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Subject: The Nora Whitman Variant (aka Madame Blanche) rss

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Bohdan Tarasenko
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Edmonton
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Hi friends,

I adore this game but have always found the game structure doesn't ratchet up the tension as time goes on. All too often we abandon keeping track of rounds altogether and wait for everyone to guess everything or we stick to the timing religiously and a play doesn't seem to satisfy. Either way seems to break the theme a bit and dilute the experience.

This is how I play the game.

TL;DR: Everyone has a shared dream on the fifth night (or sixth/seventh/fourth depending on your group). The ghost chooses the weapon/location/murderer from whatever is left on the table after the fourth night. The ghost gives them three sets of dream cards on the fifth night, refilling his hand after each set: a set each for the object, the location, and the murderer. The players have to guess from everything that's left on the table and place one guess for each set. The better everyone played the first four nights, the fewer cards they will have to pick from and the greater their chances of winning.

The full shebang:

1. I explain that the inhabitants of this house recently realized that every year on the same night they have all been experiencing the same dream/nightmare.
2. They also know that eighty-six years ago on that day Nora Whitman was executed for the murder of her husband and four children. This was their house. However, local historians agree that upon closer investigation, the case shows a number of holes: missing evidence, lack of witness testimony, etc.
3. Leading up to that night of the year, the number of mysterious occurrences increases in the house. Strange things moving in the shadows. Eerie dreams.
4. The players have been called here because of their... unique sensitivities to such things.
5. In front of them are objects and locations that the inhabitants of the home agree have appeared in their dreams. As well, they will see files on the various other suspects and witnesses that were involved in the case.
6. Over four nights they will each experience dreams about some of these items, locations, and people. If they interpret their dreams correctly they will be able to eliminate many of these people, places, and things.
7. On the fifth night, the night of the execution, they will experience a shared dream that will be about the murder weapon, location, and murderer.
8. Play the first four nights out as per the usual rules.
9. After that fourth night, the ghost player chooses an object, location, and person from whatever is left on the table.
10. On the fifth night the ghost player gives them three sets of dreams, refilling his hand after each set. One set for the object, another for the location, and a third for the murderer.
11. The players only have three tokens to place. They use whatever means necessary to agree on what to guess.
12. To win, they must get all three correct.
12. But two out of three ain't bad.

I always play this way now.

There are a lot of positives to these rules. Usually the players do a pretty good job on the fifth night on guessing the object, are slightly unsure about the location, and have a lot of trouble with the suspect. It rewards good play but also allows for some Hail Mary plays on that night as well.

I'd appreciate any feedback, it's my first-ever post of this kind. I tend to stay in the shadows on BGG...

Edit: title change... On a Whymme
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Wim van Gruisen
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Re: The Nora Whitman Variant
I had been thinking in the same direction. I got the game at the Essen fair, so haven't played it a lot yet. I'd like to play the game with the rules as is before thinking too much about variants, so haven't formulated my thoughts about it yet.

But I had been thinking of a similar structure as you propose. Keeping with the seven days, though. The first six days are spent eliminating persons, locations and objects that were not involved in the murder. They have to start with a combination of person/location/object, but after they got that, the ghost can help them to eliminate any card remaining. The seventh day the investigators get one shot at finding the killer, the murder location and the weapon used among the remaining cards.

But as I said, I'd like to play a few more games before working out the details like the number of cards played for different numbers of players. If players can eliminate more than one person/location/object, enough cards must remain to make the last day still worthwhile to play, but not so many that there is too much choice if the players were not efficient enough.

Oh, and I wouldn't call it Nora Whitman. As the game is set in a French mansion, I would go with a French name for the victim, to keep within the theme.
 
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Bohdan Tarasenko
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Re: The Nora Whitman Variant

Ahh oui! "Madame Blanche" then.

Although somedays it is the monsieur that is the murderer, and other days their son or daughter. Flavor to taste. And although my post was quite long-winded, the final-night-shared-dream-no-matter-what is really the only mechanic change here. I wonder if anyone else has tried that? I'm sure someone has.
 
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Wim van Gruisen
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I believe that one of the official rulesets (Ukraine?) has this one final shares dream variant. Just three vision cards, though; one each for person, location and object.
IMHO the major rules change is letting go of the one set of person, location and object for each player. I think that in all the major rulesets, including Libellud's Mysterium, once a player has found his set, he has finished the first part of the game. Allowing players to eliminate more cards before the final showdown is a new element.
 
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Debra Mercurio
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I always play that on the final night, everyone gets the shared dream. I make three equivalent piles, then pick the set that best matches the dream cards I have in my hand. If the right set has two items, then they have to pick the right set and the right item. Or maybe there are two places. I've never had two characters in a set by the seventh night. This works well, since they still have a chance to solve the mystery.
 
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Laura Gerard
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Pearland
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In general,
How many cards do you start with? This effects how many are left at the end.

I like this variant. Will have to give it a try.

With regards to:
Quote:
Allowing players to eliminate more cards before the final showdown is a new element.
What do you mean? If they eliminate their 3 cards they can work on more? How do they know if they are working on a person, place or thing? How does the ghosts make the assignments. Aren't all the assignments made at the start of the game?


 
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Wim van Gruisen
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rainbowrose wrote:
In general,
How many cards do you start with? This effects how many are left at the end.
I haven't played the game (and certainly this variant) enough to say anything about it. There will be a lot more trial and error before I have an idea what is doable.

rainbowrose wrote:
Quote:
Allowing players to eliminate more cards before the final showdown is a new element.
What do you mean? If they eliminate their 3 cards they can work on more?
Yes.

rainbowrose wrote:
How do they know if they are working on a person, place or thing? How does the ghosts make the assignments. Aren't all the assignments made at the start of the game?
You could start with a new person, or (more difficult) the ghost can point to any card, depending on what he has in his hands.
Only the first three cards are assigned to players before the start of the game. If you keep to the person/place/object combination, move the player token from a player who resolved his first combination from that stack (of ghost cards) to another stack.

Note: above I'm talking about the variant that I want to try. It has similarities to the Nora Whitman variant, but isn't the same one.
 
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