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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: A Board Game of English Magic» Forums » Variants

Subject: New Difficulty Levels rss

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Francesco Nepitello
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***this is an untested (so far) variant - we're asking to let us know what you think and how it works for you***

In this variant, space 4 and space 8 in the fairy tracker indicate respectively the Standard difficulty level (4) and Easy difficulty level (8).

When the game starts, you start moving the fairy token only when a new card of Marseilles brings the total fairy's strength above the rating of the chosen level of difficulty.

For example, you're playing a game at Standard level (4). The first card of Marseilles is a 3 - the fairy token is not moved. The following turn, the new card of Marseilles is a 4, bringing the total strength of the fairy to 7: the fairy token is moved to space 3 on the fairy tracker (fairy total strength 3+4 = 7, minus the Standard difficulty level of 4).

As soon as the fairy token has entered the fairy tracker, advance it normally every time you draw a new card of marseilles.


Cheers,

Francesco Nepitello
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Nick Sula
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Thank you for this. It’s a clever way to implement some randomness into what I had been doing to give myself a fighting chance: I began the game with a head start by ignoring the number on the first Marseilles card, not moving the fairy token at all in round one.
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Nick Sula
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A suggestion to simplify the implementation of Francesco's variant:

Since the variant essentially adds 4 or 8 spaces to the Fairy track, you can do the following:

Begin the game by placing the fairy token on either space 4 (Standard) or space 8 (Easy). When a card of Marseilles is drawn, move the fairy token in the negative direction on the track, until it reaches the Raven symbol ("zero"), then reverse it and continue moving it forward as normal.

This way you don't have to remember the values of previous cards of Marseilles during your game.


[Edited for clearer wording]
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Stephen Winterflood
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I did managed to win on my third solo game by 1815 with the normal rules, it was a tense chase, but I will give this variant a go and see how it compares.
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Francesco Nepitello
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Winterflood wrote:
I did managed to win on my third solo game by 1815 with the normal rules, it was a tense chase, but I will give this variant a go and see how it compares.
Under this variant, you won with the Advanced Difficulty!

Francesco
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Francesco Nepitello
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nicknack wrote:

Begin the game by placing the fairy token on either space 4 (Standard) or space 8 (Easy). When a card of Marseilles is drawn, move the fairy token in the negative direction on the track, until it reaches the Raven symbol ("zero"), then reverse it and continue moving it forward as normal.
That's really clever! Thank you very much.

Francesco
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Stephen Winterflood
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Francesco Nepitello wrote:
Winterflood wrote:
I did managed to win on my third solo game by 1815 with the normal rules, it was a tense chase, but I will give this variant a go and see how it compares.
Under this variant, you won with the Advanced Difficulty!

Francesco
Great. The first 2 game I lost by 9 and 10 points so unless I was closer during one of the previous years they would have still been lost with variant. Did you look at solo when designing the game as it works well, you just have to treat some spells as fizzles and take the 1 point for them.

Another way to look at the variant if you don't want to track the cards is to just add 4 or 8 to your Magicianship total.
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Mats Larsson
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Untested idea: after fighting the fairy you may place a disc of your colour on the red 8-space on the fairy track. Move the disc backwards as many steps as the difference between your magicianship and the fairy’s power, to a minimum of 4 (the black space). The next time you fight you have a bonus in magicianship equal to your position on the track. You may remove the disc if you were to gain your fourth connexion. This variant is simple, uses the red and black spaces on the track, and rewards racing up in magicianship. Basically: you will have a bonus of between 4-8 each confrontation after the first, and the closer you are to matching the fairy the better your bonus becomes.
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Stephen Winterflood
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Just played with Norrell Solo and playing original lost 35 vs 36. Drew 2 spell cards on last turn for nothing and saw after that the next spell card would have given the 1 point for the win.

With your Skill variant Easy would have won in 1811 19 vs 17 and Normal would have won in 1817 39 vs 36.
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Carla
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nicknack wrote:
A suggestion to simplify the implementation of Francesco's variant:

Since the variant essentially adds 4 or 8 spaces to the Fairy track, you can do the following:

Begin the game by placing the fairy token on either space 4 (Standard) or space 8 (Easy). When a card of Marseilles is drawn, move the fairy token in the negative direction on the track, until it reaches the Raven symbol ("zero"), then reverse it and continue moving it forward as normal.

This way you don't have to remember the values of previous cards of Marseilles during your game.


[Edited for clearer wording]
So if I start on 8 and draw a 3, the fairy marker goes back to 5 and if I next draw a 6, would I go back to zero and turn around and move up to 1?

