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Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan» Forums » Variants

Subject: Slight Rule Change rss

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Kaspar Hauser
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First off: I like this game. It is full of interesting and innovative ideas, the components are great, and gameplay is tense and engaging.
That said, it is unfortunately not perfect.
Although it employs cards instead of dice, the cards' potential for true strategy is not well used. The game is still highly random and luck-based. The main reason for this is that a player has little to no control over the cards he gets, and has absolutely no knowledge about the opponent's cards. That means that a lot of guessing and hoping is going on. One example: The potentially very strong 'loyalty challenge' cards can be devastating for the opponent - or they can be completely useless - the outcome can in no way be controlled by the player who uses it.

The fact that a player's hand of cards changes every week and after every battle - with almost no control over these changes - puts this game into the same category with all dice-rolling games. Which is a shame because it doesn't have to be that way.
Another thing I don't like: The lack of the possibility to retreat units during a battle does not only feel stupid, it is also highly unrealistic. It is possible for an army to get attacked and completely slaughtered without any resistance because the defending player happens to not have the right cards.

Other games of this kind confront the player with the necessity to find a balance between building up large and powerful armies, and at the same time hold several crucial spots spread all over the map. This is missing here. The benefits from holding castles and resource locations is not big enough to justify splitting up your forces. In this game, it is all about forming a large army and marching towards the enemy. Eventually, big clashes will happen - in which the players have little to no control over the actions of their units. Whoever is more lucky to hold the right cards in the right moment has the advantage.

Now, that doesn't mean that players have no decisions to make. There are tons of choices. And the battles can indeed be tense. And maybe (no: obviously) that is enough for most people, as this game receives huge praise as strategy gem. But I feel that the nature of the choices and tenseness is similar to that experienced in most dice-rolling games.
I therefore took the time and tuned the rules a little bit to reduce the randomness, and increase the strategic depth.




Reinforcement Phase (start of weeks 2-7):
- discard down to (# of controlled castles) cards
- draw 5 cards
- draw indicated # of reinforcement units only if you control your own capital (with a small cube, not necessarily a unit) (resource locations do not give bonus reinforcement units)

Command Phase (movement):
- max of 4 units can move along a minor road segment per turn
- max of 8 units can move along a major road segment per turn
- multiple stacks can move along a road segment as long as above limits are observed
- base movement is 2
- if a leader moves with a stack, this stack's movement is 3 (leadership bonus)
- No movement malus for stack size
- Capitals and castles give no leadership bonus
- Options:
a) no card: activation of 1 location or 1 muster action (no card exchange)
b) 1 card: activation of 2 locations + 1 muster action, or activation of 3 locations
- the own capital is active every turn (in addition to the ones above) (a maximum of 4 locations are active every turn)

Battle Resolution:
- Initiative switches after every action (attacker first)
- Initiative (possible actions):
a) pass
b) retreat 1 undeployed unit
c) deploy unit(s) (usually 1)
- "Pass" hands over permanent initiative to the other player
- "Retreat" is not allowed any more after one player has passed
- A deployed unit cannot retreat during a battle (only after the battle has finished)
- A retreated unit cannot be deployed any more in the same battle
- The last unit of an army cannot retreat
- When a player scores a multiple of 7 impact points, an opponent unit immediately dies (priority: deployed - undeployed). The impact generated by the dying unit is not affected.
- Tokugawa and Ishida never need a card for deployment
- Leaders do not need a card if deployed as the first unit of their clan
- A battle ends when:
a) all units of one side have left the battlefield (through elimination or retreat)
b) both players have passed
- When a battle ends with both players still having units on the battlefield (case b above), the loser loses 1 unit (preferably a deployed one), and retreats with the rest (if any)
- If both players do not deploy a unit, the attacker must retreat, but no unit is lost
- Cards played in a battle (except for loyalty challenge cards) can either be picked up again after the battle, or get exchanged with new ones (all or none)
- No cards for losses

Loyalty challenge:
- Cannot be used against Ishida, Tokugawa, leaders and the Red Devils
- If the challenged player can show another matching card, the unit scores impact as usual, and the loyalty challenge card gets discarded
- If the challenged player cannot show another matching card, no impact is scored, and the unit gets removed from game. The loyalty challenge card gets discarded.

End of weeks 1-7:
- Count and record # of resource locations for both players (1 point per location, including the capital)

After week 7 (game end if no sudden death):
- Add up all recorded points from resource locations. The player with the higher sum wins (castles give no points)





Advantages of these rules:
- More logical, realistic, intuitive
- Controlling castles is more important, as each castle gives a card at the start of each week
- Controlling resource locations throughout the entire game is more important, as this can decide over victory
- Castle garrisons are more important, as they can protect castle control against small detachments that have been sent out to achieve control over an enemy castle, or to free a friendly castle
- The 3 former points generate the need to find a balance between few large, powerful fighting armies, and many small controlling detachments. Smart maneuvering and army compositions are (even more) important.
- The own capital is not only one of many equal resource locations, but has a distinct funtion (necessary for reinforcements)
- Leaders are more important as castles and capitals don't provide leadership bonus any more (it is called "leadership bonus" after all)
- Battle resolution is more realistic with the option to retreat. More control and important decisions in battles with questions like "Do I have a chance of winning?", "Should I start retreating immediately?", "Is it wise to deploy this unit (leader)?" (I cannot retreat it, and may lose it). There is not only the (admittedly tense) question of who will win the battle.



What do you think? Comments welcome.
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Evil Bob
Canada
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You may wish to move this thread to the Variants forum.
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Greg
United States
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"I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there."
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I always thought retreating was just declining to play a card to raise your impact. At that point, the battle ends and your army retreats. There's no need to prolong a battle you know you are going to lose.
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Matt Albritton
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Tupelo
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Yes, please move this to the "Variants" section.

After seeing the title, I thought this was going to be a post about an actual rules change.

Also, it is most certainly not a "slight" change that you have proposed.
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Hugues Richard
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What matters in life is not the triumph nor the struggle but the triumph by tie breaker.
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Kubigaruma wrote:
Yes, please move this to the "Variants" section.

After seeing the title, I thought this was going to be a post about an actual rules change.

Also, it is most certainly not a "slight" change that you have proposed.

Haughty intro and bye bye strategy, gambits, tension and bluffing.

He can make what he wants from what he has, a totally different game with same components, his lost for missing everything.
 
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