Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
24 Posts

The World Cup Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: Experienced feedback please: a simpler variant without cards? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Sight Reader
United States
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
I'm considering a simpler variant that eliminates cards and only uses the chits, but I need feedback from experienced players. It's pretty much identical to the existing game, except that Offside and Foul cards are replaced by Defense combinations. To be specific:

Basics
- Select countries
- After each play, draw back up to 3 chits
- You can play single Goal, Attack, Penalty and Defense chits
- Attack chits are worth 1/2 a goal
- Penalty chits are worth a goal unless you roll the black spot

Degrading
- You can use Defense chits to "degrade" vulnerable (outermost) Attack and Goal chits.
- Attack chits are degraded by being flipped. Discard your Defense chit
- Degrade Goal chits by playing a Defense chit in combination with the necessary "replacement" chits
-> Flip the Goal chit, discard your Defense chit, then play your replacement chits to the outside
-> There must be enough room to play your replacement chits
-> 1 Goal - degrade to Attack
-> 2 Goal - degrade to 1 Goal
-> 3 Goal - degrade to 2 Goal
-> 3 Goal - can also be degraded with two 1 Goal chits


Whaddya think?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Sauberer
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My initial reaction is that it would make the high goal chits far too powerful.

First, it would be hard to counter them because you would need a precise combination of chits to do so, which would be hard to get.

Second, they would be safe once they are on the outside space. 3 goal chits would be no worse than 2 goals when played on the next to outermost space.

Also, since there are no limits on playing the high goal chits, there would be the possibility for more upsets, rendering the seeding less important. The current advantage in trying to make sure that your higher seeded teams will advance would be neutralized to some extent.

All in all, it sounds like this variant would reduce the decisions to be made, both in playing chits and in developing a strategy of trying to advance particular teams. It would also put more luck into the etermination of the outcome.

To me, those would be bad things and reduce the fun of the game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sight Reader
United States
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Howdy Howdy! Thanks for the feedback!
Psauberer wrote:
My initial reaction is that it would make the high goal chits far too powerful.

First, it would be hard to counter them because you would need a precise combination of chits to do so, which would be hard to get.

I was worried about that too, but I've been running simulations, and - at least initially - I've had very low scoring games. The big thing is the counter mix: 2 and 3 goal chits are nearly non-existent compared to Attack, Defense and 1 Goal. As a result, roughly 2 out of 3 "hands" had Defense combinations with an Attack or 1 Goal - far more probable, it seems, than drawing Foul or Offsides. As a result, just about every goal scored got erased. I'm hoping, though, that having multiple games going on will allow for a little more scoring as people will busy elsewhere.
Psauberer wrote:
Second, they would be safe once they are on the outside space. 3 goal chits would be no worse than 2 goals when played on the next to outermost space.

I do have 3 goal chits being darn near invincible, just because my trial games were so frustratingly low scoring. My initial rules had it possible to degrade 3 goal chits using a single 1 goal chit, but playing that 3 goal chit seemed pointless since it was so easily knocked down. Even the relatively frequent 2 goal chits couldn't survive the nearly endless parade of Defense + 1 Goal combos that were everywhere.

Now that I think of it, the strategy would point towards saving big goals for the outside because they're so vulnerable, but keeping a chit out of circulation devastates your ability to draw combos. Having the little guys already close to their outside thus makes them a great place to play early 2/3 Goal draws, so big guys will want to shut down that last space as soon as possible.

With the current rules, the 3 goal chit is invincible at the outside and nearly so next to the outside (only Defense+2 Goal will beat this, and I imagine most would use their 2 Goal elsewhere). This may be overpowered, and with that strategy of holding off for the outside now available, I might be better off keeping it the way it was.

On the other hand, it's nice that Defense combinations don't have to be used to degrade. When you have Defense + 1 Goal, you've got a quandry - do I degrade the other person's 2 Goal, or should I try to score for my own team?

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
PAUL OCONNOR
United States
Encinitas
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Does your variant permit for multiple goals to be played on two or three teams in a single turn? That is a feature of the game that I value. I would also miss the granularity and impact of separate foul and offsides cards.

I also think that eliminating the feature that allows better rated teams (by color) so get more goals out of a card than lesser sides reduces an already minimal simulation value that much further.

I see how eliminating the cards might streamline play -- but what about the useability factor of holding cards in my hand rather than having a set of chits that I (presumably) place face-down to conceal from my opponents?

