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Great Western Trail» Forums » Variants

Subject: Less tiles when playing with 2 or 3 players rss

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LCG 74160
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As discussed elsewhere, the standard rules do not discard tiles for lower player counts and this might change the game experience quite a bit.

Based on the documented tile distribution, here is a simple variant to get a similar player experience (wrt luck of the draw) regardless of the player count.

With 4 players, just use the normal rules.

With 3 players, remove 16 tiles from the game (before the setup):
- level 1: 2 green teepees, 1 blue teepee, 1 of each hazard tile
- level 2: 2 of each worker
- level 3: 1 blue teepee, 1 of each worker

With 2 players, remove 32 tiles from the game (before the setup):
- level 1: 3 green teepees, 3 blue teepee, 2 of each hazard tile
- level 2: 4 of each worker
- level 3: 1 green teepee, 1 blue teepee, 2 of each worker

This variant should roughly preserve the ratios between the different tile types and the ratio between the tiles that will be used during the game and the ones remaining at the end.
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I have not counted so far, but it seems to be a good solution. I'll try it next time. Generally I find it very important to have the same proportion at every player count, because it is a strategy game and not a taktik game, right?
 
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Duarte
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I think that having less spaces to build on, is also important.
 
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Robert
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Dna_Boy wrote:
I think that having less spaces to build on, is also important.
I disagree. Empty building spots don't affect the game flow at all.

I've yet to have a 4p game where all building spots on the non-hazard pathes were filled, so there's no threat that you may not be able to place a building in 4p. If there's competition for building spots, then it's on the "one (or later two/three) steps before some interesting neutral building" to utilize the second action on buildings 3/4/10.
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Duarte
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Empty spaces don't affect the game flow, but the game will be different if you have 3 spaces to build on, in a certain, path or just 1. You know that if you wanna build, you need to go there first.

I just think that, in a 2p game, it might be tighter not to have as many spaces to build as you have in a 4p game.

But I haven't tried it yet.
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Jérôme
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lcg74160 wrote:
As discussed elsewhere, the standard rules do not discard tiles for lower player counts and this might change the game experience quite a bit.

Based on the documented tile distribution, here is a simple variant to get a similar player experience (wrt luck of the draw) regardless of the player count.

With 4 players, just use the normal rules.

With 3 players, remove 16 tiles from the game (before the setup):
- level 1: 2 green teepees, 1 blue teepee, 1 of each hazard tile
- level 2: 2 of each worker
- level 3: 1 blue teepee, 1 of each worker

With 2 players, remove 32 tiles from the game (before the setup):
- level 1: 3 green teepees, 3 blue teepee, 2 of each hazard tile
- level 2: 4 of each worker
- level 3: 1 green teepee, 1 blue teepee, 2 of each worker

This variant should roughly preserve the ratios between the different tile types and the ratio between the tiles that will be used during the game and the ones remaining at the end.


Interesting. Very curious what Pfister's thoughts are about this variant.
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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Tsaar wrote:
lcg74160 wrote:
As discussed elsewhere, the standard rules do not discard tiles for lower player counts and this might change the game experience quite a bit.

Based on the documented tile distribution, here is a simple variant to get a similar player experience (wrt luck of the draw) regardless of the player count.

With 4 players, just use the normal rules.

With 3 players, remove 16 tiles from the game (before the setup):
- level 1: 2 green teepees, 1 blue teepee, 1 of each hazard tile
- level 2: 2 of each worker
- level 3: 1 blue teepee, 1 of each worker

With 2 players, remove 32 tiles from the game (before the setup):
- level 1: 3 green teepees, 3 blue teepee, 2 of each hazard tile
- level 2: 4 of each worker
- level 3: 1 green teepee, 1 blue teepee, 2 of each worker

This variant should roughly preserve the ratios between the different tile types and the ratio between the tiles that will be used during the game and the ones remaining at the end.


Interesting. Very curious what Pfister's thoughts are about this variant.

I'm sure it's one of those rules that made sense to them, but publishers often cut for fiddliness.

There doesn't really seem to be a downside IMO.
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Alexander Pfister
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Tsaar wrote:
lcg74160 wrote:
As discussed elsewhere, the standard rules do not discard tiles for lower player counts and this might change the game experience quite a bit.

Based on the documented tile distribution, here is a simple variant to get a similar player experience (wrt luck of the draw) regardless of the player count.

With 4 players, just use the normal rules.

With 3 players, remove 16 tiles from the game (before the setup):
- level 1: 2 green teepees, 1 blue teepee, 1 of each hazard tile
- level 2: 2 of each worker
- level 3: 1 blue teepee, 1 of each worker

With 2 players, remove 32 tiles from the game (before the setup):
- level 1: 3 green teepees, 3 blue teepee, 2 of each hazard tile
- level 2: 4 of each worker
- level 3: 1 green teepee, 1 blue teepee, 2 of each worker

This variant should roughly preserve the ratios between the different tile types and the ratio between the tiles that will be used during the game and the ones remaining at the end.


Interesting. Very curious what Pfister's thoughts are about this variant.

I'm fine with this variant :-)
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AlexP wrote:
I'm fine with this variant :-)

But do you think it's an improvement to the game for lower player counts?
 
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Alexander Pfister
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rahdo wrote:
AlexP wrote:
I'm fine with this variant :-)

But do you think it's an improvement to the game for lower player counts?

For some, maybe. I personaly like it, when you have to adapt your strategy to a random outcome. You can't say "Today I play a cowboy strategy", but you have to watch the job market. But I can also see, that the bigger variance with 2 players (when not sorting some tiles out) also increases luck, i.e. you play a cowboy strategy and suddenly no cowboys turn up.

