Mr Remiel
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(TL;DR at the bottom.)

Honey pots are broken.

Three treasures, each worth nearly as much as the Heart of Vulkar, clustered together in one part of the island, with almost no downside to collecting them. (For 6 points, halved movement for one turn is a nothing penalty.)

On top of which, unlike the Heart and the Idol, they’re nearly impossible to steal!

The result is that it becomes practically irresponsible not to make a mad dash for them at the start of the game. Even if only to prevent others from getting them.

The obvious solution is to spread them out. But while that does “balance” the game, it fails to fix the basic problem, which is “point inflation”. When places like normal treasures, the Honey Pots essentially devalue the Heart and the Idol. And that’s no fun.

You could also make them worth less, but again: boring.

Our solution:

1. Place each of the three honey pots on the table, one next to each of the “regions” (board sections).

2. Any player adding a marble to the Scar ALSO chooses a honey pot, and places it on any empty treasure space, WITHIN the corresponding region.

If there are no empty spots in a region, they must choose a different honey pot. That’s it! Honey pots otherwise function normally.

Advantages:

- Turns the current (broken) situation upside down, and introduces a brand new dynamic: Player-deployed treasures!

- Adds a fun new tactical aspect to playing Cataclysm cards. Everyone wants to be the one to place the third Cataclysm card.

And the numbers work out well: Three marbles, three honey pots.

- Best of all: Breathes new life into the “dead” regions of the Island, providing an incentive to anticipate honey pot placement in areas otherwise no longer worth exploring. Which is the exact opposite of the current honey situation.

Disadvantages:

- Could hypothetically lengthen the game, as players hesitate to play Cataclysms in order to control the honey pots. But in our playthroughs, this hasn’t been an issue.

- Could disincentivise foot traffic to the sunken ship, for fear of missing out We’re still trying to gauge that.

Idea we haven’t tried yet: Allow players to spend one (or two?) sapphires to force the early placement of a honey pot. It’s a neat idea, but so far we haven’t felt the need.

TL;DR:

1. Put a honey pot next to each region.
2. Place a honey pot on an empty treasure space within the corresponding region each time you add a marble to the Scar.
3. Otherwise play normally.

And please comment/criticize as you play test for yourself!
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Matt E
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OR! The three pots could just start the game in other locations, spread out more across the island.
 
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Mr Remiel
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For sure! That was our first idea too, and it would certainly help.

But my play group really likes the new strategic elements this adds. Instead of the honey pots just being “more boring treasure”, there is now another way to outmaneuver your opponents, and a way to bring “dead” regions of the board back to life in the late game.
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A Frag
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OR do what I think we’re going to do... leave them out. Not sure why a honey pot is considered a treasure anyway. Seems like a thematic disconnect to me...
 
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Mr Remiel
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I agree that’s an improvement, and a “thematic disconnect” (good way to put it!)

But I subjectively think our approach turns the Honey Pots into a welcome addition instead of another arbitrary 18 points on the board.
 
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Matt E
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Should they perhaps just be worth fewer points?
 
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Mr Remiel
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Again I agree that fixes the basic problem, but it prevents the “Crouching Tiger” expansion from actually adding any fun or innovation to the game. It just “solves” the broken Honey Pots without making the game more fun.
 
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Matt E
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MrRemiel wrote:
Again I agree that fixes the basic problem, but it prevents the “Crouching Tiger” expansion from actually adding any fun or innovation to the game. It just “solves” the broken Honey Pots without making the game more fun.
I don't know, I can imagine giving someone e.g. my 4-point honey pot to give them a bee sting if it would slow them down at a crucial moment. But hey, I haven't played the game yet, so what do I know.
 
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Tiffany Leigh
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Having received the game and played twice since we received it, we already saw the honey pots being a bridge too far with their usefulness so haven't deployed them. With this pitch we'll be including them!

Also, in our experience with regards to:

MrRemiel wrote:
Could disincentivise foot traffic to the sunken ship, for fear of missing out We’re still trying to gauge that.

