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Caverna: The Cave Farmers» Forums » Variants

Subject: Random Selection + Goals Variant (Variable Setup) rss

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Alex Fiedler
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Preface: I do like Caverna and its myriad of options, however, I see 3 issues; 1. Having all options available every game can get boring/samey, 2. Having all options available can be rather daunting especially for new players or players prone to AP, 3. Setup is a PAIN!

My proposed variant has 10 tiles/options avaliable at any given time, that constantly get refreshed from the bag of tiles, while the Gold tiles are used as private goals. Here's how it works in more detail...

Variant Setup:
1. Put away all the supply boards (wont need them)

2. Place all the GREEN tiles and all ORANGE tiles into a bag/cup. (except the Dwelling stack & Additional Dwelling tile)

3. Shuffle the GOLD tiles, and give 3 to each player. These act like private goals (only you can build yours)

4. Place the stack of Dwellings and Additional Dwelling tile to the side of the Action Boards.

5. Draw 8 random tiles from the bag/cup and place these next to the Dwellings and Addition Dwelling tile. These will be the tiles available to start.


Gameplay:
1. When any of the 9 single tiles are purchased/built, immediately draw a replacement tile from the bag/cup. (purchasing a normal Dwelling does not draw any new tiles from the bag)

2. At any time during your turn, you may spend 1 Ruby to discard any 2 available tiles. Draw 2 new replacement tiles, and then place the discarded tiles back into the bag/cup. (cannot discard a Dwelling or Additional Dwelling tile in this way) You may only do this once per turn.


That's it!!
Pretty simple way to make sure every game plays different.
There are limited buildings available cutting down AP, but still giving enough choices to remain interesting with new buildings coming out all the time.
The hidden goals (GOLD tiles) also mean each player is trying to achieve something different similar to the cards in Agricola.
Lastly, setup is a breeze!

Any thoughts?
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Stout Kimotep
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Re: Limited Selection + Goals Variant
Sounds pretty cool!

Will give it a spin at some point.
 
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Jay Cat Five
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Re: Limited Selection + Goals Variant
Concerning the gold tile that gives you bonus for every other gold tile...

Would you remove it from the game, or allow those who play their gold tiles to get another?

Kind of a bummer to draw it when your gold tile max is capped at two!
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Alex Fiedler
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Re: Limited Selection + Goals Variant
Yes, I would suggest removing "Main Storage" gold tile, as this wouldn't work very well when limited to only 2 gold tiles per player.

Of course, in 1-5 player games, you could give each player 3 GOLD tiles instead of 2, to give a few more options for end-game scoring.
This would mean "Main Storage" is still worth 6 points... Still not worth it? Just remove it.
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Canada
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Re: Random Selection + Goals Variant
This sounds like a really simple yet effective solution; I like it. I'll probably use it if I play a few more games and find it gets too samey. It's also an appealing approach when playing with new players too though...
 
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Alex Fiedler
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Re: Random Selection + Goals Variant
Just a quick update here to let everyone know that I've changed the setup to 8 random tiles + 2 dwelling tiles. This increases it from the original 6+2.

This change means there are always 10 tiles to choose from, giving a little bit more variety without the overkill of default Caverna.

I've also made it so that on your turn, you can give up 1 Ruby to discard 2 tiles and draw 2 new ones, instead of just 1. This can only be done once though.

I have played with the 10 tiles, and found it worked very well. There were still plenty of options without being overwhelming, and I can see that each future game will play out very differently. I much preferred this over standard Caverna.

Has anyone else tried this?
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Alex Fiedler
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Re: Random Selection + Goals Variant
Look forward to hear your thoughts after giving it a try.

I play this way exclusively now. I can't see myself playing Caverna by the standard rules.
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Alex Fiedler
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Re: Random Selection + Goals Variant
Glad you like the variant Tomm.
I really do wish these were the default rules. I think a lot more people would enjoy the game.

Has anyone else given it a try?
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charles gibson
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Re: Random Selection + Goals Variant
Im definitely going to!

Ive played solo a few times and though I couldnt put my finger on it, the not having to adapt to any restrictions was a problem. I found myself gravitating towards doing the same thing every game. I think this will improve the game!
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Alex Fiedler
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Re: Random Selection + Goals Variant
Cool, let me know what you think Charles.
Single player is where I first tried this, and it was like a whole new game. Every game you play will be different, unlike default single-player.
Hope you enjoy it!
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Dale Buonocore
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Re: Random Selection + Goals Variant
Thanks so much for this elegant little variant. I typically play solo, and I think these relatively simple changes will prove to be a splendid upgrade -- and the associated set-up simplification is like a sweet little bonus!
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cinos
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Re: Random Selection + Goals Variant
Thinking of getting Caverna soon, and thanks to this variant my last reservation about getting it has been sorted.

Elegant, simple, cuts down on setup time, and eases new players in with personal goals from the start.

Have another thumbs up.
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Alex Fiedler
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Re: Random Selection + Goals Variant
Thanks cinos. Let me know how it plays for you.

Anyone else given this a go?
 
