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Subject: Are house rules required? rss

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Benjamin
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Hey,

I've played twice so far and really enjoy the game. However I've had to push for playing vanilla because someone kept insisting that the game is flawed and house rules are introduced. As I've been told "it's the things that everyone online complains about" I want to check if this is true.

Here's what I have been told:
- Being first player is such a disadvantage that starting monies have to be increased and people bid for positions. Also you should be able to cash in units and even order tokens to bid more.
- Warp storms end up too random and decisive and they can now be crossed but the crossing force suffers an 8 die bombardment.
- Nobody defends objectives and that ruins the game, therefore not defending objectives needs to include a penalty like losing 2 monies.

I find that none of the suggestions makes sense for FS. Am I missing something?

Thanks,
Benjamin
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J Kaemmer
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I'm with you. Those house rules stink. The objectives problem is their own mistake, not a game flaw. The sacrificing orders/units is completely unnecessary. Warp storms are not that bad, if you want more control, strategize more or plan your future turns around your placement order and potential roadblocks (this is more difficult in 2 player). The only thing that holds merit is the first player issue, but only during talaxy building. During the various rounds its totally fair because everybody gets the same screwage.
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Joseph Courtight
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- I do not think being the first player is a noticeable disadvantage. Perhaps a little. (you'd be better off alternating the order of tile placement forward-backward-forward ...). Changing the starting income will have far more effect on the balance.

-There is nothing wrong with warp storms and this is ridiculous. And if you are the first player you have tremendous control over the storms. If you want more control, strategize more. Warp storms are designed to get it your way an that is the point.

-Well, the game is about attacking. If defending high value planets and denying points to your opponent (what they need to win) is not enough for you, I do not suggest adding a charge for not defending.

First off 2 monies is not going to give me any more reason to defend then I already have. It my games people knew what objectives I wanted and actively fought to keep them from me.

Second, defending a planet is a little vague and hard to implement. Is leaving a signal troop defending it? What if I can only put a signal troop there.

Finally, the entire game is designed to keep people from turtling. It is a go for glory kind of game not a slow buildup kind.

The dominate thing people complain about is combat taking too long in multiplayer games. If you want to read about that I am sure there are forums on here describing the problem and suggesting solutions. (or arguing if there is a problem.)

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I hope that helps.
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Kain
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I don't believe I've seen anyone complaining about rulesets that actually even touch on what those house rules "fix" ... Most things in FB, need clarification, not fixing.
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Sophia Lechner
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You're not missing anything. All of these house rules sound terrible.

Being first player is a small disadvantage, but not by a lot. I think the disadvantage is less than losing 1 materiel, so bidding doesn't make sense.

Warp storms do enforce a random ebb and flow to combat...they're a lull to build of forces. But you know exactly where they are before planning, so you can react to the randomness. I suppose that might still be too random for some; a matter of taste.

The last one is way off base. I think these people want to play a different game (or a 2-player game, which makes defending objectives usually the right thing to do).

I currently play with no house rules. I'm a little bit dissatisfied with the way the setup rules for 2 and 3 player don't give players enough choice about when to place enemy objectives, but I'll give it another 4-5 games before I think about whether a variant would help more than hurt.
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Sounds like a classic case of:

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Bruno Gaia
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Dunno who came out with these house rules but they definitely sound terrible...

Plus the game is so deep and rich that I'd waith until I've played at least 30 or 50 games before deciding if it needs house ruling or not...
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Robert Nicewander
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House rules are NEVER required and should ALWAYS be a last resort with an obviously (i.e. consensus of the ENTIRE group playing) broken rule or mechanic.

There is NOTHING broken in Forbidden Stars and it is the height of hubris to think you know better than the designers and play testers that worked hard to make the game, especially this early in the life cycle of the game.

House rules should always be clearly stated before playing and the players that are implementing them should be open to veto of using said house rule by any player.

That said, it is your game, play how you want; but the OP obviously didn't agree with these house rules, and for good reason, they stink and are not well thought out at all.

All of this is in my humble opinion, of course.

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Andy Day

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I disagree. I think house rules are a good idea. What Corey K thinks is good may not match what you think is good. One reason board games are fun is that you can change them without having to learn a programming language or 3.

