Games with modular setup that really change the game
Choubi Gogs
France
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A lot of games these days boast a modular board or a modular setup that will give rise to 1,000,000,000,000,000 and more different games...

However, as was pointed out in this thread, multiple setups don't always change the game radically.

This geeklist is dedicated to those games where the modular setup does affect the game and makes for a different experience each time.

Please do discuss how the modular setup modifies the feel/strategy of the game.

Note the companion geeklist
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1. Board Game: Kingdom Builder [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:450]
Choubi Gogs
France
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There are two ways in which setup differs from game to game in Kingdom Builder.

1) The terrain: it is made up of four different zones which all come with a different power to be had. This implies that in every game, the map will be (slightly) different but more importantly, the various powers available to the players will differ.

2) The scoring cards: Three out of ten scoring cards are picked each game.

I have almost never felt so underwhelmed after having read rules to a game. However, I must admit that this game clicked very fast and that its modular setup really does alter the game in a big way.

Let's be honest, the fact that the map changes from game to game is not that big of a factor as the four tiles that compose it are pretty big and fairly balanced in terrain type. However, it is true that from time to time, the overall map will have some features that change the game. For example, specifically in the middle of the board, it will be possible to either have a huge zone without any kind of barriers or to have the board cut out in two by a mountain range or some river. There could also be some chokepoints. Obviously, the relative values of powers will vary depending on this configuration.

Nevertheless, I do not believe this to be the most significant part of the variable setup. The changing powers for instance is much more important as these will radically change the way you play the game. Knowing that you'll be able to move across water or that you won't have any 'move' powers will make a big difference in how you approach the game.

Together with these changing powers, the different scoring cards must be the most impactful source of variation. For example, some scoring cards reward your spreading all over the map while others reward your grouping everything in a tight zone. Obviously, the game will be very different if you need to create many villages or one big village. And again, the value of each powers will depend on the scoring cards. The stables for example are of almost no use regarding the 'one big village' scoring card but are immensely important with the 'many villages' card as it allows you to break adjacency rules and therefore to break apart your villages into multiple little villages.

Overall, I think that this game is probably the one I own where the variable setup makes the biggest difference in gameplay.
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2. Board Game: Catan: Seafarers [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked]
Greg Gresik
United States
Bolingbrook
IL
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There are scenarios in Seafarer's (And other versions) that allow for a random setup of the game. We enjoy the variability that that setup brings to each game, that I don't think we have played it any other way in years.

Not only do the random board setups change where the resources are, but even the ports and resource numbers are assigned randomly.

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3. Board Game: Clash of Cultures [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:211]
Jay Sachs
United States
Woodinville
Washington
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Despite your hope, there is not even any inherent symbolism; gravity is simply a coincidence.
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As the first tiles are explored, you find out: how much water (if any) is there near my starting city? am I surrounded by mountains? how close are the barbarians? These have a major impact on what choices I'll make.
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4. Board Game: Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:269] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
suPUR DUEper
United States
Villa Hills
Kentucky
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The modular set up of Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie has a dramatic effect on the game and absolutely affects your choice of forces, deployment and battle plan.

Hills advantages ranged troops. Water can constrict maneuver. Lava creates choke points. Forests and walls produce blind spots, etc.
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5. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:36]
Toms Leikums
Latvia
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'Setup' of island is done during the game. Players take tiles, when exploring, and put them on a board. And it can affect gameplay so much, especially in later scenarios.
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