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Miskatonic School for Girls» Forums » Variants

Subject: Combining variants to overcome some difficulties rss

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T.J.
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So, I like the game a lot for various reasons - the art, the theme, the amazing components, the prominent role that girls play in it and so forth. I played it and enjoyed it quite a bit. Nevertheless, I agree that there are some problems with the gameplay, as this review suggests.
My thoughts were along the lines of those suggested by Neo42 here and here. But I think they should be combined and some features added. I have not playtested this variant and would love to get feedback and thoughts, espeically if you try this variant.

So, the main problem is the lack of strategic decisions and options while buying and defending from teachers. When I played, I often had great cards that never came out as BFFs, and I was forced to use them to buy stuff. The mechanic of drawing random cards as BFFs seems really problematic. The other problem being that there are really very limited options for purchase. Often you don't really have a choice. I thought that was peculiar because there is obviously a strategic choice to make between spending friendship and nightmare points. So why limit the choice so much? Another little issue is the 7 Wonders style of being forced to target your neighbor.

Here are my proposed changes (last to first):
1. Allow players to choose a target player when they are buying teachers. First, this will reduce the problem of player elimination as players gang up on whoever is in the lead. Second, that gives the game much more flexibility and brings in an element of negotiation that currently only exists with pet teacher (a feature that I think should be eliminated or greatly reduced).

2. The purchase market is really the crux of the matter. I am not sure how many cards are there of each student/faculty, so I'm not sure about this. My original thought was to just have each student in her own pile - I don't think it's such a problem, because most often you don't have enough money to buy the higher ones or if you do, you wouldn't be able to buy a monster. But Neo42's suggestion to organize them in piles by cost seems like a good idea, and maintains some of the randomness. It also allows to still keep events, though they do not seem necessary. But cards like 'overdue books', which already seem too strong for how cheap they are, will be even stronger. Perhaps they should be taken out? In a way, if they are laid for all to buy, they would be less powerful than just letting whoever randomly draws to use them. In a 4 player game, overdue book seems like really a winner. If you see that people run for the books, perhaps they should be taken out (or their cost raised).

3. This one I think is relatively easy - BFF should be chosen from your hand, and you can't use a card for both her purchasing power and as a BFF. If you don't have enough cards to defend for all the teachers, then you draw cards from the deck. That will make pet faculty less likely and will make cards like the secretary less effective, but it seems like a good choice - if you choose to spend all your students for purchase, only then are you stuck with a random card as a BFF (which you might prefer to use for its buying power). Drawing pet faculty is stil a drag because it makes it more likely that you lose, but allows you to get rid of a teacher. Also, drawing chould be made optional - so one can choose whether to waste a card in the hope it helps defending from faculty. But if it turns out that with cards at hand you can always defend, perhaps drawing should be mandatory.

4. One problem with the fact you can defend from faculty with the cards in your hand, is the fact you can get a transfer or substitute for free. I really think that makes no sense - the substitute is pretty powerful and you can just fill your friends' pile with substitutes without doing anything. It seems to me that this should be eliminated, even though the art of the substitute card is great. And perhaps if this is eliminated, then so should be the transfer cards -because otherwise, you can just spend your money buying faculty and you'll get students all the time anyway. If someone has any good ideas about how to use transfers/substitutes in a better way, I'd be happy to hear.

5. Perhaps the sanity level should be reduced to 10, if all these changes make the game go much much slower. Playtesting would be required to determine whether that's the case.
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T.J.
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One further idea is to have substitutes kick in after all players get to sanity of 10. That will speed up the game after a while and add a dimension of anarchy. It will also add a dimension of strategy as people would need to think about whether or not they want to hurt the highest player who is the only one above 10 and holding back on the crazy randomness.
Though, in general, I really don't understand the point of this mechanic. It really lowers the stakes considerably - if you don't buy a faculty, one will be provided for you. Perhaps just eliminating those would improve the game considerably.
 
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El Dudo
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About the point 3, I tried it with 2 other players, but with a limitation of one and only one student taken from the hand to fight faculties in class. So, before spending money to buy students and / or faculties, you may send if you want ONE student from your hand directly in class. She can't be used to buy. She may use her pre-class and BFF power. And so, we can keep Transfer and Substitute cards.

We stayed at 20 sanity points : game last something like 10 or 15 minutes more... so it's acceptable.

Anoter rules we use :
- you may buy several faculties or students if you got money for. Bought faculties and students are replaced immediatly.
- Overdue book cost is raised by 1 point (too strong for the actual cost).
- When you buy a faculty, you may give it to the house you want. But if you can't (or don't want to) afford a faculty from the line, you give the Substitue to the house on the left. So many negociations and discussions !

After 3 attempts, we found that thoses rules are very cool, making this game much better !

Thanks J.H. Twizp for all the good ideas !
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El Dudo
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After 3 new attempts with the rules above, it's clear that the game is much longer with the "take one girl from your hand to use as a BFF". Players calculate the best way to use their students... and it's too long for others who are waiting. The faculties are also too easy to beat, giving an extreme strength to some student with BFF power.

So, 2 ideas :
- lose 1 sanity point each time you send a student from you hand in classroom.
- give 2 or 3 tokens to each player at the begining of the game : they made use this special abilty for one token. So you may chose wisely how to use this.

I'll try this ideas the next time I'll play.
 
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