What's the best House Rule you've ever played?
Bryan Thunkd
United States
Florence
MA
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Sometimes games are broken. And it's up to you to fix them! Or maybe you just figured out a way to make it more fun! So what's the best House Rule you've ever played? It can be one you set up, or just one you feel is essential to the game.

I created this list to counterbalance my original House Rule geeklist:

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/150424/whats-the-worst-hou...

That list is funny, maybe this one will be useful.

Let's see which geeklist fares better. I'll judge the winner based on the thumbs on the geeklist headers.
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1. Board Game: Trajan [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:71]
Bryan Thunkd
United States
Florence
MA
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I don't play a lot of house rules so I had to scratch my head on this one. And then it came to me. I played Trajan with a friend who was bothered by the fact that I had a strategy on the color order on initial setup (Here for more on that... http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/876756/trajan-tile-distribut...) and since he didn't want to invest the time to learn those strategies, it looked like he wasn't going to play with me much after that. So I set up a house rule that the initial color placement would be random and that has seemed to quell any issues.
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2. Board Game: Monopoly [Average Rating:4.39 Overall Rank:15658]
"L'état, c'est moi."
Canada
Vancouver
BC
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Roger's Reviews: check out my reviews page, right here on BGG!
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Free Parking - all money collected from fines and Chance and Community Chest cards are placed in the centre of the board, and whoever lands on Free Parking gets the money! It's like a lottery windfall.

Totally awesome. You have to try it!
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3. Board Game: Poker [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:874]
Erik D
United States
Pasadena
California
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If your cell phone goes off and you answer it, immediately fold your hand and throw $1 in the pot.
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4. Board Game: Shadow Hunters [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:727]
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
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We have a few houserules with Shadow Hunters. Most are minor, but we find they all improve the game.

1) You can only reveal your character if a card or your special ability requires you to do so.

Being able to reveal freely makes it a little too hard to bluff or misdirect.

You are, of course, still allowed to claim to be whoever you want. But you only flip your character card when a card tells you to.

2) Allie's power heals her at the start of her turn, rather than at any time.

This one power winds up taking more time to explain than the rest of the game combined due to the timing issues. Since Allie pretty much always won as written, we were perfectly happy to nerf her power as well.

(We also play that it only heals her 4 rather than all the way, but that's just a minor balance tweak).

3) The Unknown can use cards that normally only a hunter could use (ie, Advent and The Spear of Longinus). The Unknown is very weak as is. This isn't much of a boost, but it's very thematic. And cool.

We have inserts with the house rules for the characters on their cards. When we houserule cards we never, ever expect people to have to remember them.
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5. Board Game: The Downfall of Pompeii [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:447]
Rick Rodrick
United States
Portland
Oregon
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House Rule: When you put someone's person in the volcano from an omen card or lava you are required to make some kind of screaming noise. This, of course, doesn't change game play it all but it sure is fun!!
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6. Board Game: Frank's Zoo [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1228]
howl hollow howl
United States
Oregon
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A common rule misinterpretation of this game is to use the lion and hedgehog scoring even without the partnership rules. We played this a ton before catching this... but we still play it that way exclusively. Just seems to be more fun that way on paper, and since we enjoy it so much we don't see the need to play with the official rules.
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7. Board Game: Zooloretto Exotic [Average Rating:6.98 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.98 Unranked]
Matthew Cordeiro
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
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Let me get this staight. The animals score no points? Instead, they move visitors through the zoo? And there are different-colored visitors? And now vendors move them too? And sometimes they move backwards? And if I can hurry my visitors through the zoo faster than my opponents, they're worth more points? This expansion should have been called Zooloretto - Now With Meeples!.

I came up with 2 different variants. (See them here.) The one we use most often is that the visitors stay in the box, and the exotic animals score 2 points fore each different one.
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8. Board Game: Titan [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:806]
Chris
United States
Huntington Station
New York
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The Law Of Titan allows for a 1st turn mulligan. This means every player, on their first turn in the game, may choose to reroll their movement die and take the 2nd result.

We also allow 1 single mulligan at any time later in the game. One time, only, after the 1st turn, any player may reroll their move die once and take the 2nd result.

This is a comfort on the 281st minute into the game! Unless you have already used your mulligan, of course.
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9. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:284] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
John N.
United States
Lehi
Utah
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Whenever we play Catan our standing House Rule in everyone's first 2 turns 7's do not count. This gives enough time for everyone to get a chance to build up their hands and start building on the board. We have played this way for so long that our friends and family teach this as an actual rule for the game when playing with their other friends. We sometimes forget to tell new gaming partners (who are already familiar with Catan) that this is how we play.
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10. Board Game: A Game of Thrones: A Clash of Kings Expansion [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
Blake Neff
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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My friends and I played with a house rule that when playing with six players, one still needed seven castles to win instead of six. Apparently, FFG agreed about this being a good rule, because the 2nd Edition made that the actual rule!
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11. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:197] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
Rob Steward
United States
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Dixit House Rule: A story has to be at least theoretically possible for everyone to get. No inside jokes or inside information.

After playing Dixit several times, we quickly discovered the way to win was to use information that you knew not everyone at the table could possibly know. For example, "that ice sculpture at the restaurant during our honeymoon". Only the honeymooners themselves would have that information. We would disallow that clue.

