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Subject: This variant vastly improves the game!!! rss

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Pierce Ostrander
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Albuquerque
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Remove 1 of each card type. There will now only be 10 cards available for draw. They are not recycled into the game when used... when they are gone, they’re gone.

This means that in order to get the benefit of a card, you must draw it early to beat the other players to the punch.

It also eliminates the late game "draw a card because there is no other productive action to do" consolation prize of those who have not planned well. It also reduces the luck factor in the game.

It works extremely well. Try it.
 
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Pierce Ostrander
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I have now used this variant 6 times - with 4 and 2 players. It is awesome... it solves what I have found to be the biggest problem with the game: the late-game card-draw "competition" that turns it into a luck-fest.

I will now not play this game any other way - in fact, I will be burning the excess cards

Note that in the 2-player game, there are only 8 cards in the pile... first remove one of each card type, then also remove all the cards with the "three heads" symbol on them (Mana Theft and Expulsion). In the 4-player game there are 10 cards available.

Also note that cards which are used are not recycled into the game.

With this variant, choosing to take a card is a much more interesting choice... by doing so, you will be denying the card draw option to other players (because there are fewer cards the will always be depleted well before the end of the game). Also, there are now only one of each of the most powerful cards (particularly "Holy Stone" and "Mana Theft") which eliminates the "automatic win" problem that is created if one player draws both Holy Stone cards. It also eliminates the end-of-game card draw race that for me, just seemed like overly luck-based silliness pasted onto an otherwise tense and interesting early and mid-game.


Foob
 
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Matt Albritton
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Tupelo
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I'm not sure how "Holy Stone" is an auto-win. "Holy Stone" and "Mana Theft" are good, but they are the only cards that require you to play them "immediately" upon drawing.

I wasted a "Holy Stone" last game, because when I drew, (which was my only action available at the time) I was already at my max capacity.
 
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Shawn Low
Australia
Footscray
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Sounds like your variant makes early drawing of cards more attractive. However, I still think that people will only draw cards if they can't do anything else more worthwhile.

The game seems to favour runaway leader/s. Of course, playing with players of equal skill helps but with the ability to beat up on players and the rush for the stone (to increase mana capacity necessary to win the game), people who get ahead on the mana early WILL win.
 
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Pierce Ostrander
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Shawn,

I've authored two other variant ideas... one of them is to allow stealing of resources anytime one player has more tribes in a hex than the player carrying the resource. This allows players to "block" access to key routes that the leader might need to use. I found that there are just not enough ways to mess with other player's plans, and this adds one. Perhaps it will mitigate what you see as a runaway leader problem.

Thankfully, this is a very short game... so complaints about a runaway leader don't carry as much weight as if the game took more than an hour to play...
 
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Pierce Ostrander
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Quote:
Sounds like your variant makes early drawing of cards more attractive. However, I still think that people will only draw cards if they can't do anything else more worthwhile.


Yes, that was one of the intents! It has the effect of providing a "consolation" early in the game for those who want to try some of the different possible openings (e.g. one that doesn't include immediately multiplying - which seems to be a pretty strong strategy). In a way, it has the effect of encouraging experimentation... since the cards are now much dearer compared to the other options....
 
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Charles F.
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fubar awol wrote:
Shawn,
I found that there are just not enough ways to mess with other player's plans, and this adds one. Perhaps it will mitigate what you see as a runaway leader problem.


Amen to that. The game suffers from being not nasty enough. Euro designers and publishers should not overly shy away from doing so. I feel Phalanx and Wrede were too mindful of the sensibilities with family and casual gamers. But by doing so they've created a worse problem which equally won't go down well with that gaming demographic - namely the runaway leader problem you noted.

Mesopotamia has potential, but I feel that little extra to make this system a real winner is lacking.
 
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Alan Kwan
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I'm sorry to say this, but if you think that drawing a "Holy Stone" card in the early game is worth more than doing some other more useful action (like building a Holy Place), you have yet to explore the real depth of the game.

I rarely draw cards, and they rarely swing the game.

If there is much luck factor in the game, it's not in the cards. The cards are intended to be a consolation prize when one doesn't have something else useful to do. Especially, if you exceed normal efficiency by doubling up (building two huts or two holy places in a turn), you'll get an extra turn in which to take a card. The cards can swing a close game, but it's the rest of the play which makes a close game in the first place.
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Pierce Ostrander
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Quote:
The cards can swing a close game, but it's the rest of the play which makes a close game in the first place.


My experience has been that once players get all the basics after a game or two (at the most) it's always a close game... at least in the run for 1st and 2nd place. Hence, my complaint. In an optimization game like this, a lucky draw should not be a key factor in determining who wins.
 
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