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Subject: Thrashing Dice: Balanced Old with New Variant rss

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A. Gerald Fitzsimons
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[EDIT: PDF can be found here https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/176463/balanced-old-new-v... ]

Six changes that mix the first edition and second edition rules (plus a sprinkle of new ones) to make the game tighter and more balanced.

This variant reintroduces some good rules from the first edition/version (Thrash'n Roll) to give more meaning to some actions and fixes some major balance problems I feel the new version has. From the designer's comments it seems they were trying to fix balance problems in this version. But I feel some changes helped and others made it worse, more unbalanced.

There is not enough points on the victory point track to keep a proper score neither is there any score multiplier tokens to indicate if a player has 200+ points or 300+ points. As well as balance problems, the singles track "flavor" numbers (1-10) are misprinted in reverse order, the score markers are too big for the score spaces on the board, and the fan card's dice values are not equally distributed, the cards need to be sleeved or they will tear apart when playing gently with them, but these problems cannot be fixed.

All current rules of the new version apply unless changed below. A reason is given for each one. You may want to read the reason first, last or not at all.

If you like playing the game like this it might help to print out this page and keep it in the game box.


#1 Viper TV

When scoring album values use the white star value located on your album's position on the album track. You don't get points for the green circle value. The same applies to singles.

Reason: Using the green circle value gives you so many points that it makes the Concert location unattractive and meaningless. The Concert location requires five dice and discarding fans to get less points than 3 dice at the Viper TV when you have a good album (possibly 30 points or even more). This simple change makes the Concert location meaningful again. It also makes the extra 3VP for the best album at the end of the round meaningful again.

Note: When creating albums at the SPV location do use the green circle value as indicated in the rulebook.


#2 Singles & Albums

Singles
You may only have 2 singles maximum on the singles track. When you make a second single flip the token over for your old single. If you make a third single then remove the old single from the track and add your new single, don't forget to flip the token of your second single (which is now your old single). Repeat the process if you make additional singles.

Albums
You may have multiple albums, only limited by the number of album tokens you have. When you make a new album flip over any older albums.

Reason: With the first version you could have multiple singles, but only 1 with the new version. This gives the singles track a little bit more "power" compared to the albums track, than if you just had 1 single. In a 5 player game having more than 2 singles would be a problem.


#3 End of Round Scoring

Singles and Albums
Score the white star values for your newest single and album. For your old single and old albums score half the white star values, rounded down. Best single scores 1 point extra, and best album scores 2 points extra.

Discard any used Support Cards at the end of the round. See rule#4 for more details. Don't receive any penalties for Scandals (see #5 and #6 below) as penalties will be given at the end of the game as per the first edition rules.

Reason: The first edition had very low scoring for singles and albums, and the second edition has extremely high scoring for every album you've ever made. This compromise between the old and new creates a tighter, more balanced game, and reduce the chances of a runaway leader. Thematically it also works as sales drop off for older albums.

#4 Fan popularity tokens & Support Cards

Popularity markers/tokens
Don't place them in the "crowd" on your player board at setup. Instead leave them to the side of each player, face-down. Having each number loosely grouped together is helpful but not necessary. When you gain a fan card place one of these popularity token on your player board face-down. Pick a popularity token that matches the current number on the crowd space. The very first token will be a #1. The forth token will be a #2. When you place it do not flip it. You will get the bonus later with the support card bonus. Your current popularity level is the number to the right of your newest popularity token.

Support Card Special Ability bonuses + Popularity bonus
If you use a support card in their preferred location (shown on the top right of the support cards) you get the support card bonus/special ability (bottom left) plus you get to flip over 1 fan/popularity token on your player board to receive that bonus as well. You get 2 bonuses for using support cards on their preferred locations. The popularity token you flip over is the lowest numbered one on your player board that is currently not flipped. E.G. If all your #1s and #2 are flipped but you don't have face-down #3s and #4s then you must flip one of the #3 tokens.

Support card usage per round
You may only use 2 support cards maximum per round. When you've used one place it face-up in-front your player board. Discard any used support cards at the end of the round.

