Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 Hide
18 Posts

Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin» Forums » Variants

Subject: Variant - Cutthroats & Sellswords rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Julian Baltuttis
Germany
Leipzig
flag msg tools
Hey there,
I have been working on and playtesting my own Thunderstone variant. So far it has been tremendous fun to play, so I thought I'd share the rules online. Go ahead and try it for yourself and let me know what you think. This is very much a work in progress, so I apologize in advance for the current state of the rules. There are likely tons of errors, typos and unclear rules. Here it goes:

1. Introduction
This game variant puts all players at each others throats: They will be bluffing, stealing, bidding, gambling and lying their way to victory.
During the day all players visit the village to buy their gear and upgrades and then after nightfall dive deep into the dungeon to claim those much desired victory and experience points. But they only get one single hand of cards to accomplish both.
You may now try to steal cards in the village, outbid other players when buying cards or go and waste all your hard earned money in the new gambling hall where you can win great prizes. In the dungeon you can team up with other players to fight monsters together, share experience and maybe claim victory points for yourself. Or don't go to the dungeon at all and simply lie about your great accomplishments: Take all the glory and do none of the work.
Welcome to Cutthroats & Sellswords.

2. Requirements
You need at least 1 Thunderstone core set or stand alone edition to play this variant.
For six or more players you will need at least 2 core sets in order to have enough base cards for the starting decks. You will need 4-7 tokens, preferably of different color to serve as player tokens (different colored dice are recommended). You will need another token to indicate who the First Player currently is (You can use any Thunderstone Card for this purpose like a Divider or Randomizer Card). You also need to know the basic rules of Thunderstone in order to play Cut throats & Sellswords.

3. Setting up the Game
1. Create the Dungeon
Build the dungeon deck in reverse order from bottom to top.
You may choose the monsters at random OR let all players draft the Dungeon.

Bottom: 1 Guardian AND 6 Level 3 Monster
Middle: 12 Level 2 Monster
Top: 6 Level 1 Monster

2. Build Basic Decks
For each player create 1 deck of 7 regulars, 3 long spears, 2 torches, and 2 Thunderstone shards.
Each player shuffles their starting deck and places it face down in front of him or her.

3. Populate the Village
All village stacks are placed faced down in the village.
You may choose village cards at random OR let all players draft the Village.
Build the village in a 3x3 grid with 3 hero stacks, 2 weapon stacks, 2 spell stacks, 1 villager stack, and 1 item stack.

Put only Level 1 heroes in the hero stacks and keep the level 2 and level 3 heroes in separate stacks next to the village (Alternatively you may keep all higher level heroes in the game box and assign one player the task to retrieve those cards for upgrading heroes).

All hero and village stacks should be shuffled before play. Make sure that each stack has at least 5 cards per player.

4. Finishing Touches
Create 3 more decks which are placed sideways and left to the village.
Basic Deck: Shuffle all remaining Basic Cards into one single pile
Disease Deck: Shuffle all diseases and curses into one single pile.
Gambling Den: Take the top 2 cards from each hero and village stack, 15 basic cards and 5 diseases. Shuffle all those cards into a single pile.

Note: As far as game play is concerned the Basic Deck, Disease Deck and Gambling Den are NOT considered part of the village.

Place all XP tokens in a single pile next to the dungeon.
Fill all 3 ranks of the dungeon hall with the top cards from the monster deck.
Flip each top card of the hero and village stacks.
Each Player draws 7 cards.

As reference the Game Board should look like this:

Monsters | Rank 3 | Rank 2 | Rank 1
+++++++++++++++++++++++++
Basics | Heroes | Heroes | Heroes
Diseases | Weapons | Spells | Items
Gambling Den | Weapons | Spells | Villagers
+++++++++++++++++++++++++
(Level 2 Heroes | Level 3 Heroes}

4. Modules
The following modules are always active for each Game of Thunderstone: Cutthroats & Sellswords.

Life of Agitation: Players may not Rest or Prepare when they visit the village. Ignore any rules and effects that refer to Rest or Prepare.

