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Subject: San Marco --> Kids Game rss

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Billy McBoatface
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Lexington
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My 4 year old daughter sometimes likes to pick a box from my game closet and demand we play. We always do, but I try to simplify the game down so that she can understand what is going on. Sometimes that ends up with a game that's no fun for either of us, sometimes it works out well. The other day we played San Marco together for the first time, and had a great time! So I thought I'd post it here as a "Kids Game" variant.

If you don't want to hear about San Marco becoming utterly castrated into a minimal-decision game, then stop now! I freely admit that as a gamer's game it sucks after my changes!

There are three problems with San Marco I was trying to solve:
- Splitting & choosing is very difficult even for adults. That had to go.
- Needed to make it work two player since it was just Ella and I.
- Too many possibilities with limit cards. I know from experience that saying things like, "Yes, but you have 12 limit points, I have 9, so I get one free round...now if I'd had 10, then it would be compeletly different..." end up being arbitrary and frustrating to her.

My solutions:
- Add a dummy player. We called the dummy "blue," but you can call him/her Alan, Aaron, Aldie, or whatever you want.
- Start game as normal for all three players, rolling to put down initial cubes, and choosing where to put bridges.
- The game is played in hands. Each hand, you deal out one "good" card to each player, and one limit card to a separate pile.
- Each player in turn does their action. So you have no choice when you get a Canareggio, San Marco, etc. card, but the doge, banishment, and traitor cards work as normal.
- Blue *only* uses their no-decision cards, ignores the doge, banishment, etc.
- When the limit card pile adds up to 20 points, stop the game, do the final doge tour of the whole board, and see who wins!

This worked really well. It was fun for Ella to work out where she could put the doge. Banishment and traitor was also fun for her, to work out what would give her the majority in the most places. By the end of the game she had memorized all the cards, so she could immediately say "Yay, I get San Marco!" without me reading it to her. She could also figure out what "8/6" on the board meant, and how many points each player would get when the doge went there.

Overall I'd say it works pretty well as a children's game. If you have a kid that likes to try the adult games, give it a try!
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Christopher DeFrisco
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Excellent suggestion!
I'm finding myself, on occassion, lamenting that my youngest is already 10 with all of these wonderful kids games (and variants) out there. My dreams of being retired with grandkids is getting more and more appealing. :-)
 
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Billy McBoatface
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cdefrisco wrote:
Excellent suggestion!
I'm finding myself, on occassion, lamenting that my youngest is already 10 with all of these wonderful kids games (and variants) out there. My dreams of being retired with grandkids is getting more and more appealing. :-)
Glad you like it. Oddly enough, my dream is to no longer need to use children's variants or children's games when I play with my kids, so you and I are opposites in that way! But I'm enjoying these variants & games all the same.
 
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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wmshub wrote:
- Each player in turn does their action. So you have no choice when you get a Canareggio, San Marco, etc. card, but the doge, banishment, and traitor cards work as normal.

Very nice, congrats! One question: can you place over your own bridge if you get San Marco, San Polo, etc.?
 
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Billy McBoatface
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sos1 wrote:
wmshub wrote:
- Each player in turn does their action. So you have no choice when you get a Canareggio, San Marco, etc. card, but the doge, banishment, and traitor cards work as normal.

Very nice, congrats! One question: can you place over your own bridge if you get San Marco, San Polo, etc.?
Ha! You know, I forgot about this rule completely during play! We were only using bridges to move the Doge. Next time I'll ask Ella if she wants to move her cubes over bridges.

That may actually make her play worse. She liked San Marco the best because it was pink. My guess is that if this rule is added, she'll end up piling all her cubes there when she can. We'll have to see whether aesthetics or the need to win takes top priority for her!
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fer moros
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Pink!
 
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