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Subject: Games whose unofficial variant is better than the original? rss

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Alexander Gambon
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Which games have a variant that is actually better (more engaging? more balanced?) than the original game? For this purpose I want to exclude solo-variants.
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Marc Nelson Jr.
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The Machi Koro "5-5-2" variant greatly improves the game and was later incorporated into expansion rules.
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Joe Salamone
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There are a couple of 2-player variants in BGG for La Strada. These variants are better than the 2-player rules that came in the box. After using the variant rules, I don't think I will ever use the official 2-player rules again.

 
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Crappy Birthday
The original rules said you just pick your least favorite gift.
The variant is that you pick both your favorite AND your least favorite. This was a lot more fun, because some weird gifts would be actually cool to have. And it's more fun for the giver, b/c there's a better chance of having a relevant gift in your hand.

Later printings of this I think made the "variant" the official rule.


Carcassonne
The official rules are "draw one tile and place it".
The unofficial variant is to have a "hand" of tiles (say, 3). This adds way more strategy to the game and reduces the luck factor.
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Eric P
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Arkham Horror

1) Someone else reads you your card and does not tell you the outcomes until decisions are made and dice are rolled.
Makes the game a little harder, but more than makes up for it in immersion.

2) Allowing allies not in the deck be pulled from the box if earned, but removing some from both deck and box when directed.
Makes allies actually relevant when using expansions.

Honorable mentions:

Almost any case of "draw 2 pick one" is better than "draw one" when assigning roles with variable player powers.

Ignoring however most games assign first player so it's not always the same person in the group. I get it, I'm the oldest, stop reminding me.
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Curt Carpenter
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alexandersalamander wrote:
Which games have a variant that is actually better (more engaging? more balanced?) than the original game?

You say "actually better" as if most variants aren't. But the only reason to use a variant is because it's better.

Getting people to actually agree on which variants are better than rules as written is pushing on a string.
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Kolby Reddish
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The variant two player rules for Among the Stars originated as a variant on BGG and were actually adopted in an expansion.
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Brian M
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This variant for co-op Prophecy is notably better than the official co-op rules: Deebs' 2 player co-op variant.
 
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John
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JohnnyDollar wrote:

Carcassonne
The official rules are "draw one tile and place it".
The unofficial variant is to have a "hand" of tiles (say, 3). This adds way more strategy to the game and reduces the luck factor.


Many people would disagree with you. I've never tried a hand of tiles and have no intention of trying it. We do often pick up a new tile at the end of our turn (which doesn't change the game just makes it a bit quicker).

Catan - I like using the friendly robber variant (which was made an official variant in an expansion). The robber can't be used against anyone who has 2VP - this speeds up the start of the game.
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Mike Watne
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Woelf's Merchants & Marauders - SOLO RULES are a wonderful way to explore this game. I'm not saying it is strictly better than the RAW - our group does really enjoy the occasional romp through this richly thematic playground - but we do tend to find that it has a poor distribution of turn times between movers and porters, so a long game can suffer from a bit of disengagement. Playing it solo eliminates this issue and allows for a degree of immersion rarely afforded by the bounds of multiplayer common courtesy. Good times.
 
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Eric P
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We did a thing where we played The Resistance but for each mission instead of the pass/fail cards we did some kind of mini game of Codenames.

I think everyone was nominally on one team, but the spies all got to see the card, so they could make bad guesses or give misleading clues?

I'll have to find those rules again - it was great.
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Franz Kafka
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I think Outpost has second edition rules that were largely based on an unofficial variant.
 
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Any variant of Dungeon Roll is better than the original. Including hurling the chest box through the window like a shot put.
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Michael Taylor
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curtc wrote:
alexandersalamander wrote:
Which games have a variant that is actually better (more engaging? more balanced?) than the original game?

You say "actually better" as if most variants aren't. But the only reason to use a variant is because it's better.

Getting people to actually agree on which variants are better than rules as written is pushing on a string.


I've seen enough unofficial variants on BGG that I have to agree that "most variants aren't" better than the original rules. There are definitely some exceptions, as you can read here, but for the most part variants people create either only work in their group or the creator is trying to fix an imbalance that doesn't really exist.
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James C
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Conflict of Heroes implements a chit-based activation system for its official solo variant.

