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Tigris & Euphrates» Forums » Rules

Subject: Use the "English Variant" or not? rss

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Dan Reger
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Issaquah
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As a long-term owner of the game who usually ends up with a gaming group of 5 our more, I've been looking forward to it, but haven't tried it. As I plan to play it this weekend for the first time, I've now read the rules and tried to come up with questions, but overall they seem pretty clear.

I came to BGG to see what people were saying, and I've read about the conflicting opinions on whether player order is a significant factor in victory, etc.

However, I haven't seen anything that suggests whether people believe playing with "The English Variant" mentioned in the rules is a good idea or not. The EV is the rule that says the defender can only add extra tiles if they can win the conflict - and then they may only play enough tiles to tie the attacker and win the conflict: no more. The idea is to limit the opportunity to discard extra tiles during a conflict.

Any other suggestions for a first-time group welcome. I have read the rules twice, so I think I'm clear on Internal vs. External conflicts, the difference between a region and kingdom, not using a leader to join kingdoms, etc.

Thanks,
 
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Isley
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I've never played this variant, but it doesn't sound that great. Seems to make the game more random since more ways to discard extra tiles = more control.
 
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Kent Reuber
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I've never played with the English Variant. As the defender, I'm usually grateful to be able to survive a conflict much less ditch additional items. I find that if I've got more tiles of a particular color, I want to keep them in case someone else challenges me before I can get enough in that color for another defense.
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Joe Grundy
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I tended to agree with Kent, until I started typing a continuation of that thought.

When I think about it in isolation, ditching tiles when winning a conflict actually seems likely to be a good idea. If two black leaders get into an external conflict, the kingdom with the losing leader will lose its black tiles, while the winning black leader will keep all its board support. The only way a serious challenge is going to come up again in the near future is if there's another kingdom strong in black tiles in a position to challenge.

(Not true for conflicts in red tiles of course.)

Additionally, the winner of the conflict has just picked up a bunch of black points and probably doesn't need more at the moment.

Pondering on ditching tiles when losing a conflict, the case seems less likely to me, except when the loser has a specific and clearly more important objective they're chasing.
 
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Marshall P.
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Wichita
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Don't use it. Burning tiles in a losing effort is a critical strategy in the game.
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David Stephens
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We play with the variant all the time. Our group feels that getting a free tile exchange when its not your turn isn't really defending your position. We like it this way but would probably play it as written if someone wanted to.

I'd suggest playing it each way and deciding which you like best. That's what we did.

 
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Fraser
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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The BBG implementation does not use it and doesn't even offer it as an option.

Since most of games are played on BGG I generally don't play with it meeple

It certainly does give a winning defender the opportunity to burn tiles, which does change things a bit. I'd agree with the above comment, to try it both ways.
 
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Guillaume G.
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The english variant has two main effects :

1/ It rewards victory in conflict beyond the gain in score and the domination in tiles. Better said, it increases the pain of losing. A victim of a 3-red tiles attack (example) is still prone to suffer a second attack from another player (playing before him) with the certainty of losing again. It is clearly tougher to stay in competition after a few defeats.

2/ It increases the length of the game as many tiles will still have to be drawn "the natural way". Better said, the length of the game (in terms of number of rounds) is more stable from one game to another. This can offer more opportunities to come back in the game, but it can also be more painful if you're too low in score to stand a chance of winning.

The english variant is therefore less forgiving than the normal rules of the game but, maybe, offer a more complete experience of the game (as you won't get the feeling that the game stops too early).

As almost everybody in this post, I usually play without the variant as I feel that discarding the tiles is a way to get "back in business" and balance out the luck of the draw. Nevertheless, I reckognize that having longer game sessions would sometimes be nicer.
 
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