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Subject: The Merry Men Variant rss

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Rachel and Jared Van Bussel
Canada
Pincher Creek
Alberta
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The Robber Baron is in the employ of the Merry Men.

When a 7 is rolled, any who hold more than 7 resources will lose half of them (as per normal rules). Instead of returning these to the bank, they are divided evenly amongst those who have the least visible points. Any remainder which cannot be evenly divided are then returned to the bank.

Reason:
My annoyance with the game has always been that if you get off to a poor start, you simply remain in last place without a hope of even having influence on the game. Quickly, the few numbers you have give others more resources than you get and you get surrounded without being able to do anything. It becomes boring, without the mercy of at least killing you off so you can do something else. Each roll of the dice becomes painful. The Merry Men spread their cheer, giving to the poor and giving them also a chance to be Merry!
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Reiner Dr. Düren
Germany
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The problem of this rule is, that experienced players can use this as a stracteggy. They will buy development cards which can give them victory points. Since these victory points are hidden, they are not counted when the 7 is rolled.
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Jörg Baumgartner
Germany
Kiel
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In that case, count each 2 development cards as one victory point for determining the poor - unused cards don't indicate poverty, after all.
 
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Reiner Dr. Düren
Germany
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Since there are only 5 victory points in the development cards and 10 other development cards, counting 2 cards as 1 point may be too much in the beginning of the game.
 
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Jörg Baumgartner
Germany
Kiel
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My reasoning is that knight cards easily contribute to the 2 point victory card for greatest army, and a roadbuilding card may contribute to longest road. Neither monopoly nor invention are without VP implications, either. Knight cards and monopoly/invention/road building cards get played fairly quickly, too.

A player with 2 or 3 unused development cards will be treated as having one victory point more, a player with 4 or 5 unused development cards will be treated as having 2 victory points more. I would assume that the chances are rather high that a player holding 4 or 5 unused development cards has 2 victory points one way or the other.
 
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Rachel and Jared Van Bussel
Canada
Pincher Creek
Alberta
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Thanks for the comments.

I think any variant is going to change strategy, that's the intent. This variant may even make people less likely to hold more than 7 cards, as it is no longer a risk only to them, but a boon to someone else. Unless you have the least points, then you have protection from the card limit.

The question is whether it breaks the game. My limited play experience with it suggests it does not. 5 VP cards out of 25 remains a small ratio, and the trade off is foregoing building settlements and cities. Those that choose the settlement route should obtain more resources but those who just go for development cards gain only victory points. There is also more uncertainty here. I can buy 15 cards(or more) and still not get a single VP, where someone else may only buy two and get 2 points. Experienced players will also recognize the danger of one person squirrelling all the development cards and may use the baron, or trade, more selectively.
 
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