Hard to Improve: Players may no longer level up their heroes at any time while in the village. They can only level up heroes while resolving a conflict with another player in the village and only if they reveal a hero from their hand. Hard to Improve works as follows: Ignore the standard rules for leveling and instead give each Player the following Action.
Repeat Village: Level up any hero you have revealed. Discard the new hero into your discard pile and destroy the old hero.

Regular Trade Off: You can level a Regular into any level 1 hero available in the village. A hero card with a player token on it is no longer available. If there are no heroes available, you may blindly level up by taking the top face-down card from any hero stack, instead. During blind leveling you may not look at the top card beforehand and you must always take the new hero card.

From Dusk 'til Dawn: One round of play consists of all players going to the village during the day and entering the dungeon at night.
Phase 1: During the day beginning with the first player each player resolve their actions in clockwise fashion until the last player has finished.
Phase 2: At night beginning with the last player and moving in counterclockwise fashion all actions are taken and then resolved.

Strong Hand: Each player begins the game with a starting deck of 14 basic cards (7 regulars, 3 long spears, 2 torches, and 2 Thunderstone shards). Each player always draws 7 cards at the end of each round.

Gambler's Luck: Whenever a card of effect destroys a card, that card goes to the bottom of the Gambling Den. This rule also applies when destroying diseases and leveling up heroes.

Delayed Resupplies: All village stacks are built face down during game setup. During play only the top card of each stack is flipped up to show what it is currently available. When a player buys a card in the village he does not flip the next card on the stack. The village only gets its resupplies at the end of the day during the cleanup stage.

4. Turn Sequence

Day – Enter the Village
In the village all players take their turns in clockwise fashion beginning with the First Player. When you visit the village you must always place your marker on a village or hero card if you can. You will either announce a purchase OR start a challenge. If 2 player markers are already on the board you must start a challenge.

Actions in the Village
Announce a Purchase: Place your marker on 1 hero card or 1 village card that you wish to buy. Then end your turn.
Start a Challenge: Place your marker on a card that already has a player marker and resolve the conflict immediately. Then end your turn

End Your Turn: Pass initiative to the next player clockwise unless you are the Last Player. The Last player moves on to the end of day.
Resolve a Conflict: Each player secretly chooses any number of hand cards and place them face down simultaneously. The Active player then reveals his cards and resolves all his village effects. The challenged player then reveals his cards and resolves all his village effects. Both player may level up revealed heroes while they resolve a conflict. Compare the gold values of both players. The player with the higher gold value may buy the contested card if he has enough gold. The player with the lower gold value goes gambling. If both players tie or cannot afford the contested card they both go gambling using their current gold value and the card goes to the bottom of the stack. Both players discard all revealed cards after use.
Go Gambling: For each gold you may draw 1 card from the top of the gambling deck stack. You then add 1 card to your discard pile and put all the other cards back to the bottom of the gambling den. You must always choose 1 card, you cannot refuse to take a card.

Clean Up the Village
The Last Player resolves all actions in order as follows.
Cutthroats don't pay: Each player that still has a token on a card receives that card for free. He may not reveal his hand cards or use any village effects. He may not level up and he keeps all his hand cards for the dungeon.
Empty the village: Take each top card that is still face up from each stack and place it on the bottom of that stack.
Refresh the village: Take the top card of each stack and flip it face up.

Night – Enter the Dungeon
In the Dungeon all players take their turns in counter-clockwise fashion.
You must always place your marker on a monster card if you can. That means you will either declare an attack OR aid in battle. If 2 player markers are already on the board you must aid in battle.

Actions in the Dungeon:
Declare an Attack: Place your marker on 1 empty monster card in the dungeon hall. Then end your turn.
Aid in Battle: Place your marker on a card that already has a player marker and resolve the conflict immediately. Then end your turn

Resolve a Conflict:
Each player secretly chooses any number of hand cards and place them face down simultaneously. The Active player then reveals his cards and resolves all his dungeon effects. The challenged player then reveals his cards and resolves all his dungeon effects. Both player must reveal and use all diseases and monster cards during a conflict. To prevent cheating both players show and reveal all unused cards.
Add both player's attack value to see if the monster is defeated. If the monster is victorious it goes to the bottom of the monster deck. If the monster is defeated the player with the higher attack value puts the monster card in his discard pile and the other player receives XP. Both players may use spoils effects if they are victorious (The player who gets the monster card may still receive XP from Thunderstone Shards). If both players defeat the monster but tie on their attack value, the monster goes to the bottom of the gambling den and both players receive XP and may use Spoils effects.