For some this variant will improve the game, for others not.
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Daredave Daredave
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Yes, this variant about preserving the ratio of the tiles is interesting; what about doing the same with the Cattle Market Cards?
What you guys think?
 
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Jake Waltier
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daredave wrote:
Yes, this variant about preserving the ratio of the tiles is interesting; what about doing the same with the Cattle Market Cards?
What you guys think?

I looked at that last time I played, and the ratios of cattle market cards are a little more complex than the tile mix variant suggested above, but encourage you to try something and let us know how it plays out.
 
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I think it is too much effort for a tiny aspect of the game. The build up time is already pretty long without. Sure the distribution is not even but isn't this a little realistic for the job market.
 
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Daredave Daredave
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TwentySides wrote:
daredave wrote:
Yes, this variant about preserving the ratio of the tiles is interesting; what about doing the same with the Cattle Market Cards?
What you guys think?

I looked at that last time I played, and the ratios of cattle market cards are a little more complex than the tile mix variant suggested above, but encourage you to try something and let us know how it plays out.


Well It's true it's more complicated than the tiles because there is a variation of victory points on the brown and purple cards.

So I calculated a ratio, not directly based on the number of players, but on the number of cards added to refresh the market (7, 10 or 13).
Then I decided which cards to remove according to their point value.

ar147 wrote:
I think it is too much effort for a tiny aspect of the game. The build up time is already pretty long without. Sure the distribution is not even but isn't this a little realistic for the job market.


Yes, the setup time is pretty long. But I thought I could add numbers on the cards we have to remove, like on the cards in 7 Wonders (3+, 4+), to quickly identify them. The best way would be transparent stickers directly on the cards (and my cards already have sleeves to protect them).
I have other tips to ease the setup, but I should post them in another thread.

So here are the cards we could remove for a 3 player game:

2 yellow cards
2 red cards
1 blue card
1 brown card 3 vp
1 brown card 4 vp
1 purple card 7 vp
(These cards would be marked 4+)

For a two player game, additionally we could remove:

2 yellow cards
1 red card
2 blue cards
2 brown cards 5vp
1 purple card 5 vp
1 purple card 6 vp
(These cards would be marked 3+).

I haven't tried this variant yet, but let me know if you do.

Edit: Here is what my cards look like with the small indications (3+, 4+). I made it with scotch tape and a laser printer.

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Phil Hendrickson
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I don't have any problem with people using this variant, but I don't think that the game needs it. Even at four players the tiles come out at different times and the employees can cost different amounts, which can affect your strategy.
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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DrumPhil wrote:
I don't have any problem with people using this variant, but I don't think that the game needs it. Even at four players the tiles come out at different times and the employees can cost different amounts, which can affect your strategy.

That still happens with this variant. It just keeps the ratios the same so that the game doesn't get out of balance.

Here is a picture that a friend sent to me in his first game:


That could happen in a 4p game, but not very likely...
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Jake Waltier
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ar147 wrote:
I think it is too much effort for a tiny aspect of the game. The build up time is already pretty long without. Sure the distribution is not even but isn't this a little realistic for the job market.

And then you start a game where all the cattle cards in the market are value 4 or 5, and you start thinking that changing the distribution with fewer players is a good idea.
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Robert
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Fewer tiles and cattle decrease the good/bad luck factor. Some people (like me) like this, others love surprises. I cannot count the number of variant proposals I've seen which desire to add dice rolls or card drawing to (almost) perfect information games.

In a 2p game, you may never see a 4-/5-cow during the whole game when playing with the full deck. If you invested in cowboys, that's really bad news. Same with tiles: you pick up an early engineer aiming for a train strategy, but it turns out that no further engineers come up for the rest of the game. Obviously you need to be flexible and adapt to the situation and all that, but it's throwing a wrench into your engine, and the winner is less determined by skill, but rather by lucking out on betting on the right tiles/cattle to come up.
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Joe Casadonte
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I've played two 2-player games with both of the above variants (cards and tiles) and I found it really helped to keep things in balance. I will always play with these options for 2P games, maybe for 3P, as well.
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Jake Waltier
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I haven't played the card variant yet, but I will forever play the tile variant. I expect I will feel the same way about the card variant after I try it.
 
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These are the cow cards we removed:

2 Ayrshire, 2 Holstein, 2 brown Swiss. 1 west highland 4vp and 1 5vp, 1 Texas longhorn 5vp
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Less tiles when playing with 2 or 3 players
I have done an excel with the % of cards, so I believe that this is the way of how to remove cards and balance the game with fewer players.

EDIT: After a fine adjustments favoring the brown at 4 vp and purple at 6 vp this is my final version.

For 2 players remove:
3 blue , 3 red, 3 yellow, 4 brown (3,3,5,5 vp), 2 purple (5,7)
For 3 players remove:
2 blue , 2 red, 2 yellow, 2 brown (3,5), 1 purple (7)

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Nestor Ivanor
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Will using this variant extend the game play for two player games? I find that two player games end too quickly.

Has anyone tried removing the #2 tiles out completely in two player games to extend the game play?
 
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Jake Waltier
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This variant should have no effect on game length. If you want a longer game, you may wish to consider using the employee track for 3 players - that would extend the game by 50%. Keep in mind that you may run into issues such as running out of disks and otherwise venturing into play experience the game was not intended to create.
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Nestor Ivanor
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Thank you. I'm going to try this variant on my next two player game.
 
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