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Brew Crafters» Forums » Variants

Subject: Opening up the Market board in 2 player games. rss

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Jameson
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Played this for the first time last night with the wife, and I have to say we greatly enjoyed our experience. There are a few slight changes to the rules that might help the game fit our tastes even more.

To preface this, 99% of the games played will be just me and the wife, who doesn't like taking first player and called me a jerk because she thought I was trying to block her on purpose.

The major change will be applied only to the Advanced and Open Markets; both of us will be able to use these spaces in any season.

At the start of the season, ingredient blocks will be placed to refill these spaces. Refill, not restock -- ingredients will replace only those that were taken and will not continue to stack like the basic ingredient markets.

For example, on the advanced market at the start of each season, there will be 1 fruit/spice/coffee/hop and 2 malt cubes. The first person to use the space will take the cubes on the board in accordance to the rules. The second of us to use the same space can take from what remains, again in accordance to the rules.

To continue the example, I go to the Advanced market first and take the one coffee and two malt. On her turn, my wife also goes to the Advanced market and can only chose between the fruit and spice, and the only basic ingredient she can take is the remaining hop.

In a similar fashion, at the start of the season, the open market will be refilled to hold 2 of each of the basic ingredients. The first of us to go there will take any combination of two ingredients, and the second will choose two out of the remaining four.

To us, this will open up the board and make make the first player have less of an impact. I hope this chamge makes scores reflect our decisions more than it being a matter of who blocked who.

I look at the market board like it was a farmers market. Looking at the above change thematically, when one goes to the basic ingredient markets, the first and only person there is buying out the stock. When going to the Advanced or open market booths, one is only buying out part of the stock, leaving the rest available to be sold to the next buyer.

We will play with this change tonight and see how it goes.
 
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Barry Miller
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Yeah, let us know how it goes. Without having tried your variant myself, one downside I can see is that by opening extra spaces (no matter the restocking strategy), the entire "metagame" for the Market Action Phase will be turned upside down. As with many other worker placement games, its the competition for limited spaces (resources) that creates the strategy and tension aspect. Adding additional spaces will nullify this element of the game.

Many people have complained about the first player spot and how it works in this game. But keep in mind that if one of you are constantly focused on taking the first player spot first, then that leaves the best of the goodies open for the second player to waltz in and grab. So what I'm thinking is that by actually keeping the number of available spaces to a minimum, as it is now, it's actually more incentive to NOT grab the 1st Player spot all the time! For if you do, then your opponent will out-stock you and out-brew you in the long run, as you're allowing them to consistently get to the better ingredients first!

Notice that I put "consistently" in italics above... of course you need to be first player once in a while, but you need to be strategic in when you fight for it! As mentioned above, if you're always fighting for it, then you leave the door open for your opponent to brew more batches. OTOH, if you never fight for it, then you leave your opponent with first player all the time, which of course is just as bad. But if you keep your opponent guessing when you're going to go for it, then you have the advantage.

Just some out-loud thoughts before you start changing the game only to fix the first player mechanic. My two-player experience is that while its sometimes frustrating for new players in a two-player game, it's only so for a short while and then can easily backfire. Once the players become experienced, the first player mechanic no longer holds its original value. Then you realize how well the game plays for two players, as designed!



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Jameson
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Oh, I know how much of an impact this change will have by reducing the competition on the market place.... this was the best I came up with to compromise between the first player advantages and the way my wife plays/wants to play.

In terms of how I personally feel about the written first player mechanic, I like it and would never change it when playing with any other friends. As for the wife, she (I'm gonna quote her here cause I can) "want to play to play, not to feel like I have to be in a blocking competition."

I'll end up discussing it with her again during setup, but I get the feeling that like last night, she would much rather call me a jerk for blocking and keep the turn order alternating than actually take first player from me.

Maybe someday I'll get her to actually want to compete with me for first and play how it's meant to be,
 
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Aaron Rohrer
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before you do that you should try one of the expansion modules that are included. check out the rulebook. i can't remember exactly what they are buy my wife and i added them in our last game and we loved them! it basically adds another space where you can just plop in on the board and it gives you another space to go to. i'd try this before you change the way good comes out. at that point i feel as the tight nature of the game would be ruined.
 
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Nat Levan
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I'd suggest a slight tweak to the open market. Instead of adding 2 malt, 2 hops (as I interpret your change), maybe do 3 malt, 2 hops, 1 yeast.

I'll throw in my 2 cents, that I've never felt like blocking was a big part of Brew Crafters. Sure, there are times when you will want to take the same resources, and someone will naturally get them first. But in my experience, taking resources specifically to stop someone else is not a successful strategy. There are so many ways to get other resources (the brewery workers, research, buildings) that you are slowing yourself down more. The key to Brew Crafters is being flexible in your strategy, and a big part of the appeal for me is solving that puzzle to get what you need. It seems like that's not really the game your wife wants to play. So I hope that making those rules changes helps you to continue enjoying it together.

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