End Your Turn: Pass initiative to the next player counter-clockwise. If You are the First Player proceed to Dungeon Cleanup.

Dungeon Cleanup:
The First Player resolves all actions in order as follows.
Sellsword Honor: Each player that still has a token on a monster card receives that card for free. He ignores all battle and aftermath effects. He may not reveal his hand cards or use any dungeon effects. He gets no XP and may not use Spoils Effects.
Refill the Dungeon: Move all monsters in the dungeon rank from left to right and refill the dungeon.
End of Round: Each player discards his remaining cards and draws a new hand of 7 cards. Shuffle the Gambling Den and pass the First Player Token clockwise. Move on to the next round OR if the Guardian has entered the dungeon hall proceed to the Final Battle.

The Final Battle
1. When the Guardian enters the dungeon hall, the game ends after the following round.
2. During this round each player visits the Village one last time, but may draw cards at the end of his turn until his hand size is 7 again. Apply all Village rules as usual.
3. Any player may declare an attack or aid in battle no matter how many player tokens are already in play.
4. All players reveal and use their hand cards. Resolve all cards and effects for each player starting with the last player and going counter-clockwise.
5. Apply all dungeon rules as usual, except for Aid in Battle. During aid in battle do not add up player attack values. Only the highest attack value counts and only that player takes the monster card if he defeats the monster.
6. The game ends at the end of the round whether the guardian is defeated or not.
3 
 Thumb up
1.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Baltuttis
Germany
Leipzig
flag msg tools
Hey there,
I made a PDF version of the first manual draft and uploaded it to my blog. I hope it's okay to post a link to my blog, if not I apologize in advance.

The manual can be found here:

http://havepencilwilltravel.com/cutt-sell/
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Anor Londo
Spain
Madrid
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Very interesting variant. I Love the Gambling deck.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brad
United States
Iowa
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
This looks awesome, and I intend to try it out soon! I do have a couple questions. Is this played like the Epic variant where all of the cards of the same type are shuffled together and then set out in a large stack?

And one more. When you say shuffle all remaining basic cards together to make the basic deck, how many cards is that? For example, do you mean shuffle the remaining 15 regulars, spears, and torches together after creating the 5 starting decks (not counting the extra regular and spear added to however many players' starting decks are used)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Baltuttis
Germany
Leipzig
flag msg tools
Hey Brad,
to answer your questions...

1. Yes, you can play this variant with Epic if you like. In fact, this is how I have played it myself so far. Cutthroats should work well with pretty much any village composition.

2. The Basic deck size doesn't matter all that much. The size may vary depending on how many Thunderstone Stand Alone sets you own. Just take all unused Starter cards after Game Setup, dump 'em in one stack and shuffle it. You only need The basic deck for filling up the gambling den and whenever a specific card requires you to use basic cards (like Royal Summons). Remember: The basic deck isn't really part of the village. You can't buy any new basic cards while in the village and to be honest, why would you want to anyway? Most players usually try to rid themselves of basic cards and if you still want them, the gambling den should have plenty of basic cards.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brad
United States
Iowa
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I have another clarification. In the dungeon while aiding in battle, it says to reveal cards for the fight and to reveal the rest of the cards to avoid cheating. Does this mean that the cards held back do not participate in the fight and therefore not affected by monster traits, battle effects, and aftermath effects? Does this also mean that the cards being held back are only revealed to check for any diseases that must be present during a battle?