And I for one cring any time somebody says that anything FFG designs is "balanced." I really love FFG games but find them painfully imbalanced most of the time. It's just hard to see the cracks through the miasma of rules. 'If we put enough decks of cards things will balance themselves out.'
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Tom W -
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No house rules are required, but if you really want a go first adjustment the bid for turn order is reasonable, though all those other rules seem unnecessary.
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Robert Nicewander
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Gylthinel wrote:
I disagree. I think house rules are a good idea. What Corey K thinks is good may not match what you think is good. One reason board games are fun is that you can change them without having to learn a programming language or 3.

And I for one cring any time somebody says that anything FFG designs is "balanced." I really love FFG games but find them painfully imbalanced most of the time. It's just hard to see the cracks through the miasma of rules. 'If we put enough decks of cards things will balance themselves out.'


I'm not sure who you are responding to, but my post is directly above yours, so here goes...

House rules CAN be a good idea, but they should always be sparsely and thoughtfully used, later in a games life cycle. I do not think they are a good idea in and of themselves; they can't be used willy-nilly with barely a thought to their impact, as the house rules the OP stated obviously are.

Also, no one here has said that Forbidden Stars is balanced (I think it's still a little too early to say, but it seems quite well balanced). I said nothing was broken in Forbidden Stars, and that is true.

I know it's easy for some to bash on one of the industry leaders, but you aren't giving FFG nearly enough credit for the work they put into their games. I've seen it first hand as a play tester for them (not on FS) how much work and care they put into a product. No game with this much depth will ever be perfectly balanced, but you imply that FFG just throws together a game without any thought, and that simply isn't true.

The OP asked if house rules are required for Forbidden Stars, that answer is a resounding "NO!"
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Damjan Makuc
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I played FS now few times and I don't think any of the suggestions is necessary.

- Starting player is not that big a disadvantage that you should bid for it. If you'd cash in units, it would just put you way behind. Imagine, you need to get materiel "back" (only at the end of the round) and then you need to purchase new units (next round).
- Warp storms can be manipulated through Strategize pretty good. Of course, it won't be always in your favor, and why it should be, it's part of the game, right?
- Defending objectives, it's up to you how you do it. If you don't defend, it is more likely somebody snatches it, which means easier win. If the problem is just one person in 3/4 player game, then maybe he/she shouldn't be playing this game
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Joel Tamburo
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Another emphatic NO on the house rules front.

And Andy, I seem to recall you penning a review where you openly admitted having next to no game experience. And in that same review thread sound advice was given about your area of concern. So seeing as you lack experience in this game system I'm not seeing where you have credence in calling for house rules.
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Nat Morris
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I think a big part of the problem is thinking you need to house-rule such a big game after only two plays. I'm at three plays and I couldn't imagine trying to fiddle with the mechanics. It seems like you'd end up pulling a thread that could unravel the whole game. A more apt approach would seem to be getting more plays in or playing something else(as really there are hundreds of great games out there)
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Pierre Philippe Goyer
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I own many many games that without being broken got house ruling to please my taste of playing a game. But this is a personal matter and is no kind of judgement for any game most of the time. That being said, FS do not need any house rule IMHO.

Owll
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Dan Heck
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I agree strongly with the consensus here: you don't need house rules, and these house rules are mostly odd.

Going first on a given turn has some disadvantages, but even those are often overstated. For example, going first also means that you can guarantee that you make the last move in a contested system, which means you can counter-attack or threaten a counter-attack. Also, the play of order tokens is interesting and complex, and gives earlier players an advantage. People later in turn order can always "cap" another person's plays and move first in a given system. However, if you're going earlier you can always use your last order to attack the system they're coming from...and if they want to counteract that, then they need to place THEIR last token on top of yours. That means that they can't guarantee their invasion with their last token. Being earlier in turn order has some real advantages and good opportunities for counter-play, but they aren't obvious at first.


Still, I do think that placing tiles first is a pretty clear disadvantage in 2 and 3 player, without some minor home rules (or a pre-set board.) It doesn't take a ton of play-throughs to reach this conclusion...the problem is tractable enough to think through and establish with reasonable confidence. Currently, I prefer let the first player designate that a corner of one of their tiles is a corner of the map in 2 player. And in 3 player, we say that players can't set home systems adjacent to each other unless there aren't any other choices. I think more thought and testing is needed on these, but I'm satisfied with them for now. And I am pretty convinced that the set-up process would benefit from some tweaks. Still, without it, it's an interesting puzzle...and I'd be happy to be shown that I'm wrong about this

You could also use a bidding approach, but in my mind that adds time that I'd rather spend on the rest of the game...and I'm more interested in having a fair and interesting starting board overall. At least bidding makes things feel more fair.
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Brad Miller
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Jevgeni Axelklaffar
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New house rule mandated by me: The last game lasted for 7 hours and we didn't finish. 1 minute to place order token or lose a token.
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Major Havok
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fluffy nacho wrote:
New house rule mandated by me: The last game lasted for 7 hours and we didn't finish. 1 minute to place order token or lose a token.