Reason: With the new rules you get a fan card by visiting many locations and then you immediately get a popularity bonus. The game overflows with bonuses. It reduces the importance of the support card extra bonus, and reduces the interesting challenge of using a support card at the best location. This variant brings back the meaningfulness of the support card bonuses. Adding fan/popularity tokens to your player board crowd makes more sense than removing them, and it makes setup time slightly quicker.

The support card usage limit was used in the first edition. It stops a player using 1 die at many locations, and using their support cards, to get lots of turns in one round. It makes your 5 dice roll more important, and the use of support cards more important.


#5 Scandal Cards

You can only create 2 scandals per round not "per turn". That must have been a typo in the new rulebook. No penalties at the end of the round for scandals just like in the first edition. However, there will be harsher penalties at the end of the game for any scandals you have. See the end game scoring variant below for more details.

Reason: In the fist edition you don't mind building up scandals and having to worry about them later. It encouraged you to build up scandals. In the new edition by losing points at the end of the current round it kind of forces you in the current round to visit one of the two locations to remove the scandals before the round ends. Having to worry about a bunch of scandals you didn't get rid of as the game end comes closer is more fun. With a more balanced version the older rules for this makes more sense.

#6 End game scoring

Award Trophies
They are worth half the value, rounded down. They are worth 12 points, not 25 points.

Scandals
Apply the rule from the first edition: "There is a skill icon on each of these [scandal] cards. Players must discard skill counters from his or her band board from those depicted fields. Additionally, the player must roll a die for each revealed scandal and subtract [the] value of each roll from his or her fame points."

Reason: In the first edition the player with the best of a category would get 20 points and second place would get 12 points. This means that first place is really only 8 points better off than second place. In the new edition a player that wins a category is 25 points better off as the is nothing for second or third. If you happen to win three awards that is 75 points!
The reason for the change in the scandal end game scoring is mentioned above in rule #5.

-------------------------

Clarification on using Fan Cards as virtual dice
I've only included this as the rules of the first edition are much clearer than in the badly worded new edition. They state that if you need to use fan cards to place a second die, a virtual die, then you must use 2 fans. If you need fan cards to help create a 3rd die then you need to use 3 fan cards. The fan cards still must have different skill icons (bottom right).

Score marker "fix"
The wooden score markers are too large for the board's score spaces. Use one of the record markers as your score marker instead. If you need to record a 6th record you could use the wooden marker as it fits perfectly on the record tracks.


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Christian Amey
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Does this variant only work with balancing Thrashing Dice or will it also help "fix" Thrash 'n' Roll?
 
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A. Gerald Fitzsimons
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crysknife wrote:
Does this variant only work with balancing Thrashing Dice or will it also help "fix" Thrash 'n' Roll?
No. Only Thrashing Dice. But Rahdo and Jen love Thrash 'n' Roll as a 2 player game.
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Christian Amey
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They're still playing it? I did not know. I backed it during the Kickstarter after watching his playthrough and it's been sitting on my shelf ever since; mainly, because of all of the drama surrounding the publisher(s). I didn't feel like investing the time in learning a game that was unfinished. Whether or not my impressions were valid, I left it to the collection of dust until recently. Thanks for the quick reply.
 
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A. Gerald Fitzsimons
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They mentioned it about 2 podcasts ago. Jen remembered it by name which Rahdo said is rare for Jen and it's a special game. He has a retail first edition version of it.

I remember reading a review that said the first edition is more balanced than this edition.

Lucky you, enjoy the game

P.S. This edition has 5 dice instead of 6 which I think was a good decision as you would need the support cards more. You should try yours with 6 and then the next game or the 3rd game with 5 dice and see which you prefer.
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A. Gerald Fitzsimons
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I uploaded a better more succinct PDF version in the files section.

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/176463/balanced-old-new-v...
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Randy Alvey
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Thank you so much for your continued interest in this game and tweaking your variants to give this game more balance and greater appreciation. With your variant suggestions, I think there could be a very good game here, if just given a fair chance.

I researched both this and it’s predecessor (Thrash’n Roll) forums to decide which game to purchase. Evidently, there were enough balanced scoring issues and quirky game mechanics to justify and warrant a new retitled game that was more streamlined and better balanced than the original. (I ended up purchasing Thrashing Dice, but have not played it yet because of a missing Fan card in my deck. On the other hand, I did get an extra Scandal card in my deck. I have been trying to contact Octopus Games to get this resolved without success to date, but that is another issue...)

