I know that game isn't out yet, and all I have now to base on is the rulebook & gameplay video, but I imagine some of you maybe put off this amazing KS because of the game's inherit luck factor.
As such I offer a "variant" that I think may help reduce the luck factor in the game through the use of some other mechanics of other tableau building games
Of course none of this is playtested, but I'm posting it as a source for further discussion, and who knows? Maybe there's something to be discovered here!
Now may I present to you:
Karnivore Koala: Action System!
This variant introduces an action point system to govern the card and tableau management, a way to mitigate the luck of the dice, as well as a NEW hunting mechanism that introduces a new layer of interaction!
- Setup the game as per the game rules, as well as prepare a token as a round marker (a coin, a cube, a Koala statue, anything!)
- Players now have a hand limit of 5* cards
Game Round & Turns
1) At the start of the game, designate a player as the first player & give him/her the round marker.
2) A round starts at the beginning of the player in possession of the round marker's turn, and continue's clockwise until the last player's turn ends.
3) At the end of each round （after the hunt as described below), pass the round marker to the next player clockwise, and begin a new round with that player being the first player.
During the tribal phase, players may have up to TWO* rerolls in addition to their roll. However, instead of discarding a card to reroll, players have 2 options:
a) Reroll ALL dice
b) Discard 1 card per die* to reroll that many dice.
During each player's turn, the active player has FOUR* action points (AP) to spend. For each AP spend, the player may
a) Draw 1 card
b) Play 1 card
Koala Phase (Hunt)
To hunt an animal, the player must match all of the animal's symbols, as well as gather at least 3 spear symbols. However, the hunt does not occur until the end of the round
- At the end of the round, only the player with the highest amount of spears may hunt (regardless of which dish they're hunting for)
- Players without the necessary symbols to hunt may still participate in the spear battle to prevent other players from hunting. However, the hunt would be deemed unsuccessful (due to not having the required symbols)
End of Turn
1) Players no longer draw back up to 3 cards
2) Players may still discard or keep any number of remaining hand cards, and may then draw an equal amount of cards as discarded.
As mentioned above, the purpose of the variant is to reduce the luck factor of the game, which is achieved through an AP system, which allows for more decision making in achieving a balance of card draw & tableau management.
The dice phase was also changed to take into account the new AP system (which allows for more cards for discards), as well as add a push your luck or discard-for-controlled-rerolls, similar to mechanics in Ancient Terrible Things.
The way hunting works was revamped to introduce another layer of interaction, in which players may be required to spend more spears than 3 to ensure a successful hunt, whereas giving players the chance to mess with the hunt even if they can't hunt successfully (at the cost of doing actions that favor themselves). It also gives more power to the spear symbols, which would be useless otherwise unless you're hunting.
Finally, one of the issues I imagined might happen in game is that ,theoretically speaking, the first player who hunted the appetizer would have little to no risk in the symbols changing for the upcoming dishes. This, coupled with the fact that other players having to adjust to the new appetizer (which slows them down), may lead to a running leader problem. The new hunt system prevents this as it allows other players to still mess with the faster player's hunt, and a chance to catch up.
As the "variant" has yet to be playtested, all numbers with the * symbol may be tweaked for balance issues.
I hope that this "variant" can serve as a mental exercise for all that wishes to introduce a more "euro-style" gameplay in this awesome little game.
More importantly, I hope the variant may help players who are on the fence on the game due to its luck factor to jump in the KS as well!
Hope you enjoy the variant, and please feel free to raise any questions or discussions regarding the variant, so that it can be tweaked to introduce a new & balance play mode for the game!