Since implementing this rule, our Dixit games have been much less about "manipulating the system" and making others feel left out--and much more about coming up with creative and enjoyable stories.
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12. Board Game: Viva Pamplona! [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:3828]
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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According to the rules, the same player is the first player every time. When we play, after each player has had a turn, the original first player draws and executes a "Torro" card, and the player to his or her left becomes the first player.

This gives everyone a chance to be first (and to be last, which is typically better.)
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13. Board Game: Lord of the Rings: Friends & Foes [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Alexander Portland
Germany
Worms
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We often get defeated by Sauron sauron, so we played the house rule, that after three bad events the 4th event is automatically a good event. The active player then has to take a step foward on the least marched paths. And each player gets one of the white-blank card (included with Friends & Foes) in his hand, which represents a white card for healing only his own hobbit whistle.
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14. Board Game: Princes of the Renaissance [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:606]
Joe Gola
United States
Redding
Connecticut
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and everything under the sun is in tune
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No family special powers. They're too unbalanced.
 
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15. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:75]
United States
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We are strict adherents to the Cool Rule, whereby anything cool that happens is legal. Puck flies off the board, bounces off your partner's head and lands in the center hole? It counts. I fact, if the puck lands in anything - wine glass, cleavage, dog bowl - it's a 20. None of us are good enough at the game to be overly particular about our 20s.
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16. Board Game: Memoir '44: Winter Wars [Average Rating:8.14 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.14 Unranked]
Kent Reuber
United States
San Mateo
California
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We play with the Breakthrough Deck even for standard scenarios. While I don't think the standard game is broken, the Breakthrough Deck helps equalizes the number of actions by giving other units the ability to move but not fire.
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17. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:830]
Geoff Speare
United States
Bedford
Massachusetts
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tee hee, that tickles!!!
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Cosmic Encounter house rules:

1) At the start of the game, you are dealt 5 flares. Choose 2 of the corresponding powers to be your powers for the game. Choose 2 of the flares to be shuffled into the deck (not necessarily matching the powers you chose). The precise numbers may vary ("4 pick 2", "5 pick 3", etc.).

2) Powers begin the game face down, and are face down until they affect the game in some way or until their player chooses to reveal them. Face down powers are active (you have to keep track and reveal at the appropriate moment).

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18. Board Game: Aladdin's Dragons [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:859]
Brad Miller
United States
Seattle
Washington
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The face up Magic card variant. Instead of being hidden. They are just too varied in power, and too "blind-sidey" if you don't know what's out there.
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19. Board Game: 1960: The Making of the President [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:158]
Steffan O'Sullivan
United States
Plymouth
NH
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"To be honorable and just is our only defense against men without honor or justice." -Diogenes of Sinope
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"Laser-focused, with a half thought-out plan, this is what a hero looks like." -Narrator in the 2018 Peter Rabbit movie.
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A card used on Issues cannot impact the Issue pictured on the card itself. This saves the game!
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20. Board Game: I Don't Know, What Do You Want To Play? [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:6181]
Mike Young
United States
Sterling
Virginia
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House Meta-Rule. Whoever loses the last game gets to pick the next game.
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21. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:79]
Mike Young
United States
Sterling
Virginia
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We usually allow one reroll of the dice per player per game.
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22. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:127] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Drinky Drinky
United States
Carmel
Indiana
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Mr. Cat. Hold on I think I know my next move, just give me another minute....NO!!!!!!!
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In a 3 player game. Depending on the folks at the table, we can play "3 friendly" or "3 normal".

3 friendly = double routes can still be used.


This keeps family and friends from hating me and/or my sleeping on the couch, while allowing the gamers to epeen how leet they are and not making things too easy.

getting non-gamers at the table > playing by the rules.
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23. Board Game: Montego Bay [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:3488]
Tom Flatt
Canada
Whitecourt
Alberta
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While we enjoy an occasional play or two of this game, it seems to induce advanced AP in certain members of our gaming group. To combat this, we initially used an egg timer. This, however, soon gave way to a far more effective quick play inducement; whenever a participant seems to be having a difficult time deciding on a move, the rest of the group joins together in the hearty singing of The Banana Boat Song (Day-O) made famous by Harry Belafonte. Best inducer of fast play ever!

(Oh, if you are having trouble deciding whether or not to thumb this post, please continue to read on!)

Day-o, day-ay-ay-o
Daylight come and he wan' go home
Day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day, he say day-ay-ay-o
Daylight come and he wan' go home

Work all night on a drink a'rum
(Daylight come and he wan' go home)
Stack banana till thee morning come
(Daylight come and he wan' go home)

Come, Mr. Tally Mon, tally me banana
(Daylight come and he wan' go home)
Come, Mr. Tally Mon, tally me banana
(Daylight come and he wan' go home)

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24. Board Game: Saint Petersburg [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:235]
Ben Bateson
United Kingdom
Ross-on-Wye
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Oi! Hands off...
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I guess this is pretty common, but to remove the luck of the draw from the very first round only, we play the first 'Green' phase Catan-style: the Start Player getting the first and last pick.
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25. Board Game: Guess Who? [Average Rating:4.78 Overall Rank:15637]
Chris Miller
United States
Louisville
Kentucky
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I think it's a suggested variant, but, as kids, we never played the game the normal way. We always picked two people and had to ask either/neither/both questions. Made the game a little tougher, but it's way too easy normally.
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