Your 1st Variant rule set (Feb 6, 2019) suggested that Thrashing Dice addressed some scoring imbalances from its predecessor, but then introduced others that could use some tweaking. I am anxious to try this out with my gaming group with your suggested Variant, but have not done so to date because of the missing Fan card situation.

I then noticed that you came out with an updated Variant rule set (May 16, 2019). There appear to be some significant Variant Rule set differences from the 1st and 2nd versions. I was curious as to the reasons for these Variant Rule set differences. Was it to achieve even better scoring balance? Or was it to return Thrashing Dice to the feel and flow of the original Thrash’n Roll?

Here are some Variant Rule set differences I noticed. Could you comment on them?

1) Singles & Albums: 2nd Variant says to Discard the lowest ranking Single if you have more than 2. The 1st Variant says to Discard the oldest Single if you have more than 2. The 1st Variant seems to be more thematic in that older songs would roll off the charts and be replaced by newer ones.

2) Support Deck/Cards: 2nd Variant say you can ONLY use a Support card at the correct locations (top right of card) - same as Thrash’n Roll. The 1st Variant apparently allows a Support card to be played at ANY location (Thrashing Dice base rules and get the Skill marker at the bottom right of card), but you will get 2 additional Bonuses for using the Suppport card in its preferred locations (top right of card). Additional Bonuses are: 1) The Bonus shown on bottom left of card. AND 2) Flip over the lowest numbered Popularity token on your Player board. From the description, I think I prefer the 1st Variant Rule version, but was wondering if the change in the 2nd Variant was due to a scoring imbalance that was experienced or to keep the game more streamlined.

3) End Game Scoring (Award Trophies): 2nd Variant uses Thrash’n Roll rules: 1st place - 25 pts; 2nd place - 12 pts; 3rd place - 6 pts. The 1st Variant only gives out ONE award (but half the value). 1st place - 12 pts. Once again, it seems more thematic with the 1st Variant rule. After all, there is only ONE Grammy award winner. But does this cause a scoring imbalance problem?

Since I may only get one shot of playing this game with my gaming group, I want to play it with its best ‘face’ and well balanced Rule set, so that it may have a chance to be requested for another return to the gaming table. Your feedback would be of immense help.

BTW, what are typical scores with your Variant Rule sets? In the 200’s or 300’s? I have an idea on how to address that with different score markers.
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A. Gerald Fitzsimons
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BoardMtg7 wrote:
Thank you so much for your continued interest in this game and tweaking your variants to give this game more balance and greater appreciation
Thanks for the thanks

Keep in mind that with my own games, like the soon to be released Banker of the Gods, I play-test over a hundred times with different groups, other designers, and paid developers. When it's not my own creation like Thrashing Dice then I just play test it with my wife and myself so it relies on more open "public" tests.

BoardMtg7 wrote:
Was it to achieve even better scoring balance? Or was it to return Thrashing Dice to the feel and flow of the original Thrash’n Roll?
It can't be fully converted back to the original so I'd say the changes were to achieve 80% of the original feel and 20% to balance scoring.

BoardMtg7 wrote:
1) Singles & Albums: 2nd Variant says to Discard the lowest ranking Single if you have more than 2. The 1st Variant says to Discard the oldest Single if you have more than 2. The 1st Variant seems to be more thematic in that older songs would roll off the charts and be replaced by newer ones.
"Lowest ranking" is less fiddly. No need to flip tokens or remember which one was the oldest. The track automatically lets you know which one to remove.
If you need a thematic reason then your recording studio just care about cold hard cash and will stop supporting your lowest selling single, even if it's a newest "flop"

BoardMtg7 wrote:
2) Support Deck/Cards: 2nd Variant say you can ONLY use a Support card at the correct locations (top right of card) - same as Thrash’n Roll. The 1st Variant apparently allows a Support card to be played at ANY location (Thrashing Dice base rules and get the Skill marker at the bottom right of card), but you will get 2 additional Bonuses for using the Support card in its preferred locations (top right of card). Additional Bonuses are: 1) The Bonus shown on bottom left of card. AND 2) Flip over the lowest numbered Popularity token on your Player board. From the description, I think I prefer the 1st Variant Rule version, but was wondering if the change in the 2nd Variant was due to a scoring imbalance that was experienced or to keep the game more streamlined.
The Thrashing Dice rules of using support cards at any location actually reduces the importance of the support cards, fan cards, and scandals. You get lots of Support cards early and then you don't care that much about using fans for virtual dice as you have Support Cards for any location. You also don't need Scandals that much.

