Jason Ellingsworth

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Typically my games of TM run long with 3-4 players, clocking in between 2-3 hours. It could go faster, but I have a sister who refuses to plan ahead, and is absolutely stupid about how long it takes to take her move. Instead of murdering her, I decided to modify the game a little to get our engines going faster.

First, we do not draft. For people with AP who can't be bothered to put a half second of thought in to their move before their turn comes up, this is very important to keep game time reasonable. One option is to draw 6, with a max purchase of 4 cards each turn. A reasonable compromise in my opinion.

Now on to the setup modifications:

1) For each player playing, you start 1 more than 25 on the TR track. So 2 players would be starting on 27, and 5 players would be starting on 30. This means more money in your early generations, and gets your cards to the table faster. This does make the TR Milestone easier to get. We never found it to be an issue, but feel free to make the milestone 40 instead if necessary.

2) For each player playing, you get one bonus resource production. After all corporation bonuses are added(do not use beginner corps with this rule!) all players add +1 to resource production per number of players, with the only stipulation being that it has to be a DIFFERENT resource. Nobody is allowed to pile up everything on MC and titanium. For example: Bill is playing with 5 people, and has a corporation that gives +1 greenery. After applying that bonus and getting starting money, he decides to add +1 to MC, steel, titanium, greenery, and energy production for a total of +5 resource bonus.

3) Finally 10 starting cards are handed out as usual, but you get free cards per number of people playing. Every card you decide to keep beyond that costs the usual 3 mc.

I have played this way 4 times now with varying numbers of players, and the game has become much more enjoyable! We found that the tiles and standard projects were used much more, really making you feel like you are changing the planet instead of building a massive table of cards for most of the game.

I welcome any thoughts you guys have on this.
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AJ Cooper
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There is an expansion coming soon that is just what you need.
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Mil Myman
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No expansion, no game, can cure AP. The cure must come from the person.

If AP makes a 1 hour game into a 3 hour game, it will make a 20 minute game into a 1 hour game.
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Jason Ellingsworth

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wow...I hope I can get some feedback on the small changes to the game that i found make it go a little faster, and more enjoyable...Wasn't looking for expansion suggestions or thoughts on AP.

However I did not specify...so I will now. I welcome your thoughts on the specific changes to the game.
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snuggly_jason wrote:
wow...I hope I can get some feedback on the small changes to the game that i found make it go a little faster, and more enjoyable...Wasn't looking for expansion suggestions or thoughts on AP.

However I did not specify...so I will now. I welcome your thoughts on the specific changes to the game.

OK, fair enough

Sure, flooding the game with money and resources is one way to make it shorter. At first glance, this doesn't seem inherently better or worse than other methods.

I expect that starting high on the TR track will grossly unbalance the Terraformer milestone. It definitely should be moved up. How far up is unclear, since other milestones are also affected. Notably, Gardener and Mayor will be easier to obtain via standard actions due to more money in play. Meanwhile Planner is weakened, as you can still buy only 4 cards per research phase.

In my experience, playtime does not vary strongly with player count, so I do not think that adding more money/resources per player is meaningful.

Last, I was not joking about the upcoming Prelude expansion. One of the main things it does is accelerate the game by adding more starting resources. So I honestly expect it would be beneficial to any group that feels the game tends too long as originally designed.
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Charlie Mote
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snuggly_jason wrote:
It could go faster, but I have a sister who refuses to plan ahead, and is absolutely stupid about how long it takes to take her move. Instead of murdering her, I decided to modify the game a little to get our engines going faster.


Nest reason to house rule a game I think I've ever seen!
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Freddy Nehwon
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The Venus Next expansion adds a "World Government" phase to the game which allows the first player to advance any of the global parameters to push the game along.
 
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David Mcgamin

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+1 for not murdering anyone, haha!
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Max Jansson
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NingaubleOTSE wrote:
The Venus Next expansion adds a "World Government" phase to the game which allows the first player to advance any of the global parameters to push the game along.


This is easily implemented in your game whether you have Venus Next or not.
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Rikard Johansson
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I think you should murder her. We don't want any AP to possibly spread into the next generation...

Then murder yourself cause you might be a carrier
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Jason Ellingsworth

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Talmanes wrote:
snuggly_jason wrote:
wow...I hope I can get some feedback on the small changes to the game that i found make it go a little faster, and more enjoyable...Wasn't looking for expansion suggestions or thoughts on AP.

However I did not specify...so I will now. I welcome your thoughts on the specific changes to the game.

OK, fair enough

Sure, flooding the game with money and resources is one way to make it shorter. At first glance, this doesn't seem inherently better or worse than other methods.

I expect that starting high on the TR track will grossly unbalance the Terraformer milestone. It definitely should be moved up. How far up is unclear, since other milestones are also affected. Notably, Gardener and Mayor will be easier to obtain via standard actions due to more money in play. Meanwhile Planner is weakened, as you can still buy only 4 cards per research phase.

