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Subject: House Rules for Game Setup rss

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Kevin Gibson
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I've seen some brief mentions of house rules in other posts. But after coming up with some game play setup rules of my own that have worked well for my groups, I was wondering what other folks out there may have tried as well.

A brief background on the why. Both of my current house rules came from introducing my brother to the game, and his wanting to get experience playing with each faction. I found that introducing the game with playing just one expansion with four random basic decks provided an easier learning curve than just throwing any and all decks and bases onto the table, or even selecting eight at random from all boxes. It's tough to consider 29 decks when starting out, and much simpler to consider 12 with one additional theme added to basic game mechanics.

We play Queensbury style with eight decks to choose from as described in the original rulebook. I play plenty of two player games, and this has kept it the most competitive for my small group.

First: We play with decks from up to three boxes, with Geeks considered part of the core eight decks. So you might see factions from the Awesome Level 9000, Monster Smash, and Pretty Pretty Smash Up boxes on the table, but then won't see anything from The Obligatory Cthulu Set, Science Fiction Double Feature, or Base Smash Up! boxes.

There's been some feeling with the three of us that play regularly that total randomization has lead to less coherent games due to the additional mechanics added with each expansion. (And honestly, they should continue to add new mechanics with new expansions still.) This limiting factor has made each play session feel different and varied without constricting the experience intended by mixing factions.

So, using a list randomization application on my phone, it may select Dinosaurs, Minions of Cthulu, Wizards, Werewolves, Kitty Cats, Elder Things, Mad Scientists, Princesses, Cyborg Apes, Aliens, and Innsmouth Locals. I simply disregard anything pulled from a fourth box when chosen in the application and keep going until there's a total of eight decks for selection.

Second: We use only the bases for the factions in play. So if Dinosaurs aren't being actively played, you won't see Jungle Oasis or Tar Pits come up. If you see The Ninja Dojo or Temple of Goju, then somebody must be playing Ninjas.

I actually really, really like this second house rule. I feel it's allowed us to better leverage the strengths of decks in play over having any and all bases in selection where none would otherwise make an appearance. We lose some of the Smash Up! feel, so I'm thinking about implications with adding a few bases from other factions during play. We have not yet run out of bases, with somebody typically winning on one of the remaining bases after the last base card is drawn.

I'm dwelling on expanding the deck selection to 12 decks, which would take less time to select out of a list randomizing application (one selection from an expansion box would result in four decks on the table). Then trying out a ban/choose method during selection rounds. Perhaps other people have had experience trying this regularly with three or four players?
 
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David Lee
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I agree that Queensbury makes for the most competitive games, but to be fair there are so many combinations we want to try out that we honestly just use all pick most of the time.

We mostly play 2v2 games, and in those games when we're feeling competitive we'll use Queensbury and a ban/pick draft. We use the base deck to randomly select 14 factions (out of 25 factions). Each team has 4 picks and two bans among them.

The draft proceeds in two rounds. P1 and P3 are on a team, and P2 and P4 are on the other.

First round: P1 ban, P2 ban, P1, P2, P3, P4
Second round: P4 ban, P3 ban, P4, P3, P2, P1

I for one prefer to have all the expansions out at once, and all the bases available in the game. Since I have them all, why not use them? It opens up a whole world of possibilities. One example I can think of is the new focus on destruction for positive effects...makes bases like Cave of Shinies and Field of Honor incredibly potent.
 
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Timothy Goddard
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caderrabeth wrote:
Second: We use only the bases for the factions in play. So if Dinosaurs aren't being actively played, you won't see Jungle Oasis or Tar Pits come up. If you see The Ninja Dojo or Temple of Goju, then somebody must be playing Ninjas.

I actually really, really like this second house rule. I feel it's allowed us to better leverage the strengths of decks in play over having any and all bases in selection where none would otherwise make an appearance. We lose some of the Smash Up! feel, so I'm thinking about implications with adding a few bases from other factions during play. We have not yet run out of bases, with somebody typically winning on one of the remaining bases after the last base card is drawn.


I posted on this on a similar thread--it seems like limiting the number of bases like this could potentially concentrate a few bases that are more easily abused by one particular faction, where using all the bases would tend to even that possibility out across the game. Most bases have mechanics *similar* to their associated faction, but they're not all *synergistic*. When one person is outfitted with factions that benefit from their own bases, and one person is not, it seems to me that guaranteeing that you see those bases in a game could unbalance things.

Take princesses for example--if you have a high likelihood of seeing Beautiful Castle at least once, that's a nice advantage. Or if I've got robots and you've got zombies, I'm going to be in pretty good shape, because my bases generally key off of my abilities, and your bases, or at least Rhodes Plaza Mall, also key off my abilities.

If you're never having to reshuffle bases, that's less of an issue than it would be otherwise, but it does make me resistant to the idea.
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Bryan Lariviere
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My house rules are a little different.

First off to determine turn order, we roll a die and the highest roll goes first and we continue clockwise. That makes it fair and it is not all about who woke up first. (as my friends and I all have different times we wake up due to work and school)

Then for faction drafting we have a few ways of doing it.

Banned Draft: This one is confusing to explain but when it is executed it's very easy to understand. Turn order is A-B-C-D. So for banned draft we do it in reverse. Player D will pick the first banned faction, Then C will and so on. Then Player A will pick his first faction and proceed normally. Now before D will pick his second faction Player A will ban a second faction, then B and so on, and then your proceed to pick your second faction.

Blind Draft: I have Flash cards, I shuffle them up and then deal 2 to each player. Those are our factions for that match. Some people hat it but it is by far the most balanced what to draft.

2/3 draft: Similar to Blind draft but they pull the card rather than me dealing. We get 3 factions picked and then they choose the two they want.

Single Pick: again with the flash cards but we lock in one pick of our own, and then the flash cards randomize our second pick. (in some cases the flash cards are dealt out twice so they have a choice)

Traditional Draft: When implementing new players or play styles we draft normally.


Now for Bases. We just play with all of them shuffled up and dealt out, However I do wish to make a change for maybe a few games, see how balanced it is and then decided to keep it in my variants list or not.
Same Base VP: Game proceeds as normal however when you are the winner of a base that belongs to your faction, you get 1 bonus VP.

The problem with Same base is that if your bases do not show up you have no chance at that bonus VP. The good thing is though it should get people to spread out minions more. Do you really want to keep working on one base when someone has Jungle Oasis and plays Dinosaurs. That is 12 points needed for 3 points when everyone else gets nothing.
 
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