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Subject: What are the common character house-rules? rss

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Dan
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I've been reading some PBF games, and I've seen the following mentioned:

*Helena Cain is commonly house-ruled to be a truly blind jump (bury the destinations if they've been scouted).
*Tory Foster is sometimes house-ruled to make her bonus: "when someone plays the action on a Quorum Card, you may play Consolidate Power."

What other characters are commonly house-ruled?

---

Edit: based on discussion below and discussion I’ve seen in other threads…

To Affect Balance:

Roslin: Something to make her negative less harsh. Most likely only requiring her to discard 1 card to activate Colonial One Locations. Many people believe this isn’t needed.
Roslin: Roslin can look at the first card, and then either discard it and draw the second (must play it) or play the first card. I can see the point of this, but only if her negative is nerfed as well.

Tory: Many suggestions (my favorite is the CP one):
*2 cards on her turn, 1 card on another player’s turn
*She can play CP instead of just drawing 2 cards
*Cards must be in her skill set
Tory: Must choose the top option on any crisis she has the choice over, not just Current Player Chooses (I personally disagree with this one)

Cain: Just remove her from play (other variants in another section)

Kat: Can’t Hotshot FTL control

To Prevent Gaming The System:
Apollo: You can only use your ability if you are on Galactica or Pegasus and not in a hazardous location.
Apollo: Your discard to move between ships must be random.

Cain: Truly Blind Jump (take a destination from the middle, seems better than the “if scouted…” option IMHO).

Starbuck can only use her bonus on actions if she stays in space (I understand the thematics but don’t think this is overpowered enough to warrant a change)

For Expansion Continuity:

Adama and Tigh: their bonus/negative affects Airlock as well.

Caprica Six needs to discard to activate Basestar Bridge (seems similar to the Adama and Tigh houserules)
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Cesar Puga
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Cain and Tory are the most commonly house-ruled.

A few others:

Apollo: you can't AVP from sickbay.
Roslin: Something to make her negative less harsh.
Tigh: you can use your hatred for the Airlock as well.
Starbuck: if you finish your movement phase in a viper, you may take 2 actions. (To avoid her landing in Galactica and activating a location twice)

I'm sure there are a lot more!
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Kwijiboe
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Ugh, Tory.
 
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Dan
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Quote:
Apollo: you can't AVP from sickbay.


Makes sense, his AVP can be quite powerful, especially because moving to Command can basically be like XOing him out.

Quote:
Roslin: Something to make her negative less harsh.


What options have people used? I agree her negative is incredibly harsh, although it's because her positive is very good, IMO.

Quote:
Tigh: you can use your hatred for the Airlock as well.


I imagine if he was in Pegasus, it would have included both.

Quote:
Starbuck: if you finish your movement phase in a viper, you may take 2 actions. (To avoid her landing in Galactica and activating a location twice)


I don't think landing on Galactica is OP, because it requires you to give up the option to use your bonus next round without wasting an XO. But, I said "common", not "best"
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Kwijiboe
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Some house rules really miss the point. That Starbuck houserule is ridiculous: her downside is in place to punish a Cylon that wishes to soft reveal by ditching her ship and activating a location twice.

The houserule, in effect, neuters Starbucks effectiveness as a Cylon player.
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Mike_Bonn wrote:
Cain and Tory are the most commonly house-ruled.

A few others:

Apollo: you can't AVP from sickbay.
Roslin: Something to make her negative less harsh.
Tigh: you can use your hatred for the Airlock as well.
Starbuck: if you finish your movement phase in a viper, you may take 2 actions. (To avoid her landing in Galactica and activating a location twice)

I'm sure there are a lot more!

-Cain's OPG, use the 2nd Dcard
-Tory, she can only draw within her skill set (some don't like how she's also a repairman

-Apollo, I would've also done if he moves between vessels, the discard also has to be random.
-I don't think Starbuck's is necessary, as mentioned by skribs15.
-Roslin already starts off with the presidency, and she does have a very nice special.

-Adama, for thematic reasons, include him not being able to activate Airlock as well.
-Cap6 also needs to discard a skill card to activate BB (which I do NOT agree with)
-Kat can't Hotshot FTL Control
 
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Cesar Puga
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Agree.
The OP didn't ask for the nice houserules, just to list some. I prefer that he decides what he thinks is good or bad or ridiculous.
Take a look at the variant's PBF (On Exodus page). You will find plenty more.
Cheers!
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Dan
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Quote:
-Cain's OPG, use the 2nd Dcard

Third would also make sense with Pilot Helo in game.

