With the right group of people, Steampunk Rally can be immensely enjoyable, but I wouldn't call it a perfect game.
One criticism is that the drafting mechanic feels "too" random. Another accusation is that the gameplay resembles "group solitaire," with too little focus on player interaction.
But I like this game as it is
That's fine, but not everyone does, and it's possible to change up the drafting mechanics to still be fair and balanced, but feel distinctly different from the standard rules.
This variant attempts to increase players' sense of control over their own destiny, and increase player-to-player interaction to make the game even more competitive beyond the race itself.
While not necessarily complex, these rules may moderately extend the length of the drafting phase because they add another level of competition. If the length of the game is a concern for you, just shorten or extend the length of the race track as needed.
During the draft phase, take some copper cards from the draw pile (equal to the number of players in the game) and place them face up near the middle for all to see. Immediately do the same for the silver and gold bordered cards. The end result is that there will be one copper, silver, and gold card face up in the middle of the table for each player. For example, in a 3 player game a total of 9 cards will be placed faced up. In a 4 player game a total of 12 cards, etc.
These face up cards in the middle of the table represent cards which are able to be drafted. They are all up for grabs, and there is never a requirement to take one type over another. One at a time, players must select a single card for themselves, which they may choose to add to their machine (if there is an available connection at that time) or discard the drafted card for dice/cogs.
At the start of every drafting phase, a turn order is established where players will (one at a time) take turns choosing a card until there are none left. This turn order does not change until the start of the next draft phase. The player furthest from the finish line (in last place) is designated first in the pick order. The next player 2nd to last can pick next, and so on, until the player in first place of the race picks a draft card last. If there are still draft cards remaining, this process continues in turn order until there are none left. After this phase of the draft, every player should end up with 3 cards total. They are all either added to their machine or discarded for the bonus at the time they are picked up.
Turn Order Tie breakers
If two or more players are ever on the same racetrack tile (or of equal distance to the finish line) the player with the fewest machine pieces picks first
If there is still a tie, the player with the fewest cogs picks first
If there is still a tie, each player rolls three dice and sums the results. The lowest number picks first, reroll ties.
Thus, in the very first drafting phase of the game, each player will roll a dice to determine the picking order.
How is this different
Open-face draft means that all players will always have a chance to review all of the available machine cards before they are chosen. There is a strategic advantage to being in the last (or near to last) position in the race, as you will be more likely to get the type of piece you need, or be able to prevent your opponent(s) from getting the perfect piece(s) they need. There are more considerations beyond the original rules.
Black cards are not distributed, but they can be obtained using a different mechanic. Because they are powerful, it would be unbalanced to include them in the normal face-up drafting mechanics of the previous step.
Instead, the black cards are placed face down in the middle of the table, each turn (after all the drafting in the previous phase, players are allowed to obtain a single black card using the following rules:
Pay 2 cogs to draw and keep a single black card
Pay 4 cogs to draw 2 black cards, keep one and discard the other
Pay 6 cogs to draw 3 black cards, keep one and discard the remaining
Pay 8 cogs to draw 4 black cards, keep one and discard the remaining
A player may not pay more than 8 cogs, look at more than 4 black cards, or keep more than one black card in this step.
How is this different
Black cards are powerful, but in this variant they are never given for free, they must be purchased. While players can only obtain one black card per turn, they are not forced to use them are still allowed to save them for later. Paying more cogs allows you to see more choices and choose the best of all options.
After each player has obtained 3 cards from the copper/silver/gold draft phase, and optionally one black card, the game resumes using the standard rules, and continues into the vent and race phases.
- Last edited Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:49 am (Total Number of Edits: 17)
- Posted Sat Dec 26, 2015 4:52 am
This is somewhat similar to an auction mechanic I was using before we moved to drafting. The main reason was we felt the pace of the game suffered, which detracted from the racing feel. However I could see this sort of system working nicely for groups who want less luck and don't mind a slightly longer draft phase, particularly if players are somewhat familiar with the cards already (might get a bit crazy with 8 players and 24 cards though).