In my experience, playtime does not vary strongly with player count, so I do not think that adding more money/resources per player is meaningful.

Last, I was not joking about the upcoming Prelude expansion. One of the main things it does is accelerate the game by adding more starting resources. So I honestly expect it would be beneficial to any group that feels the game tends too long as originally designed.


We found that basically the game plays more like if everyone has the beginner corporations. Essentially it removes the slow chug at the beginning of the game, kind of like removing the first 3 generations or so.

We found that there is a huge time difference between 2-3 players, and 4-5 players, making the scaling very necessary.

As far as the milestones, yes they were easier by about 3 generations worth of time, but in an equal way across the first 3 milestones. Not a big deal since we were all playing by the same rules. We were still an hour in to the game with 4 players before any of them could be claimed. The planner milestone is unaffected really. You can choose to buy more cards with your higher wealth, and hold on to them...or keep playing them to the table with that higher amount of resources. So it can be said that it can be easier or harder depending on how much you want to play your cards instead of tiling the board.

My rules suggestion is merely to offer a solution now that we found plays out really well, without the need for expansions. From what I gathered, Hellas/elysium is the only one worth bothering with anyway with its cheap cost.
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Ido Abelman
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snuggly_jason wrote:

We found that basically the game plays more like if everyone has the beginner corporations.


I assume you mean it plays like the "standard game" where everyone starts with 1 of every production, that has nothing to do with playing the beginner corporations. Why not play that way by the way? I know you said you seek feedback about your variant but personally I'd prefer (semi-)official variants. One disadvantage of the standard game is that you aren't using the cards from the corporate era, but I saw some players who used the CE cards and still started with one of each production, seemed to work well for them.

If your issue with the standard game is that you want players to start with different resources each time, then yes maybe the new prelude expansion that is coming out soon and is supposed to be cheap will be your solution.

Or maybe you could just implement the world government phase from Venus Next as Freddy Nehwon suggested (there is no need to get the expansion to do that although IMO the expansion is worth it). It's not really an official variant but one of the designers said it's a suggested way to shorten the game.

Anyways regarding your variant, if it works for you better than (semi-)official variant, well it's your game you can play the way that's most fun for you. One thing I'm not sure of is why the starting bonuses scale positively with the number of players. Normally with more players the game lasts fewer generations as more people are terraforming and the amount of steps doesn't change. So usually the length of the game doesn't change much with the player count. Most shorter game variants that give everyone extra resources ("standard game" or the new prelude cards) don't scale at all with the player count, in fact I could see an argument for scaling backwards.
 
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Freddy Nehwon
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Evil_X wrote:
NingaubleOTSE wrote:
The Venus Next expansion adds a "World Government" phase to the game which allows the first player to advance any of the global parameters to push the game along.


This is easily implemented in your game whether you have Venus Next or not.


Yes. Very true.

For others, keep in mind that doing this 'World Government' sort of move will not gain the first player a TR point.
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Jason Ellingsworth

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CBpegasus wrote:
snuggly_jason wrote:

We found that basically the game plays more like if everyone has the beginner corporations.


I assume you mean it plays like the "standard game" where everyone starts with 1 of every production, that has nothing to do with playing the beginner corporations. Why not play that way by the way? I know you said you seek feedback about your variant but personally I'd prefer (semi-)official variants. One disadvantage of the standard game is that you aren't using the cards from the corporate era, but I saw some players who used the CE cards and still started with one of each production, seemed to work well for them.

If your issue with the standard game is that you want players to start with different resources each time, then yes maybe the new prelude expansion that is coming out soon and is supposed to be cheap will be your solution.

Or maybe you could just implement the world government phase from Venus Next as Freddy Nehwon suggested (there is no need to get the expansion to do that although IMO the expansion is worth it). It's not really an official variant but one of the designers said it's a suggested way to shorten the game.

Anyways regarding your variant, if it works for you better than (semi-)official variant, well it's your game you can play the way that's most fun for you. One thing I'm not sure of is why the starting bonuses scale positively with the number of players. Normally with more players the game lasts fewer generations as more people are terraforming and the amount of steps doesn't change. So usually the length of the game doesn't change much with the player count. Most shorter game variants that give everyone extra resources ("standard game" or the new prelude cards) don't scale at all with the player count, in fact I could see an argument for scaling backwards.


In my experience, more people is more deciding, more waiting, more time. Doesn't matter who does the terraforming, to end the game..So you are right there. However player count is still a real time sink with what everyone is choosing to do.

Also playing with just one of each resource without having to choose is a little boring. Try it. It's quite fun. No expansion or official rules required to do exactly the same thing.
 
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Rikard Johansson
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snuggly_jason wrote:
The planner milestone is unaffected really.

No it isn't. Since only 3 can be claimed they effect each other. If others become relatively stronger, the remainnig one(s) becomes weaker.