Quote:
-Tory, she can only draw within her skill set (some don't like how she's also a repairman

If Consolidate Power didn't exist, I'd agree.

Quote:
-Apollo, I would've also done if he moves between vessels, the discard also has to be random.


I'm not sure, but I think some of the games I've read went with this interpretation.

Quote:
-Roslin already starts off with the presidency, and she does have a very nice special.


Valid points.

Quote:
-Adama, for thematic reasons, include him not being able to activate Airlock as well.


Makes sense, for the same reason as Tigh.

-Cap6 also needs to discard a skill card to activate BB (which I do NOT agree with)

Quote:
-Kat can't Hotshot FTL Control


I don't think it would matter much for a Human (she would have to give up a 5 or 6 to do it), but I can see this mattering to prevent a Cylon from giving up population. This does bring up some questions about her now that I look at the sheet, though, but there's enough that it shouldn't be in this thread.
 
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Kwijiboe
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Roslin is really tied down to the Base Game Quorum Deck in my opinion. Some Quorum Cards, when played, give 2 Politics cards when played which relieves the pressure on Roslin's hand of skill cards.

With Exodus, she is made worse yet with the introduction the Fleet Board.

There's no houserules to fix her. Pegasus hurts her usefulness by diluting the Quorum Deck, while Exodus hurts her OPT directly.
 
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Jeff Winter
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My group's favorite Tory houserule is to make her always choose the top option on a crisis (including President Chooses), not just Current Player Chooses. She definitely needs something, though.
 
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skribs15 wrote:
Quote:
-Kat can't Hotshot FTL Control


I don't think it would matter much for a Human (she would have to give up a 5 or 6 to do it), but I can see this mattering to prevent a Cylon from giving up population. This does bring up some questions about her now that I look at the sheet, though, but there's enough that it shouldn't be in this thread.

And as a reminder, because of the way it's written in the base game rule book, she can use Hotshot if on her turn, she XOs someone else to activate FTL Control.


WinterSpartan wrote:
My group's favorite Tory houserule is to make her always choose the top option on a crisis (including President Chooses), not just Current Player Chooses. She definitely needs something, though.
Aren't some of the top ones better? IIRC, they're mostly worse or at least not better.

So this only affects her if she's president? Nothing with Admiral nor CAG?

Kwijiboe wrote:
Roslin is really tied down to the Base Game Quorum Deck in my opinion. Some Quorum Cards, when played, give 2 Politics cards when played which relieves the pressure on Roslin's hand of skill cards.

With Exodus, she is made worse yet with the introduction the Fleet Board.

There's no houserules to fix her. Pegasus hurts her usefulness by diluting the Quorum Deck, while Exodus hurts her OPT directly.
She's more of a Support character despite her category. Owning the crisis deck is still a very powerful thing.

With CFB, even though there aren't any CAC to bottom deck, there are still CAG Chooses crisis cards. And any crisis card without a jump icon, bad activation, or bad effect that's buried is one less crisis and less strain on overall resources. Especially with the jump icons, getting through the game quicker can mean winning or losing given how tight some games get. If you don't think this is very useful, then I'd bet you never use LS either.

With the Qcards, it goes back to concentration vs. variety. I've heard of some groups who constantly XO the president and makes centurion wins impossible since there's always going to be an ABF to autokill them, and Inspirational Speeches get played more which means more Morale to work with. Not all groups do this, but I do enjoy the other Qcards too.

If people think Roslin is that bad, then make it discard only 1 skill card for her weakness. Or 1 while on C1, of which this would have some thematic ties.
 
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Dan
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Quote:
And as a reminder, because of the way it's written in the base game rule book, she can use Hotshot if on her turn, she XOs someone else to activate FTL Control.


Fair point.

Quote:
Aren't some of the top ones better? IIRC, they're mostly worse or at least not better.

So this only affects her if she's president? Nothing with Admiral nor CAG?


I think it's just more likely she will be President than one of the others. The top choice for most President Chooses cards I think harm the fleet more, while the bottom choice harms the President and/or Current player more. In the base game, for example, it's usually "-2 Food" instead of "-1 Food and Discards" or "-1 Food" instead of discards.

I think this houserule would primarily make food fall a lot faster.
 
