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Subject: Faster start rss

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Milan Mašát
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Hi, I bet that our issue comes from a play style of my group, but the game is extremely slow at the beginning and it all wraps up in the end. For example last time we have to break early. We played for 105 minutes (past 90 on the box) and 3 players got 2 points, two players only 1. But it was clear that the game will accelerate significantly next round.
I was thinking about some start up bonus, so we can get to the action sooner.
This are possibilities that comes to my mind:
1) bonus resource(s) - easiest to implement
2) deal 2 resources at the beginning to the region instead of one - similar to previous, but subject to voting.
3) bonus settlement - will not do much probably
4) discount on first improvement in a region - probably too strong
What are your thoughts?

And I am thinking about some minor bonus for starting player. From my limited experience he is having hard time because he will probably not have built anything the first round and will therefore have hard time to get any resources first 6! rounds. My recommendation was to be able to pick ANY supply card from the pack, not just one of the four, so he will be at higher odds to place his first settlement.

Does anyone have similar issues?

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RJ
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The small bonus to starting player seems interesting, though I think picking any two supply from the public display would be enough, rather than letting them pick their choice of the lot in the deck. I also like your second suggestion of starting with two resources in each inhabited area, but perhaps there is a reason why Vlaada ended up deciding to start with 1 a piece.

My own thought on a variant (which I have not tested) would be to impose a penalty on players for not building public works/improvements. For example: Players start with an intangible -2 or -3 points which add to their score by the end of the game, unless they themselves initiated and successfully built a public work (+2 points if they built it themselves alone, +1 for building it with the help of others) or contributed to a public work (+1 point for each time they contributed). It could accelerate the desire to create more advanced structures that change the flow of the game. Thematically, this variant could be explained in a way that the players who did not contribute to furthering the agenda of the Viking clans to expand in the new land will retain some sort of negative reputation by the end of the game.

My experience with Graenaland, especially while playing with new players, is that people have the tendency to "turtle" up and be stingy with their resources. The game begins to move at a faster pace once the players are more willing to compromise.
 
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Milan Mašát
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Rontuaru wrote:
The small bonus to starting player seems interesting, though I think picking any two supply from the public display would be enough, rather than letting them pick their choice of the lot in the deck.

To start with 2 more resources seems too much. My suggestion did not add any extra resources, just mitigated bad luck and almost guaranteed option for building first(third...) settlement.

Rontuaru wrote:
My own thought on a variant (which I have not tested) would be to impose a penalty on players for not building public works/improvements....
My experience with Graenaland, especially while playing with new players, is that people have the tendency to "turtle" up and be stingy with their resources. The game begins to move at a faster pace once the players are more willing to compromise.

This IMHO does not speed up the game. We tend to build public, BUT later in the game, when you have a good grasp on the sector. To build road/improvement in sector when I have only 40% of votes just does not seem viable. The public structures will be built, but once player will get 60% of votes. Marketplace and palisade could be build sooner and as a joined project, but they change power dynamic, not speeding game much.
 
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RJ
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Vodnyk wrote:
Rontuaru wrote:
The small bonus to starting player seems interesting, though I think picking any two supply from the public display would be enough, rather than letting them pick their choice of the lot in the deck.

To start with 2 more resources seems too much. My suggestion did not add any extra resources, just mitigated bad luck and almost guaranteed option for building first(third...) settlement.


I see I misinterpreted your suggestion, yes. But, both of our alternatives aim for the same thing: accelerate the game. To me, searching through the deck just seems odd, because it gives you *precisely* what you need. If we were to introduce this starting player bonus, it stands out since at no other point in the game is there a mechanism that lets you search through the deck.

Perhaps two resources is "too much", but we are mostly speculating. An adjustment, perhaps, could be that the start player can take any two from the display, but must submit two cards back from their hand into the display. Let's say he did some trading and negotiation with the intangible "suppliers", that let him achieve this.

Another thought, more on mitigating luck: Let the start player discard 1 to 4 cards of the supply display and replace the same number they discarded. He is the one foraging for supplies earliest, so to speak, so he has more time to explore and forage more than the others, and thus uncovers more for as much as he is willing to search.

Vodnyk wrote:
Rontuaru wrote:
My own thought on a variant (which I have not tested) would be to impose a penalty on players for not building public works/improvements....
My experience with Graenaland, especially while playing with new players, is that people have the tendency to "turtle" up and be stingy with their resources. The game begins to move at a faster pace once the players are more willing to compromise.

This IMHO does not speed up the game. We tend to build public, BUT later in the game, when you have a good grasp on the sector. To build road/improvement in sector when I have only 40% of votes just does not seem viable. The public structures will be built, but once player will get 60% of votes. Marketplace and palisade could be build sooner and as a joined project, but they change power dynamic, not speeding game much.


You have a point, and that was my experience also: No one builds public structures very early on, but if they did shake up the power dynamic early in the game, it could cause some urgency and/or willingness of players to be more cooperative. Graenaland is a fairly player driven game, after all. Again, we speculate, and it is hard to tell without trying it out.

As an aside, it's great that you are bringing some life to these forums. Graenaland is one game I enjoyed on my first play that my thoughts keep coming back to on occassion, and truly good modern negotiation games are few and far between. I think it is still holding up to this day.
 
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Nicola Bocchetta
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I think the line that best describes this game is “the negotiation game for people who don’t like negotiating”.
 
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Milan Mašát
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Rontuaru wrote:
I see I misinterpreted your suggestion, yes. But, both of our alternatives aim for the same thing: accelerate the game.
...
To me, searching through the deck just seems odd, because it gives you *precisely* what you need.

Actually, this alternative aims not for speeding the game up for everyone, just to compensate first player disadvantage. He can get only 4 goods and has to be lucky both with draw and supply to be able to build his initial settlement. With this tutoring he will still have the same amount of goods, but the chances are that he can actually do something with them.

Rontuaru wrote:
If we were to introduce this starting player bonus, it stands out since at no other point in the game is there a mechanism that lets you search through the deck.

This fact alone should not stop a variant to be used. It is pretty straightforward and occurs only once in a game and only when first player does not wan any of initial supply cards.

Rontuaru wrote:
Perhaps two resources is "too much", but we are mostly speculating. An adjustment, perhaps, could be that the start player can take any two from the display, but must submit two cards back from their hand into the display.

So till the end of the game the display will be blocked with two cards with only one good? It would make more sense just to throw them away. But in that scenario the player will start with no normal goods card, just two supply cards, taken from 4. I doubt that it will increase his chance to built settlement.

Rontuaru wrote:
Another thought, more on mitigating luck: Let the start player discard 1 to 4 cards of the supply display and replace the same number they discarded.

This is just weaker version of my proposal. If I do not see desired card on display I will automatically discard all 4. There is no need to discard less, like ever. So instead of choosing one of 4 (like original) or one of every (like my proposal) you will choose one of 8.
 
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