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Subject: Do you feel the need or it being neccesary to "improve" board games on your own? rss

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mortego
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I use to do this all the time, I would play a board game a few times and realize they made it wrong so I'd try to "fix" it and even try to make my own version that I could win at.......really.

For me, this was Talisman (Revised 4th Edition) and then Bruges. I felt like I needed to change some things for these games so that I could play it better or get a better experience.

I finally got myself to STOP doing that, to any game. Now, that's not to say I won't use "House Rules" but even those I have recently tried to stop doing that.

What about you? Do you or have you ever felt the need to change or alter a board game in order to "fix" something they (the designers) got wrong?
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Larry L
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When I read the title I thought you were referring to component upgrades.

No, I don't typically change game rules, though I am not against it. I've noticed some troubles with one of my favorite kickstarter games at a certain player count, so I am toying with house rules there.
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maf man
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"fix"? no, thats rare.
But my more devoted gaming friends and I have been known to screw with rules which has the possibility of improving them.
 
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Henrik Johansson
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Sometimes an otherwise fine game has some issue that is really making it unusable as a game in my type of group: The most annoying one is Promised Land: 1250-587 BC, where the downtime in a 6-player game can be just horrendous: I still remember the groans from the poor co-workers when we tried it, 20 turns downtime instead of 5 is just crazy. I have a fix for it that I have put a lot of designer work and computer simulations into to trim it, and that has not attracted more than 2 thumbs-up. It seems as if almost noone else bothers, or perhaps my presentation of the fix as a variant has some issues itself. However I don't give up and have a fix 2.0 ready.

The designers have obviously *not* spent years on developing the turn order in this game. However, they have spent time and effort in producing a well-looking, highly themed and playable multi-player euro-style wargame that could have been a big hit and deserves to be played. But just this flaw in the turn order, with a downtime swing between 0 and 20 turns (both happened!), makes a fix necessary to get it to the table instead of gathering dust.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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Never.

If the designer/developer didn't do a good job, there's plenty of other games to choose from.
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Ian Williams
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I used to houserule a bunch. Although I'm noticing recently that most of what I change is allowing me to do more in euros. Adding more actions to games where actions are purposefully limited, in order to experience more. Lately i'm realising that it's more fun to make tough choices, like I found in Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy last night, so I'm dropping the house rules.
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Anon Y. Mous
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Playing a game "a few times" and thinking you know better than the designer who potentially spent years working on it is the pinnacle of arrogance.
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Dan B.
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Yeah, on occasion. I have no problem with it since you often see variants that work just as effectively, both from this site and in the rule books themselves. For instance, Abyss is a game my wife and I enjoy quite a bit. However, the monster track fell a bit flat so we now use a user created variant from BGG with dice rolling to make it a bit more appealing. Adjusting rules is just a way to play games the way you want to, and as long as everyone agrees I see no big deal.
 
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Marina SC
Canada
Vaughan
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If a game doesn't work for me as designed, off it goes. I don't get to play games often enough to make houserules and test if they work.
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Cardboard Hustle
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I don't try to "fix" games as a general rule. I find that to be an exercise in frustration and hubris. However I have found a couple games where I thought the design choices were questionable. Firefly: Shiny Dice being the most recent example. After a little research I learned the designers original design had been altered a bit due to the publishers involvement. His original design was much closer to what I thought it should be. That being said, that is the only time my opinion has been validated. Usually it is best to leave good enough alone and just move on to another game.
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chris thatcher
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Sometimes.

Mythotopia i feel needed house rules for the end game. So we implemented them (our variant is in variants)

Merchant of Venus (second edition) We house ruled the fuzzy dice and i added simple combat rules plus a merchant ship that flies around akin to the zepplin inFortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game

Im sure there is a few others ive forgotten, but generally no i dont alter rules.

I always find Ameritrash style games, |Thematic games, lend themselves to house rules.
 
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Russ Williams
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As far as I know, most people change / ignore the published rules about determining the starting player, not always making it "the youngest player" or "whoever most recently ate a potato" or whatever.
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chris thatcher
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Quote:
ignore the published rules about determining the starting player, not always making it "the youngest player" or "whoever most recently ate a potato" or whatever.


We specially always use those if they are available. Rolling a dice is boring!
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Anon Y. Mous
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russ wrote:
As far as I know, most people change / ignore the published rules about determining the starting player, not always making it "the youngest player" or "whoever most recently ate a potato" or whatever.


99% of the time, these are intended as a joke rather than an actual rule.
 
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Russ Williams
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Tariff wrote:
Quote:
ignore the published rules about determining the starting player, not always making it "the youngest player" or "whoever most recently ate a potato" or whatever.


We specially always use those if they are available. Rolling a dice is boring!

