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Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization» Forums » Variants

Subject: A New Bonus Point Variant rss

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Geeky McGeekface
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I understand the need for the event-driven Bonus Point system in the Full game. But in many ways, I actually prefer the system used in the Advanced game, where there are 4 bonuses revealed at the start of the game, so you know what you need to shoot for from the beginning. Anyway, CBG provides us with a nice collection of alternate rules for the procedure, but I've come up with my own that I think would be my preference. I haven't had the chance to try it out yet, but I thought I would post it here to see what people think.

At the beginning of the game, shuffle the 13 Age III events and reveal three of them. These bonuses definitely will be scored at the end of the game. Then reveal two more cards. These bonuses are put out of the game and definitely will not be scored at the end of the game. Shuffle the remaining 8 cards into the Age III military deck, where they will be drawn and played in the usual fashion.

There are several reasons I like this variant:

* Guaranteed variety - One nice thing about the Advanced game system is that you know each game will have a different feel, with a varied set of 4 Bonus cards. In the Full game, these differences won't make themselves felt until Age III and if you get very few Event cards, you may have very little idea of what they will be. This way, you have five pieces of information from the very start, allowing you to try to reach a different set of objectives each game. Knowing which bonuses won't be score might be almost as important as knowing which ones will be.

* Proper number of active bonuses - One of the listed variants is to start the game by revealing 3-5 bonus cards. The problem with that is that there will be more bonuses that get scored than is normally the case. I'm assuming that there's about a 50/50 chance that a typical bonus card will be placed as a Current Event (maybe a little higher, since they're each worth 3 Culture Points). So I figure in an average game, you'll see about 7 or so bonuses scored. With 3 scored and 2 not scored bonus cards at the start of my variant, the total number of scored bonuses should remain about the same.

* Less luck - The last Full game I played, I saw exactly one Age III Event, despite drawing my full allowance of Military cards each turn. Another player, on the other hand, saw about 4 or 5 of them. That's going to happen and it can be a big advantage to the player drawing a bunch of them. With my variant, at least you know three of the bonuses that will be scored and there's less of a chance that another player will have such a big advantage in drawn bonus cards over you.

* Doesn't screw up the events - Some of the variants provided in the game require that as many as five cards be taken out of the deck at the start, so my scheme shouldn't diminish the size of the Age III military deck too much (at least, the designer didn't think so).

So what do you think?
 
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CHAPEL
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That would be an interesting change to try. I found that in a full game one would "only" seed the final scoring with events that fit their needs best, and you're right if you are not one of the lucky ones to get any/many event cards, it becomes a complete crap shoot how you will do. I would try this.
 
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Philip Johnson
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That sounds like an interesting variant, Larry. I also liked the event cards that were known in the Advanced game, and likewise found that luck can play a large role in drawing helpful (or any) Age III event cards. I might try this variant next time I get a Full game going.
 
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Dave Eisen
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I agree. I like the way the Advanced game handles this better. It isn't even so much the luck aspect that bothers me, there are ways to temper the luck and this is certainly not the only lucky aspect of this game. It is the fact that you do not know what events are placed there by other players and therefore cannot work toward them. Real problem to me.

I might try the proposed variant here. Interesting approach.
 
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Tim Fiscus
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When I first saw the title of this post, I said "no way does this excellent game need a variant!". Then I saw the post was by known TtA guru Larry Levy and I perked up a bit...

This is a fantastic idea, and one that I will certainly try on my next game. I have always enjoyed that aspect of the Advanced game.

Cheers!
 
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Mik Svellov
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Sounds worth a try, Larry!
I wish I could try it out with you next week, but alas...
 
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Paul Grogan
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In 1 hour we're starting a TTA weekend. Was going to be a general "go round to Pauls and play games", but I love TTA and it seems everyone else who is coming round wants to play it too. So we have 2 sets and we'll see how many games we can get in.

Right - onto the reply. I love the idea of this variant and will be using it this weekend.

Paul
 
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Geeky McGeekface
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Thanks for the responses, everybody. I'm pleasantly surprised by how positive they are; maybe there's something to the variant after all.

Mik, you will be missed. We'll just have to make up for it next year by playing twice as many games together!

And Paul, or anyone else who actually tries this variant out--please let us know how it worked out!
 
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CHAPEL
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Hey Larry,

Just as a thought as another tweak. How would you feel about what you said.

Reveal 3 definitely scored.

Shuffle in 6 into the Era III deck.

And give each of the 4 players 1 hidden scoring event card to start the game.

I thought it would be interesting to give the players a hidden scoring card in which he can ultimately choice to play or not play. This card would not count against his hand limit.

Thought that might be fun, and gives each player "control" of one of the scoring methods.
 
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Lars Berg
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Tried Larry's variant today. 2 player game.

I think it worked good.
4 event cards was in Future events when the game ended, so in total 7 event cards was scored. (didn't change much in the score thou)

Only other variant I have tried is the one where all events is taken out of the III deck - and then 5 cards a drawn face down. And then 1 card gets revealed at end of each age.
That was also OK, but problem is that there are no events in the III deck - wich means there are relatively more wars/aggressions in wich screws it up a bit.

So think Larry's variant is my prefered way of scoring until now.
 
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