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Chinatown» Forums » Variants

Subject: "incorrect rules" that might improve the game rss

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Nate Schmidt
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Jenison
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These are not original with me, and I've only played the game once. I simply saw these here http://opinionatedgamers.com/2014/07/23/dale-yu-review-of-ch... under Greg Schloesser's reply to the original post, and I figured, why keep it over there(?)

Greg J. Schloesser: I first learned this game way back in 1999 at Gulf Games 3 in New Orleans. Jay Tummelson had just founded Rio Grande Games and was present with a batch of games he was considering releasing under the RGG label. Chinatown was one of those games. He was teaching the game largely from memory and did miss a few things. It was only after I acquired a copy of the game did I discover the errors, and after playing it with the actual rules, discovered that I MUCH preferred playing it with the incorrect rules as initially taught to us by Jay. I still insist on playing with the incorrect rules to this day! These “incorrect” rules really expands trading and deal-making opportunities, helping make the game much more dynamic.

What are the differences?

1) Business tiles are kept face-down and secret. A player can reveal them if he wishes, but doesn’t have to.

2) Each turn a player does NOT discard two of his plot cards. Rather, he can keep through the trading round and even trade them to opponents. He has the opportunity to discard cards BEFORE refilling his hand at the beginning of the next round.

3) When receiving new plot cards at the beginning of each turn, a player receives enough cards to bring his hand back UP TO the larger number listed on the player aid card. Thus, if a player held two cards from the previous round, he would only receive three new cards in rounds 2 – 6 (in a four player game).

4) Each turn, a player is dealt a number of business tiles equal to the smaller number listed on the player aid card, regardless of how many business tiles he kept from the previous round.

Try it with these alterations and see which version you enjoy better.
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brian
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So Jay was screwing up rules from the beginning. Glad to know he has been consistent all these years.
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Huzonfirst
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I appreciate you leaping to Jay's defense, Todd, but sadly, Chinatown was the one Alea game that RGG didn't publish!

I love Jay, but it's true, he does occasionally mangle the rules to his company's games (perhaps understandably, given how many titles Rio Grande has published). I assume that's what Brian was joking about. But maybe there's more to his comment than I thought.
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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It does seem like a pretty random shot at Jay, over a few honest (and fixed) mistakes.
 
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Henning Hoffmann
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Isn't rule number 4 the correct rule? That's how I interpreted the manual. It would really make the game suck if you had to give back any tiles you didn't use.
 
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Joe Haas
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I like your suggestions and will have to try them out.
I came here looking to see about a couple of other variants/questions?

1. Do you play by passing the first turn marker to the player to the right each round? It wouldn't make much of a difference... but it seems weird to not pass it.
2. Have you ever heard or played with a rule that it was mandatory to lay at least one shop tile down on your turn?
 
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Greg Lorrimer
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Anyone tried this variation? How did it go?
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Togu Oppusunggu
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I wrote up this variant some years ago, but never got a chance to try it. Perhaps some people here can comment on whether it would work or not.

..............

Chinatown peters out in the final (sixth) round, because the value of each offer is more or less a known calculable value for each person taking part in a bargain.

I tried the Westbank games variant but it somehow didn't quite feel like Chinatown, because the open plot and business tile information of the regular rules tends to promote a more active trading atmosphere.

How to create a more exciting endgame to the regular Chinatown rules? Here's a proposal that's a hybrid of the regular rules and the Westbank variant:

(1) Play with the regular rules with rounds 1 to 4.

(2) Play only 5 rounds total. In the 5th round, give each person a number of plot cards = 2 plus the sum of the smaller numbers for round 5 and 6. Each person then reveals the smaller number for round 5, keeps the smaller number for round 6 hidden in his or her hand, and discards two plot cards back to the plot card deck.

(3) Give each person a number of business tiles *face down* equal to the sum of the smaller numbers for round 5 and 6.

(4) Proceed as normal in round 5 . Trading is a normal, except that, following the Westbank gamers, you'll start out with hidden business tiles and some hidden plot cards when you begin the trading session.

Anyway, that's a first stab at creating a more exciting game end. Any comments are welcome.

.............

Addendum: I'm trying to keep the variant as close to the spirit of the regular game and the Westbank variant as possible. But perhaps in step (2), one could make all plot cards retained in round 5 (the sum of the smaller numbers specified for rounds 5 & 6) as hidden in one's hand - no new plot cards have been revealed when trading begins. Since the endgame problem with Chinatown has to do with too much information, perhaps the more hidden information at the end, the better. The endgame skill would be in how you gather information, when you make information known, and when you move swiftly to make a timely deal.
 
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