is not out of disrespect to the designer, nor do I pretend to be talented than the original rule makers. Game Purist this list is not for you.

PERSONAL RULES:
1. Always play a game 3 times before changing the rules. If the change is minor I may break this rule after one game play.
2. When playing a game I never suggest to anyone beyond my small gaming group to change the rules.
3. Before playing a game, I try to be perfectly clear as to what the rules are. Assume the written rules.

WHY CHANGE RULES:

Breathing New Life
This is the most common reason for me to change rules. When a game has become calculating throw in a wrench. When I start to lose the desire to play a game, a few tweaks or a major overhaul can add several game play.
Examples: Saint Petersburg, Caldimar

We are all different
All gamers are different. Some like shorter games, others dislike randomness, or maybe a player finds a rule irritating. Game designers can not design a game that fits everyone perfectly. It may not possible to change what you don’t like and maintain game balance, but more often than not there is a way.
Example: Lost Cities

The Game is Broken (rare)
Please don’t crucify me! Whether this is because of the lack of play testing or the game is extremely complex rules are at times broken. Throw the game in garbage? No, just fix it. This sometimes takes dozens of plays, but can have great results. The process can be a lot of fun.
Example: Sid Meier's Civilization

Wanna Play with Two?
Either two player rules were never made, or the existing two player rules are inadequate. I do believe that game designers often fail to be drastic enough to make a good two player version. Luckily there are alot of two-player variants available on BGG.
Example: Tigris and Euphrates, Puerto Rico

The Orcs are better
Sometimes when you play a game - one side, role, or unit seems to have an advantage. I believe in more cases than not the apparent side, role or unit is not being played to its full potential. It takes a lot of game play for me to decide to make changes for this reason.
Example: (uggh, I would rather not say)

I don't have a chance
Sometimes a player has more experience or is more apt at a game than another player. On rare occasion I build in a curve. When that player wins with the curve, throw it out.
Examples: Carcassone

Make or use home made Maps, Units, Roles.
This is great way to increase a games life.
Examples: Ticket To Ride

Use Other Players Variant
Another great way to increase a games life.
Examples: Settlers of Catan
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1. Board Game: Alhambra [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:393]
David Turner
United States
Dallas
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Our Two Player Variant:
We did not like Matt getting all of his tiles in big lumps.
1. Matt gets his own chair
2. Matt does not draw tiles from the bag.
3. When it is Matt’s turn, role a 4-sided die to decide what building he takes from the table. Matt can not surpass his maximum of 6 tiles in the beginning, 6 tiles after the first scoring, and 4 tiles after the second scoring.
4. Matt scores for walls. The average between the two players (round down).

Optional: Matt gets any building left in the player’s reserve (weird game)

Our Pretty Alhambra Variant:
If three of the same building are next to each other score 1 point during each scoring round, score 2 points for 4 connected, 3 points for 5 connected, etc. The starting tile helps connect.
 
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2. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:294]
David Turner
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Sorry Knizia!

1. We play with 20 bonus points if you play all suits, and you at least break-even in each. This is dangerous at times to try, but can have a great pay off.

2. We play until one player is 250 points over the other player. This can take weeks to complete.
 
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3. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:229]
David Turner
United States
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My wife and I love this game, but it did become very calculating. To create new challenges we almost always change the rules. Sometimes this screws up the balance of the game. As we see it, the player that can take advantage of this unbalance deserves to win.

Our favorite way to Play:
1. Buildings cost two less in the bargain basement.
2. Normally when playing two players you start with four workers, and then add to 8 for the other phases (4/8/8/8). For us this trashed too many building. We play 4 workers / 4 building / 6 Aristocrat’s / 8 Trading.
3. Taxman and the Mariinskij Theater are removed from the game.

