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Subject: House Rules - A Conversation. rss

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Dan
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Firstly i just want to say that i don't think these are absolutely necessary, i think the designers have done a fairly good job especially at the higher player count. That being said, something just wasn't quite right and i am not the first to say it...

Secondly, in no way am i a game designer. So ii feel this is more just a way to open up the conversation to tweak some of the rules especially for lower player counts.

I know some people will hate this, but you can just play the game as is, this is for those of us who aren't quite enamored with the game, realise there is a great game in there and don;t want to just sell it off. I want to actively pursue ideas after last night's 3 player game left us feeling a bit weird....

The issues i see:

1 - Excavating at low player counts means that the bottom cards rarely ever get picked

2 - This also leads to the fact that these lower cards become stale due to never being replaced throughout the game.

3 - There is quite a large amount of luck in the game which to some is a big negative.

4 - The first turn has an odd feel to it where you are just looking at the piles, and taking whatever comes up because you have little to no direction.


My Initial Resolutions

1 - Add a dummy workers to the far left worker spots for excavating actions. (1 in a 4 player game, 2 in a 3 player game) - this means that you pick up more cards and choose from a larger pool, the lower cards will be in play more often and there is a reduction in the amount of luck (especially if you didn't get to see the piles)
additional thoughts - is 2 dummy workers too many? maybe just 1 in 3 player and non in 4/5 player??

2 - the excavation cards are never cleared if they aren't taken. So the proposal here would be that. If any cards are taken from a stack then the rest is wiped out into the discard deck of the Academic Conference. (if no cards are taken then the stack is left in tact as normal) -

Thematically this could be that the whole area of earth was dug up and the teams came in and dug out the bits they wanted. The rest went off to the academic researchers to analyse at a later date?

These cards stay face down in the academic conference as they are sediment but can be purchased later - this also reduces luck as there is a growing pile of discards which you can buy from at the cost of end game points.

3 - luck is being reduced by providing a larger selection to choose from in excavating (with the dummy worker(s)) and also moving unused excavation cards to the conference which can be purchased separately from a larger pool.

4 - to provide some starting direction, I would suggest that everybody draws 3 research cards and chooses one to start the game with. This gives each person a bit of direction from the start so they can spend the first turn actually working towards a goal rather than a bit of blind drawing of cards.

That's kind of what we've come up with so far.

What are people's thoughts on these.

As i said, i just want to open this up for conversation. Not saying i'm correct or that the game is bad, just that i personally feel it needs a few tweaks.
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Szymon K
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I think these are pretty good ideas and I will defenitely try them out.

We have played 2 times so far, first with only two players (!).
We played with dummy player, with a d6 roll deciding where the dummy would go each turn (there are 6 spaces where he could go, not counting the 0 spot). To determine where he would go digging, we roll another time, with the results of 1-2 - northern excavation, 3-4 central and 5-6 southern. I know that some of his decisions were obviously stupid, but sometimes he succesfully blocked me off from Academic Conference for example

Second play was with 3 people and very rarely we dig all 5 fossils from an excavation site, so the suggestion to add 1 dummy player to every site could work.

I also love the idea of taking the un-digged fossils to the Academy, and I think it fits tematically. It prevents the situation that some Triassic cards could never see daylight and makes Academic Conference even more valuable.
 
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Allison M.
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So we played this weekend and had the same thought, but came up with a different solution. What if you limited the amount of total dinosaurs? There are fifteen types of dinosaurs (x3/x2). What if you instead of having a additional fake player that has all of these steps- you just have less total dinosaurs? There are five different types of dinosaurs for each period, so 3 player would have three types per period, and 4 players would have 4. I haven’t tied it yet but I think it would still solve the issue of getting through the cards.
Thoughts?
 
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Szymon K
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ALLMEND wrote:
So we played this weekend and had the same thought, but came up with a different solution. What if you limited the amount of total dinosaurs? There are fifteen types of dinosaurs (x3/x2). What if you instead of having a additional fake player that has all of these steps- you just have less total dinosaurs? There are five different types of dinosaurs for each period, so 3 player would have three types per period, and 4 players would have 4. I haven’t tied it yet but I think it would still solve the issue of getting through the cards.
Thoughts?


It surely helps with set collection, but it does not fix the problem with leftover cards in the digging sites which with 3 players will rarely be dig out.

clownfeet wrote:
2 - the excavation cards are never cleared if they aren't taken. So the proposal here would be that. If any cards are taken from a stack then the rest is wiped out into the discard deck of the Academic Conference. (if no cards are taken then the stack is left in tact as normal)


Yestarday I played with 5 players, and the Academic Conference space was always taken by 1st and 2nd player, so 4th and 5th player had to go to Planning space to be able to go to Academic in the next round. The house rule that leftover cards lands on Academic space makes that space more valuable, too much maybe even?
 
