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Scythe» Forums » Variants

Subject: Public Objectives rss

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Mus Rattus
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Scythe is a great game. However, something about it seems to invite tweaks and changes. Perhaps because of how open and engine-like it is.

Anyways, one aspect I found underwhelming was the hidden objective cards. Now, I'm usually a fan of hidden objectives in games, it can be a lot of fun to try to figure out what a player is trying to do, and why. But the experience I had with objectives in Scythe was that you wouldn't notice someone trying to accomplish an objective until it was already done. "Oh, by the way, I have 3 farms, so I complete my objective." It was underwhelming, and an avenue for player interaction that had been closed off.

So I tried a game with this variant.

Changes to set-up: Do not deal out objective cards to players. Instead, place objective cards face down beside the board, one card for each player. If Saxony is in the game, give them one objective card that is private to them.

Changes to play: Each player, as they begin their first turn, turns over one of the face down objective cards beside the board. These objectives are public, and can be achieved by anyone. They are turned over one at a time so that the first player does not have an advantage to achieve any objective of their choice.
When a player achieves an objective, if they have not placed a star, they may place a star and discard the objective.
Saxony may only achieve one of the public objectives. However, they may also achieve and place a star for their own private objective.


So far, we have tried this out once, with 4 players (including Saxony). It worked fairly well. The competition didn't get tense until there were only 2 cards left. I think it did promote interaction as there was some competition for the cards. Also, more reason to talk and interact off the board ("Are you going for that one?" "I'll get it first!", etc...) if not on the board.

Might try it with N - 1 objective cards (for N players) next time, and deal out 1 more after the last is taken.


Anyways, what do you think? I know there are a lot of people wanting to change up Scythe, but I think this one is a small and easy variant we might play some times.
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ArtSchool
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Sounds fun, and might promote more interaction between players, which is always welcome in euro(ish) games like Scythe...I do not have a deep knowledge of the rules and game strategies to assess whether this could affect balance though...the fact that objective cards are normally secret must not be irrelevant...
 
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J Kaemmer
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I really like this variant! The public objectives are one of my favorite parts of Ti3. It can really promote conflict when people are trying for similar objectives, and I love any time when direct conflict can hamper an opponents strategy.

I like that it still leaves the flexibility of the choice between objectives but allows more decision making in trying to block objectives as well as pursue them.

My advice:

n+1 onjectives, so everybody still has a choice. Punishing someone for being last to claim an objective sounds right, but considering they're already down a star, locking them out of one entirely is just insult to injury. N+1 means every player gets a choice.

Reveal 1 per round not turn, or maybe after someone deploys a mech or another action like bolster. Spread them out, somehow. Some of the objectives are obscenely easy to get early on in the game, this pushes those easy ones back, while creating some early focal points for players to converge on. My only concern is some objectives are practically impossible if you don't build your economy around them.
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Trevor Schadt
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This one does sound like fun; I would like to hear input from Jamey on whether he did any playtesting with public objectives and, if so, why they were decided against.
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Jamey Stegmaier
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Yeah, we toyed around with this idea, but 10 ways you get stars ARE public objectives. In my designs, I generally try to avoid any text that you have to read from across the table. Also, while something like this can provide interesting tension, it can also provide a lot of frustration if you target a certain objective and don't finish it in time--you may have spent a significant part of your strategy on it, only for someone to take it away from you.

To be clear, I'm totally fine with house rules if it makes our games more fun for you, but these are the reasons why I stuck with the star goals as the only public objectives.
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Darrell Goodridge
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One problem I see with this, is that many objectives are very specific (like no more than 3 workers) etc. So if the last one available isn't revealed until turn/round 5 then most people would have already blown past that. It's not specific to workers either, it could be popularity or upgrades or whatever.
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Julien Robert
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jameystegmaier wrote:


To be clear, I'm totally fine with house rules if it makes our games more fun for you, but these are the reasons why I stuck with the star goals as the only public objectives.


And the tile that grant you with extra gold if you build your structure under the good location.
I like this one a lot, this is a huge source of interaction IMO
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Chris Laudermilk
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I think this variant sounds interesting. It's not too radical, and does seem like it will increase interaction in competition for achieve/block an objective. I also like that you actually tried it in a session before posting.
 
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Dave Moser
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jameystegmaier wrote:
In my designs, I generally try to avoid any text that you have to read from across the table.

Off-topic a bit for this thread, but can I just get in a big THANK YOU for this?

There are a number of games that I love, but include text-heavy cards or tiles in front of each player that all the other players need to be able to refer to.

The contract cards in Snowdonia, for example. They do have icons that allow you to grok them from across the table, if you've played enough, but are challenging for beginners (who not only need to see the text instead of just the icon, but also are less inclined to bother, as they haven't yet discovered the danger of not paying attention to other players' contract card abilities.

Le Havre is even worse, because you really need to see the (really small) text on all of those buildings that the other players have, since every building is available to use. The rulebook suggestion that cards should be placed upside-down for the benefit of the other players is only a minor improvement, especially for gamers of a certain age (like me) whose eyesight is not what it once was. As much as I like Le Havre, I never even bring it to game group, because I don't think it would be a fun game to play with any opponents who don't already know it.

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Mus Rattus
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Hey everyone, thanks for the positive replies. Also, great to hear from Jamey.

I like the idea of revealing the objectives more slowly, perhaps 1 per round (that is, time around the table. not sure if there is a game term for that). That way there would be competition at the very start. But I worry that this would give the first player too much opportunity to snag objectives.

Might try next time having the first player reveal one on the first round, the second player reveal one on the second round, and so on, if that doesn't turn out to be too complicated.

 
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Paul Ferguson
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Sounds like a good variant, anything that adds more player interaction is a good thing. I plan to try a variant with encounters. If a player has to pay 2 pop to gain a mech/recruit/structure/upgrade for example, the pop goes to the neighbors of the current player. Will add just a bit of interaction to make the players decision feel like they effect the game more. I just find the game is missing some small links that would make it feel a bit more organic.
 
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Doug Dinneen
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Little late to the party but I just got the game!
I've been doing something similar.

1) Deal 2 Objective cards to each player as normal.
2) Place 1 Objective out for everyone to see as the first public objective.
3) At the start of a player's first turn, they place one of the two objectives as a public objective and discards the other. (Saxony gets to keep their 2nd one as a private objective)
4) When any player completes an objective on their turn they can discard it and place their star. (Saxony can complete any public objective or their private one)

I've liked it because every player can start working towards the first objective OR the one they choose to place on their first turn. It also has promoted some player interaction when we try to stop others from completing an objective.
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