For example, the monster I am helping another player fight has the aftermath effect of destroying one hero with strength 5 or higher. I only have one hero who meets this requirement in my hand and do not want to lose it. Can I choose not to reveal it when resolving the conflict to avoid destroying it? Or does it get destroyed when I reveal the cards I held back?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Baltuttis
Germany
Leipzig
flag msg tools
Hey Brad,
good question and you basically answered it yourself.
Yes, you may hold back cards from aid in battle to prevent them from being destroyed. The cards you hold back will not participate in the fight. After you have revealed them you can immediately put them in your discard pile to avoid confusion. This mechanic really only serves one purpose: To prevent players from hiding away diseases and monster cards with negative trophy effects.
In your example you would get to save that strength 5 hero from being destroyed, but you couldn't use it during the battle. Which in the end might save you the card, but could easily loose you the contest if you end up with a lower attack value than your opponent.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Baltuttis
Germany
Leipzig
flag msg tools
Hey there,
I have been doing some more work on a detailed rules section. Here is the current draft of some Key Elements for Cutthroats & Sellswords. As always this is a work in progress, so expect typos and errors.

Cheers,
Robert

Key Elements

Gameplay Overview
Cutthroats is played in rounds where all players go to both the village and the dungeon using only a single hand of cards. Each round of play is divided into 4 phases representing a day and night cycle and is always played out in sequence.

Phase sequence
1. Daybreak: Visit the Village
2. End of Day: Village Cleanup
3. Nightfall: Enter the Dungeon
4. After Midnight: Dungeon Cleanup

First Player
Before the game begins, randomly determine who the First Player will be for the first round of play. As the First Player you receive a special token, so everybody knows that you are the First Player (Any randomizer card can serve this purpose or if you own an older version of Thunderstone you can use the Thunderstone Card). As the First Player you get to take your turn first during Daybreak, but you must take your turn last at Nightfall. After Midnight you are responsible for Dungeon Cleanup after which you pass the First Player token to the next player clockwise. That way, whoever is the First Player in any given round will be the last player in the following round.

Last Player
The Last Player is always the player sitting next to the First Player counter-clockwise and therefore doesn't need a special player token. When you are the Last Player you take your turn last during Daybreak and then proceed to take care of Village Cleanup at the End of Day. Then, at Nightfall as the Last Player you get to enter the dungeon first.

Active Player and Passing Initiative
Whenever you take a turn either in the village or in the dungeon you are referred to as the Active Player. During a player contest the Active Player always resolves all cards and effects first.
When you are the Active Player and your turn is about to end, you then pass initiative to the next player. Passing initiative simply means that your turn has ended and you pass on the status of being the Active Player. In the village you always pass initiative clockwise and in the dungeon you always pass initiative counter-clockwise.

Revealing and Using Cards
Hand cards are only used during a conflict with another player, that is either during a bidding contest or when giving aid in battle. In other words you cannot reveal and use card effects whenever you like, it must always happen during a conflict..
Exempted from this rule are only cards with the Reaction: trait.

Buying Cards and Declaring attacks
During game setup each player receives a special player marker which they can use to mark their commitments in the village and the dungeon. You declare your commitment by putting your player token on a card. In the village you place your player token to either announce a purchase or challenge another player to a bidding contest. In the dungeon you place your marker to either declare an attack on a monster or give aid in battle.

Always Committed
When it is your turn both at Daybreak and Nightfall you must always place your player marker if you can. If for some reason there is no card available in the village you can always go gambling, instead. If you enter the dungeon and for some reason no monster is available, you may immediately refill all empty ranks.
Whenever there are 2 player markers on the board already, you must always begin a challenge during your turn. That means if you visit the village you must start a bidding contest and if you are about to enter the dungeon you must give Aid in Battle.

Buying additional Cards
Sometimes a card or an effect allows you to buy an additional card in the village.
If that happens during Daybreak you must wait until all other players have finished their turns.
You must make your second purchase after the Last Player has finished his turn in the village, but before the Last Player proceeds to The End of Day. If more than 1 player use this effect during Daybreak the player who sits closest to the First Player goes first.
If no card is available at this point you are out of luck and don't get to buy another card.
When you buy additional cards Always Committed does not apply. You may place your player marker on any card that is available. And don't forget that Cutthroats don't pay, so you get to take the card for free.
If you are allowed to buy an additional card during Nightfall you cannot take cards for free. Sellswords actually have to pay for their goods. At Nightfall you may only buy additional cards while resolving Aid in Battle. Whenever an effect during Nightfall allows you to buy a card from the village you must use all the gold from the cards that you have revealed. You cannot reveal additional cards in order to get more gold. So plan ahead if you wish to fight and buy cards at the same time.

