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Steampunk Rally» Forums » Variants

Subject: Accomodating younger players rss

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Glen Dresser
Canada
Calgary
AB
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My 5-year-old son expressed a lot of interest in Steampunk Rally from when it first arrived here, and I'm usually happy to talk him through games that are well-above his age range. But in playing though steampunk rally with him, I realized that he was picking a lot of it up, except the boost cards... I'd need to explain the cards to him in detail, and then he'd buy one, set it aside, and forget about it until I prompted him that it might be an ideal time to play the card. But the rest of the game - thanks to the strong iconography of the other cards - he understood pretty well.

So a couple days ago, we tried playing without the boost cards (start drafting with a hand of 3 instead of 4); while this isn't a version of the game I would recommend to most, it really does bring down the age limit significantly. Drafting useful parts, and basic machine activation are both pretty easy skills. The most challenging aspects of the game to someone his age are highly optimized machine activation, and deciding when to discard parts for dice.

To address the latter problem, we added a rule (midway through the game) that at any time before the beginning of the race phase, you can discard a machine-part from your machine for the dice or cogs in the corner. So it prevents those awful moments where you realize that your awesome machine has absolutely nothing to power it this turn. Granted this takes some cool tactical decisions out of the game.

Has anyone else tried playing with younger children, and created other rule variants for kids? I feel like the cards could somehow be adapted for a Robot-Turtles-like programming game, and sometime I might try putting together something with that sort of process, building machines that achieve specific challenges.
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Oscar Iglesias
Spain
Alcobendas
Madrid
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I play with my daughters (9 and 6 years old).
We just ignore the draft phase. Each player get one of each king and may use them as they fit.
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Alwin Derijck
Netherlands
Utrecht
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My 2 year old son loves the video tutorial of the game.

That is about as far I can go at this moment in time.

Looking forward to hear more on young kids and Steampunk Rally.
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Kirk Roberts
United States
Jonesborough (will trade by mail)
TN
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I know this is a year-old thread, but it seems right to keep the discussion in one place. On the other hand, maybe no one will see it...

I played Steampunk Rally with two eight-year-olds using some of the ideas from this thread. After that play I have these suggestions for younger (and other "beginning") players:

Set up
1. Use two middle track tiles instead of three.
2. Leave the Boost cards in the box (they won't be used).
3. Leave the clockwise/anti-clockwise marker in the box (unneeded).

Play
1. Each player gets one of each kind (border color) of machine part in the Draft phase. Because there are no Boost cards this totals three cards each.
2. There is no drafting, just add the parts to your invention or discard them for dice or cogs as indicated on the card.
3. During the Draft phase each player receives one die of any color, OR 2 cogs (equivalent to discarding most Boost cards, to help keep this version similar to the full game and promote movement).

This keeps the game mostly intact but shortens it considerably. The track is shorter and the Drafting phase takes much less time with no card passing and no having to figure out the Boost cards. Keeps the focus on exploring/building invention combos and dealing with damage.

I think this might also be a good way to play with adults who might otherwise be intimidated by the complexity or when you want to teach a high number of new players (maybe even up to the max of 8 players). Adding the Boost cards and card drafting later would be the "advanced" version, kind of like an expansion to the base game.

Hopefully erring on the side of shortening and simplifying the game will leave people wanting more!
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Alwin Derijck
Netherlands
Utrecht
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Thanks for keeping it all in one place thumbsup

Sounds like a good variant. I only have to weight 4 more years
 
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