The original rules of only being able to use them ONLY at the indicated locations means that you do need to take scandals, you do need to fan cards (to discard for virtual dice). It also means that you are looking at the Support Cards that are currently on display face-up, that become important again. With the Thrashing Dice rules you don't care what Support Cards are on display as they are all basically "Wild".

With regards to flipping the fan/popularity tokens: The original version did not have those extra bonuses so it was difficult to decide what to do with them. The Thrashing Dice version felt overloaded with bonuses that were too easy to get. It feels better if you have to work a bit to get those bonuses. The first version linked them to the support cards. The support cards already feel great without the extra bonuses. Thematically I feel it works better to link the fan/popularity bonuses to the fans themselves. Now when you discard fan cards you get to flip that number of fan/popularity tokens (See "Popularity Markers"). Discarding fans feels even better now, it's like they did you additional favours.

BoardMtg7 wrote:
3) End Game Scoring (Award Trophies): 2nd Variant uses Thrash’n Roll rules: 1st place - 25 pts; 2nd place - 12 pts; 3rd place - 6 pts. The 1st Variant only gives out ONE award (but half the value). 1st place - 12 pts. Once again, it seems more thematic with the 1st Variant rule. After all, there is only ONE Grammy award winner. But does this cause a scoring imbalance problem?
I tried to keep the changes to Thrashing Dice to a minimum. 25 points to one winner was not balanced. The points awarded in the original were lower if you consider the point gap between first and second place, the difference. In the first version I just lowered the scoring as it was crazy to get 75 points for winning three categories.

It still didn't feel right. The Thrashing Dice rules of only awarding first place actually kills a nice part of the game. If you opponent had a few skill tokens in say "Vocalist" you would just let them have it, you would ignore it and focus on other ones. This is especially noticeable in a 2 player gamer. One player would focus in 2 categories and just let the other have the other 2. Then maybe one of you would win the 5th category. Very boring.

Having second and third place scoring increases the desire to get more skill tokens for each of your band members, to improve each band member. E.g. If you don't improve your vocalist then you are giving your opponent 25VP. But if you increase your vocalists skill a little bit then that means the point gap is now 13 points for that category and not 25. Thematically it works to improve your band members and gameplay wise it's much more interesting especially when scandals can remove skill tokens at the end of the game.

If you need thematic reasons for 2nd and 3rd place then just view them as "best up coming artist", or "best young artist".

Typically the end game scoring will be around 120 to 160, instead of 200 to 380.
 
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Randy Alvey
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Thanks for the prompt reply and especially the explanation for the Variant rule differences. They really make sense to me now. I definitely intend to use the latest Variant rules when bringing this game to the table!

Do you have a preference to play, Thrashing Dice with the latest Variant rule set or original Thrash’n Roll?

Also, thanks for the heads up and link to Banker of the Gods. I will look for it when the Kickstarter starts and some play through videos and reviews become available. Looks interesting!
 
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A. Gerald Fitzsimons
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BoardMtg7 wrote:
Thanks for the prompt reply and especially the explanation for the Variant rule differences. They really make sense to me now. I definitely intend to use the latest Variant rules when bringing this game to the table!

Do you have a preference to play, Thrashing Dice with the latest Variant rule set or original Thrash’n Roll?
To play 100% with the Thrash'n Roll rules would require making modifications to the game board, which is a step too far for me personally to enjoy the purchase of this game, so I haven't done that.

I'd recommend the latest variant if you have this version. It changed my enjoyment and rating for the game to an 8+ and it's now one of my wife's favourite games. The original rules had some good ideas, I just tried to bring them back with some balance.

BoardMtg7 wrote:
Also, thanks for the heads up and link to Banker of the Gods. I will look for it when the Kickstarter starts and some play through videos and reviews become available. Looks interesting!
If you are subscribed to Rahdo's channel you will catch it. He read the rules and likes what he read, so he will be covering it.
 
