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Subject: Open Thread to Discuss Variant Possibilities to reduce setup time rss

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Jon A.
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With both expansions setup seems to just take too long. The star tiles and non-star tiles have to be shuffled separately in order to select X number from each group and then those X tiles selected from each group need to be shuffled together. Plus there are border tiles, challenge tiles, and bonus tiles to shuffle now. I'm finding that it takes over twice as long to setup both expansions over the base game. What I am wondering is whether anyone has tried any variants to reduce the now excessive setup time. Specifically, can five star work well by simply shuffling the tiles into the main stacks and selecting from that? Likewise, is there a variant for play without bonus and challenge tiles? Those don't seem to make the game more enjoyable for us anyway, instead adding complexity and reducing options.
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Mikko Saari
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Bonus and Challenge tiles are completely optional, you don't have to use them if you don't like it. They are a variant to start with.

Doing the 5★ setup is a bit of a bother. I was also wondering how badly the game would go wrong if I just shuffled everything together...
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Jon A.
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Yes, it is a variant, but the number of tiles in stacks A, B, and C are adjusted in both expansions to account for them. If you don't use them, then shouldn't you use a different number of tiles? The rules don't really give an alternative to this, which is why I am asking about it.

I'm not particularly thrilled by Five Star. Rather than being an expansion like Inc, which is an auto-include because it enhances the base game, five star restricts the number of A,B,C tiles from the base and inc too heavily as you can only use a few each game. This, along with with the increased setup time, leads me to not want to play it every time. But at the same time, its rules regarding player order are much better than base+inc.
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Mikko Saari
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No, the number of tiles in the stacks doesn't really matter that much. If you don't like Challenges and Bonuses, just drop them. No problems!

5★ is different than Inc., which is indeed an auto-include. I wouldn't play 5★ with newbies, and I wouldn't always play it with experienced players. That doesn't mean it's not interesting.
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James Cheng
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How about using a deck of cards?

TO setup, you simply divide each Phase (A, B, C) into Non-star and Star tiles. Set up three deck according to the distribution on each phase, and put in J/Q/K card as star card and the 1~10 as non-star card. When filling up the market, draw the relevant deck and draw the non-star or Star tile as the card dictate.

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Jon A.
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That's not correct. The number of tiles for each stack was changed to accommodation the bonus tiles. From the designer diary:

Quote:
While this is a great system, the number of tiles in each stack had to be changed so that all players have an equal number of turns before the bonus or challenge is reached. As a result, the expansion includes a new "stacks" board with a different number of tiles that should be placed in the A, B and C stacks. Also, because Inc games were scoring more — thanks to some of the new tiles, borders, and the bonuses and challenges — the number of tiles in each stack is reduced slightly, resulting in one or two fewer turns for Inc games than the base game. Having slightly fewer turns keeps the game length exactly the same as the base game, even though you now have an extra option each turn (whether to buy a border or not), and you must tally the bonus and challenge when they come up.


My problem is that there is no alternative rule set in either expansion that readjust the number of tiles in stack a,b,c for when bonus tiles are not used. This wasn't as much of a problem in Inc. because you could just use the default board, but I'm not so sure with Five Star.
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Mikko Saari
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But does it really matter? I'd think it's a good thing that every player will have an equal number of turns, whether or not bonuses and challenges are used.
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Jon A.
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Yes, it does matter. It means the players will have fewer opportunities, on average, to buy tiles. This means it can be more difficult to accomplish certain goals, especially without the extra resources supplied by the absent bonus tiles. It means a smaller, less organic, and less inspiring suburbs in comparison to what the original game offered.

This is inherently one of my gripes with bonus tiles, that and they limit options by forcing players to pursue certain strategies so as not to miss out on the reward. Sure, it provides some variability to the game, but this isn't worth the increased setup time, the reduced number of turns per player, and the effect of limiting player options. I'm not saying that bonus tiles shouldn't be used, but if it is truly a variant there should be rules to revise the stack sizes without them. Otherwise, it's a variant that still imposes its restrictions on the game even when not in use. That's a bit silly.

I think you also misunderstood the purpose of changing the stack numbers in regard to bonus tiles. This is so that players will have the same number of turns respective to stacks A and B. This allows them equal opportunity to acquire the bonuses. Before that change, players had roughly the same number of turns in respect to the all three stacks.


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Mikko Saari
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I understand it just fine, I just don't think it makes any significant difference in actual game play. The game won't break if you just leave out the bonus and challenge tiles. Try it, and I bet you won't notice any difference - and if you do, then you can just adjust the stacks. But I don't think it's necessary.

It's a small detail that's bound the get lost under all the randomness inherent in the game. I think you're giving it far too much weight.
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Jon A.
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You claim to understand, but you aren't following my argument. I never claimed that removing the bonus tiles breaks the game. In fact, I never mentioned anything about this. Rather, I claimed that the game is less enjoyable in some respects due to the implementation of these tiles, particularly in regard to the change in attack values. To redress this problem, I have been asking if anyone has tried any variants to fix this. You seem to think that this is unnecessary. That's fine, but I maintain that you are wrong and haven't even addressed what really bothers me about this change. You are, of course, free to continue assisting that I'm wrong about this or that, but I think it's rather futile to insist that I enjoy something that I don't.
 
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