I enjoy the game as-is and wouldn't play this variant. But good luck with finding a way to enjoy the game.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
PAUL OCONNOR
United States
Encinitas
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
sightreader wrote:
With the current rules, the 3 goal chit is invincible at the outside


A 3 goal tile on the outside can still be reduced in the usual fashion -- you just replace it on that final spot with a lower goal value.

In practice, because these chits usually hit the track near the end of the round, there is less time to reduce them ... but the chit isn't "safe" by virtue of being on the last space.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Drew Heath
United States
Galesburg
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm very curious as to your motivations? You're trying to simplify an already very simple game...
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sight Reader
United States
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Howdy! Once again, thanks for the feedback!
goldenboat wrote:
Does your variant permit for multiple goals to be played on two or three teams in a single turn?

Nope, not at the moment. It shouldn't be too hard to cram this feature back in there, but at the moment I wanted to start with simplicity above all.

goldenboat wrote:
I also think that eliminating the feature that allows better rated teams (by color) so get more goals out of a card than lesser sides reduces an already minimal simulation value that much further.

I'm sure realism is badly hurt, but since I don't know that much about soccer, I can't say. What I can say is that my non-gamer friends expressed a great deal of frustration over how thoroughly hopeless the chances of the weaker teams seemed to be.

goldenboat wrote:
I see how eliminating the cards might streamline play -- but what about the useability factor of holding cards in my hand rather than having a set of chits that I (presumably) place face-down to conceal from my opponents?

I don't have any idea how this will play out. However, in my play test, it was trivial to remember what was in the 2 or 3 "hands" I was playing. The fact chits have no text makes things a lot easier: you don't have constantly peek at what you have to re-read stuff, as you do with the cards.

Once again, thanks for your experienced feedback!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sight Reader
United States
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Howdy Howdy!
Shad wrote:
I'm very curious as to your motivations? You're trying to simplify an already very simple game...

I guess I should probably repost the session report of our last game. We've had 2 sessions of this, both of which were unsuccessful. Questions about the party and session management should probably be referred back to the original thread:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/320117

Thanks for your inquiry!

-----

I pulled out The World Cup Game with a group of friends who had displyed more toleration for rules than other non-gamer friends. Hoping to learn from last time, I tried to introduce the components gradually, hiding the board until the last. In my previous attempt, simply seeing the jumbled board was enough to make most of the non-gamers leave the game.

I introduced the rules using a boardless sample match, just to show how the cards work. The combination of cards and tiny chits with pretty much the same information adds a lot of clutter that hurts the game's pace and makes it more difficult to explain. Non-gamers suffer a wargame-like glaze when impacted by zillions of chits.
 

My efforts at improving my presentation were nearly in vain, as I once again heard collective groans when I pulled out the board. The sight of all those flags and jumbled colors forced us to abandon our last attempt at this game, and it nearly had the same effect this time. Here I benefitted from a more patient set of gamers, and I was able to coax them into going through with the game.

A lot of players complained loudly about a handful of ATTACKs until I demonstrated how to use them to deny goals to enemies. Things started to get a little more fun until they realized that powerful multi-goal cards couldn't be used for weaker teams. At that point, it became evident that the game was severely tilted towards the stronger teams.

Overall, opinions were not particularly enthusiastic. The convoluted mechanics and insistence in near historical results hurt it badly, and there was little suspense in the outcome.

I have not totally given up on this game, and am considering restructuring it to streamline it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sight Reader
United States
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
goldenboat wrote:
sightreader wrote:
With the current rules, the 3 goal chit is invincible at the outside


A 3 goal tile on the outside can still be reduced in the usual fashion -- you just replace it on that final spot with a lower goal value.

Oh, my bad... sorry for not being clear. I was referring to my current rules, rather than the official rules. The experimental rules currently say there needs to be room to play your replacement chits, unlike the official rules.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Drew Heath
United States
Galesburg
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yeah, I read that session report and was left rather speechless by the failure. I'm not one to cast aspersions, but this is a damn simple game. Either your friends are War caliber thinkers or something went dreadfully wrong with your explanation... even people who detest soccer should be able to grasp the very basic mechanics within 2 card drops...

Good luck with your efforts, but I don't think they're worth it. To me your hard work seems analogous to trying to simplify a computer mouse. If they can't handle point & click, they probably just shouldn't be using a computer...?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sight Reader
United States
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Shad wrote:
Good luck with your efforts, but I don't think they're worth it. To me your hard work seems analogous to trying to simplify a computer mouse. If they can't handle point & click, they probably just shouldn't be using a computer...?

