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Subject: New draft variant rss

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Greg Udvari
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The 5/2 Draft Method
We tried this in a recent 3p game and was a great success.
Rules:
1. Each player is dealt five occupations and five minor improvements.
2. Two occs and two minors are placed face up on the table per player.
3. The start player is determined.
4. Starting with the last player and going in reverse order, each player takes one card from the available selection.
5. Each player must eventually take two occs and two minors, though their order is up to the player.

Optional mulligan rule:
A player may discard his/her occs or minors to receive a new set with one fewer card as many times as desired (realistically once, occasionally twice).

Notes:
1. To see what's going on, it is recommended that all drafted cards are kept face up in front of their owner till the process is complete.
2. You may use a 4/3 split as well, but that may lead to overpowered hands and easily guessable strategies. It also takes longer.

Advantages:
Cards are mostly hidden (five out of seven are unseen).
The start player advantage is balanced.
We actually found the whole procedure a lot of fun.
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Allen OConnor
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Great idea. I'll give this a try and let you know how it went.
 
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Ben Bateson
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The problem I have with this is probably that only about one-fifth of the cards stand up and shout "Draft me! You MUST draft me now!" This means perhaps half the draft will be a waste of time dossing around with the cards that no-one wants.

Plus, if you get a Lover, Taster, Reed Hut or similar on the table, you might as well concede the game to the first player to pick.
 
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Steve
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ousgg wrote:
Plus, if you get a Lover, Taster, Reed Hut or similar on the table, you might as well concede the game to the first player to pick.


This strikes me as an argument to ban those cards, as opposed to not use this variant.

I enjoy a range of different methods for distributing cards, and this seems like a pretty quick one which might be worth giving a go. As an optional extra you could deal out a few extra cards to increase the pool of choice perhaps? This would address Ben's point about a small portion of the cards being particularly desireable. You could also go with a 4/3 split, rather than 5/2.

edit: I should add that I am not convinced that this game has a significant start player advantage, so I might have the draft go from last to first for the first card, then from first to last for the second.
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Greg Udvari
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DrPink wrote:
ousgg wrote:
Plus, if you get a Lover, Taster, Reed Hut or similar on the table, you might as well concede the game to the first player to pick.


This strikes me as an argument to ban those cards, as opposed to not use this variant.

I enjoy a range of different methods for distributing cards, and this seems like a pretty quick one which might be worth giving a go. As an optional extra you could deal out a few extra cards to increase the pool of choice perhaps? This would address Ben's point about a small portion of the cards being particularly desirable. You could also go with a 4/3 split, rather than 5/2.

edit: I should add that I am not convinced that this game has a significant start player advantage, so I might have the draft go from last to first for the first card, then from first to last for the second.

I also have a ban list in place containing the cards mentioned above plus a few more. I found the 5/2 split good, because you have a chance to grab the all important occ/minor to complete your strategy without bogging the whole process down. Maybe you can try the 5/(2 of 3) variant. Incidentally, I drafted the powerful woodcutter in the game, but lost the game thanks to being last for large parts of the game, especially the first four turns or so. I consider first person advantage to be more significant I guess.
 
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Steve
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egamar wrote:
Gregski wrote:
I also have a ban list in place containing the cards mentioned above plus a few more.


Would you share the list and give a brief explanation why you ban them? I don't get to play Agricola anywhere as often as I'd like (maybe a dozen times only) and I have seen some games that are basically won from the start (it seems) with a synergistic hand of cards.

Folks say you can win without any cards, but I don't think you can against a powerful combination - or can you?


Off the top of my head (so I may well miss something), these are the cards I would ban:
Wooden hut extension (too easy to gazump people for FG)
Broom (a whole new hand of minors is absurdly good- especially with the Braggart)
Ratcatcher (I'm not sure this is overpowered, it's just no fun)
Taster (not fun, very powerful)
Lover (skipping the FG queue is very strong)
Wet Nurse (as above)
Reed Hut (as above)

There is also an argument for the Chamberlain and the Braggart, though I don't mind these two personally.

As for the power of cards in general... in my opinion, the best player in Agricola will usually win, regardless of the cards. Being dealt a strong combo is very rarely an "auto win"- you will still need to play the game out well to secure the victory. Where player skill is very close, the cards will of course have more effect.

Now, I will not dispute that there are some games where one player will be dealt a very powerful hand, and that this will give them a significant advantage. However, I believe that this is a price worth paying for the wonderful variety that the occupations and minors provide. Additionally, drafting variants (and skilled drafting to avoid passing powerful combinations on) do a lot to mitigate the problem.
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Greg Udvari
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egamar wrote:
Gregski wrote:
I also have a ban list in place containing the cards mentioned above plus a few more.


Would you share the list and give a brief explanation why you ban them? I don't get to play Agricola anywhere as often as I'd like (maybe a dozen times only) and I have seen some games that are basically won from the start (it seems) with a synergistic hand of cards.

Folks say you can win without any cards, but I don't think you can against a powerful combination - or can you?

