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Subject: Improved Scoring, Dueling and More. rss

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I really enjoy TEW, but the more I play it, the more I feel it could use some refining. The biggest problems I've found are 1) the Characters are very unbalanced; 2) Gold is underutilized as a resource, both being used the least of the three for buying buildings and not having a use outside of buying buildings (force/law can be used in duels); 3) Owning buildings feels very underwhelming because you can only use 1 at a time and they constantly get covered up 4) Dueling is boring and has little to no effect, 5) scoring is very linear and the industries are less important than the VP on buildings. Here are a few changes I've made to address these issues in my games that I have enjoyed:

1) Multiple Player Buildings - Players can now have up to three buildings active at their Location Mat. Instead of only using the right most edge of the Mat for buildings, line your purchased buildings up from right to left underneath your Location Mat so you have 3 columns of buildings, with the right most building sitting at the Porch location. When a player purchases their 4th building and each subsequent building, they may choose which of the 3 building columns to place the new building on top of. When a player places their Posse member at a Porch with more than one building, he/she may use one of the other buildings by paying up to 2 gold to slide the building columns to the right that many spaces, sending the building on the right to the end (left most) of the line. If you are moving buildings at your own Mat, you do not have to pay when moving buildings.

2) Playing Card and Dueling Card - Instead of discarding 1 of your cards during phase 1, players now decide one card to keep face down and 1 card to reveal. The revealed card cannot be used in making poker hands. Instead, the revealed card is your Dueling Card and is added to your dice roll during duels. During a duel, either player may spend Law to draw a new Dueling Card from the deck and either player may spend Force to re-roll their die.

3) Wanted - In order to make Duels more exciting and impactful, the Wanted card needs some changes. Whenever a player becomes Wanted or wins a duel while Wanted, they immediately gain 1(X). This may happen multiple times in a round. 1(X) is no longer granted at the beginning of phase 3. Instead, 2 VP are granted to whomever ends the round Wanted. As an additional rule to make a player feel more "wanted," a player can only become Wanted by defeating the player currently holding the Wanted card in a duel.

4) Scoring Industry - The 2-Player side of the Town Hall is always used (showing 1, 2, 3 for industry points). Industry is scored at the end of each ROUND rather than at the end of the game. This means at then end of round 1, 1 VP will be awarded and at the end of round 6, 6 VP will be awarded (split among the 3 industries). This makes Industry become increasingly more valuable as the game progresses. If there is a tie, both players are awarded points for that industry. You can either keep track of this with pen and paper or with some makeshift counters (poker chips, coins, etc.).
Update: To prevent snowballing from someone controlling one industry for too long, and to add an extra layer of strategy to buying buildings, only the top 3 buildings a player controls count towards their industry score. In this way, you may start out strong in the mining industry, but towards the end of the game you may have covered up all of your mining buildings and are now strong in rail roads.

5) Characters - My suggestion would be to just ignore all Character abilities. They really don't add that much to the game, and they're just so horribly unbalanced (looking at you, Rancher).
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Brad103
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1) Multiple Player Buildings -

Neat idea. I think the way the building works by default is fine, and adds an interesting strategy in the game (by them being only available for a short time). I feel this change would make the game play a lot different, but it might be a nice alternative.
One question:
Using the normal rules, the owner of the building being used gains 1 gold from the bank. Would that player receive 1/2/3 gold depending on building used?

2) Playing Card and Dueling Card -

Not a fan of this idea. Having your dueling card also be your poker card adds too much to the game to change it this way. There's a big risk in using your poker card in a duel too early, you give up a lot of your placement strategy, and open yourself up for future duels.

3) Wanted -

Another neat variant (though it does make at least one character obsolete). The additional rule to only gain the wanted card by defeating the wanted player is a rule I've often wanted. It is annoying having the wanted card taken from you because two other people fought.

4) Scoring Industry -

With the balance of the cards price/industry Icons, I feel the industry tracker works well. A good strategy is to buy up the cheaper building and score big at the end game scoring. This variant would hinder/remove that style of play too much. Also, having a true 'end game scoring' is a nice mechanic in this, and many games.

5) Characters -

I ignore the Rancher The rest have varying strengths but I think strategy can easily beat a stronger character. Plus, they're fun!

---

Most of my games have come down to very close scores, sometimes with tie breakers. I find overall the game is generally well balanced.
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Quote:
Using the normal rules, the owner of the building being used gains 1 gold from the bank. Would that player receive 1/2/3 gold depending on building used?

That's up to you. I would suggest replacing that rule with the fact that you get to use your own buildings for free (buildings 2 and 3, specifically). I feel like you get resources far too easily as it is in this game, so I don't think giving players more gold is really necessary (and I think it makes it a little too punishing to not only cost gold, but also give gold to opponents).

Quote:
Having your dueling card also be your poker card adds too much to the game to change it this way. There's a big risk in using your poker card in a duel too early, you give up a lot of your placement strategy, and open yourself up for future duels.

Completely understand where you're coming from. This change was made because I wanted Dueling to be a more prominent fixture of the game, and I felt that players with a 5 showing might go for an aggressive round to take advantage of the changes to the Wanted card. If you give it a shot, I think you'll find that there is more strategy involved in which card to reveal and which to keep hidden than you think.

Quote:
With the balance of the cards price/industry Icons, I feel the industry tracker works well. A good strategy is to buy up the cheaper building and score big at the end game scoring. This variant would hinder/remove that style of play too much. Also, having a true 'end game scoring' is a nice mechanic in this, and many games.

Again, perfectly fair. I felt that the industry didn't have enough impact in my games, acting more as a tie-breaker than anything, and it seemed to matter a whole lot more about the quantity of buildings you bought, rather than which buildings you bought and when. I will admit that having to use tokens to track your VP from industry each round is far less elegant than the simple end-game count up, but it made things a lot more competitive in my games.

Thanks for taking the time to give me feedback on my ideas. It was much appreciated.
 
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Brad103
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I'll try out your full variant sometime so I can get a better feel for it. As I said above, I like some, but prefer base rules on others. Thanks for the reply on my comments!
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Matthew
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Giving this a shot next time I play with my wife. I've noticed some of the same issues with Western, specifically the industries being irrelevant and the lack of building use through the game.
 
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