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Subject: How to speed up the game rss

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Derek Whaley
New Zealand
Christchurch
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Darius I – 73rd Great Khan of the Illustrius Barbarian Horde, Duque San Lorenzo, Marquis de Feltón, Chief of the Zayante, Baron von Whaleyland, Lord Kennedy
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I've played about a dozen games of Scoville now (3-4 with Labs) and I love the theme, I love the art, and I love basically everything else about it, but I don't like the 90-120 minute playtime. Granted, some games are with new players, but Scoville does not take very long to explain. And yes, some games are with 4-6 players, but most of my friends do not suffer from analysis paralysis. Nonetheless, 90-120 playtime every time except in 2-player games (still, it usually is at least 60 minutes).

So, I just got a second copy of this that I am giving my brother-in-law for Christmas and I want to know: how can this game be sped up? What makes it take so long and can it be eliminated or reduced? Can something else speed up the game? I can't see him being able to pull this out frequently with a 90-120 minute game time, but it is something he will otherwise enjoy. Any tips? Thanks!

[Disclaimers: I got his copy for free and I am not looking for "just enjoy the game as it is" statements because those do not address my problem in any productive manner. I am asking for recommended house rules.]
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Glenn Eikenberry
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Great question. It is a very smart and streamlined game with fun tension between going first/last for harvesting and last/first for fulfilling, but that very tension is probably what makes the game last ~30 minutes longer than I think it ought for a game its weight. It just causes some AP. I think it would see more playtime with a 45-60 minute window.

I never found (or attempted) a good house rule for that, but I'm curious.
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1 Lucky Texan
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Arlington
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perhaps a different intial set-up, that moves all players further into a mid-game condition?
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Paul Kalomiris
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Germantown
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I don't know whether this would speed things up, but I play with a house rule that I saw here on BGG many months ago. Under the house rule, farmers are not blocked by the presence of other farmers on a space. You pass through that space and continue on. You cannot stop on a space where a farmer is located. For the "blocked" space in question, the active player and the player whose farmer already is on that space both get the harvested pepper.
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Colin Marsh
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Portland
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i don't think of this game as long but to me the simplest way to speed it up would be to put out fewer market cards / recipes. if you're playing with 4 for instance and only put out market cards for 3, the game is going to move to afternoon and then end game faster.
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Derek Whaley
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Christchurch
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1 Lucky Texan wrote:
perhaps a different intial set-up, that moves all players further into a mid-game condition?

Good idea. One of the things I was considering, actually, was starting the game out with a random field of primary-coloured peppers already planted, to get things moving right away.

pdk1971 wrote:
Farmers are not blocked by the presence of other farmers on a space. You pass through that space and continue on. You cannot stop on a space where a farmer is located. For the "blocked" space in question, the active player and the player whose farmer already is on that space both get the harvested pepper.

Also a great idea. This would definitely eliminate one strategic element of the game, but it would get people moving more. It would also make the game a tad less aggressive, which would probably make new players happier. One downside is that it would basically negate the titular component of Scoville: Labs.

colinmarsh wrote:
Put out fewer market cards / recipes. If you're playing with 4 for instance and only put out market cards for 3, the game is going to move to afternoon and then end game faster.

Also a really good idea. Cut the game-end trigger cards down and the game end will come sooner. The only downside I see here is that players may not have an opportunity to buy ghost peppers in adequate quantities to buy recipes near the end of the game, and ghost peppers are in a lot of the higher-scoring recipes. Maybe a combination of the first suggestion and this would work. Basically, pre-plant more primary peppers and cut down the cards.

Thanks for the great tips! Any other ideas?
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Ed P Marriott
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Madison
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Others have already mentioned some of these ideas but I thought I'd put them all together:

1) Reduce the number of market orders and/or recipes.

2) Start the initial farm with 2 of each primary pepper. It can be done in such a way that each primary crossbreed is possible.
__Y
R*Y
R_B_B

3) Give each player a set of secondary peppers (green, orange, and purple) in addition to the primary peppers at the start.

4) If anyone has used any of their bonus abilities (Double back, +1 move, Plant an extra pepper), give them back for the afternoon phase. Basically, whether players have used any or all of their abilities in the morning, all players will start the afternoon with a full set of three (or four with Labs)

5) Allow sharing farm spaces (I personally don't like this option as I feel it really detracts from what the game offers).

Those are just some ideas. If anyone else has a good option, share it in this thread. Thanks for playing Scoville!

~ Ed
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Raven Snow
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RalphTheSquirrel wrote:

3) Give each player a set of secondary peppers (green, orange, and purple) in addition to the primary peppers at the start.


We just played a five-player game of Scoville today with an abundance of starting peppers. Two of us were newbies, two of us had played twice before, and one of us had played once before. Not including set-up or teach, we took 1 hour and 45 minutes to play. If nothing else, this felt a lot faster than previous games.

We’re going to try seeding the farm next time.
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Andrew Riley
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Drop the auction for turn order phase. Each round simply bump the 1st player to last and move everyone up one.

This keeps the action moving around in a circle (which increases speed as it reduces confusion). And it entirely removes one analysis stage from the game. Whether this lowers the strategy significantly is something you'd have to decide for yourself.
 
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