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Randy Alvey
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I have been using Lines42 Crank - Solo Variant rules in tandem with your latest iteration of Balanced Old with New Variant (PDF dated 5/16/2019) and I am having a blast! The games have been very competitive in scoring point totals and I have only managed to win only about ½ the time. So I think the latest rule variants make the game very balanced.

I would like to comment & emphasize a few of the rule variants and suggest another tweak to the Single/Album End of Round & Game scoring.

1) Support Deck/Cards – At any time you may discard 3 Support cards to remove a Scandal. You do not receive any Bonuses for the discarded Support cards. (I found this rule to be useful when trying to manage Scandal cards accumulated near game end. Especially, when other players can give you their Scandal cards and you have no way of addressing them (by location or acquired power). Support cards are very useful in achieving your plans or goals. So sacrificing 3 of them to remove a Scandal without the benefit of any Bonuses is a heavy price, but may be worth it.)
2) Viper TV – In the sum calculation for Fame points to gain, use the Star value of your highest valued Single / Album. (This was in the 1st Variant Rule set dated Feb 6, 2019, but missing in the most recent Rule set dated May 16, 2019)
3) TV Reporter (Support card) – Add a Popularity marker to your player board AND flip the leftmost Popularity marker that has not been flipped and receive that Bonus. (This was not mentioned in either Variant Rule set, but I felt it should be addressed.)

Regarding Singles & Albums, I found myself using the same Single to create multiple Albums. This didn’t seem right thematically, I felt I should be going to the SPV Records/Studio again to cut another Single to be featured on the next Album. Therefore, I would recommend incorporating the Active/Inactive concept used in the Thrash’n Roll game.
Singles & Albums
Singles: Maximum of 2 allowed.
• Only one Active Single allowed at a time
• Only an Active Single (optional) may be used to create an Album (the green circle value of the Active Single is used in the sum calculation for the Album). When used, the Single marker is flipped from Active (Star side) to Inactive (Circle side)
• Either Active/Inactive Single may be advanced.
• Discard the lowest Inactive Single if you make more than 2.
Albums: No Maximum. Only limited by available markers.
• Only one Active Album allowed at a time
• When a new Album is created, the previous Active Album marker is flipped from Active (Star side) to Inactive (Circle side)
• Only Active Album may be advanced.

Scoring Singles & Albums at End of Round/Game:
When scoring Fame for Albums or Singles use the Star value not the green circle value. The green circle value is only used for placing a new Single or Album.
1. Score the Star value for your highest ranked Active Album and highest ranked Active Single.
2. For all other Albums & Singles score only ½ half the Star value (rounded down).
3. The best Active Album (highest ranked
amongst all of the players' Albums) receives 2 additional points. The best Active Single receives 1 additional point.
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A. Gerald Fitzsimons
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BoardMtg7 wrote:
I have been using Lines42 Crank - Solo Variant rules in tandem with your latest iteration of Balanced Old with New Variant (PDF dated 5/16/2019) and I am having a blast! The games have been very competitive in scoring point totals and I have only managed to win only about ½ the time. So I think the latest rule variants make the game very balanced.
Thanks. Great to hear that you are enjoying it so much with Lines solo-bot.

I too was looking forward to trying Lines solo-bot, but then I realized it's VP scoring was based on the old rules and it would win most of the time against me. I'm impressed that you beat the bot half of the time. You must be a very skilled Thrashing Dice player to be able to beat it half of the time with the more balanced (lower human scoring) rules. If Lines readjusted the solo-bot's VP scoring for the more balanced rules then I'd imagine you would need to play it at the highest difficulty level to be challenged

BoardMtg7 wrote:
2) Viper TV – In the sum calculation for Fame points to gain, use the Star value of your highest valued Single / Album. (This was in the 1st Variant Rule set dated Feb 6, 2019, but missing in the most recent Rule set dated May 16, 2019)
The rule in the "Singles & Albums" section covers this.
"When scoring fame for albums or singles use the white star value not the green circle value, especially at board locations. The green circle value is only used for placing a new single or new album."

BoardMtg7 wrote:
3) TV Reporter (Support card) – Add a Popularity marker to your player board AND flip the leftmost Popularity marker that has not been flipped and receive that Bonus. (This was not mentioned in either Variant Rule set, but I felt it should be addressed.)
Nice find. I will add that to version 3.