Destroying Cards
Whenever you destroy a card Gambler's Luck applies. That means any destroyed card always goes to the bottom of the Gambling Den, no matter what type of card it is. This also happens during Level Up and when getting rid of diseases.

Moving and Removing Monsters
When you announce to fight a monster in the dungeon hall you are committed to the dungeon rank and not the monster itself. That means once you have placed your player token on a monster your token remains in that rank of the dungeon hall.
When a card or an effect allows you to change the monster order in the dungeon you may only move monsters. Player tokens cannot be moved around and will remain in place until resolved either through Aid in Combat or Sellsword Honor.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Baltuttis
Germany
Leipzig
flag msg tools
I started doing some errata work for Cutthroats.
This is probably my least favorite part. I wish the rules were just compatible with all Thunderstone cards right off the bat. Unfortunately, some cards will need some tweaking or minor clarification.
If you are a purist who doesn't like rules errata, then your best bet would be to simply ignore card effects that conflict with Cutthroats. Or don't use those cards when playing this variant. After all there is an abundance of add ons and there are always plenty of other Cards to choose from. Anyway, here it goes...

More Key Concepts

All for one and one for all
While you may fight together with other players via Aid in Battle you still must overcome all the dangers for yourself. When you fight a monster in the dungeon hall you may only use your own light sources and you must trigger all the monster's battle and aftermath effects. In other words when 2 players face a monster during Aid in Battle all the monster effects will trigger twice.

Challenged Player
Whenever you solve a conflict the player who is not the active player is considered to be the Challenged Player. The Challenged Player reveals and uses his cards after the active Player has done the same.

Cards Errata

Royal Summons
Set: Towers of Ruin
Change “Spoils: Destroy 3 Regulars” to “Spoils: Return 3 Regulars to the Basics Stack.”

Innkeeper
Set: Towers of Ruin
You destroy the hero or the villager immediately when resolving the action. To buy an additional card you must wait until the end of the Daybreak Phase.

King Caelen's Writ
Set: Towers of Ruin
As with all Village Cards you can only trigger this card during a conflict..When you use this card's village effect you immediately take a hero that is available and then end your turn. This means you will automatically lose the bidding contest and may not go gambling afterward. It doesn't matter if you are the Active Player or Challenged Player.

Necrophidius
Set: Towers of Ruin
If during Aid in Battle you do not reveal at least 2 heroes you immediately withdraw and may not fight the monster at all. This means you do not encounter the monster, may not use Dungeon Effects and you won't gain any XP even if your opponent defeats the monster.
If both you and your opponent each reveal less than 2 heroes the monster is not encountered at all and remains in the dungeon hall

Ossues
Set: Towers of Ruin
If during Aid in Battle you do not reveal at least 1 hero you immediately withdraw and may not fight the monster at all. This means you do not encounter the monster, may not use Dungeon Effects and you won't gain any XP even if your opponent defeats the monster.
If both you and your opponent each reveal less than 1 hero the monster is not encountered at all and remains in the dungeon hall

Thundermage Bolter
Set: Towers of Ruin
When you use the Dungeon ability to put the monster in your discard pile, no combat takes place. This means no Battle, Aftermath or Spoils Effect occur and your opponent is not rewarded any XP.

Mind Control
Set: Root of Corruption
If you put this card in front of a player who has already taken his turn at Nightfall, the card remains in front of that player until the next round.

Summon Storm
Set: Towers of Ruin
Change “Village: Put this card on top of your deck:” to “Spoils: Put this card on top of your deck”

Scabbark
Set: Towers of Ruin
Change “Spoils: Take another turn” to “Spoils: Take any village or hero card for free”.
The active player goes first.