CBpegasus wrote:
Most shorter game variants that give everyone extra resources ("standard game" or the new prelude cards) don't scale at all with the player count, in fact I could see an argument for scaling backwards.


Agree 100% wit this.
 
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Jason Ellingsworth

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Hoogard wrote:
snuggly_jason wrote:
The planner milestone is unaffected really.

No it isn't. Since only 3 can be claimed they effect each other. If others become relatively stronger, the remainnig one(s) becomes weaker.

CBpegasus wrote:
Most shorter game variants that give everyone extra resources ("standard game" or the new prelude cards) don't scale at all with the player count, in fact I could see an argument for scaling backwards.


Agree 100% wit this.


Nobody we played with ever got planner anyway, no matter how we played. But yeah, you should be able to get it easily in the first 3 generations (as fast if not faster than the others) if you choose to focus on that instead of playing your cards.

These are very small changes, and I suggest trying them out. The fears you guys seem to have, in practice do not occur.
 
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Rikard Johansson
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snuggly_jason wrote:
Hoogard wrote:
snuggly_jason wrote:
The planner milestone is unaffected really.

No it isn't. Since only 3 can be claimed they effect each other. If others become relatively stronger, the remainnig one(s) becomes weaker.

CBpegasus wrote:
Most shorter game variants that give everyone extra resources ("standard game" or the new prelude cards) don't scale at all with the player count, in fact I could see an argument for scaling backwards.


Agree 100% wit this.


Nobody we played with ever got planner anyway, no matter how we played. But yeah, you should be able to get it easily in the first 3 generations (as fast if not faster than the others) if you choose to focus on that instead of playing your cards.

These are very small changes, and I suggest trying them out. The fears you guys seem to have, in practice do not occur.


Hey, if they make the game more fun for you, go ahead by all means. I don't have a horse in this race

We regularly play for 3+ hours but it doesn't really bother us. I wouldn't say it's anyone being particularly prone for AP either, but maybe some would call it that.
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Bill Buchanan
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Hoogard wrote:

We regularly play for 3+ hours but it doesn't really bother us. I wouldn't say it's anyone being particularly prone for AP either, but maybe some would call it that.


I call it just playing leisurely and enjoying each other's company while playing a game

It seems like everyone is in such a hurry these days ...

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Matthew Greet
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I fail to see how these house rules remove AP. They do not remove options or the need for planning. Indeed, they create more. It seems you don't care as much because you have more resources to do more terraforming in each generation, rather than spend time building an engine. This sounds like you should play standard version, not corporate edition.

However, draw 6, buy max 4 seems to reduce luck without the slowdown of drafting and avoiding 'hate drafting'. I'll consider it myself.
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Removing draft helps, but you should note the other changes are strictly for fun reasons and not to reduce AP, so you are actually combining two modifications with two different objectives.

To help reduce long games, you can also just add a hard generation cap. It will change the dynamics of the game so you can also try different weaker card combinations that may not work in regular games.

I found that games took forever not only because of AP, but because everyone refused to improve all parameters or just rushed some and totally forgot one.
 
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WBuchanan wrote:
Hoogard wrote:

We regularly play for 3+ hours but it doesn't really bother us. I wouldn't say it's anyone being particularly prone for AP either, but maybe some would call it that.


I call it just playing leisurely and enjoying each other's company while playing a game

It seems like everyone is in such a hurry these days ...


Exactly. A board game is a social event for me. Otherwise I could as well be playing a computer game.

If you get sidetracked by a conversation etc. than you still had a great time hopefully

 
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Jason Ellingsworth

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WBuchanan wrote:
Hoogard wrote:

We regularly play for 3+ hours but it doesn't really bother us. I wouldn't say it's anyone being particularly prone for AP either, but maybe some would call it that.


I call it just playing leisurely and enjoying each other's company while playing a game

It seems like everyone is in such a hurry these days ...



It is more about maximizing fun for time invested. We found nothing interesting about the first 3 generations, where you are starved for resources. This is worse when you have people with AP. This kind of speeds things along.

If your night is just TM, I could see where you wouldn't mind the length. If you have other games(or things planned) for your get together, rushing through the early game is great.
 
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Jason Ellingsworth

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warmachineuk wrote:
I fail to see how these house rules remove AP. They do not remove options or the need for planning. Indeed, they create more. It seems you don't care as much because you have more resources to do more terraforming in each generation, rather than spend time building an engine. This sounds like you should play standard version, not corporate edition.

However, draw 6, buy max 4 seems to reduce luck without the slowdown of drafting and avoiding 'hate drafting'. I'll consider it myself.


THe standard version is not what we want to play. We want to use all the cards, and make choices as to what resource productions we start with. There is a reason I bothered to post this variant, instead of playing the standard game. The game is much more enjoyable without the slow chug at the beginning of the game when you are starved of resources. Effectively it is like starting on generation 3 or 4. The more players playing, the more generation skipping effect there is. Engines are going faster, and you reach the last few generations faster, where everything gets raised quickly.
 
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