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Chris Franka
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Our group has probably close to 300 plays of this game. We have played all expansions and have ultimately decided that we like the purity of the base game on its own without expansions. In that context, we actually house ruled Roslin to make her less powerful because her every turn power is SO strong and her negatives are easily avoided by just using skill card powers (she can almost always Consolidate for increased card number and variety).

In our games, Roslin can draw ONE crisis card and then must either choose to leave it on top or put it on bottom. We have played this way so long that it doesn't seem unusual to us. But if you think Roslin's negative outweighs her positive, this might not appeal to you.
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Dan
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Yeah, I think Roslin is one of those where the good and bad are at the extremes. I can see the argument that both her OPT and her negative should be neutralized a bit.

I think it depends on how you play her.
 
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Kwijiboe
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Tory

Tory's Amoral drawback requires her to always choose the top option on Crises that include the text: "Current Player Chooses"

In other words, Tory must always choose the skill check option on any Crisis card. What does this mean?

It means that, Tory's presence in a game puts a higher demand on the players' hands of skill cards. Often, players decide to choose the bottom option to preserve skill cards and take a smaller hit on resources.

With Tory in the game, the players are pressured to use their skill cards or face the typically nastier consequences of a skill check failure.

The designers must have felt that this drawback was appropriate given that Tory draws nearly 8-20 extra skill cards more than any other player during a game. (Spoiler: It's not even remotely balanced, in addition, the downside hurts the group, not Tory.)

Roslin

Base Game Cylon Roslin really only has two ways to win. With all expansions, both of these options are made much less feasible.

1. Put pressure on both food and the group's skill cards:

"President Chooses" Crises allow her to either sacrifice food or sacrifice skill cards. A Cylon Roslin wants to force out as much Skill Cards from players hands so that she has the excuse to eat food instead.

A Human Roslin can both preserve skill cards and avoid eating food by frequent uses of Investigative Committees. Thanks to her monster Politics draw, she is very likely to draw them.

(Note: Pre-Sleeper Human Roslin should consider dropping Food a few times (to around 5) in order to have a chance to win as a Cylon)

Additionally, Cylon Roslin's Religious Visions ability allows her to choose Crises that will likely force the crew to spend skill cards to preserve resources. Finally, Cylon Presidents should almost never (if they can help it) choose the "OR" option since it helps preserves skill cards. (Notice how this creates synergy with Tory's Amoral drawback? Putting pressure on Skill Cards helps a Cylon President win.)

Unfortunately, diluting the Crisis deck which subsequently makes both Food/Water shortages rarer puts less pressure on Food and Skill Cards as a result. In addition, with all skill cards, there are so many crappy cards that players are just fine with discarding.

2. Through the use or nonuse of the Quorum Deck. Specifically, the use of Arrest Orders.

In the Base Game, each Quorum Card that Roslin draws enhances the efficiency of her Skilled Politician Once Per Game ability. In other words, her downside is in place to counter the raw strength of her OPG.

If Roslin has 8 cards in her hand, and uses her OPG. She will draw 4 Quorum Cards from a deck of 9. There is a high chance she will find what she is looking for: whether she is human or cylon. Consider that there are 2 copies of Authorization of Brutal Force and 2 copies of Arrest order. The OPG could be put to great use as Human or Cylon.

With all Expansions, the Quorum deck bloats to 29. Skilled Politician truly becomes a shot in the dark. Consequently, it's not worth playing. Outside of Roslin, I think this is a huge reason why players forgo the use of the deck: its usefulness relies on luck of the draw.

WITHOUT the Presidency, a Base Game Cylon Roslin is almost completely pacified. You only have to worry about her using Skilled Politician. An all expansions Cylon Roslin, however, is completely incapacitated without the Presidency.

In almost any game, if you take away the Presidency from Roslin: you either have a more helpful human (who doesn't discard skill cards to gamble on Quorum Cards) or a completely incapacitated Cylon Roslin.

The former is somewhat problematic, whereas the latter is incredibly troubling.
 
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Kwijiboe
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skribs15 wrote:
Yeah, I think Roslin is one of those where the good and bad are at the extremes. I can see the argument that both her OPT and her negative should be neutralized a bit.

I think it depends on how you play her.


The only way to fix Roslin is by removing Pegasus and Exodus.

While there are concerns of Roslin being far too strong in the Base Game, the Presidency can be stripped from her which harms a Cylon Roslin more than it hurts a human Roslin.