 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brad
United States
Iowa
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I finally had the chance to play this variant tonight so here's my feedback and impressions. My general impression (and that amongst the group of 3, myself included) was that it was a lot of fun because it was something so different from normal Thunderstone, but also extremely out of our control feeling very luck based. Overall a positive experience for everyone.

A few questions that arose

1) When leveling heroes during a conflict, who has priority and how many levels ups before the other player gets a chance to?

We played it by giving the active player priority first and then passing it back and forth for one level up at a time to make it fair. This way, the active player couldn't just level up all his regulars into the available level 1 heroes.

2) How are raid effects handled?

We played them as affecting those who actually played a hand in the dungeon in a conflict. Since we had 3 players, there were always 2 who had a conflict while the other got a free monster.

3) How are monster effects that boost health handled?

We seriously fought just about every monster that has this kind of effect and weren't sure if both players add health or just the higher added health overall. Example, we fought the Doomknight who adds 2 health for every present monster. I had 1 monster in my hand, and my friend 2. Does the Doomknight, who starts with 8 health, Have 14 health or 12 health? Or maybe 10 for me and 12 for him? This last option didn't seem right since we were both fighting together, but we did consider it.

A few suggestions based on our experience

1) When declaring a purchase/attack, secretly choosing how many cards to use was difficult to enforce. Instead of waiting to be challenged and picking cards, players should declare how many cards they intend to buy a village card with or attack a monster with. If they don't get challenged, they don't get to use those cards like normal. If they do get challenged, the challenger declares how many cards he will use to buy/fight. The first player should then be able to "raise" by adding more cards to his total if he likes. Then the second player does the same. This should go back and forth until both players pass. I think this still fits with the bluffing aspect of this variant and gives more player interaction.

2) The 2 marker limit forcing a challenge/conflict got in the way of any real deck building. I realize this variant is not meant to be perfectly balanced or super competitive, but my group still wanted to be able to feel as though there was some strategy rather than just luck involved. Obviously this variant relies more on gambling skill than deck building skill which it fine, but we wanted to be able to back up our bluffs with the threat of a strong deck our opponents knew we were building.

My recommendation is to remove the forced challenges entirely. This way players can challenge on their own terms when they think their opponent is bluffing or they just have a really good hand. This will also allow players to select the cards they want rather than from the two players have already selected. Finally, this will work in the dungeon better because it will feel more like stealing a monster from someone because you built a better deck rather than just randomly trying to screw them over hoping they don't have a good hand when you're unable to draw anything consistent.

An example. I am the third person to place my marker on a monster. Both of my opponents have marked easier 2 VP and 3 VP monsters. Normally I would be forced to challenge one of them. Instead I would like the choice between these two or the juicy 4 VP monster who hands out 2 diseases. I think there is a lot of strategic decision here. Do I take the 4 free VP and eat the diseases which might slow me up later? Or do I challenge one of the other two monsters hoping my opponents are either bluffing about the attack in their hands or that my hand is better than theirs? Possible outcomes include losing to the monster but preventing my opponent from getting the VP as well. Defeating the monster but only getting XP for a level up later. Taking the VP for myself by defeating the monster with more damage.

In short, I think there is a lot of strategic depth here just waiting to be unleashed if the forced challenges are removed.

Again, we had a great time and hope to play it again. We will probably use these new rules for our own game, and I'll let you know how it goes. If you have any questions about why I suggested what I did, please let me know.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Baltuttis
Germany
Leipzig
flag msg tools
Wow, so much feedback all at once. I'll probably need more than one post for a proper response, so let's just start with the beginning.
First, of all thanks so much for your input. It's greatly appreciated.
For your questions...
1. The active player always gets priority in leveling up. In my experience leveling up is now really hard, so we never had a chance to level up many heroes at once. If this turns out to be a real issue, I might consider removing delayed resupplies from the rules.
2. I don't think we have encountered a raid monster so far. I tend to use the simple monsters during dungeon construction, as they make games less complicated. Doesn't raid always affect all players in Thunderstone? If not I would say the Active Player gets hit. I'll check on that.
3. Since you repeat all Monster, Battle and Aftermath effects, yes the monster gets buffed twice.