Other rule changes we have played:
1. Add scoring at the end. Count total VP’s and divide by two.
2. Move the decks around. Example: Workers, Aristocrats, Building Trading.
3. All aristocrats cost 2 more than listed, Building cost 1 more than listed, workers cost 1 more than listed.
4. Change the end-game aristocrat chart to give points to the player with 11 or 12 aristocrats additional points. I believe this idea came from BGG, I’m not sure who.
1–1 , 2–1, 3-1 , 4-3, 5-6, 6-10 , 7-15 , 8-21 , 9-28 , 10-36 , 11-45 , 12-55
5. And many other changes I can not remember
 
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4. Board Game: Tigris & Euphrates [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:70]
David Turner
United States
Dallas
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This game is almost too pure to change, but…..

In our opinion for the two players game there are not enough catastrophe tiles. We play with 3 per player. This helps keep the kingdoms separated, and adds the necessary chaos factor.
 
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5. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:124] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
David Turner
United States
Dallas
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Ticket to Ride

Our Two Player Variant
We wanted to play with the double routes
1. Each player start with two colors.
2. Each color has its own set of Tickets.
3. When drawing more tickets you must declare which color it is for.
4. Players only have one hand of train car cards that they use for both colors, when it is the players turn they can use this hand for either color.
5. We do not use the expansion when playing this variant.
This variant seems obvious, and I am sure others have also played it. We love this game!

Mystery Train Expansion:
We do not like the engineering card; we play it to void any one of our routes that we did not make.
 
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6. Board Game: San Juan [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:228]
David Turner
United States
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San Juan
We like to minimize shuffling.
1. We pull the production cards from the top of the discard.
2. When playing the gold mine, we stop flipping cards when there are two matching values.

(this does change the deck)
 
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7. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
David Turner
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Since I had more experience playing the computer I gave my wife a 10 point curve on this game. This stopped after she started beating me.
 
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8. Board Game: Carcassonne: Expansion 3 – The Princess & The Dragon [Average Rating:6.72 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.72 Unranked]
David Turner
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Princess and the Dragon Two Player
1. We use a die to move the dragon
2. Fairy's don’t exist
 
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9. Board Game: Catan Card Game: Expansion Set [Average Rating:7.13 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.13 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.13 Unranked]
David Turner
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Dallas
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Two Player Variant:
We play Nick Borko’s variant http://nick.borko.org/games/Catan2Players.pdf

Except:
1. We do not remove any cities or roads.
2. We usually play to 12 VPs
3. We allow trading
4. We start with 6 resources - both villages, and allowing duplicates (this speeds up the start of the game).
 
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10. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:15]
David Turner
United States
Dallas
Texas
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Two Player Variant:
After researching several two player variants on BGG and trying many of them:
Setup as the official Alea with the following changes:
1. Play with a 3, 4, and 6 ship (3 does not exist so make one).
2. Play 5 roles so no one will play twice in a row.

Multi-Player Variant (on occasion):
Two victory conditions must be met to end the game. We like longer games. As of yet, I am not sure this is a great way to play.
 
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11. Board Game: Naval War [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:3537]
David Turner
United States
Dallas
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Silly Rule

Bismark must die!
1. After a player plays the Bismark, all other players must target the Bismark. After the Bismark is destroyed all players (including the playerer that played the Bismark) must destroy any players that did not follow the above rule.
 
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12. Board Game: Nuclear War [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:2300] [Average Rating:6.21 Unranked]
David Turner
United States
Dallas
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Another Silly Rule

All complainers must be immediately destroyed.
 
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13. Board Game: Candamir: The First Settlers [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:2642]
David Turner
United States
Dallas
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Optional Rule 1:
If you lose a battle you return to the tile you came from. This will make the game longer.

Event Variant:
My wife likes events in games. While playing this game my son and wife talked about this game needing spiced up. So I made the following chart. It’s silly and adds more luck to the game but we enjoy it.