However, utilizing this system as part of 2, 3, 4 player games (which is not officially sanctioned) is widely regarded as an improvement.
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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We play The Omega Virus strictly as a cooperative game (everyone wins or everyone loses). This eliminates the possibility of players who are behind deciding to take their time, resulting in a loss for the group. I consider this better than the original rules.
 
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Curt Carpenter
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mtaylor314 wrote:
I've seen enough unofficial variants on BGG that I have to agree that "most variants aren't" better than the original rules.

They are better for the players who play them. I'm not talking about the variants threads where people suggest random stuff without even trying it. But I don't know of anyone who plays with variants without thinking that it makes the game better. If the question is which variants are agreed to be better by the majority of users, I agree it's very small, as I said.
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Joe Salamone
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reddish22 wrote:
The variant two player rules for Among the Stars originated as a variant on BGG and were actually adopted in an expansion.


I actually like the official 2-player rules for Fields of Green. Instead of drafting cards like in Among the Stars (and passing your hand to the other player), you deal cards face up onto the table and players alternate selecting cards from this common pool. I've only played it a few times, but so far it seems to work.

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Michael Taylor
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curtc wrote:
mtaylor314 wrote:
I've seen enough unofficial variants on BGG that I have to agree that "most variants aren't" better than the original rules.

They are better for the players who play them. I'm not talking about the variants threads where people suggest random stuff without even trying it. But I don't know of anyone who plays with variants without thinking that it makes the game better. If the question is which variants are agreed to be better by the majority of users, I agree it's very small, as I said.


The OP is specifically asking about unofficial variants
 
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mtaylor314 wrote:
curtc wrote:
mtaylor314 wrote:
I've seen enough unofficial variants on BGG that I have to agree that "most variants aren't" better than the original rules.

They are better for the players who play them. I'm not talking about the variants threads where people suggest random stuff without even trying it. But I don't know of anyone who plays with variants without thinking that it makes the game better. If the question is which variants are agreed to be better by the majority of users, I agree it's very small, as I said.


The OP is specifically asking about unofficial variants


Hmmm... good point.
I wonder if he was thinking "unofficial rules"/variants and it came out as "unofficial variants" in the title?
Or was he explicitly excluding "official variants" that are included in rulebooks and/or websites by the publisher?
 
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Curt Carpenter
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mtaylor314 wrote:
curtc wrote:
mtaylor314 wrote:
I've seen enough unofficial variants on BGG that I have to agree that "most variants aren't" better than the original rules.

They are better for the players who play them. I'm not talking about the variants threads where people suggest random stuff without even trying it. But I don't know of anyone who plays with variants without thinking that it makes the game better. If the question is which variants are agreed to be better by the majority of users, I agree it's very small, as I said.


The OP is specifically asking about unofficial variants

That's what I was talking about.
 
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Jeffery Hudson
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Quote:
Carcassonne
The official rules are "draw one tile and place it".
The unofficial variant is to have a "hand" of tiles (say, 3). This adds way more strategy to the game and reduces the luck factor.


I've played this way once. While I enjoyed it, the rest of the group absolutely hated it. It completely changes the feel of the game. It's along the same lines as using the towers expansion, while it's still Carcassonne, there is a new added layer of strategy that can be a real turn off to players.
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Mare Nostrum has a set of unofficial rules which greatly improve game balance... the game remains brittle though.
 
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Charles Boyung
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JohnnyDollar wrote:

Carcassonne
The official rules are "draw one tile and place it".
The unofficial variant is to have a "hand" of tiles (say, 3). This adds way more strategy to the game and reduces the luck factor.


This was definitely the first one to come to mind for me too. I've always thought it hilarious every time Tom Vasel says he hates house rules, because if they actually made the game better, they would be in the actual rules, yet he always talks about how he loves Carcassonne, but only with this house rule in place.
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Curt Carpenter
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erensberger wrote:
curtc wrote:
mtaylor314 wrote:
I've seen enough unofficial variants on BGG that I have to agree that "most variants aren't" better than the original rules.

They are better for the players who play them. I'm not talking about the variants threads where people suggest random stuff without even trying it. But I don't know of anyone who plays with variants without thinking that it makes the game better.

But are they necessarily right?

It's subjective, so how could it be?

erensberger wrote:
When people do this by accident, they generally find the game improved by installing the real rule--so I suspect the same would be true for many who choose a variant after just a few plays.

You're equating getting rules wrong by mistake to knowing the rules and choosing to play by different ones??
 
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