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Subject: house rules to make 2-player basic game more thrilling rss

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Byron Campbell
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Here's my dilemma: I picked this game up when it was on deep discount last year. Vlaada is one of my favorite designers, and I can really appreciate the concept of this game, building elaborate ships and watching them fall apart piece by piece. However, every time I have played this game so far, it has just fallen flat for me. Maybe it's the people I play with. Maybe it's that the base game by itself feels too light (I've read all the expansion rules, and playing with EVERYTHING in the two big expansions seems to hit about the perfect weight and complexity for me). Maybe it's that the game really needs 4 players to shine, since I normally play it with 2.

However, I am not likely to play the game with a different/larger group, and I can't afford the expansions, especially when there are other games I feel less "meh" about. So I am trying to come up with a set of house rules to inject some excitement into the base game with just 2 players. Here are my ideas so far:

Fewer Components: We tried removing 30 components randomly at the start of the game. There still felt like too many. Next time, we will try removing 50.

Component Auction: At the start of each round, each player gets 10 credits worth of "bidding chips" to bid for ship components. The denominations are one 5, two 2s and one 1. Then, all the available ship components are separated into 5 face-up "auction lots." Players take turns putting bid tokens face-down in front of the lots until all tokens are placed, then they are revealed. Any auction lot you win goes immediately into the lost components section of your ship board, and you get to build with these freely during ship building (though they count against you if you don't use them). Any lots that were not won, because nobody bid or there was a tie, get shuffled face-down and are used normally during ship building.

Adventure Card Drafting: At the start of the game, each player receives 4 I cards, 3 II cards and 2 III cards (adjust depending on which rounds are being played). Before ship building on a certain round, each player selects the appropriate number/type of adventure cards from their hand to be added to the deck that round. A single set of adventure cards are displayed publicly during ship building, and the final set are hidden until the flight begins. This means you have to pay a bit of attention to what your opponent is building to guess what the flight will be like this round.

Tighter time limit: My wife and I tend to both take our time building ships, and since there's nobody else to push the clock, we build pretty efficient ships. Instead of using the sand timer, players build to a soundtrack that lasts 60 seconds, plus 45 extra seconds for each round (so 1:45 for round I, 2:30 for round II, and 3:15 for rounds III and IIIa). When the soundtrack is finished, both players have to stop building.

Rough Roads: The print-n-play Rough Roads cards should be used every game.

Tighter flight: When you draw a Planets adventure card, half of the planets (rounded down) are randomly unavailable to either player. Roll the dice to choose. At the end of the flight, the player in last place gets the last place pay instead of second place pay for order of arrival.

(Variant-Two Ships Team Play) I have also considered just having each player build two ships using the Team Play rules and fly them side by side. If I did this, I wouldn't use any of the above house rules except for Rough Roads.

I also want to somehow increase the amount of choice/interaction during flights, but I haven't figured out a way to do that yet.
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Ladson
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Double the construction time and have each player control two ships?
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Byron Campbell
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Scottgun wrote:
Double the construction time and have each player control two ships?


I was editing this in as you posted this, apparently. Great minds think alike!
 
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James Dalley
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I do own all of the expansions, but I have played forty plus two player games without house ruling anything and we love it. (Though we do always play with Rough Roads, Evil Machs, and Crew members.)
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Runcible Spoon
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Jdlly wrote:
I do own all of the expansions, but I have played forty plus two player games without house ruling anything and we love it. (Though we do always play with Rough Roads, Evil Machs, and Crew members.)


Yeah, I have to agree with this. Two player with the expansion modules you mention make it a very tough game with 2 or more players; no additional changes are needed.
 
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Byron Campbell
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Well, if I had Evil Machinations and crew members I would definitely use them! Like I said, I think all the expansions offer something to the game based on reading the rules. I also really like the idea behind some of the ship components in the expansions. It could be that the game just isn't for me; I hope that's not the case.
 
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