BoardMtg7 wrote:
Regarding Singles & Albums, I found myself using the same Single to create multiple Albums....
I really like your suggestions about deactivating a single when you create an album. It would add more relevance to singles later in the game, and it's thematic.

BoardMtg7 wrote:

Either Active/Inactive Single may be advanced.
Only Active Album may be advanced.
Having two rules for basically the same thing would feel "fiddle". It's best to stick to one. Either the active one or any one. I feel allowing the player agency to choose any to advance gives great strategic options. Thematically I can imagine this as the band or manager promoting an older single/album.

BoardMtg7 wrote:
When a new Album is created, the previous Active Album marker is flipped from Active (Star side) to Inactive (Circle side)
I wonder how the suggestion of deactivating your latest albums when creating a new album would play out. Either it would (A) psychologically deter you from making a new album (in the case that your last album got a high value due to a 6-pip result on the die), or (B) it would add fantastic tension to the game because you new album could rank lower and then your higher album would lose half it's points. It's also thematic as a band should have a big improvement before they release a new album or risk it doing worse in the charts than the last one. I feel and hope (B) would work, however it needs to be tested with focus on the how it feels psychologically before adding it in to the 3rd version. If you play it again please go ahead and try your suggestions, and let us know how it went gameplay wise and psychologically.

BoardMtg7 wrote:
Scoring Singles & Albums at End of Round/Game......
This goes back to my other point. If only your active single and active album, not your highest qualifies for the best single/album then it's even riskier (if you currently have the best) to create a new album during the next round if you rolled a 6 last round and your stats have not gone up that much. You could lose these points as well. This might make players hesitate to create new ones during the "next" round or it could slow things down as they get analysis paralysis over the probability of creating a new album if the pip value is only 1-4 and how much points would that lose if that halved my current highest album and then I lost the best album bonus points as well..... you get the idea. It would need to be tested.

Thanks again for the great feedback and great suggestions.
 
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Randy Alvey
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As I stated in Lines42 Solo Variant thread:
BoardMtg7 wrote:

I do have to admit/confess that with my playing style/skill that I have to use the Easier Variant (maximum of 1 Fame point score - increased by multiples of the Round number). Scores are competitive & I don’t always win. I’m afraid I would get trounced by Crank if I used the double Fame Point icon multiplied by the Round number. Evidently, Crank is too Heavy Metal for me.
So I am not that skilled. If Crank gets 3-4 actions per round and about ½ of those actions are 2X Fame points multiplied by the Round #, I don’t think I would ever have a chance of winning. I will describe a typical game flow with the Solo bot (Crank) later.

When I recommended the Active/Inactive Single/Album concept, I just borrowed them directly from the Thrash ‘N Roll rules and didn’t give it much thought. Mainly, the idea was just to defer to the original Thrash ‘N Roll rules when making rule changes for a Thrashing Dice variant. Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on it, I totally concur that advancing an Active or Inactive Single should also apply to Active or Inactive Album as well. It’s definitely less fiddly and more thematic. When the band/manager get an opportunity to appear on Viper TV, should they talk their ‘old’ stuff and boost the sales to get their Album to the next level (from Gold to Platinum to Double Platinum, etc.) or should they promote their new stuff to get it up in the charts.

As for making an older Album Inactive would deter one from creating a new Active Album based on the perceived penalty of losing End of Round Best Album points. When I played, although the loss of End of Round Best Album points was considered, in the end it was only 2 points. I would still get ½ the points from my older Album AND full points from my newest Album. In addition, the Album scoring track is pretty high valued. So if you are considering creating a second Album, you are probably pretty near the end of the game. There are only 6 rounds and you can only go to SPV Records once per round, thus limiting the number of Single/Album/Single/Album sequences you can do. In addition, your Gear level should be getting higher on the track and if you want to be competitive in the End of Game Thrash Metal Award ceremony, you should be working on improving all your band member’s Skill level. Consequently, your second Album should debut pretty high on Album track, netting you some significant Fame points.

