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Baldrick's Tomb» Forums » Variants

Subject: OPEN CALL: Tell us your variants! rss

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Phil Kilcrease
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Io Adventurers,

One of the great things about Baldrick's Tomb is that it has lots of knobs and levers you can adjust to your group's personal preferences and even easily create your own variants.

If you've come up with a fun variant, we wanna hear it! We'll periodically group the ones that strike our fancies the most into PDFs for everyone to easily enjoy both here on the 'geek and on the 5th Street website.

Best,
Phil
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Chris Leder
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My son and I played a fun, challenging variant the other day. We loved the base game, but wanted to really feel the pressure!

Firstly, we went with persistent health and poison across the entire delve. This made the healing fountains -- when discovered -- much more valuable.

Next, and this was the biggie, we pumped up the combat! Any space you ended your turn on that was NOT a rubble token was considered a monster battle, and you had to draw and resolve a monster. If you revealed a monster token, you had to fight TWO monsters!

Finally, we went back to that old rougelike standby: permadeath!

This made the game very tough, but a LOT of fun! We found ourselves in a race to find Baldrick's Gem and get the exit before the truly deadly dungeon killed us off!
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Judy Krauss
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I played using the solitaire rules (and the clarifications for them, available here:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/101393/baldricks-tomb-...

One thing I noticed right away is that scrolls can be a great help to get you out of difficult situations!

I'm not sure how I feel about the solitaire game, yet. I think it may need some tweaking to make it more difficult. I had gotten through 9 levels without being "killed" by a monster or a trap before I quit for the night, and although twice, I didn't make it to the next floor before time ran out, the only penalty is losing half of your gold. One of the problems is that if you have enough gold, you can run away from monsters and buy skills that let you manipulate the rules in various ways (also scrolls let you do a lot of beneficial things, but then you must discard the scroll). If you run away from monsters, and switch out or move traps away from you, plus use scrolls to heal, the game can seemingly go on forever unless you are really unlucky.

I'm going to give it some thought and come up with some tweaks to the solitaire rules, probably restrict being able to choose from any skills, and also make gold-loss penalties worse for failing to leave the floor/level in time.

One of the things I started doing while playing was to determine the location of the rubble randomly when setting up each floor (but still following the set-up rule of not allowing any to be adjacent to each other). This adds a lot of time to the set-up, so I'm not sure that it's worth it, but it does make the map more interesting with wildly different set-ups for each floor.

I'm thinking about not allowing the player to choose any skill she wants, but instead, shuffling the Skill deck at the beginning of the game and the discard pile whenever the deck runs out. I propose, when the player is allowed to buy Skill cards, drawing 3 cards from the top of the Skill deck, and choosing to buy one (or none) only for each pause between floors. The cards not chosen will go into the discard pile and cannot be reconsidered unless the Skill deck is empty and the discard pile is shuffled to make a new Skill deck.

The cost to buy a Skill card would change also, being the exact amount listed on the Roguelike card opposite the level number that matches the floor just finished. So, if the player buys a skill after completing floor level 1, it will cost $3, but if the next skill wasn't bought until after floor level 3, it will cost $7 although it is only the second skill bought.

Finally, if the player does not find the exit from a floor before the time is up for that level, the player loses ALL of her gold (but not any skills or scrolls (I'm still thinking about if scrolls need to be nerfed, too).

This should make it a lot harder to run away from monsters, and give an incentive to spend gold on Skills since it may be lost anyway.

Any comments?
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Ben Haskett
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Judy, thanks for this in-depth analysis! Phil and I were a little sheepish about making solitaire play too difficult, but perhaps we went a bit too far in the opposite direction! I'll definitely use this to make an advanced variant for solo play. I was worried about going full-on Dark Souls, but I clearly could have cranked up the difficulty a bit more.

Thanks again for sharing!
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Phil Kilcrease
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Io Judy,

Thanks for sharing your insight. We'll include more variants to make solitaire tougher when we release our variant sheet in the coming weeks.


Best,
Phil
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Ben Haskett
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Here is how the game is evolving for me as I play it more and more.

1. Movement: Some of you may know that when Baldrick's Tomb was first designed, it had a roll-and-move mechanic (Instead of having 4 moves, each player rolled a D6 to determine how many moves they would get). This was criticized early-on--no one likes roll-and-moves, I discovered--so I changed it to a set character movement. This seems to have gone over very well with players, but truth be told, I kind of miss it. Not knowing how many spaces you were able to move each turn added a lot to the risl vs. reward factor, because you really didn't know if you'd be able to make it to the exit in time. So, post-release, I've tried and enjoyed two very similar movement variants:

A. Include two fudge dice. Each player still has four moves, but they must also roll both fudge dice to modify that number. It usually doesn't do anything (the two dice often cancel each other out), but the two dice can either give you a move bonus of two or hinder you the same amount. If you can only move two spaces on the last round, you're all of a sudden in quite a pickle!

B. Include a D3. This is a little friendlier than the fudge variant, because you can never lose moves. A D3 is just a D6 that has two 1 faces, two 2 faces, and two 3 faces. Each player starts with 3 moves, and adds the result of the D3 roll. So the range is only 4-6.

2. Gem Benefits: I always had the gem give a 5-pt benefit, because I didn't want it to swing the game too far in one direction or another. I now sometimes appraise it at 10, but what's even better was an idea from anothe rplayer: hazard pay. Now, if you hold the gem at the end of the game, you also gain 1 gold for each curse card that you had to draw. This really makes players want to hold onto that gem, even when the going gets really tough!

3. Lore: This is really inconsequential, but when running the game, I've worked out a back-story that fits better with the shorter, 4-floor version:

“Some poor fool has infiltrated Baldrick's Tomb in the hopes of extracting the late sorcerer's gem pendant. Exceedingly powerful, Baldrick cursed the gem with his dying breath to ensure that it would never fall into the wrong hands. Not surprisingly, the tomb raider met his unfortunate end somewhere on the second floor--the powerful curse proved to be too much for this intrepid treasure seeker!

“You are just one of several adventurers who have answered the call to return the gem to Baldrick’s coffin. The player who does it will receive a hefty bonus, and may also receive some nice hazard pay! Additionally, there’s a mountain of treasure waiting inside the depths of the tomb. Will you be the adventurer who returns the gem, or will you to fall victim to the curse?”
 
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