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Mice and Mystics» Forums » Variants

Subject: Fixing the Cheese timer rss

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Sgt Invictus
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Hey everyone!
I was playing this game with my girlfriend and a couple other mutual friends last night, and we found the cheese timer/surge to be incredibly aggressive. We have played about 6 sessions before, and have had the same issue with not being able to take on any of the side quests due to the fear of the timer running out on us, or having an enemy cheese roll cause a surge that ends the game on the last tile. It seems many others in this forum have a similar issue and we set out to fix this problem.
Enter: The "stock" cheese timer rule (as opposed to the "time" cheese timer rule). In this variant, cheese on the cheese clock is accumulated normally (enemy cheese rolls, the last player on the initiative track finishing their turn with no enemies, all that.) HOWEVER, every time a surge happens (from the cheese clock becoming full) the hourglass timer does not progress on the page tracker, but the enemy surge happens as normal. The catch to this is that when a mouse is captured, the hourglass marker goes up one page. When a mouse returns to the game board from being captured, the hourglass marker again goes up. (This allows the possibility for surge cards to drop their enemy spawns on the pages between a capture and return, thus not negating enemy spawns on page 2, 4, etc.)
So this means that on the first chapter, you may only have 3 mice captured before the game is over, it keeps the threat of surges by having surge monster spawns, but allows for some decision making based on how well the party is doing, as opposed to how unlucky you were with enemy cheese rolls. The thought of going for that side mission becomes heroic as opposed to a dreaded march towards death for fear of that damned timer just deciding when you lose.
I originally wanted each capture to cause only one progression on the page tracker, while reducing the page number by half, but as my friend noticed, that would mean that bigger enemy spawns would not happen. Hence my idea to progress the hourglass once on capture, and again on a mouses return.
I plan on playtesting this quite a bit over the next couple days, and will come back with the results. Please, let me know if this rule sounds like the solutiion we have all been looking for. I think it will allow for some much more tactical decisions in the game, but only playtesting will tell. Cheers!
 
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Greg
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Not sure how more tactical this would be, as you are now able to take your time and let the wheel fill up multiple times without any recourse. You only get minions spawned from the first surge in a room, the next time it just muves the hourglass up with no spawn. So you are eliminating tactical choices regarding the cheese wheel.

It's been awhile since I've played, but there may even be some weapons or abilities that may effect how many dice minions defend with. If you take away the normal penalty for a surge, then you don't have to think as hard or tactically in how or which minion you attack, because the penalty of the first surge has been greatly reduced, and there will be no penalty for a second surge.

With the hourglass moving when a mouse is returned from being captured, sure that adds an extra penalty. So now you are only going to need to worry about not getting a nose captured and try to maneuver accordingly. But just like you worry about dice luck from minions when it comes to putting cheese on the wheel, you will have to deal with dice luck when defending with a mouse. One bad roll can cost you 2 hourglass movements.

So I would think the mindset would be to prevent the mice from being captured as much as possible. So that may funnel players in a certain direction. Tilde would always tend to be chosen. Defensive abilities would be a premium. Going from chapter to chapter would have people tend to keep a defensive search card. Filch would be less useful because who cares about lowering minion defense rolls as much, or taking cheese off the wheel.

You can certainly give it a try and see how you like it. I was just trying to point out some things from an outsider pair of eyes.
 
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Sgt Invictus
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Thanks for the input Greg! I think your comments make sense in that defensive cards will be important in this rule variant. My main goal in this is to try for a rule variant for the timer that focuses on reacting to direct actions in the game as opposed to a ticking clock, thus making the clock more of a scoreboard for success/failiure. Eh, it's an idea and I still plan on trying it for a few games, perhaps there is a middle ground? Perhaps enemies only gain cheese on attacks, but not defense?
I'll let you know if it railroads the players like you think it may. Because that absolutely could be the result, which I agree, kind of reduces tactical decisions (which is the opposite of what I want to do).
 
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michael ray
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We haven't had much issues with the cheese timer, I've got 2 thoughts on this.

1. Are you using Filtch to take away cheese from the wheel?
2. Some good things move the end of chapter marker, not the current page marker. A really common mistake is people moving the page marker for achievements/rewards instead.
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Rus
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Two points:

1. Side quests which you are avoiding give you an opportunity to move the chapter end marker up, giving you more time. That is one way to mitigate the aggressive timer.