WHE - Wooden Hut Extension so powerful, it has its own acronym
Lover, Wet Nurse, Reed Hut, etc - Anything that bypasses the family growth mechanism breaks the game fundamentally.
Taster - Most overpowered card ever. Plus makes the button grab virtually worthless. Plus totally breaks the fun for the other players.
Braggart - Too powerful.
Chamberlain - Way too powerful. Easy catch up/pull away mechanism without having to plan.

For solo games, a lot of point and bonus point cards need to be banned, but that's another subject.
 
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Ben Bateson
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Broom and Taster are the only two we tend to ban, occasionally Lover if we're playing with beginners. I have beaten good players who have used pretty much any of the other alleged 'power' cards.

Wet Nurse isn't even a power card any more, given the number of times I have seen it lose badly.

 
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Benjamin Kerenza
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Wet Nurse is not that strong, particularly against someone with good cheap minors.
 
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Matt Shields
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egamar wrote:
Gregski wrote:
I also have a ban list in place containing the cards mentioned above plus a few more.


Would you share the list and give a brief explanation why you ban them? I don't get to play Agricola anywhere as often as I'd like (maybe a dozen times only) and I have seen some games that are basically won from the start (it seems) with a synergistic hand of cards.

Folks say you can win without any cards, but I don't think you can against a powerful combination - or can you?


Lover and Reed Hut (and to a lesser extent Wet Nurse) are a problem in 2-4 player games because they can let one player grow long before the other players even have a chance. If I play a Lover in Round 3, and the regular family growth doesn't come out till round 7, I'm just way way way ahead in the action race. Wet Nurse isn't nearly as big a deal as the other two though.

Wood Hut Extension is mostly a big problem in 3 and 4 er games, because it can cut a player out of line for family growth. In those games you often get a queue developing where players are jockeying for FG position a couple rounds in advance. WHE can not only let you jump ahead in line, but it can have the effect of actually kicking another guy all the way to the back of the line because the timing gets thrown off. I don't really mind WHE that much in 2er or 5er.

Chaimberlain is just very very strong. It's not unplayable, but really good.

Braggert I think is too strong. It's especially too strong in a world where you draft cards, so that you can end up with lots of cheap minors you can play easily. In a draft game, it's practically 7-9 free points. If you just deal 7 random cards it's merely very good because you might have a couple minors that are useless or unplayable.

Taster is actually supposed to cost 2 food not one. It might not be broken at 2f, but it's still unfun.

Ratcatcher is also unfun, but I don't think it's too strong.

Head of the Family I think is too strong in 4 player games, but it's fine in 5.
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Derakon Derakon
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A lot of "banned" FG-related cards are only really banworthy in 4P, in my opinion:

2P: 2 players per FG space
3P: 3 players per FG space
4P: 4 players per FG space
5P: 2.5 players per FG space

In other words, 4P has by far the worst logjam around getting family growth done. Players who are used to that dislike the disruption caused by someone being able to FG when they "shouldn't" be able to.

It actually wouldn't be out of line to make the second Occupation space also FG from round 5, like in 5P games; that'd bring things down to the 2P level ratio-wise. Of course it would also remove a lot of tension from the game, so I can understand why people don't do it.
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Greg Udvari
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Derakon wrote:
A lot of "banned" FG-related cards are only really banworthy in 4P, in my opinion:

2P: 2 players per FG space
3P: 3 players per FG space
4P: 4 players per FG space
5P: 2.5 players per FG space

In other words, 4P has by far the worst logjam around getting family growth done. Players who are used to that dislike the disruption caused by someone being able to FG when they "shouldn't" be able to.

It actually wouldn't be out of line to make the second Occupation space also FG from round 5, like in 5P games; that'd bring things down to the 2P level ratio-wise. Of course it would also remove a lot of tension from the game, so I can understand why people don't do it.

My proposed solution for the 4p game is to make it "... and FG from round 8" This would balance things a bit compared to 5p games. What do you think?
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Matt Shields
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Derakon wrote:
A lot of "banned" FG-related cards are only really banworthy in 4P, in my opinion:

2P: 2 players per FG space
3P: 3 players per FG space
4P: 4 players per FG space
5P: 2.5 players per FG space

In other words, 4P has by far the worst logjam around getting family growth done. Players who are used to that dislike the disruption caused by someone being able to FG when they "shouldn't" be able to.

It actually wouldn't be out of line to make the second Occupation space also FG from round 5, like in 5P games; that'd bring things down to the 2P level ratio-wise. Of course it would also remove a lot of tension from the game, so I can understand why people don't do it.


Yup, totally agree. And to make matters a bit worse, there seem to be a significant number of people who feel that 4-playes is the "best" number of players, so tend to view all cards through the lens of how they work in 4er. I've never quite understood that.

But I get the complaints though. Among good players, a lot of the 4-er game is about jockeying for family growth. You spend a lot of effort timing your actions just right so that you can family grow as soon as possible. When someone drops down a Wood Hut Extension, it feels like this very random act of god that just wrecked all your planning.
 
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