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Subject: Three player variant? rss

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Alison Mandible
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I played this game twice with three players, and both times, somebody lost big because they were looking at the back of the rulebook but oops, all of the marsh crowns were in the twelve unused dominoes.

I thought "I guess it's just a filler, these things happen" but then I played with 4p and it was much, much better. For one thing, all the tiles were guaranteed to come out. For another, getting first pick of four tiles is worth more than first pick of three tiles, so there was more balance in the selection order.

I wonder, is there some way to bring those elements to the 3p game by adding a neutral fourth player instead of randomly hiding 12 dominoes?

First thought: The neutral player's domino is chosen by whoever picks immediately after her. If nobody is after her, that means she got fourth pick so her choice is automatic. Her dominoes are just discarded (not scored for points).

Second thought: The neutral player's choices do not include human intervention. Her tiles are not arranged in a kingdom, but are left face-up to count terrain. She always takes crowns if she can, and if she can't (or if multiple tiles with the same number of crowns are available) she prefers whatever terrain she has more of already.

Third thought: The neutral player has a whole kingdom just like the other players. Any tile whose number is divisible by 4 (mark those tiles somehow when you turn them face up after sorting) also includes taking control of the neutral player's selection and placement choices; control might change any number of times (including zero) during a round. The neutral player is not allowed to take control of the neutral player; if that would happen, instead control doesn't change hands.

Fourth thought: Same as third, except control changes like this: When there's a numerical gap of more than 16 between adjacent tiles in the line-up, the tile before the gap (i.e. the smaller number) includes control of the neutral player.

I guess instead of thinking of more, I should try some of these. Any thoughts? I see in the poll that plenty of people think 3p is already fine, which surprises me but okay.
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René Boe
Denmark
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Or fifth thought: Nobody controls the neutral player at any time, her tile is simply the one left over when the other players have taken their tiles. Her tiles are not arranged in a kingdom but just left face up for all the players to see.

/René
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Alison Mandible
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ProsperoDK wrote:
Or fifth thought: Nobody controls the neutral player at any time, her tile is simply the one left over when the other players have taken their tiles.


I think this might remove too much tension from the game, since even somebody who takes tile #48 is guaranteed a choice of two tiles on their turn. But it is simplest!
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Martin Butler
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I don't mind there being some uncertainty (from randomness) whether a specific tile is in the game or not, but I can see that this would be an issue for some players. This is an even bigger issue in the 5x5 2 player game.

I think you have a point that getting to choose among 3 tiles instead of 4 is not as fun and it makes selection order less interesting.
For this reason I prefer a 2 player game (both the 5x5 and the 7x7) or a 4 player game, but I very much enjoy the 3 player version too.
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Pieter Van Hoecke
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Maybe you can try 5x6, then there are 3 tiles left and you will have at least one hole in your kingdom.
 
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Chris Yi
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grasa_total wrote:
ProsperoDK wrote:
Or fifth thought: Nobody controls the neutral player at any time, her tile is simply the one left over when the other players have taken their tiles.


I think this might remove too much tension from the game, since even somebody who takes tile #48 is guaranteed a choice of two tiles on their turn. But it is simplest!


You could make the 4th "computer" player (as we call it) follow a rule that it will choose the highest value available tile on it's turn. If the three human players choose tiles 1-3-4, then the computer player will choose tile 2. On the subsequent round, computer player goes second, choosing the highest value tile that hasn't been chosen yet. That way it doesn't just get the left-over tile, it has an active role in blocking tiles players will probably want. I might try this sometime.
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Jeff Benson

Minnesota
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I am going to try a variant with a 6x6 grid. To make it work you will need to make your castle a 2x2 area at the beginning. My thought is you would just have 4 "wild spaces" on your castle so that's it plays like the original rules. I would put the wild spaces so that it is two in one corner and two in the opposite corner but I suppose you could make up your own rule for that.
 
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Jeff Benson

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Also you would only reveal 3 tiles at a
 
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Jeff Benson

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cool
 
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