2. Very common mistake: sometimes the rules or an ability states to move the chapter end marker (which gives you more time), and many people misinterpret that as moving the hourglass marker (which shortens your time). For example, the achievements give you more time.
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Sgt Invictus
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Yeah, I am seeing that it seems many of my concerns may have been a result of missing a couple rules. Thanks everyone for your responses. I'm still going to try this stock idea a few more times, while comparing with the original rules (keeping in mind your points of the rules I missed). I think this is really more a case of my missing out on the achievements. We used Filch's ability, but it wasn't quite enough to stave off that nasty timer.
 
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Dusty C
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O0levictus0o wrote:
Yeah, I am seeing that it seems many of my concerns may have been a result of missing a couple rules. Thanks everyone for your responses. I'm still going to try this stock idea a few more times, while comparing with the original rules (keeping in mind your points of the rules I missed).


Ultimately, do what is the most fun for your group. The instruction booklet indicates that a loss is just a loss. Your group can choose to play the encounter again, or you can just move onto the next chapter. I'd prefer playing with your house rules and making it to the end of the chapter versus repeated losses or just skipping ahead in the chapter book.
 
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Jonathan Hersey
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O0levictus0o wrote:
Hey everyone!
I was playing this game with my girlfriend and a couple other mutual friends last night, and we found the cheese timer/surge to be incredibly aggressive. We have played about 6 sessions before, and have had the same issue with not being able to take on any of the side quests due to the fear of the timer running out on us, or having an enemy cheese roll cause a surge that ends the game on the last tile. It seems many others in this forum have a similar issue and we set out to fix this problem.
Enter: The "stock" cheese timer rule (as opposed to the "time" cheese timer rule). In this variant, cheese on the cheese clock is accumulated normally (enemy cheese rolls, the last player on the initiative track finishing their turn with no enemies, all that.) HOWEVER, every time a surge happens (from the cheese clock becoming full) the hourglass timer does not progress on the page tracker, but the enemy surge happens as normal. The catch to this is that when a mouse is captured, the hourglass marker goes up one page. When a mouse returns to the game board from being captured, the hourglass marker again goes up. (This allows the possibility for surge cards to drop their enemy spawns on the pages between a capture and return, thus not negating enemy spawns on page 2, 4, etc.)
So this means that on the first chapter, you may only have 3 mice captured before the game is over, it keeps the threat of surges by having surge monster spawns, but allows for some decision making based on how well the party is doing, as opposed to how unlucky you were with enemy cheese rolls. The thought of going for that side mission becomes heroic as opposed to a dreaded march towards death for fear of that damned timer just deciding when you lose.
I originally wanted each capture to cause only one progression on the page tracker, while reducing the page number by half, but as my friend noticed, that would mean that bigger enemy spawns would not happen. Hence my idea to progress the hourglass once on capture, and again on a mouses return.
I plan on playtesting this quite a bit over the next couple days, and will come back with the results. Please, let me know if this rule sounds like the solutiion we have all been looking for. I think it will allow for some much more tactical decisions in the game, but only playtesting will tell. Cheers!


Learning how to manage the cheese wheel is one of the deeper nuances of the game. In my last play through of Sorrow and Remembrance we got every story achievement and didn't lose a single mission, though on a few occasions it got real close. Here are a few strategies our group uses to manage the cheese wheel, remember cheese doesn't get added at the end of every round if there are still enemies on the board:

-if only one enemy is left and it's the last mouse on the initiative track's turn, we often leave the enemy be and just search or something. We especially do this if the enemies initiative card is somewhere in the middle of the initiative track

-if the cheese wheel is almost full (5 or sometimes 4 cheese) AND our tile is clear of minions, we typically wait a round or two to search and let the cheese wheel fill up so the surge happens on our empty tile instead of in the middle of a battle with a lot of other enemies

-our party almost always has filch as he can take cheese from the cheese wheel when attacking rats

-when greedy roaches are on the board we tactically play so that they attack us as little as possible: everyone moves to a corner of the board, use meeps, tinkerer uses sabotage, etc.

-We try to get every achievement we can so as to move the chapter end marker back. In particular we try to get Cat Tamer and Roach Master as often as possible. So if there are more than 4 roaches on our tiles we do what we can so that a single mouse has a chance to kill 4 of them. Any time we get Catnip we try to get Brodie on the board (lots of missions in sorrow and remembrance let you get get scroll cards so we sometimes choose the summon cat one)

-lastly if push comes to shove and we are running out of time we completely neglect searching and just push on as fast as we can
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