My wife and I often use a radical house rule that I start on odd dates and she starts on even dates.
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Look on my works ye mighty and despair
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Ethereality wrote:
Playing a game "a few times" and thinking you know better than the designer who potentially spent years working on it is the pinnacle of arrogance.


I house rule now and again. It isn't that I know better than the designer on the game in general. Merely that I know what my group likes better than a designer that doesn't know them.

Quote:
99% of the time, these are intended as a joke rather than an actual rule.


"Youngest player starts first" really isn't.

It's amusing how the "no house rules ever" camp will work themselves into knots to try and pretend that changing this particular rule doesn't count as house ruling. It does. You aren't playing the RAW.
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Chris Mcpherson
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The only game I do change a rule is Animal Upon Animal. When you roll the alligator you add an animal to the base to make it longer, this can happen many times and makes the game WAY too easy. We have changed the Alligator to just be the same as rolling a 1 so we are always building up rather than out.
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Russ Williams
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I do wonder if, when games with "youngest player starts" rules are played in officially sponsored tournaments at game conventions, whether they strictly enforce that rule.
 
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Ken Lewis
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More often than not, I will not fix a bad game. However, if it is a game based on a license I really enjoy, and there aren't better options that use that license, I may try and fix it or see if anyone else has developed their own fixes.
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Timothy Young
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I do fiddle with rules occasionally, if it is a game we like the theme and general play of, but one little thing bothers us.

K2 for example, it bothered me that you can win, but with both your climbers stuck at the top of the mountain, when descending can be the hardest part. So we changed the rules so that to score, a mountaineer must be below a certain point by the end of the game.

Circus Train is good fun, but you were supposed to put a couple of cards away for two player games, which desynchronised the cards from the game-turn calendar (9 cards for three 9 week 'seasons' fits well and makes it easier to check what turn you are on at any time), it also took out a 'hire' mechanic that could be fun. So we played the game with all 9 cards in hand and enjoyed it.

Had a few games, mostly Euros, that we played but just didn't enjoy and although I had a few ideas for things that might help, it didn't seem worth the effort so we traded them off.
 
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Ole Richard Tuft
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Sure. If I think a game has some problems that keeps me from wanting to play it, I would rather fix it myself than patiently trying to trade it in the small local gaming market. Most of time, my attempted fixes aren't satisfactory.
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John Burt
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Sure, why not? It's my game and I can play it however the hell I want, and if changing a rule makes the game more enjoyable to me and the others I game with, then who's to argue?

Since I tend to do my research before buying a game, I rarely encounter one that I think is "broken" and needs to be "fixed", but instead we often find that minor rules tweaks and extra-rules agreements among players enhances the game for us.

I really don't understand this insistence that everyone must play all games precisely by the rules with the proper "win by any means" competitive attitude, and if you can't enjoy playing the game that way then you must never play it!
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Look on my works ye mighty and despair
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Tim RTC wrote:

Had a few games, mostly Euros, that we played but just didn't enjoy and although I had a few ideas for things that might help, it didn't seem worth the effort so we traded them off.


In general, I think house rules are a much more risky prospect with Euros. Simply because they're much more streamlined and the rules are part of a coherent whole. If you mess with one, you risk the entire lot coming crashing down.

In Ameritrash games, especially those with lots of chrome in the rules, tinkering is a lot less likely to lead to issues.
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mortego
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quill65 wrote:
Sure, why not? It's my game and I can play it however the hell I want, and if changing a rule makes the game more enjoyable to me and the others I game with, then who's to argue?

Since I tend to do my research before buying a game, I rarely encounter one that I think is "broken" and needs to be "fixed", but instead we often find that minor rules tweaks and extra-rules agreements among players enhances the game for us.

I really don't understand this insistence that everyone must play all games precisely by the rules with the proper "win by any means" competitive attitude, and if you can't enjoy playing the game that way then you must never play it!


Not sure why the "anger", I can only assume others may have chastised you for making adjustments to rules and whatnot. I agree with the part about "It's my game and I can play it however the hell I want,..." and I actually changed Talisman in a way where it took lots of luck out but I remember thinking it's my game, so what?

Since that time I have tried to tone it down but not because others have told me to do so, I realized myself what some have said already, either it's a good game of good design or it isn't or that some designer took years to develop and I thought after two plays I could fix it (which really WAS arrogant on my part).

 
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John Burt
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Since that time I have tried to tone it down but not because others have told me to do so, I realized myself what some have said already, either it's a good game of good design or it isn't or that some designer took years to develop and I thought after two plays I could fix it (which really WAS arrogant on my part).


It's more "bemused annoyance" than anger. It just seems odd that some people I've encountered (certainly not you) think their opinions and attitudes should apply to everyone else, even for a low importance and highly personal pastime like boardgaming.

I don't presume to know more about any game design than the designer, no matter how many times I've played. I have the greatest respect for the designers of our favorite games, but sometimes tweaking a rule improves the gameplay for us, which lets us love them more.
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