As for forced challenges, feel free to play your next game without Always Committed and tell me what you think. I only recently introduced this feature, because during our first games stealing cards very quickly got out of control. With only three players you might not notice it too much, but what can easily happen is that all players simply keep stealing cards. It very quickly became the best choice. I would rather steal a card and keep my entire hand than engaging with another player. I feel that the conflicts and gambling is a core part of Cutthroats and Always Committed seems to be the best way to make sure people actually do that.
Of course, you are right in saying all of this is much more about luck, but it is also more about engaging with other players and lying and bluffing. I am also still on the fence about a minimum player limit. Maybe cutthroats just doesn't work with three players only? Always Committed is supposed to make the game scale better, especially when you have six or seven players. I'm curious to find out what the sweet spot for amount of players is.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brad
United States
Iowa
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
When I first read the rules, my first thought was that this variant would work well with four or more players. There are three groups of friends who I play this game with which all somehow manage to consist of only three players most of the time. The next time any of these groups have 4 or more, I will suggest we play the forced challenges to see how it goes.

Maybe for three or fewer players we will remove forced challenges but also reduce the number of available cards in the village. When we went to the dungeon where there were only three options, we were more likely to challenge as soon as possible rather than letting the third player settle who would get challenged because some monsters were clearly more valuable than others. With a smaller village, hopefully we can achieve the same thing. Again, I will let you know how this goes when I get the chance.

Here's another question I thought of: Do any players who don't get challenged during the final round when the guardian is in the hall get a prepare action before entering the dungeon? The reason I ask is because when our game got to the final round, I was second to place my marker in the village and immediately challenged the first player because I knew discarding cards in the village would get me access to potentially better cards when I drew back up to seven for the final dungeon turn. This left the third player stuck with what they had which seemed unfair since it was so easy to abuse getting more cards as the first and second player. Or maybe we played this part of the game wrong.

Perhaps that situation could also be the solution to forced challenges. People may be unlikely to challenge in the village because they know they can get a free card, but if they knew they would draw up to seven again, they might be more likely to do it. This would also solve the issue we had of not really being able to kill monsters most of the time because we could trade in village cards for possible dungeon cards. I realize this goes entirely against the idea of one hand for both village and dungeon which I think is a fun way to play, but frankly we didn't have a lot of fun in the dungeon because one person always got a free monster and the other two were usually lost the battle. So pretty much, it became the job of the third player to police who got VP that turn and who didn't and just try to screw over whoever we thought had the most VP at the time.

Funny story, my friend and I with 14 cards between us, failed to kill a 4 HP monster in Rank 1 with no battle or aftermath effects shake
Admittedly, this was really hilarious but in hindsight shows just how much trouble we were having.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Baltuttis
Germany
Leipzig
flag msg tools
Holy crap, you are right about the final battle. Yes, of course everybody gets a free prepare. Just the way it is worded in the rules doesn't make that clear at the moment.I totally forgot to mention that. Good catch, I'll change it as soon as possible.

As for Aid in Battle did you always add up your total attack value for both players? In our games two players would usually beat the crap out of every monster in the dungeon hall. The biggest challenge was to make sure to get more attack value than your opponent in order to take the monster card. We only lost battles if players were trying to bluff their way through the dungeon.

In case you are interested, here is a little background on my design process on Always Committed. We first played with a free for all approach and quickly realized that everybody was constantly stealing cards. Sometimes we ended up with a round where 3 players stole 3 cards in the village and the same players would then go on to steal 3 more cards in the dungeon. We then experimented with a small 2 rank dungeon and three players. With that constellation the dungeon at least seemed to work. So we discussed the possibility of changing the dungeon and village size and always making it smaller than the number of players. This introduces a whole lot of hassle, however. With 3 players you basically need to cut down the village to 2 stacks, which leaves no more room for any kind of planning or deck building. Even with 5 players you end up with a 4 stack village which just doesn't offer enough options and quite frankly is no fun. Even worse, you may as well ditch the thought of playing Epic this way. If you only have 2-4 stacks to begin with, then Epic randomizes those stacks even further making things even worse. Also don't forget that some Thunderstone cards target specific stacks in the village, so you need to at least differentiate between hero and village stacks (green and blue cards in TS:Advance).
As of now Always Committed solves all these issues by leaving both dungeon and village size in tact, but keeping the thieves at bay. It might feel a bit unfair sometimes when you are forced to start a challenge even though you want a different card in the village. But don't forget that the first player token moves around the table each round, so you can't possibly end up in that situation all the time.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Baltuttis
Germany
Leipzig
flag msg tools
As for a free prepare my very first draft of this variant had that option where everybody would go to village first and then redraw before they went to the dungeon. Feel free to try it for yourself in your next game and tell me how it works out.
It didn't work for us.

