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Alhambra» Forums » Variants

Subject: Variants for complete (closed) walls rss

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Vladimir Tolmacev
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I have been playing Alhambra for quite a while now and somehow I found myself often playing in such a manner that my final goal was that all my walls are connected and that they completely enclose my Alhambra by the end of the game.

In my humble opinion, an "open" Alhambra (Alhambra which is not enclosed) sometimes seems incomplete and makes me feel like the game ended too soon.

So I thought off several variants (rules) on how to encourage a player to play with enclosed Alhambra (EA) and be awarded for their efforts.

When playing with expansions, portals from "The Falconers" expansion and city walls from "The Thief's Turn" expansion count as parts of the wall.

1) Once per game, when a player completely encloses his/her Alhambra before the game ends and building tiles and money cards are stacked up back to 4, that player is allowed to take a "bonus" action. After that, building tiles and money cards are stacked up back to 4 and game resumes as normal. Even if you are playing with or without expansions, the only "bonus" actions allowed in this step are:
1.1) "Take money" (base game rules apply);
1.2) "Buy a building tile" (during this step, player does not receive an another bonus action, if he/she pays the exact amount);
1.3) "Redesign your Alhambra" (base game rules apply);

2) Every time a player has an EA, when a scoring card is revealed from the money deck or at the end of the game, that player receives a "Completion token (CT)" (player can use tokens, chips, coins or pen and paper to track of them). A player starts the game with 0 CTs. At the end of the game, when the final scoring has been completed in case of a tie, the player with most CTs wins. If more than one game is being played, players CTs from the previous games are accumulated and moved to the new game. This new number of CTs is used as the starting number of CTs at the beginning of the game.

Any thoughts, ideas and suggestions will be appreciated.
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Binh Vo
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This would run counter to some of the fundamental strategic considerations of the game. Could you make a game that's all about enclosing Alhambras? Sure, but you'd have to rebalance all the costs and tiles around that and do a bunch of playtesting. Simply dropping those rules into the current incarnation of Alhambra wouldn't result in a well balanced game.

The reason that open tiles cost more than walled tiles is precisely because they help avoid the danger of enclosing your Alhambra and removing your ability to place tiles later. Under this rule change, walled tiles would almost always be a far better choice, and the game would mostly be about who manages to get the most of them, and who gets 'stuck' with the open tiles, which are now more expensive AND lower scoring AND don't help with enclosing your alhambra, which is now better than having an open alhambra. It used to be that the tradeoff is between having a more score efficient enclosed alhambra, versus having a more flexible open alhambra. Now, there would be no tradeoff, a more enclosed alhambra allows you to close more often and is strictly better, so open tiles are bad tiles.

In short, at advanced play there is already a lot of incentive to keep your alhambra tightly walled (more tiles per money spent, more points from walls). Removing the counter-incentive to keep the alhambra open wouldn't be good, the resulting game would be a lot more about luck of the draw than it currently is.
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