Not really a variant, but...
I'm curious as to what the mindset was towards the card draw mechanic in this game during the design phase.
Was there any consideration of each player having their own "hand" to play from, say of 2 cards each?
It occurred to me how interesting it might be to have a 2-card hand and you must play one of them if you are first eligible, leaving you with one card. then, if ever you have only a single card in your hand and you are first eligible, you must play that single card *and* you must play to a second eligible space on the initiative track.
Once your hand is empty you draw back up to two cards.
All cards still get played, but you have a small say in the order of the card play instead of the purely random draw order. It also allows/makes you think ahead a move based on your cards in hand.
Has anyone tried that, or is there a clear flaw to my madness?
Love the game, so far.
When I sat down to design this game, I did not have such a large departure from the COIN system in mind as holding cards in hand (regularly holding cards, that is, other than the few Pivotal Event cards).
When we started testing with two cards exposed, as was standard COIN practice, things were ridiculously gamey right from the start and we dropped it.
The "no look one card ahead" option was already there in the first few COIN games (and the first edition of A Distant Plain), and it works very well in giving tension to the game, and tremendously speeds up play as people do not mull over second order effects or the worth of doing some artificial act just to get the next card.
I can't say what effect your proposal would have on speed and level of play in the game, but at first glance it seems it would draw it away from a card-assisted game (like the other COIN system games) and more towards a card-driven game (like Labyrinth).
Perhaps you should try it, after you have played this game as originally designed a few times to see how it's supposed to run (and after you have straightened out your Event Deck, as I saw in your other thread).