In my solo plays, it wasn’t the loss of End of Round Best Album points that deterred me from creating a second Album, but rather there were so many other actions I wanted to do instead before the end of the game. For instance, if I got a decent dice roll and had the necessary Support cards, then I would want to go to the Concert and be the undercard for Assassin and pick up some badly needed Fame points. Also, if the Solo bot (Crank) was giving me unplanned Scandal cards, I needed to commit some of my precious Actions to remove those Scandals. The end of game Scandal penalties are huge if not addressed. I also wanted to improve ALL my band members Skill level and concentrate on 1 or 2 band members to be the Frontman / (face of the band), so that I would be competitive at the Thrash Metal Award ceremony. If you ignore this phase of the game, I would think you would surely lose. That’s what I love about this game, you need to improve your band’s Gear, Timing and Skill level in the beginning, so you can decide how to increase your band’s Fame (do I go to SPV Records and record Singles & Albums? Or should I go to the Concert with Assassin? Or play at the local Broken Bone and go on Viper TV and Radio to build my band’s fame? So many choices and combinations!)

As promised earlier, here’s how a typical Crank Solo game flows:
• Crank gets off to an early Fame point lead by being already on the Single & Album tracks and collecting End of Round Best Single / Album points
• It’s an uphill battle trying to get the Band members Gear, Timing & Skill level improved, so I can make it worthwhile to go to SPV Records and have a competitive Single and eventual Album
• Then I need to address those nasty Scandal cards that Crank tends to give me at the worst times and totally wrecks my plans
• Meanwhile, Crank is taking 3 to 4 Actions per Round and getting Fame points (multiplied by the Round number). I have to really work hard just to keep up with getting Fame points at the Broken Bone, Viper TV and Radio
• I also need to manage each Band members’ Skill level, Popularity, Gear & Timing, so it is worthwhile to go to the Concert with Assassin as the undercard.
• The Fame point scoring tends to be fairly close by the end of Round 6
• The eventual outcome always seems to come down to who did best at the Thrash Metal Award ceremony

As a parting comment, with your Variant rules this is one of the most richly thematic (and fun) games I own. It is such a pity that the publisher & game designer ticked off the Kickstarter community with delivery delays and inattentive responses to valid criticisms. Even though the production quality is a little subpar, I think this is a GREAT game regarding the game flow and I’m glad I have it in my collection.
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BoardMtg7 wrote:
As I stated in Lines42 Solo Variant thread:
BoardMtg7 wrote:

I do have to admit/confess that with my playing style/skill that I have to use the Easier Variant (maximum of 1 Fame point score - increased by multiples of the Round number). Scores are competitive & I don’t always win. I’m afraid I would get trounced by Crank if I used the double Fame Point icon multiplied by the Round number. Evidently, Crank is too Heavy Metal for me.
So I am not that skilled. If Crank gets 3-4 actions per round and about ½ of those actions are 2X Fame points multiplied by the Round #, I don’t think I would ever have a chance of winning. I will describe a typical game flow with the Solo bot (Crank) later.

That's great. I will definitely print out the Crank cards and use it in a 2 player game to simulate a 3rd player. It looks like such a smart system.

BoardMtg7 wrote:

As for making an older Album Inactive would deter one from creating a new Active Album based on the perceived penalty of losing End of Round Best Album points. When I played, although the loss of End of Round Best Album points was considered, in the end it was only 2 points. I would still get ½ the points from my older Album AND full points from my newest Album. In addition, the Album scoring track is pretty high valued. So if you are considering creating a second Album, you are probably pretty near the end of the game. There are only 6 rounds and you can only go to SPV Records once per round, thus limiting the number of Single/Album/Single/Album sequences you can do. In addition, your Gear level should be getting higher on the track and if you want to be competitive in the End of Game Thrash Metal Award ceremony, you should be working on improving all your band member’s Skill level. Consequently, your second Album should debut pretty high on Album track, netting you some significant Fame points.

