$20.00
Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
10 Posts

Above and Below» Forums » Variants

Subject: "Pioneers" Variant - Thematic Ending rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
A. I. H
Finland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
I played this game exclusively with 2 players so far and I find it lovely even though English is neither my SO's or my native language. My only qualm with the game is the way it ends. Fixed turns is a game's way of representing/abstracting passage of time, if that's not the case I see it as just a lazy way out (no offense to designers); and so, it makes thematic sense in games like Last Will or Twilight Struggle, but it makes no sense in this game. Moreover, as expressed by others before me, the game just ends too soon (sooner than your turns become more productive). So here's something I tried for the 2-player game, and would like people's opinions on it, and on other player counts.

The outline for this game is that our old village was pillaged and destroyed and we had to relocate. So the idea here is that the game should be over when we've discovered the whole location, and built sufficient buildings for our lives there.

Start by removing all the buildings that allow you to hire workers directly to the active area (2 key buildings); now they will always be hired active by default. This speeds up your engine towards more productive turns and makes the cider and potion tokens a little more valuable. The game length is now controlled by the amount of cave cards, so shuffle them and select any arbitrary amount based on your preferred game length and play style. For a 2-player game, I'd suggest selecting 11 or 13 cards. You can now totally ignore the turn track.

The game plays the same otherwise, but now ends when you've "explored" all the caves (i.e. emptied the cave card deck) AND the total number of "Above" buildings from all players is equal to the total amount of explored caves (i.e. 11 or 13 caves and 11 or 13 above-ground buildings). We've played it so that the initial 3-bed buildings were counted, but that's mainly because it's usually late in the evening.

Why "Pioneers"? - Well, you're the ones exploring your new home, and building all the useful places for your villagers' benefit. You could also refer to it as "Explorers and Builders"

Why hire active? - If you've lost your home and source of income you'd be more eager and active to work.

Further note: You might also want to discount your 3 starting workers from the star building that gives you 2 points per worker (i.e. 6 points). I haven't tried that.

I welcome your comments and suggestions/criticism.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Manuel Joseph (Jam) Ibanez III
Philippines
Taguig
Metro Manila
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: "Pioneers" Variant
Sounds interesting, will give it a try next time.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Avid Gamer
United States
Lawson/Dumont
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I want to try something like this. We just finished our first game an one thing we all felt was that the 7 rounds came and went too fast. Many of the first rounds were spent just buying cheap villagers or homes. It wasn't until round 5 that we were starting to have enough money and people to really begin doing significant things on our turns.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
A. I. H
Finland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Please go ahead and try it, and please report back I haven't had the chance to play it any time soon and I don't think I will be able to play it for a while.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
ALeX
Germany
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
11 or 13 cards for a two player game sounds high. We (mostly four player games, some three player games) have usually an average around 4 caves.
So I'll try 18 for the four player game or 14 for three (that also gives enough backup if the stack gets empty early in the last round and others want to explore too).
In the first turn of a four player game only your builder is awake, change or keep?

Since in the games I've seen if not always then almost always every player has more buildings above than below you can strip the rule that there must be also that many above buildings. Or you can say that you can only explore beneath an above building (which implies that rule).

Probably try it within the next week, I'll report back then.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
A. I. H
Finland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
The first time I played this I had 10 cards for 2 player games, and it was OK, we played heavy exploration (which lets you take advantage of the extra-energetic workers). I said 11 just to be an odd number giving a chance for one player to have an edge in exploration while presumably, the other player would have the advantage in building. I guess it can be 9-or-11 instead of 11-or-13.

I didn't try it with any other player count, so I really can't tell whether it works or not. I also don't know what is the wisdom in keeping only the builder in the 4 player game start so I can't comment on that. I will wait for you to actually tell me about this, but I may assume that in this variant it might make sense to have the trainer instead of the builder.

Your change sounds interesting, but I worry it would be a little restrictive maybe? Below buildings usually have a better return on investment so players may want to start their exploration engine early on.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
ALeX
Germany
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
eighty6er wrote:
Your change sounds interesting, but I worry it would be a little restrictive maybe?
Maybe thats because I usually played four player games: at the first time you can go explore you have at least two buildings and thus enough space (the staring building and the one you bought in round [see above]).

Oh, and I started ordering the villagers at the start of the game: best at exploring is most expensive (at first those with less lanterns on the first die first, in case of an tie higher number first [first first than second die]). That way being first (or actually second for a four player game) is not that big an advantage anymore.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
ALeX
Germany
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Played yesterday with this variant:
- 4 player game
- 18 exploration cards form a deck
- when the deck is empty the game ends after the current round (use the 7 other cards if someone wants to explore afterwards)
- all villagers are active on the first round (usually it would only been the hammer guy in a 4P game)
- played without the staring cards where every villager starts active
- no other changes (the villagers starts tired, the final buildings as usual)

It went well.
The length felt good, probably 8 or 9 rounds, but I'm just guessing (forgot to count).
The score was 62,63,63,65 and the 65 even without a single final building.
Number of explorations: about 4/5/7/4 (the player with 7 has two failed explorations, the cards were discarded).
Five final buildings are built (all except the most expensive).
With only three villager left in the reserve the game can't be much longer.

But the next time I'll try: the game ends the round after 14 (or 15) cards are explored.
I think that it's better to have a full final round.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
A. I. H
Finland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Well, this sounds really interesting. Any remarks on the tired villagers? why not active?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
ALeX
Germany
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
eighty6er wrote:
Any remarks on the tired villagers? why not active?
I wanted to change the game only less. With all new villagers active there would've been more recruiting which then maybe overpowers the final building with vp/villager and (which I see now) there may be not enough villagers. At the end of the game only three were in the reserve (and 5 on the board). But I removed the villagers starts active which with more rounds would be even more powerful than usually.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.