In fact, its been noted that a non-President Roslin is more helpful than a President Roslin because they no longer have the burden of running the high demands of the President's office.

If your concern is that she is too strong, take the Presidency from her. However, be careful not to share what is in your hand of Quorum cards. That knowledge amplifies the usage of her Skilled Politician ability.
 
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Chris Franka
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skribs15 wrote:
Yeah, I think Roslin is one of those where the good and bad are at the extremes...If your concern is that she is too strong, take the Presidency from her

I think you could also argue that taking Presidency away from her makes her stronger or at least doesn't weaken her. For Roslin more than any other character, skill cards are power. She needs skill cards to do anything useful on her turn...run a board space, Consolidate Power, XO someone on her team, etc. Without skill cards, she is useless.

Many crisis cards require the President to dump skill cards, even when it is not their turn. Often times, it seems that the President's job is just to be the sink for absorbing card dumps so that skill checks or their fail conditions don't have to be executed.

You might say, "No, the President's powerful. Look how many decisions they make on crisis cards!" True, but almost every choice on a crisis card comes down to a "human way" and a "Cylon way" to resolve the choice. And when the President makes that choice, the pro-Cylon or pro-human nature of that choice and the fact that the President is the one who MADE that choice is open, public knowledge. So unless you want to be brigged real quickly or you are already a known Cylon, there usually isn't much of a chance to do the Cylon choice on a crisis card because it's such an open process. So that's not as much power for the President as it might appear at first, because there's usually only one "choice" that can be made except in the above uncommon circumstances (and in either case, the President isn't going to keep the title much longer, so any power is very time-limited).

The more subtle way to influence the game as a Cylon before becoming known is through use of skill cards. I'm not talking about spiking checks to make them fail. Most veteran BSG players can sniff that out immediately. But people can use skill cards in more subtle ways. The two most common would be either withholding a skill card that might help a check pass, or slamming too many high cards into a check that is likely to pass anyway (and then feigning ignorance if others complain about overkill and wasted cards) and therefore leaving the humans with fewer cards that you might be expected to contribute into a future check. So instead of passing an 8 check with 12 points and a later 10 check with 14 points of cards, you pass the 8 check with 19 points of skill cards and then later...oh no! we FAILED the 10 check with only 8 points of cards? Sorry--I was out of cards for this check! I used them all in the last check!

So a non-President Roslin gets to hold on to more skill cards because she isn't asked to dump them as frequently by crisis cards. She can therefore consolidate more, XO more, run more board spaces, contribute to brig/jailbreak attempts, and she STILL has a one shot to run 4 President cards at an opportune moment (even from the brig!)

Plus a President Roslin can't run President's Office with impunity. There is a crisis card that forces her to give President to the Admiral or go to the brig, Saul Tigh's one shot does the same thing, and Zarek needs to pass a 3 skill check in Administration to take the title away. So she can easily lose President and therefore can't risk drawing tons of President cards into her hand because she's essentially doing the dirty work for someone else down the road who takes it from her. And once she loses it, she's NEVER getting it back.

So overall, keeping her President doesn't leave her with that much effective power, while taking President away plugs up her card drain and therefore lets her do arguably more effective things with those skill cards that she now keeps.
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Dan
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Can Roslin activate a location if she has less than 2 cards in her hand? I assumed she just discarded down to (or remained at) 0 if that was the case, but could still activate it.

I guess a similar tangent would be to ask if you can move between ships if you have 0 cards.
 
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Kwijiboe
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No and No.
 
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Chris Franka
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skribs15 wrote:
Can Roslin activate a location if she has less than 2 cards in her hand? I assumed she just discarded down to (or remained at) 0 if that was the case, but could still activate it.

I guess a similar tangent would be to ask if you can move between ships if you have 0 cards.


The FAQ, page 1, bottom of first column wrote:
Q: Can Laura Roslin activate a location if she does not have at
least two Skill cards in her hand?
A: No.


Same would apply to moving between ships. If you can't pay the cost, you can't do the action.
 
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Whoever the next president is has to sink actions into Qcards instead of what he was doing before (Demitrius, piloting stuff, activating other locations). Hopefully he won't be Apollo, as he can play all sorts of roles, but only has the time to do one of them really well. Title holders also discard more, and Apollo's gotta be random.


I've seen cylon Roslins be able to pass off poor crisis card choices as not having any other alternative.