The sunken ship has mostly been an early-to-mid game feature, with less to no traffic and upside later. You'd want to loot the ship early and often for extra turns and swag, with little upside to returning there later in the game.

Maybe if the honey pots deploy on the ship later - one, some, or all - that would mitigate it or be another house rule to toy around with. Or even just deciding that a "treasure chest" of Maw tokens surface late in the game there. But that's another concept to try for another time.

Thanks for this variant!
 
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Matthew Freilich
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So I would do the setup to:

-have one treasure randomly replaced with a honey pot on each section of the island.

-when a player picks up a honey pot, they take a sting token AND launch the bees.

-when a player is knocked down, they must place the honey pot on the space they were last standing. Any player passing over the space with the honey pot may pick it up as their loot for their turn (unless they have an OHHO card etc). Upon picking up the honey pot, the player takes a bee sting token and launches the bees.

-as an added variant...if you are stung by a bee or bitten by a snake, if playing with injury cards, you MUST also take an injury along with the appropriate token (unlike it being a choice when hit by a fireball).

We also house ruled that having an ember or fireball come to rest against your character without knocking them down, it counts as a knockdown. Having it hit you and continue on, it counts as a miss (as long as you're still standing).
 
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Tiffany Leigh
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LastFootnote wrote:
MrRemiel wrote:
Again I agree that fixes the basic problem, but it prevents the “Crouching Tiger” expansion from actually adding any fun or innovation to the game. It just “solves” the broken Honey Pots without making the game more fun.
I don't know, I can imagine giving someone e.g. my 4-point honey pot to give them a bee sting if it would slow them down at a crucial moment. But hey, I haven't played the game yet, so what do I know.

This has been mentioned in other threads with regards to tactics: slowing someone down in the endgame as they attempt to get back to the helipad. And I'm sure there are always other turns in-game where you'd want to thwart someone's big travel plans across the island with a tactical use of the honey pots.
 
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Matthew Freilich
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Sometimes, I'm not a huge fan of the bees in the first place. All they do is slow your movement. Imho, this just serves to extend the game and is kind of a ho hum mechanic. Compare this to the snakes, which force a player to use the top card of the action deck instead of their hand cards. I find this more fun and thematic as it is chaotic and doesn't slow down the game. If only the bees had a similar functionality, or forced you to drop a souvenir or anything other than simply moving slower. Like, no one wants to be trudging slowly around the map.
 
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Maldus Alver

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LastFootnote wrote:
OR! The three pots could just start the game in other locations, spread out more across the island.
The problem with that is the other expansion (snakes) completely occupy the opposite side of the island.

My group had a discussion and we knocked it down a point (to 5 points per honey pot). Also added another house rule that said:
Quote:
whenever a honey pot is taken a number of bee marbles equal to the number of marbles in the scar is dropped in the hole at the top of the statue


Something that added more tension especially on decisions of where to move the statue.
 
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How about taking a photo, picking up treasure, using a souvenir and getting knocked over disturbs the bees and you get stung once per honeypot you're holding.
 
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Matt E
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Aculeus wrote:
How about taking a photo, picking up treasure, using a souvenir and getting knocked over disturbs the bees and you get stung once per honeypot you're holding.
So you just have half movement every turn? Seems simpler to just do it that way.

Though I maintain that the honey pots don't need fixing. They've seemed fine as-is so far in my many games with them.
 
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Jonathan Jones
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I really like your solution! After reading this post & replies I am going to add our solution with a couple of the others and yours. My Balancing the rule is simple, if you jump over somebody you can steal one honey pot. why not? they’re just an item like the Main Jewel. However just like originally done if you steal the honey pot you get stung! The hunny pots are larger than something that would fit in your pocket which would be the tokens. So they can get easily stolen when jumped over and passing a player. They don’t steal everything from the player only one item ( your choice on this ).

Also I love the thematic suggestion that every time a pot is stolen and/or definitely every time the honey pot is originally taken the bees get poured out. Five points instead of six is not about idea also. Love the idea That where you get knocked down you drop the honey pot! Except logically that might also need to pour more bees on top of fireballs - That might be a bit much for every time you get knocked down.
 
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