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Murr Rockstroh
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The problem seems to be how to handle the specimen counts, how to dig them out, and how do deal with only 2 spaces at the AC after making some changes to reduce luck.

So why not try eliminating the worker placement spaces in the Academic Conference all together, don't make that a spot you have to place workers, and instead run it this way.

1) Discard unclaimed cards at the dig sites into the AC pool as suggested in the OP's post.

2) When the Academic Conference phase comes up, in turn order, everyone gets a chance to trade with the AC pool as described in the rules. Turn in as many as you want from a single period for 2 RF each, then take as many as you want regardless of period for 2 RF each (up to your maximum allowed).

3) Also, maybe allow trading between players directly with them being able to trade specimens and/or Research Funds. "Hey, anyone have these parts to a T-Rex for some this Raptor part and 2 Research Funds?"

So you freed up one worker that you have to place if you wanted to go to the AC, more than 2 players can take advantage of it, and you've made turn order the deciding factor at the AC instead of placing a worker there.

My Part 3) is just a thrown in suggestion because it never made sense to me that players couldn't just trade directly, and could easily be left out or tried as desired.
 
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Oliver Brettschneider
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Not having played the game just yet (but might be hosting a 5-player game tomorrow): Are these changes recommended for a low player count only, or general suggestions to enhance gameplay overall?
 
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Conor Banks
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clownfeet wrote:
Firstly i just want to say that i don't think these are absolutely necessary, i think the designers have done a fairly good job especially at the higher player count. That being said, something just wasn't quite right and i am not the first to say it...

Secondly, in no way am i a game designer. So ii feel this is more just a way to open up the conversation to tweak some of the rules especially for lower player counts.

I know some people will hate this, but you can just play the game as is, this is for those of us who aren't quite enamored with the game, realise there is a great game in there and don;t want to just sell it off. I want to actively pursue ideas after last night's 3 player game left us feeling a bit weird....

The issues i see:

1 - Excavating at low player counts means that the bottom cards rarely ever get picked

2 - This also leads to the fact that these lower cards become stale due to never being replaced throughout the game.

3 - There is quite a large amount of luck in the game which to some is a big negative.

4 - The first turn has an odd feel to it where you are just looking at the piles, and taking whatever comes up because you have little to no direction.


My Initial Resolutions

1 - Add a dummy workers to the far left worker spots for excavating actions. (1 in a 4 player game, 2 in a 3 player game) - this means that you pick up more cards and choose from a larger pool, the lower cards will be in play more often and there is a reduction in the amount of luck (especially if you didn't get to see the piles)
additional thoughts - is 2 dummy workers too many? maybe just 1 in 3 player and non in 4/5 player??

2 - the excavation cards are never cleared if they aren't taken. So the proposal here would be that. If any cards are taken from a stack then the rest is wiped out into the discard deck of the Academic Conference. (if no cards are taken then the stack is left in tact as normal) -

Thematically this could be that the whole area of earth was dug up and the teams came in and dug out the bits they wanted. The rest went off to the academic researchers to analyse at a later date?

These cards stay face down in the academic conference as they are sediment but can be purchased later - this also reduces luck as there is a growing pile of discards which you can buy from at the cost of end game points.

3 - luck is being reduced by providing a larger selection to choose from in excavating (with the dummy worker(s)) and also moving unused excavation cards to the conference which can be purchased separately from a larger pool.

4 - to provide some starting direction, I would suggest that everybody draws 3 research cards and chooses one to start the game with. This gives each person a bit of direction from the start so they can spend the first turn actually working towards a goal rather than a bit of blind drawing of cards.

That's kind of what we've come up with so far.

What are people's thoughts on these.

As i said, i just want to open this up for conversation. Not saying i'm correct or that the game is bad, just that i personally feel it needs a few tweaks.


I think this is an interesting idea. I too felt the need of a little tweak; wiping cards out into the discard deck of the Academic Conference seems a sound option. I am not a lover of dummy players but I follow, and agree with, your rationale.

The initial set up you are proposing, that I really like...

I hope to be trying this soon and posting some feedback.

cheers,
Conor.
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Conor Banks
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Imagine wrote:
Not having played the game just yet (but might be hosting a 5-player game tomorrow): Are these changes recommended for a low player count only, or general suggestions to enhance gameplay overall?


I saw the Heavy Cardboard playthrough/review a few days ago and one thing that was suggested (but never tried) at lower player counts was to add assistants (workers) to each players pool increasing them as the player count decreases.

For instance: in a 5 player game there will be no changes and each player will receive 4 assistants; 5 assistants are given in a 4 player game and 6 assistants in a 3 player game. this should allow for more action when excavating without having dummy player chits.

the discs for the scoring track, turn order track or fame track can be used for this purpose while other counters/chits can take their place.

I have not tried this yet but I am planning on doing so hopefully soon and report back.


Cheers, Conor
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