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Ortus Regni» Forums » Rules

Subject: Non-Deck Building Version for Two Players rss

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Andrew S. Fischer
United States
Devon
Pennsylvania
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Here's a thought: eliminate the pure guesswork of building the "right" deck to match up against your opponent's.

Create a 72-card balanced deck (with at least 3 of each card type), shuffle and deal 12 to each player, who play them out till gone. Play another round, then a third (if you play a banner on a prince, as usual).

Seems to me that this would add a lot more strategy to the game, since players can evaluate their hands and develop a plan each round.
 
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Mark Bigney
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Kingston
Ontario
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I would posit that there is no 72-card "balanced" deck that could reliably randomly generate 12-card playable decks.
Really, I think it's far preferable to start with one of the four recommended starter decks and then let people tinker between games. It doesn't take long at all for people to develop preferences for certain kinds of cards.
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Ortus Regni
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Massachusetts
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This is a very interesting game theory topic for us. And we have been remiss in getting some of our recent variant work up here, and on our site. Another round of work on the app has been our main focus this last month; wanting to both stabilize the server, for the long term, and polish the client to the state that we had always wanted to achieve from the start. Just a little move love for both of those digital entities.

But you guys have fired us up to publish the variant that relates to this topic, and we will do that this coming week!

We posted a teaser about this before, but I will give you the "elevator pitch" for it again now. We're calling it "Witan" which is the Anglo-Saxon for wise man, and also the name of the council of notables that helped run their tribal kingdoms (think ancient Germanic tribal government traditions).

In Witan you do not make decks. Instead you use the oak card tray as a playing piece, literally on the table next to you. For your end of turn draw you may draw any card that you want from your full Earl card set that you wish to.

As you can imagine this plays a bit more like chess, or Stratego, since you have to think a couple turns ahead and, essentially, out maneuver your opponent(s)... who have, from the start, access to all the cards and abilities that you have. But every player will also select, before the game, their own 5 card opening hand, as they see fit. That is the only asymmetry.

It is a much more deterministic way to play. And, like in those other games, can lead to a little analysis paralysis when you go to draw (i.e. that feeling you have when you go to touch a chess piece), chuckle.

That is the nature of such games - less of a ride on the wheel of fate and more of a trial of wits

Several rule mechanisms have been altered (or added) to make Witan work, but nonetheless it is still Ortus Regni at its heart. We are proud of this variant for a couple of reasons. It fulfills one of the "points of the compass" that we wanted to offer for the game system, a strongly deterministic play mode. It also leverages the oak card trays nicely, making that an organic part of play. And we are glad that we gave those components the visual love that we did, so that they look right while front and center on the table.

Witan is a fairly advanced play mode, as you might guess. Since it appears that those with superior knowledge of normal Ortus Regni can run rings around those with less experience. And, like in such games, once one player has accomplished a better "position" they are solidly on the road to a win: "check to checkmate in four turns", etc. kind of thing happens.

We don't yet feel like we know the game space super well for Witan. Which is partly why we have not rushed to publish it; as we typically understand our variants better. For instance, in this type of game there are undoubtedly "openings", patterns that can be well understood, and then clever or dangerous divergences from said openings. We have some ideas along those lines, but don't really know how it all lays out. It could be that there are narrow bands of openings that are viable, or a wide range of broader directions and that strategy really emerges by reacting to your opponent(s) rather than strongly tied to your beginning choices.

With those caveats, and admitting that we have more to learn, with Witan, we will bite the bullet and get it up this week. Thanks for bringing this topic up



PS - Witan only requires the cards and components in the original game box(es), no accessories. It's just a new way to play.

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Ortus Regni
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Massachusetts
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We should be posting those rules here tomorrow, before they make it to our website.

I will say that you should be prepared that politics works quite differently. But they can still be important if used wisely. And Banquets do indeed allow you to draw 2 cards, of your choice, from your card try. So, yes, Banquets become an important asset to use wisely. You can play with or without the Vikings, but we like keeping the Vikings in. Even if that appears to run a little counter to the determinism implied by this variant, overall we think you will generally find that they offer a nice respite from the determinism.

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Ortus Regni
United States
Massachusetts
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Just posted our proposed Witan rules in its own thread

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