The problem is that you no longer need any kind of pre-planning for the dungeon, since you get to redraw anyway. You end up with the basic Thunderstone issue, where you just toss down your entire hand and use all the cards you got. Players would openly engage in any challenge, but not because they cared to buy village cards, but rather to use as many cards as possible so they could cycle their decks faster.

We also tried to have Prepare as an action in the village, after which you couldn't shop, just like basic Thunderstone. However that turned out even worse, because now the best strategy was to almost never go shopping. You end up with the old Thunderstone issue where you'd rather prepare than add more cards to your deck. Since you get to go the dungeon anyway, you might as well take a free prepare beforehand. To be honest, I was never a big fan of prepare, not even in basic Thunderstone. Preparing was just never a fun thing to do, you basically wasted your entire turn hoping to get better cards for the next turn.

The Final Battle is pretty much the last remnant of my experiments with Prepare in Cutthroats. I think during the last turn every player should get a chance to dig for the best cards in their decks. After all this should feel like a final, epic boss fight where only the toughest guys can win.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brad
United States
Iowa
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
We were adding up all of our damage from both players when determining total attack vs monster health. I guess we were just having a tough time of it. Perhaps if we were killing monsters more often instead of suiciding against them, we wouldn't have minded the forced challenges so much. Personally, I didn't mind them in the village because the gambling den is there to still get a card from. In the dungeon, however, when you lose there is no potential reward like this and it was a choice of just preventing someone from getting VP rather than trying to get some yourself if you were the third player. Should losing still give an XP or two to both players in a conflict so that they can at least better their decks for the next battle?

On a more trivial note, my friends and I are debating whether it's supposed to be pronounced SELL-SWORDS or SELLS-WORDS. The argument being that swords are related to fighting, but words are related to boasting of a victory you didn't really have.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Baltuttis
Germany
Leipzig
flag msg tools
Here is one thing you might try to make life a bit easier in the dungeon.
I didn't include this, as it complicates things a bit.
Whenever a player in the village wins a card through a contest or through gambling he adds that card to his hand and not to his discard pile. Thieves still put their cards in the discard pile, but cards won during challenges may be used in the dungeon during that same round.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Baltuttis
Germany
Leipzig
flag msg tools
I am planning to add another section to the game manual that will include optional modules to change up the game play a bit. Changing the way players get rewarded XP is definitely a part of it. As of now Cutthroats is very harsh on rewarding XP, in most of our games we saw very few Level 3 heroes. Personally, I like that, but some people might disagree. Here is how I would probably do the optional Modules. They would all be modular, meaning you can combine them if you want.

Loosing is Winning: When during Aid in Battle the Monster ends up victorious both Players get rewarded 1 XP. The Monster goes to the bottom of the Dungeon Deck.
Winning is Winning: When you win during Aid in Battle and defeat the Monster you get rewarded XP and take the monster card. Your opponent still gets rewarded XP as normal.
The Strong may Learn: If both players tie during Aid in Battle, but defeat the Monster, both Players get rewarded XP. The Monster goes to the Bottom of the Gambling Den.

Edit: Note, that The Strong May Learn is already part of basic Cutthroats as of now.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Raphael Pigulla
Germany
Feldkirchen
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I haven't had a chance to try this yet, but it looks very interesting.

Maybe you could update your first post to always show the most recent rules? Digging through the thread to collect all the bits and pieces isn't ideal :-)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.