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Jacob Lee
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Re: Random Selection + Goals Variant
I did play this variant twice and loved it. I think it's great. The only difference is that I did not distribute three gold tiles to each player at the start of the game. I just made a separate display of four gold tiles in addition to the display of 8 regular rooms and 2 types of dwellings. Very easy to focus on a few desired tiles among 14 to look at. I would like to try handing out gold tiles at the beginning or drafting them or something like that.

I will say that I want to see another 30 new expansion tiles for Caverna as soon as possible. Agricola's 300+ cards does keep its excitement level up better. I found Caverna to be a little more fun, but for now I see reason to keep both.
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Alex Fiedler
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Re: Random Selection + Goals Variant
I agree, more tiles would be great.

With the Gold tiles, I do like them as personal goals. It kind of mimics the cards in Agricola, in that only you can use them and they give you some direction, as well as possible combos that noone else can do.

One thing that I find with buildings over cards is that you dont tend to build as many. In Agricola, you get a lot of cards. In Caverna, there are a lot of tiles, but you only build a few (outside the Dwellings and Gold tiles). So while there are many, you don't get to use them very much.
So even if an expansion with more tiles comes along, I still think the issue will remain.

Perhaps some kind of starting draft before the game begins so you start with 1 tile already built. Get the game going faster, and more opportunity to build more. That's where a lot of the fun is for me.
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Jason Hect
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About the "private goals" on the gold tiles, do you mean players can't see the other player's gold tiles? And I assume you still have to pay for the tiles before you can place in your cavern?

Sounds interesting, I'll try out this variant.

Thanks!
Jason
 
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Alex Fiedler
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Yes, that's right. They are hidden, private goals. They must also be built like any other building tile (paid for with resources)
Let me know how you go
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Dan Venables
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Like the idea overall Alex. Like you, I've been trying to add some randomness to the game.

I do really like the idea of dealing 3 random yellow tiles to each other at the star of the game, and keep them hidden so we don't know what each other's targeting. Only thing im not so keen on is new tiles entering the game during the game, as it could be quite frustrating (and luck based) if tiles just appear for people (or dont) when you want them. I think just keeping a set number (not all) in the game from the start could work, reckon 14 green tiles would work.
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Alex Fiedler
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Thanks Dan.

There is already a random static variant out there I believe.
Basically, use 1 or 2 of the advanced tile boards, and just fill it/them with random tiles. That's all you get all game. Pretty simple.

I do prefer this though. Yes there is some randomness in what comes out for who, but it also adds an element of excitement not seen in the static method. It also means, with only 10 tiles on offer at any time, there is less AP. 10 tiles is not enough for a random-static setup, and more than 10 tiles is too many too choose from for me.

I think I'll stick with this variant though, as I do enjoy that little bit of randomness more.
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Tomas Hejna
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What about arranging green tiles in twos or threes on them-selves? Only the top will be actually available for buying at any moment, of course - but any player could look on what will be the next in queue (any time). This IMO could add further tactic AND randomization to play (at the same time)..
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Alex Fiedler
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XehutL wrote:
What about arranging green tiles in twos or threes on them-selves? Only the top will be actually available for buying at any moment, of course - but any player could look on what will be the next in queue (any time). This IMO could add further tactic AND randomization to play (at the same time)..


Nice idea, but I don't think it will work.
It adds a lot more tiles to look at (20-30 depending how deep you can look) which adds to AP and takes away from the main purpose of this variant. Plus, taking the top tile just to get to the 2nd tile doesnt seem very efficient unless you actually wanted both.

I prefer the simplicity and speed of the original variant. Give it a try, I'm sure you'll enjoy it
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Howy Taylor
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Alex nice twist to the game I will try it, but I have a question.

What's the incentive to placing the personal yellow tiles on your board? Isn't there a chance that the 3 yellow tiles you draft don't combo well or require items you wouldn't normally go for? I'm missing the purpose as to why you would build your personal 3 tiles instead of the other common tiles?

Thanks,
Howard
 
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Alex Fiedler
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You dont have to build them at all. But the yellow tiles are usually end of game scoring tiles, so it's usually a good idea to try and build at least one.
As end of game "goal" tiles, they are optional but usually a good idea.
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Vince Lupo
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I played my first game of Caverna with this yesterday. I played solo and used this variant to ease myself into the game. Considering Agricola Creatures Big and Small, I'm surprised this variant wasn't the standard way to play. Also because of the increased replay-ability between games.

Even a version where new stuff doesn't come out would be fine, in my opinion. At least in solo. With more players perhaps you add more starting tiles so there's enough to go around? I know someone in particular who won't care for this variant because of tiles being replaced mid-game.

But playing with all tiles out from the beginning seems like it would overwhelm. I get that the yellow tiles are for points and I should just go for one that matches my farm. And generally the others enable you to do things faster, better and/or store more. That's where the details of each tile could overwhelm you with functional capabilities.

http://www.npr.org/2012/05/04/151879693/does-having-options-...


I'm sure I'll try it the regular way at some point, but when I play solo I'll probably stick with this variant. Thanks!
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Katie Dunn
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I've been really excited about Caverna, but a little concerned about the solo replayability. This variant looks great, I'll definitely try it out. Thanks!
 
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