Every time a special victory point is awarded role on this chart (20 sided die):

1. Fungus among Us, Everyone removes one ingredient from their hand, and then starting with player to the left (one at a time), fill hand with mushrooms (to five)
2. Drunk, Everyone drink your own mead
3. Blinded! No looking at tiles until next event.
4. Dragon attacks town! Every player destroys one VP of the person to their left.
5. Sacrifice! Every player selects one of their animal (goat or ox) to sacrifice to the dragon (not optional). If you do not have an animal get flamed (lose 1-6 health).
6. FAIRY FAIRY, everyone gains full health
7. Scandal! All players lose all quest cards.
8. Fermentation, All potions ferment, and turn to mead , discard excess.
9. Deep thought, everyone loses one thousand turns and gains one experience.
10. Sock Gnomes steal one magic item from each player. Each player decides which one (not optional). If you do not have a magic item they steal your socks (1 health to foot sores).
11. Multi Talented Bear on a tricycle! If you have at least one honey you are attacked by a level 10 bear, use the stat of your choice. If you win you get 2 exp, if you lose it costs you 2 health. If it is impossible for you to win (use potions if possible) the bear trains you circus tricks, gain 1 experience. If no one has honey he visits all players.
12. Fairy God Mother, Anyone with no ingredients gets one of each ingredient. Anyone with 5 or more she turns to a wicked witch and steals them.
13. Bridgette throws a party, everyone go to village. Pick a potion of your choice.
14-15. Forced Labor, everyone go to camp. 1-2 Lumber, 3-4 Mine, 5-6 Hide(all go to same camp). Gain one of that resource. If you do not have location, you have to walk back.
16. Magic Vortex, until next event no magic exist. Item have no effect.
17. Bridgette goes on vacation; no potions can be bought until next event.
18. Giant owl delivers gift, the player with the lowest stats (exp and magic items combined), gets a magic item of their choice.

19 - 20. Victory Condition Change – 10 Victory points plus. Future 19-20 roles replace previous condition. Role again on this chart (6 sided die).

1. Herb Collection, Must have 5 Herbs in hand
2. Ingredient Meister, Must have one of each ingredients
3. Eleven, Must have 11 Victory points
4. Quester, Must fulfill a level 3 quest
5. Zombie R Cool, Must be dead (0 health)
6. Must sing a little tune about their character! (12 word min). All other players must agree that this has been fulfilled.
 
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14. Board Game: Sid Meier's Civilization: The Boardgame [Average Rating:5.58 Overall Rank:13528]
David Turner
United States
Dallas
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My son and I spent a summer playing this game. We found that it was missing several elements of our favorite computer game, and had several broken rules. After dozens of play with varying number of players we wrote 3 pages of changes. We love our end results, other might not. It is definitely a longer game.

Too long to post here.
 
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15. Board Game: 7 Ages [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:1460]
Mike Ricotta
Japan
Okinawa
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We made 2 additional sets of player colors and a white set (that goes opposite the blacks) so now we can play with 10 players! That or just have more civs on the board for lower numbers...we think it makes the game a LOT more interesting!

As a note, the white color is equal to the average strength of the other light colors, but has a LOT fewer units, thus making it the WORST color in the game...
 
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16. Board Game: Monopoly: 25th Anniversary [Average Rating:4.61 Unranked]
Kurt
United States
Kirkland
Washington
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Couldn't find Plain Edition (does it even exist?). This game brings out the worst in me and as such I avoid it whenever possible, but sometimes I'm coerced into playing. It can be incredibly frustrating to be the only player without anything to build on because you managed to land on chance repeatedly as you went around the board the first time. Not to mention a game that takes 3+ hours to wind down even though it's pretty clear after about 5-10 turns who's going to win is criminal. Anyway, here's a couple of rules we use to help speed things up:

1. You only need two pieces in a set to start building, you need the 3rd to build a hotel.
2. You can't collect rent while in jail (encourages a quicker end to things, rather than squaters "safely" collecting)
3. Multiple buildings (more than one hotel, a hotel and houses, etc.) Haven't used this one much, but it makes for a pretty crazy game. Can knock people out pretty quick or end up with a never ending game.
4. Time limit. After a set amount of time, count up your money and property values. Much better than playing a fight inducing game for 4 hours and never having a winner.

 
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