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Subject: Eliminate Star House Cards rss

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Anthony Bates
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Just wondering if anyone has ever tried playing the game without the star house cards? I know that they can provide a lot of points at the end and can drive the whole strategy of your game, so can understand the importance and benefit. However I was thinking of eliminating the star house cards and instead making all of the key house cards available from the beginning. This way there's more of an emphasis on exploring, building other buildings and managing your goods/resources. It would also remove the sometimes powerful combination of the "train to ready" card with the "points for villagers" card. I may try to play this way later today and will report back here on how it goes.
 
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Benj Davis
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It is a very strong combo. It's won every game I've seen it appear.
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Scott Everts
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The points for villagers card is very powerful and I can see removing it from play.

We've only played once and it was a while ago, but I believe the winner had "train to ready" and "points for villagers".
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Ivan Pawle
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I played with someone who spotted and played out the 'train to ready'-> 'points for villagers' combo.

Thankfully they didn't win but we agreed that it should be avoided/houseruled somehow.
 
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Benj Davis
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You could just remove the building that gives points for villagers, of course.
 
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Anthony Bates
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So I tried the game without the star house cards and it was definitely lacking something. I know the "train to ready" and "points for villagers" combo is strong but my point wasn't just to eliminate that combo. I was hoping getting rid of the star house cards would put more emphasis on exploring and managing goods, which it did, but I didn't feel like it added anything to the game.

I have certainly seen other combos compare to the points for villagers one in terms of end-game scores. Particularly the houses that give you 2 points per house or outpost, but those tend to be more expensive strategies overall. I think it's going to take a number of additional plays and attempts at other strategies before I decide if I should just remove the points for villagers card anytime the train to ready card comes out.
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ParisianDreams
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i was going to say, I would probably not enjoy the game w/o the star buildings. I play this game mostly 2p with my husband. We both love to explore. Sometimes though we have bad dice rolls and do not gain much in our explorations. The star buildings help make up for that loss (ie not getting many goods through exploring for the advancement track or reputation etc.) by being able to switch strategies to go for something else for end game.

In our game yesterday my daughter bought the 2pt/villager card but no one bought the train to ready (Actually it did not come out in the key bldgs that were randomly dealt). In fact, in the 8 games I've played, not one player has gotten both train to ready and 2pt/villager. When someone buys one, someone else will get the other one to prevent the combo.

Edit: typed this on my iphone and came back to fix all the typos/grammar.
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David Jones
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Jlerpy wrote:
You could just remove the building that gives points for villagers, of course.


The question here is, why remove that card instead of the "train to ready" card? I too used to think that the points for villagers card was the most powerful, but in the last game that I played we stopped at the end and calculated the points/money ratio for all of the star buildings that were bought and the ratio came out fairly even for all of the cards. (And, incidentally, points for villagers didn't win the game.) I think what makes the building an easy target for OP claims is that it will score points for everyone, regardless of who gets it. The other star buildings tend to require focus on a specific strategy, so if you've played doing a little bit of everything rather than focusing on a star building, its hard to get a big point payout at the end of the game. (Or worse, if you have focused and somebody steals your building...) However, I to tend to agree that the combo being discussed often yields a victory, so there may be some validity in preventing both from being in the game.
 
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Mathue Faulk
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I think the combo in question is always competitive, but hardly OP. All of the highest scores that we've seen involved some other type of strategy. Actually, they've all involved A LOT of exploring....which is great because that's the most fun part of the game!
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David Jones
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mfaulk80 wrote:
All of the highest scores that we've seen involved ... A LOT of exploring


This isn't too surprising. I've noticed that the high scoring games tend to be the ones where somebody else able to get up high in the resource track. Since you can't afford to buy all eight buildings needed to accomplish filling out the track, you need to find some (most) of them via exploring. Unfortunately this means that winning can swing based on the luck of finding diverse resources on your exploration actions (and I've played games where getting a missing resource on the last round was precisely the thing than won a game). However, once again, this illustrates the value of the "train to ready" to ready card. It effectively gives you more actions per game than those without it. So referring to my last post, is it the "points per people" card that is OP or the "train to ready?"
 
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Mathue Faulk
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davypi wrote:
mfaulk80 wrote:
All of the highest scores that we've seen involved ... A LOT of exploring

So referring to my last post, is it the "points per people" card that is OP or the "train to ready?"

I think neither is OP, but I definitely support the idea that the "train to ready" card is the more beneficial of the two cards. It's going to help you regardless of strategy, and it benefits you the entire game. The "points per people" card is just bonus points at the end of the game. To get a HUGE amount of points out of it, you have to really focus on training. It's a competitive strategy, but hardly OP IMO.

This game obviously has a huge amount of luck (especially with exploration), but it doesn't bother me too much because it's just fun. Having said that, my wife rather routinely scores 70+ points in the game so it's hard for me to say there isn't a reasonable amount of skill involved as well. Also, she's never gone with the combo of "train to ready" and "points per people". Sometimes she picks up the "train to ready" alone, but even that is rare. On the other hand, I often attempt that combo...sometimes to success, and other times not.

Having said all of that...I don't have any problem with variants and home rules to make the game more enjoyable for a given group.
 
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ParisianDreams
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davypi wrote:
mfaulk80 wrote:
All of the highest scores that we've seen involved ... A LOT of exploring


This isn't too surprising. I've noticed that the high scoring games tend to be the ones where somebody else able to get up high in the resource track. Since you can't afford to buy all eight buildings needed to accomplish filling out the track, you need to find some (most) of them via exploring. Unfortunately this means that winning can swing based on the luck of finding diverse resources on your exploration actions (and I've played games where getting a missing resource on the last round was precisely the thing than won a game). However, once again, this illustrates the value of the "train to ready" to ready card. It effectively gives you more actions per game than those without it. So referring to my last post, is it the "points per people" card that is OP or the "train to ready?"


During our game yesterday, exploring only gave me 2 resources - stone/ore. I got the rest for my track from buying caverns that gave me other resources. We also did not have any renewable resource buildings come out until the 2nd to last round.

You can get the train to ready card, but..it's still going to cost you money to get buildings that provide more beds for you to be able to make full use of all your villagers and get 'extra' actions.
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Benj Davis
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I suggested omitting the points for villagers building because the train to ready effect is an interesting change to the normal flow and extra points aren't.
 
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Anthony Faber
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I've played without the Star cards, and it solves one problem, but it sort of creates another. Yes, the Star cards create rote strategies which make the game a bit duller, but taking them out leaves too much money in the game. The new 'best' strategy without the Star buildings became buying the expensive resource buildings (since you won't be saving for star buildings) and just doing a ton of harvesting.

As for the 'train to ready' key card issue, I see that card as way too strong even without the points per villager card. We simply the 'train to ready' key card from the game.
 
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