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Subject: Discussion thread: Applying some Master Set ideas to 51st State rss

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Kevin B. Smith
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As one who prefers my games to have indirect and/or subtle player interactions, the attack-heavy 51st State: Master Set is not appealing to me. However, I tend to prefer streamlined games, and there might be some rules or concepts from the Master Set which would make the older edition more enjoyable.

This isn't a variant yet--it's just some ideas. But perhaps after a discussion, a solid variant might emerge. In that case, I'll edit this post, and perhaps eventually update the thread title.

This was inspired by the Master Set forum thread: "Playing "51st State Master Set" with my old copy of "51st State"".

---
Proposed changes:
These are listed roughly in order from least controversial to most:

1. Eliminate leaders from the game.
Rationale: Streamlining (and reducing swingyness).
I have already been leaving them out, so this seems like an obvious simplification. Especially for learning games, leaders definitely aren't worth the complexity. But even beyond that, I don't think they are. They were removed from New Era, probably for a reason. They're out.

2. No hand limit.
Rationale: Streamlining
In my few plays, we haven't come close to the hand limit anyway. Or at least we haven't ever noticed/remembered. It's just one extra thing to think about. Eliminate the hand limit.

3. New action: Discard 2 workers to draw a card.
Rationale: Make the game a bit more forgiving.
This seems like a very reasonable addition. Any reason not to allow it?

4. Simplified ("snake") card draft.
Rationale: Streamlining
The 51st card draft is pretty simple for 2 players, but for higher player counts, it's insanely confusing. Replace it with the Master Set version: Deal n+1 cards, and in player order each player takes one. Discard the rest, and deal another n+1 cards. In *reverse* player order, each player takes one. Discard the rest, unless a player has the special power to take the leftover. Then each player draws a face-down card, as usual.

5. Don't tuck conquest cards--get the spoils immediately.
Rationale: Make the game a bit more forgiving, because you don't have to plan your spoils a round in advance
When using the conquest action, discard a card from your hand, and pay its conquest distance. Immediately receive the spoils (red section).

Special powers that are triggered by discarding spoils work on a spoil card from your hand. To activate them, spend 1 conquest, in addition to any worker(s) you placed to initiate the action. In other words: Place your worker, spend 1 conquest, discard any card from your hand (ignoring its spoils), and gain the reward as specified by the location.

Question: Now that only deals get tucked, does that make the "+3 tucks" cards less valuable? If so, are they unbalanced enough that they should get some other power or compensation?

6. New action: Hire 1 worker by discarding any 2 resources.
Rationale: Make the game a bit more forgiving, and compensate for changing how spoils are handled
In the other thread, user No_frets felt that similar variant led to a worker shortage, which made it harder to use the relatively rare resource->VP conversions. Being able to do this reverse-conversion seems like a reasonable way to inject more workers into the game.[/q]

Question: Should the cost be just 1 resource to get 1 worker?

Things that don't change:

A. Retain the "rule of 3".
Players are still limited to tucking 3 cards, and are still limited to placing not more than 3 VP tokens on a card (other than their faction). I'm worried that removing this would upset the balance too much, and I'm not seeing huge benefits from removing either limit.

B. Still no razing of opponents' buildings
If you want to attack each other, go for the Master Set, or Imperial Settlers. This variant retains the peaceful nature of the original.

C. Scoring remains unchanged.
Each round, scores are calculated from scratch. Points do not accumulate from round to round. I don't see any reason to change what works.

D. Deals still don't produce immediately.
I'm concerned that having deals produce immediately would make them overpowered. Especially since you're likely to get more deals (because spoils aren't competing for tuck space. I don't like that late-game (especially last-round) deals aren't worth doing, but I haven't thought of a solution I like.

E. Distance remains unchanged.
The other thread suggested "giving change", but I don't see the point.

Question: Is there something about the distance that I'm not seeing, that would justify a change?
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Mike
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Quote:
1. Eliminate leaders from the game.
They were removed from New Era, probably for a reason.

But then they were reintroduced in Winter.

Quote:
2. No hand limit.

There was no hand limit in NE/Winter either.
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Kevin B. Smith
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comat0se wrote:
Quote:
1. Eliminate leaders from the game.
They were removed from New Era, probably for a reason.

But then they were reintroduced in Winter.

My impression was that they are in Winter because it was an expansion for the original game. Did it consciously and intentionally add leaders to the New Era+Winter experience?

And thanks for sharing your thoughts!
 
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Mike
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Yes it did intentionally add the Leaders to New Era because there's a side of the mat for 51st State and a side for NE. Both have a spot for leaders and it came with something like 4 leaders.
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Karl
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The reason leaders were cut was because getting them at random might unbalance the game if one player gets lots of them and the others never ever see one. They were added back in Winter as they are now gotten 'deterministically' via the board.
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Level 3 Tunt
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peakhope wrote:
3. New action: Discard 2 workers to draw a card.
Rationale: Make the game a bit more forgiving.
This seems like a very reasonable addition. Any reason not to allow it?


Has anyone actually played with this rule using the original 51st State set(s)? Resource management is one of the key parts of the game and I'm curious to know if this makes things too easy (rewards waste/poor planning) or if it feels like a good fit.

In reading through various 51st State/New Era/Winter/Master Set threads to brush up on rules now that we have New Era I'm realizing that one of the things we love so much about 51st is that it's not forgiving. It was a hell of a climb to become proficient at the game but now that we're there I don't want to "ease up" since we're not likely to ever play with new players. I've decided not to get the Master Set a few times now but the consumer in me just can't stay away from reading about it to figure out what we might be missing out on.
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Kevin B. Smith
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Rococo_Zephyr wrote:
peakhope wrote:
3. New action: Discard 2 workers to draw a card.
Rationale: Make the game a bit more forgiving.

I'm realizing that one of the things we love so much about 51st is that it's not forgiving.

Great point. I have found the card shortage frustrating at times, but mostly in a good way. I think this is a reasonable variant rule, but I can also see reasons not to include it.

Proposals 2 (hand limit), 5 (immediate spoils), and 6 (hiring workers) all end up making the game more forgiving, even if that's not their explicit intent. If you prefer a tighter, harsher game, you might want to stick to the original rules there.
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Level 3 Tunt
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Don't get me wrong - I love the idea of manipulating/combining rules to see what happens. I should probably stop trying to do that with 51st State though. I am genuinely curious to know if anyone has played with the specific rule I mentioned though. At least once a game one of us has wished for a way to exchange workers for cards and felt that burn of not being able to because we had an imbalance in our engine.

All this reading about rules has provided the side benefit of confirming that we've had two rules wrong since the beginning. Not using the "extra slots" cards on cards that don't already have that ability is pretty minor but I am blown away that we never caught the sentence about Production locations giving their benefit immediately when built.
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Chris Stoakes
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I've come to this thread late and am intrigued by it because I have both games and like them equally. I like the streamlining of Master Set but love the artwork and constraints of the original.

Stupid question: am I right in thinking that MS uses conventional, accumulative scoring? I play it this way though haven't found confirmation in the rules.

It took me a while to get my head round the start-from-scratch scoring of the original but that was one of its idiosyncracies that shaped the game.

As I say, glad to have both. And very glad, as this thread confirms, that wanting to keep and play the original isn't considered perverse. Thank you.
 
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