In my solo plays, it wasn’t the loss of End of Round Best Album points that deterred me from creating a second Album, but rather there were so many other actions I wanted to do instead before the end of the game. For instance, if I got a decent dice roll and had the necessary Support cards, then I would want to go to the Concert and be the undercard for Assassin and pick up some badly needed Fame points. Also, if the Solo bot (Crank) was giving me unplanned Scandal cards, I needed to commit some of my precious Actions to remove those Scandals. The end of game Scandal penalties are huge if not addressed. I also wanted to improve ALL my band members Skill level and concentrate on 1 or 2 band members to be the Frontman / (face of the band), so that I would be competitive at the Thrash Metal Award ceremony. If you ignore this phase of the game, I would think you would surely lose. That’s what I love about this game, you need to improve your band’s Gear, Timing and Skill level in the beginning, so you can decide how to increase your band’s Fame (do I go to SPV Records and record Singles & Albums? Or should I go to the Concert with Assassin? Or play at the local Broken Bone and go on Viper TV and Radio to build my band’s fame? So many choices and combinations!)
You're right. Rolling a 6 to create an album and then later a 1 for another album (to create a lower ranked active album that could equal the same points overall) can be mitigated by doing all the improvements you mentioned or by using fan cards to re-roll. It's a good risk to have that can be countered. I will add it to the third version of the variant rules.


BoardMtg7 wrote:

As promised earlier, here’s how a typical Crank Solo game flows:
• Crank gets off to an early Fame point lead by being already on the Single & Album tracks and collecting End of Round Best Single / Album points
• It’s an uphill battle trying to get the Band members Gear, Timing & Skill level improved, so I can make it worthwhile to go to SPV Records and have a competitive Single and eventual Album
• Then I need to address those nasty Scandal cards that Crank tends to give me at the worst times and totally wrecks my plans
• Meanwhile, Crank is taking 3 to 4 Actions per Round and getting Fame points (multiplied by the Round number). I have to really work hard just to keep up with getting Fame points at the Broken Bone, Viper TV and Radio
• I also need to manage each Band members’ Skill level, Popularity, Gear & Timing, so it is worthwhile to go to the Concert with Assassin as the undercard.
• The Fame point scoring tends to be fairly close by the end of Round 6
• The eventual outcome always seems to come down to who did best at the Thrash Metal Award ceremony
This was very useful and interesting to read. Appreciate it Randy.

BoardMtg7 wrote:

As a parting comment, with your Variant rules this is one of the most richly thematic (and fun) games I own.
blush Thank you!
 
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Geroid wrote:

That's great. I will definitely print out the Crank cards and use it in a 2 player game to simulate a 3rd player. It looks like such a smart system.
That’s interesting that you’re going to try Crank as a 3rd player in a 2 player game. It should work. One thing that comes to mind that you’ll need to resolve is that Crank does give Scandal cards on occasion. You’ll need to decide who gets the Scandal card. Perhaps, the real player who is furthest on the Fame track?

I’d be curious as to your opinion of how the addition of Crank works for your game play.

P.S. How’s the artwork for Banker of the Gods coming along?
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BoardMtg7 wrote:
You’ll need to decide who gets the Scandal card. Perhaps, the real player who is furthest on the Fame track?
I like your idea or linking it to player VP positions. I agree it should be linked this way but in the opposite way. Since the player furthest behind is already at a disadvantage it might feel a bit too punishing. Perhaps it could be a great too to use as a catch-up mechanism. The player that is currently leading gets the scandal cards. Thematically it makes sense as the most famous bands have more pressure on them, more scrutiny, they get trash-talked more by the media. The bands that are doing the best are bigger targets for scandals, even fake scandals. I guess the price you have to pay for fame.

BoardMtg7 wrote:
I’d be curious as to your opinion of how the addition of Crank works for your game play.
I will let you know.
You could even print a second set of the cards for a 3 player solo-game. You, Crank, and "Volume"


BoardMtg7 wrote:
P.S. How’s the artwork for Banker of the Gods coming along?
The icons, and the beauty of the main game board are so important that I've succumbed to the impossible curse of perfectionism.
 
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Randy, a few days ago I uploaded the latest version after playtesting some of your suggestions. I mentioned you on the update. Thank you

You get half the active single's value when you use it to create a single. At then end of the round you get half the value for your inactive singles so it means you still go your full points for that round for you single.

I left the highest album and highest single to get the bonus points rather than the highest active, which in a multiplayer game could mean the 3rd or 4th highest is the active one. Thematically think of it as a single like We Are The Champions. It was so popular that it generates more royalties (from TV, Movies, Sporting events) than other singles (even if it We Are The Champions is older or used to make an album).

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/176463/balanced-old-new-v...
 
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