- Byron CampbellUnited States
I've seen several requests for rule changes to make this game more of, well, an actual game that adults might want to play instead of "Whoever rolls the luckiest wins." I humbly submit this proposed variant. I've tried the following a few times (solitaire, playing multiple players) just to test that the mechanics work the way I intended, but it's possible there is still some tweaking necessary.
Warning: This variant will make the game take longer, because there is more to do each game round. There may also be some rounds where no dice change hands. However, due to the increased strategic choice, huge game-changing moves are much more likely, so the overall playtime may not be too badly affected.
Setup: Each player will need a paper screen or some other suitable way to hide their dice rolls. This is referred to as the player's "Livestock Pen." Each player receives a number of dice depending on the player count: 5 in a 4-player game, 7 in a 3-player game, and 9 in a 2-player game. Any remaining dice are placed in the center of the table. These dice are referred to as the "Wild Herd," and can only be obtained in specific ways; they can never be targeted by any Chupacabras that Go Hunting (see below).
Game Round: A new round begins each time the First Player marker changes hands. Each round is broken up into 4 steps: Roll, Re-Roll, Action, Hunt. The steps are described in greater detail below (each step applies to all players):
Roll: You must roll all your dice. This happens privately, behind your Animal Pen. You may then sort the dice however you like, taking care not to change their facing.
Re-Roll: You may re-roll some, none, or all of your dice one time. Separate out the dice you want to re-roll before you roll. This must be a single roll containing all dice you wish to re-roll.
Action: Starting with the First Player, each player announces and performs one action from the list below. Some actions may be taken multiple times, and actions a) and b) can be taken in conjunction with action d), but you may not combine actions a), b), or c). When you have selected an action, you must announce your action to the group, then perform it (remember, the First Player announces first, so the other players have the advantage of that information when selecting their own actions). If you select actions a) or b) and also want to Go Hunting, you do not need to announce action d) as well; only announce action d) if you are not taking any other action. Anything that you do behind your Animal Pen is private information, but every time you add/remove dice from the Wild Herd using actions a) or c), you must show the other players the facing and count of the dice you are adding or removing. The actions are described below:
a) Feed the Beast - You must have rolled at least one Chupacabra to take this action. You may remove 4 chickens, 2 goats or 1 bull from your Pen, adding them to the Wild Herd, then take 1 Chupacabra from the Wild Herd for each group of animals you removed (e.g. 8 chickens = 2 Chupacabras). You may take this action as many times as you like for multiple types of animals. If you take this action, it is implied that you are also Going Hunting. In addition, If you Feed the Beast using one or more bulls, you must have at least 1 bull remaining in your pen during the Hunting step. This is to counteract the fact that Feeding the Beast with bulls is a 1-1 die swap, unlike the other choices.
b) Protect the Flock - You must have rolled at least one Chupacabra to take this action. You may place any number of Chupacabra dice within (surrounded by) any one of your herds (defined as a group of animals of the same type). These Chupacabras cannot be used to Go Hunting, but you may split your Chupacabras between Hunting and Protecting in any way you like (and you don't need to announce that you are also Going Hunting if you do so). Any herd that is Protected by a Chupacabra is more difficult to consume during the Hunt step. It still requires the same number of Chupacabras to target that herd (e.g. 4 Chupacabras for a herd of 8 chickens, regardless of the number of Chupacabras Protecting the herd); however, if a herd is targeted during the Hunt step and is protected by at least one Chupacabra, the attacking player takes the Protecting Chupacabra die instead of the animal dice. The attacking Chupacabras are still considered spent, and can't be used again. Once all Protecting Chupacabras have been removed, the herd can be targeted as usual.
c) Increase the Herd - You must not have rolled any Chupacabra dice in order to take this action. Your herd multiplies according to its size. There are two types of Increase available for each animal type: Large Herd and Small Herd. You may only take one Increase action per animal type per turn, regardless of the size of your herd. In addition, you do not have to take the Large Herd action just because it is available, nor do you have to Increase every animal type that you can. This can be useful for bluffing, if you want to encourage your opponent to Feed the Beast by making your herds appear smaller than they are. Finally, you may only Increase the Herd to the extent that there are dice in the Wild Herd available to do so. The numbers by which you can Increase are as follows. Small Herd: 6 chickens = +2 chickens (one die showing 2 chickens); 4 goats = +1 goat; 2 bulls = +1 bull. Large Herd: 10 chickens = +3 chickens (two dice, one showing 2 chickens and the other showing 1 chicken); 6 goats = +2 goats; 5 bulls = +2 bulls. (The count for bulls is not a typo.)
d) Go Hunting - If you cannot or do not wish to take any of the above actions, you may instead Go Hunting. Simply divide your dice so there is a clear separation between your animals and your Chupacabras and prepare for the Hunt step.
Hunt: All players' dice are revealed simultaneously. Starting with the First Player, each player who has chosen to Go Hunting (either alone or in combination with a) or b)) may target the other players' herds with his or her Chupacabras (remember that these must be clearly separated from the other dice so as not to be confused with Protecting the Flock). This step follows all the rules of the basic game, with the exception of any additions mentioned in b) above. If a player has 3 or fewer dice and they are all showing Chupacabras, that player activates Chupacabra Loco, targeting the largest (most dice) single herd, regardless of whether it is being Protected (Chupacabra dice within a herd don't contribute to its size, however). If the Chupacabra Loco action targets a Protected herd, that player must take the Protecting Chupacabra instead. After each player who wishes to do so has had a chance to Hunt, the First Player marker is passed to the next clockwise player and the next Round begins, starting with the Roll step.
Game End: The game ends when all players except one have been eliminated (reduced to 0 dice), regardless of the size of the Wild Herd at that time.
And that's it. There are two sources of added tension in this variant: choosing which dice to reroll (particularly, whether or not to go for action c)), and deciding which action to take. Feeding the Beast increases your chances of consuming a large herd, but decreases your total die count for subsequent rounds. Protecting the Flock minimizes your losses, but makes it harder for you to Hunt. Increasing the Herd lets you increase your total die count without hunting. And then there is the potential for bluffing and the added danger of being the First Player. This does make the complexity of the game out of most childrens' reach, but should increase the enjoyment of adult players. If you do try this, let me know how it goes and if you have any tweaks to suggest.
- [+] Dice rolls