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Puerto Rico» Forums » Variants

Subject: Fixing the "Seating" Problem rss

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Gregory Bim-Merle
United States
Trail Creek
Indiana
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In PR everyone is trying gain VPs as well as block the other players from getting VPs. It is always easiest to block the player to your left. The biggest complaint people have about Puerto Rico is the seating arrangement. The person to the left of the worst player in the group has a much better chance of winning because they are not being blocked as effectively. Some have dealt with this problem by drawing pieces with numbers written on them out of a hat each round: And the players would choose the roles in the order of their numbers. This helps to some extent, but makes the game too random.

My idea is players would bid every round for turn order. During the first turn one player choosen randomly (and the only random factor in this variant) would start the bidding and the player to the left would either increase the bid or pass and take the last turn order marker (you could use anything for markers. Pieces of paper with numbers on them works fine.) with the highest number on it.

The Rules for bidding would be.

1. The first player to pass wouldn't pay anything, would take the last avalible turn order marker, and 1db1db in a 4-player game and 1db1db1db in a five player game. (only in 4 or 5 player games)
2. The second players (and third player in a five player) to pass would take the last avaliable turn marker, pay half his bid rounding down, and would get 1db dubloon (The second player to pass in a five player game gets 1db1db ).

3. The player that wins the auction pays his whole bid and gets to go first this round.

4. The player that goes first this round would not be allowed to participate in the next auction and would have to go last next round.

5. Players could pay the bid with any amount of these items:

1db5dbdubloons have face value.

VP 1vp = 1 5vp = 5

Goods cornindigosugartobaccocoffee = 0,1,2,3,4

Colonists colonist = 2

6. In the first auction players would get the plantations according to the first round's turn order after the auction. And no dubloons would be awarded to any players for passing during the first round auction.


My game group doesn't like to try new variants. So I haven't and probably will not get to try my idea for some time. Any questions, comments, or feed back after trying my variant would be much appreciated.

-Tirerndil-
 
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R. Frazier
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West Sacramento
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It's an interesting idea but it sounds very complicated. It also doesn't sound like it'd really solve the "going after a bad player is really good" problem, and it seems like it gives too much to the first player to pass. It also seems like it'd give too much of an advantage to players who produce essentially unusable goods.

But like I said, interesting idea. Maybe if you could only bid with VPs.
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Grzegorz Kobiela
Germany
Hanover
Lower Saxony
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Some time ago I proposed a similar variant here and was crushed:

http://boardgamegeek.com/article/1081342#1081342
 
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United States
Aventura
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In some tournaments I've seen, players bid for seating position in increments of 0.5 VP. This seems like a sound (and simple) solution to the "problem", assuming you care enough-- personally I don't find it to be enough of an issue that I'd make adjustments when playing casually, but to each his own.
 
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Pieter
Netherlands
Maastricht
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Why not a Caylus-like approach?

Each player has a marker on the "Governor" track. At the start of the game, the markers are placed on the track randomly, and their placement determines the order of play (the seating order, if you will). After each round, the marker of the player who is first on the track is moved to the last spot.

The Governor-card is no longer needed to indicate who goes first. Instead, it is added as a new role. The player who picks this role gets to move his marker to any desired spot on the Governor track (even leave it in its current position). If he wants to go first next round, he moves his marker to the second position. If he wants to "sit to the left of the weakest player", he simply moves his marker to that particular spot.

In a four or five-player game, I would replace a Prospector with this new role. In a three-player game, if the role is added to the current six roles, it might bring slightly too much money in the game, as every round an extra dubloon is added to the money in play. Experience has to show whether this influences gameplay too much (it probably leads to slightly faster games and the building strategy becoming easier to pull off).

This could be an interesting role, as it might be worth quite a lot for many players, but not for the first player. The first player would simply be wasting his privilige of going first if he would choose the Governor. However, the second player, if he is weary of losing his chances to go first in the next round, might want to choose it. For the player who is currently last, the role is obviously worth a lot - unless the role he is mainly interested in for the next round is one that nobody else desires much. Since the last player usually is left with mostly undesirable choices for roles, the Governor makes his life better -- and since obstructing other players' strategies is central to playing Puerto Rico, a role that is interesting for the last player is interesting for all players.

I think the Governor role will actually change gameplay quite a bit, so it is probably not a change which will "save" Puerto Rico, but one which will create a (hopefully) interesting variant.
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Richard Hutnik
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I have proposed (based on discussions in another thread) the introduction of a role that enables you to pick your role before the governor player does, the following round:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/477304/new-role-for-puer...
 
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Joe Mucchiello
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Edison
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I love thread necromancy. I think if you wanted to have variable seating order in PR, you would just put a number on the roles:

1. Mayor
2. Settler
3. Craftsman
4. Builder
5. Trader
6. Captain
7. Prospector A
8. Prospector B

Turn order becomes another mini board (like trade office and ships). While the first turn is random, every subsequent play, you decide your turn order in the previous round. The trick is balancing the numbers.

Craftsman cannot be number 1 as it would be a no brainer to craft and then next turn trade or ship. By the same token if you put it too far down the list it becomes an even more painful role to take. So I put a couple of less necessary (though functional) roles in front of it.

Basically I decided the end of game preference for roles outweighed the early game preferences. YMMV.
 
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