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Subject: Game with variability in game-space options?. rss

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Enon Sci
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Horrible title, yeah?

Well, let me clarify: I'm trying to find a new title to grace my shelves that offers variability in the options afforded to the player from game to game.

Classic examples of this would include Agricola's variable starting cards, Dominion's kingdom cards, Lords of Waterdeep's building tiles, Lewis & Clark's recruitment track, Troyes' city spaces, Macao's building/person/office cards, and Suburbia's title sets. In essence, a game where a central component is randomized, and what might be available in one game can/will/should vary greatly from session to session.

e.g. In Lewis & Clark, you start with 6 cards but can recruit additional every turn. These additions come out of a deck of 50+ cards, and you'll likely see less than half in any single session. Both the variety in card effects and the timing of a particular cards availability factor into the variability of a session's feel.

In essence, I'm looking for more of this kind of thing.

Suggestions (beyond those listed above)?

p.s. Le Havre should get a mention due to the special buildings, but the effect can sometimes be subtle. I'm looking for something a bit more pronounced (effecting the game-state from the beginning).
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Chris Willett
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Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game has variable heroes that you can buy while playing. Much like Dominion with a random availability, changing who is in the deck can change how you plan to build beyond what your deck allows you to buy.

Eminent Domain: Escalation: This expansion adds scenario cards that alter the deck you start with. kind of like Dominion but with an altered starting point rather than an altered game-space =P.

Arkham Horror and Eldritch Horror let you play as different characters against different evil dudes. This isn't as significant as you might want, but if you embrace it you can have a lot of fun playing to your characters strengths and such.
 
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Michael F
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Most games with cards will accomplish this. Race for the Galaxy is a great example of what I mean. The cards you start with are completely random, though you always get one start world out of a set number depending on how many expansions you have.

Yedo is similar to Lords of Waterdeep. You'll start off with randomized quests/missions to complete.

Bora Bora has this a bit with what goals and god cards you start off with.
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Jesse
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Nations

Every game plays differently depending on the order that progress cards come out (or which ones, if you're playing with lower player counts and/or the advanced card decks). Then throw in the five unique starting nations, and you've got a ton of replayability.
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Enon Sci
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atomheartmother wrote:
Nations

Every game plays differently depending on the order that progress cards come out (or which ones, if you're playing with lower player counts and/or the advanced card decks). Then throw in the five unique starting nations, and you've got a ton of replayability.


Thanks Atom,

This has been on my radar since Essen. I'll have to take a closer look again.

Michael, thanks for the input (especially the Yedo reference; I almost forgot about that one). Not sure Race for the Galaxy fits my bill, though, as every component in the box tends to be in play in every game, including start worlds. Granted, you have to pull explore a lot to see it all, but I often hunt down rogue cards to complete a strategy on almost every play.

That said, perhaps I thought of a way to simplify my inquiry: In essence, I'm looking for a game where a portion of the components stay (effectively) in the box. You know, like when you have 24 buildings in the box, but only 8 will meaningfully hit the board in any one session, etc.

Eldritch and Arkham are games I initially wanted to balk at, but the card supplies are deep enough to make them contenders too. Sadly, they're already in my collection.

Thanks guys! (and feel free to hit me with more!)..
 
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1 Lucky Texan
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hhhmmm...lots of variability in track layout and obstacles for Snow Tails
 
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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Core Worlds - you have a random starting world, each player's deck made further different by the start-of-game draft. The central zone cards come out from 5 separate decks during a game, you only see a subset of cards even if you play with the max number of players. Also, sometimes more worlds may come out than units+tactics, and vice versa (although there will always be one world and non-world per player).

Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game with expansions allows different objectives and optional modules. In addition you have a choice of character with special skills and weaknesses. Each turn you get challenges that deplete some of your resources if not handled well, and the humans need to perform any number of FTL jumps to reach the required distance to win. Hidden Cylons can sabotage in various ways, and at any time reveal themselves to make the game harder for the humans. You can become cylon mid-game. Two games are never the same.

In Cosmic Encounter each player have their own alien power, which 'breaks' some of the game rules. Your task is to use that power and your hand cards to your advantage in conquering 5 foreign colonies before your opponents do. The interactions of the alien powers and some of the cards are endless. But the game is polarizing - some groups love it, some just hate it, and some tolerate it.

In Room 25 you create a 5 x 5 grid of rooms. There are more tiles available than that to allow easy and hard game modes. You can also have a semi-random selection of tiles in the game for some additional fun. In the suspicision mode, with certain number of players you can have an unknown number of guards trying to prevent the escape.

In Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game and other similar miniature games you build your squadrons from pilots (ships) and upgrades before the game. You are allowed a certain number of points, each pilot and upgrade costing a certain number. So, you have very, very, very large space for the setup, if you have even a moderate number of (different) ships.
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Kai Mölleken
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Belfort comes with 12 guilds which of which only 5 are used each game. These guilds are basically actions which players can take. Add the promo and the expansion and you have 20 guilds.

In Dungeon Petz the contests and customers change from game to game and are revealed one by one as the game progresses. So you never know which types of petz will score you a lot of points in the game.

In the Year of the Dragon has a random element in the setup too and that is the order of the events. This might seem a minor thing. But in a game like this it is a huge deal because you know right from the start for what you have to prepare. But since the order in which they occur changes the strategies to come out on top will always be different. Also the actions are grouped differently each round which also makes more of difference than one might think.

When you add the expansion cards you can randomize the cards available in Notre Dame.

There are additional craftsmen for The Pillars of the Earth which also lets you randomize the craftsmen available in each game.

Small World lets you choose from different combinations of races and abilities each time you play.

In Smash Up Smash Up you have eight factions and every player combines two of those for creating his/her deck. That's 28 combinations of factions in the base game alone. Add the expansions and the number of combinations goes through the roof.

And then there are of course a lot of games with different nations or races or games with variable board game layouts.

 
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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Kaermo wrote:
Small World lets you choose from different combinations of races and abilities each time you play.

And usually multiple times in a game!
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