Carla (not good at counting)
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Neil Henderson
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Yes that's correct. Wherever you start (4 or 8)just count backwards as you draw each card of Marseilles until you reach zero and then continue moving on up as you would normally - 1/2/3 etc
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Nick Sula
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Solanum wrote:
So if I start on 8 and draw a 3, the fairy marker goes back to 5 and if I next draw a 6, would I go back to zero and turn around and move up to 1?
Yes, that’s the idea, you’ve got it exactly right.
And it turns out - starting on “4” with this variant, I was finally able to defeat the Gentleman with the Thistledown Hair and actually win the game.
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Carla
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nicknack wrote:
Solanum wrote:
So if I start on 8 and draw a 3, the fairy marker goes back to 5 and if I next draw a 6, would I go back to zero and turn around and move up to 1?
Yes, that’s the idea, you’ve got it exactly right.
And it turns out - starting on “4” with this variant, I was finally able to defeat the Gentleman with the Thistledown Hair and actually win the game.
Ah! That was quick! Does that mean you might try it starting from 0 next time?
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Francesco Nepitello
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Solanum wrote:
Ah! That was quick! Does that mean you might try it starting from 0 next time?
The reason behind these new difficulty settings is not simply letting people win, but actually make it feasible to win earlier in the game (and thus reduce the average playing time).

Our intended goal is to allow for players to experiment different tactics - for example, to make a gamble at rushing to get just enough points to win during the first or second confrontation. With the current settings almost every game is to the last turn.

Francesco
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Carla
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I see, I wonder how people who buy the game who aren't on BGG will find out about this modification.
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Francesco Nepitello
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Solanum wrote:
I see, I wonder how people who buy the game who aren't on BGG will find out about this modification.
If this change is approved Osprey will officially publish the variant through their media channels.

Francesco
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Carla
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I did a run-through this morning playing both Strange & Norrell, starting the Fairy on 8 and using the easy variant. Mr Norrell defeated the Fairy in 1811, with 11 magicianship to his 9 'fairy power'. Mr Strange had a score of 7. We had each managed to gain one connexion. Mr Norrell had completed 3 feats of magic and gained one book of magic. Mr Strange had completed 2 feats of magic and had forgotten to draw a spell both times -- possibly contributing to his defeat. Oops!

Now to teach the game to hubby and play for real!

ETA

Okay, we played the game on easy mode. It took about 2 hours for a 2-player game, we played all 12 rounds, and the final score was:

Gentleman 29
Hubby 24
Me 21

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Carla
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We are getting worse! Second play, it took all 12 rounds, easy variant:

Gentleman 28
Me 18
Hubby 19
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Francesco Nepitello
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Thank you Carla!

We played a few games, at Easy (8) and Standard (4), and the new difficulty levels seem quite spot on. Being experienced players we can count on someone winning almost all the time in 1811 at Easy level, while Standard is a very balanced challenge.

Our latest game lasted to the end anyway, but some players were short of 1 point at each Confrontation! Mr Norrell's library was constantly under scrutiny by Miss Redruth who was using Ormskirk's Spell of Revelation multiple times to spy on him, and he was eventually robbed of his victory over the Gentleman when she cast Chauntlucet at the last turn, going first regardless of Prestige, and defeating the Fairy! John Segundus had to settle for third place.

Francesco
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Francesco Nepitello
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Winterflood wrote:

Another way to look at the variant if you don't want to track the cards is to just add 4 or 8 to your Magicianship total.
Of course that would be even easier. I was trying to use the coloured boxes on the board, to make the variant 'fit' seamlessly.


Francesco
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Carla
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Francesco Nepitello wrote:
Winterflood wrote:

Another way to look at the variant if you don't want to track the cards is to just add 4 or 8 to your Magicianship total.
Of course that would be even easier. I was trying to use the coloured boxes on the board, to make the variant 'fit' seamlessly.


Francesco
You could do that but I think it's kind of fun to send the Gentleman backward for a time.
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Carla
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Francesco Nepitello wrote:
using Ormskirk's Spell of Revelation multiple times
Oh! Can you use spells multiple times? We've been discarding after one use!
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Francesco Nepitello
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Solanum wrote:
Francesco Nepitello wrote:
using Ormskirk's Spell of Revelation multiple times
Oh! Can you use spells multiple times? We've been discarding after one use!
No, you can't!

That impudent girl drew multiple copies of the same spell and had the audacity to use them all on my library (says Mr Norrell).

Francesco
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Carla
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Francesco Nepitello wrote:
Solanum wrote:
Francesco Nepitello wrote:
using Ormskirk's Spell of Revelation multiple times
Oh! Can you use spells multiple times? We've been discarding after one use!
No, you can't!

That impudent girl drew multiple copies of the same spell and had the audacity to use them all on my library (says Mr Norrell).

Francesco
I guess I need to read through all the spells to see what's there!
 
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Stephen Winterflood
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Francesco Nepitello wrote:
Winterflood wrote:

Another way to look at the variant if you don't want to track the cards is to just add 4 or 8 to your Magicianship total.
Of course that would be even easier. I was trying to use the coloured boxes on the board, to make the variant 'fit' seamlessly.


Francesco
This idea also 'fit' seamlessly as the coloured boxes on the board remind you what to add.

I found doing it this way you can see how you would have done at each skill level as the game progresses.
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