We use a 2 minute timer for placing order tokens now, but really only necessary when certain AP players are up.
 
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Andy Day

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Joelist wrote:
Another emphatic NO on the house rules front.

And Andy, I seem to recall you penning a review where you openly admitted having next to no game experience. And in that same review thread sound advice was given about your area of concern. So seeing as you lack experience in this game system I'm not seeing where you have credence in calling for house rules.

I didn't say this game needs house rules. Only that house rules aren't inherently bad. I think Owll said it better than I did. He uses house rules to season his games to taste. That's what I do as well. In fact I rarely look at house rule posts because I usually don't have the same impetus as others.

That said. I don't have to play a game a bunch to understand it. Or more importantly, understand what I want out of it. I wasn't born yesterday. I've seen all of this stuff before. There's nothing new under the sun. FS is just a beautiful mashup of tried and true mechanics. This isn't a knock, I love it. But what it means is I can look at my experience in other similar systems and apply it here.

I will however freely admit that this makes me the goofball in Scott's poignant comic. Chuckle.

Back to the OP though: I definitely cringed at this particular list of rules. To each their own.

CrispyMyth wrote:

I know it's easy for some to bash on one of the industry leaders, but you aren't giving FFG nearly enough credit for the work they put into their games. I've seen it first hand as a play tester for them (not on FS) how much work and care they put into a product. No game with this much depth will ever be perfectly balanced, but you imply that FFG just throws together a game without any thought, and that simply isn't true.


I love FFG. Love them. Love their stuff. Sing their praises. And they might put a lot of effort into some of their products. But that doesn't mean they always get it right. Several problems with TI3 come to mind. That being the game I've studied the most. Many of he mistakes they've made on their flagship product really begs the question: did they playtest this thoroughly? The answer is: I'm not so sure.
 
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Hugh Wyeth
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Inconmon wrote:
Hey,

I've played twice so far and really enjoy the game. However I've had to push for playing vanilla because someone kept insisting that the game is flawed and house rules are introduced. As I've been told "it's the things that everyone online complains about" I want to check if this is true.

Here's what I have been told:
- Being first player is such a disadvantage that starting monies have to be increased and people bid for positions. Also you should be able to cash in units and even order tokens to bid more.
- Warp storms end up too random and decisive and they can now be crossed but the crossing force suffers an 8 die bombardment.
- Nobody defends objectives and that ruins the game, therefore not defending objectives needs to include a penalty like losing 2 monies.

I find that none of the suggestions makes sense for FS. Am I missing something?

Thanks,
Benjamin


I know someone who suggested these exact house rules. Are you in London?
 
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Benjamin
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Thanks guys!
 
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Gylthinel wrote:


I love FFG. Love them. Love their stuff. Sing their praises. And they might put a lot of effort into some of their products. But that doesn't mean they always get it right. Several problems with TI3 come to mind. That being the game I've studied the most. Many of he mistakes they've made on their flagship product really begs the question: did they playtest this thoroughly? The answer is: I'm not so sure.


TI3 is FFG's flagship product? News to me. I don't see it featured on their gaming convention videos, for example. FFG is so big now I don't think they have a flagship product.

I find FS a great experience so far; two games which had nail-biting moments. Tried TI3 once, bogged down by the gameplay and complexity and don't think will ever touch it again.
 
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Andy Day

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Dave Chua wrote:
Gylthinel wrote:


I love FFG. Love them. Love their stuff. Sing their praises. And they might put a lot of effort into some of their products. But that doesn't mean they always get it right. Several problems with TI3 come to mind. That being the game I've studied the most. Many of he mistakes they've made on their flagship product really begs the question: did they playtest this thoroughly? The answer is: I'm not so sure.


TI3 is FFG's flagship product? News to me. I don't see it featured on their gaming convention videos, for example. FFG is so big now I don't think they have a flagship product.

I find FS a great experience so far; two games which had nail-biting moments. Tried TI3 once, bogged down by the gameplay and complexity and don't think will ever touch it again.


FFGs very first game was the first edition of TI. Size doesn't change that.

 
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Benjamin
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hughwyeth wrote:

I know someone who suggested these exact house rules. Are you in London?


Yes. LoB.
 
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