You should almost never try to win by food, unless it's down to 2 or 1. They were rare enough even when it was just the base game. Even if you manage to bring it down with a title, good players should be able to keep it under control. People really only lose by Food if it was to the game loss by some other resource like morale or population, and then, you can argue they lost because of that.
 
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ackmondual wrote:
You should almost never try to win by food, unless it's down to 2 or 1. They were rare enough even when it was just the base game. Even if you manage to bring it down with a title, good players should be able to keep it under control. People really only lose by Food if it was to the game loss by some other resource like morale or population, and then, you can argue they lost because of that.


I agree you shouldn't try to win by food. But, the game does present the opportunity to the President player. Also, note that Food Shortages result in at least 1 food loss no matter what: there are 4 of them in the deck.

In addition, Food is stored on Galactica's damage tokens and is also a target on Super Crises cards. A food victory is built into the game, but many players never play to that strategy because they don't realize that the president title is directly connected to the food resource.

Additionally, the strategy is less feasible with a diluted deck. With just the base game or Daybreak, it is a very viable strategy.
 
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Kwijiboe wrote:
ackmondual wrote:
You should almost never try to win by food, unless it's down to 2 or 1. They were rare enough even when it was just the base game. Even if you manage to bring it down with a title, good players should be able to keep it under control. People really only lose by Food if it was to the game loss by some other resource like morale or population, and then, you can argue they lost because of that.


I agree you shouldn't try to win by food. But, the game does present the opportunity to the President player. Also, note that Food Shortages result in at least 1 food loss no matter what: there are 4 of them in the deck.

In addition, Food is stored on Galactica's damage tokens and is also a target on Super Crises cards. A food victory is built into the game, but many players never play to that strategy because they don't realize that the president title is directly connected to the food resource.

Additionally, the strategy is less feasible with a diluted deck. With just the base game or Daybreak, it is a very viable strategy.


And I can agree to not automatically dismissing Food as a path to a cylon win, but that's typically too many ducks in a row to line up.

For simplicity's sake, we'll use just the base game... only 1 super crisis card directly goes after food. Centurion Ambush can hit food via damage. Fleet Mobilization and Massive Assault can indirectly go after food via later potential damage. That's actually not too shabby, although I will point out that Massive Assault on its own almost always wins games.

I've had games where unfortunately, the Food damage token was already resolved, so that makes it all the bit more difficult.
 
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The trick is to play the politician and reduce food when it might not seem like the most attractive or popular option. It's the closest the game gets to replicating the political intrigue from the series: leaders might have a difference in opinion, in that, skill cards are more important than food. (Or vice versa.)

A lot of the time when you opt to reduce food instead of discarding cards, you will be better equipped to handle upcoming Crises. So, there is value in choosing the lose Food option.

Additionally, there are 9 Crises in the 70 card Crisis Deck. Since most games go at least 39 turns, chances are you're going to draw at least a few. You're almost guaranteed to draw more if Roslin is in the game since she sees an extra Crisis card each turn.

Roslin can't win the game by sabotaging skill checks: her constrained draw limits her ability to sabotage skill checks. In addition, Politics is paired with Leadership a substantial majority of the time in Crises. Therefore, if Roslin wants to win via sabotage she must eat food or dig for Arrest orders.

Adding all expansions hurts the former option, whereas Pegasus' Quorum cards destroy the latter option. Consequently, Roslin is a very bad choice should you turn Cylon.

Massive assault only (certainly) wins games if the Admiral launched premature nukes. Nukes exist as the hard counter to massive assault.
 
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Cain

Cain, in my opinion, is another character that is beyond repair. Her blind jump is far too pro human. It exists to put pressure on the population resource and allows the fleet to arrive at the New Caprica phase quicker.

However, if Cain has not yet rooted out the Cylons via her Intolerant ability: she will likely be the first character executed via Resistance HQ. Consequently, Cain has a very strong interest in executing others before arriving at New Caprica.

Cain was built to execute players or be executed herself. I hear so much talk about her OPG when the rest of her skills are rarely utilized.

You can choose to use Cain in your games if you like and try to balance her OPG, but ultimately, you're left with a character that was intended for New Caprica: where executions play an important and necessary role.

Why else would you pick her if not for the OPG? It's better to remove her from consideration in my opinion. The players you play with will insist she doesn't need to be Houseruled and you're back at square 1. (If you have a group that can reach consensus, by all means use her, but her presence ruins games in my opinion).
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