I dunno. I'm a bit mystified myself. This same group has Pacific Typhoon and Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game as its current favorites, and I would consider both to be considerably more complex.

What I most have to go on is their body language as I introduce each component of the game. Neither of our favorites have a display quite like the board of The World Cup Game, which looks like a flow chart on steroids. No matter how I try to cushion it, opening that board requires that I frantically talk people down from quitting right away.

The other thing that gets a lot of bad body language is the second I start digging around for chips after playing a card. I don't exactly know why, but something about that step is very irritating to non-gamers. I don't know if the reaction is to complexity or to a general sense of tedium.

Finally, the generally slow pace of the game seemed to be out of proportion to the decisions being made.

With all this being true, I totally avoid the subject of the dice until there's no choice but to mention them, hoping they'll play enough to get comfortable before having to deal with them.

What's interesting is that I rarely get questions: very little of what I describe appears to be confusing. What seems to exasperate them is watching me go digging for one component after another in seemingly endless succession (Cards, now find the right Chit, now find the right Soccer Balls, now find the right Flags, now find your place on the Board...)

As far as actual play is concerned, there are 3 interacting components (cards, chits and board), so my hope is that eliminating the cards might streamline the number of steps per move until the game becomes a fast enough to hold interest. Besides, after all the trouble of finding it and mail ordering it, I'm not about to give up on my investment easily.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Drew Heath
United States
Galesburg
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The only thing I can come up with based upon your last post is that you're mismanaging the components.

Before you play, and even before they sit down to the table, you should have:

-all the flags necessary for the year you'll play picked out and set aside
-all the Attack chits in a cup or small bowl
-all the Defense chits in a cup or small bowl
-all the Goal chits in a cup or small bowl (perhaps even subdivide these by goal number, seeing as how your group seems pretty damn picky)

Personally, my group doesn't use the plastic soccer balls at all, and we only use 1 flag per country - we draw randomly and then just hold onto them, they don't need to be on the board for the smaller tournaments and just clutter things up.

You might also consider giving each player a very short, simple turn option sheet:

Attacks - worth 1/2 goal each
Defense - protects inside chits, flips attack
Goal - worth X goals
etc.

It really is a VERY simple game.

If the board is stressing them out and you're doing one of the short tournaments, just fold under or cover the other side of the board to prevent them from fixating on it.

Honestly, anyone who whines when a board is brought out isn't worth the time to explain the rules in my opinion.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sight Reader
United States
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Shad wrote:
Before you play, and even before they sit down to the table, you should have:

-all the flags necessary for the year you'll play picked out and set aside
-all the Attack chits in a cup or small bowl
-all the Defense chits in a cup or small bowl
-all the Goal chits in a cup or small bowl (perhaps even subdivide these by goal number, seeing as how your group seems pretty damn picky)

Yes, this is something of the learning curve for me. I didn't realize how superfluous the soccer balls were until we'd gone through a couple of plays. I'm probably not the only one who slavishly follows the rulebook on their first time through, figuring "designer knows best".

I have the chits separated into different plastic bags as opposed to different bowls. The whole bowl thing never occurred to me.

The flag thing caught me by surprise, as I had originally expected to do 2002 but we ended up doing Uruguay instead. Hard to say how much of an effect this hiccup had on the presentation. I don't know how many more chances I'll have to pull this one out, as I'm running out of friends to introduce this to who aren't disillusioned by it.

Shad wrote:
Honestly, anyone who whines when a board is brought out isn't worth the time to explain the rules in my opinion.

Yes, that still sorta is a head scratcher for me, especially folks who are so tolerant about all the card info in Pacific Typhoon and zillions of components in Last Night on Earth. No other game I've brought out has created a reaction to the board like World Cup.
Shad wrote:
It really is a VERY simple game.

Yes, at least getting them to admit that was a small victory for me, but by that point they were complaining about the impossibility of victories by the underdog teams. I guess it didn't help that I won 2 of the 4 groups and had a semifinal all to myself...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Sauberer
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This may just be a game that doesn't fit well with your group's preferences.

As detailed in the previous post, you could manage the components better, having the setup pieces prepared beforehand. During play, having the chits separated will speed things up. I have two small plastic compartmentalized containers that I split the chits into. Each half of the table has a container with everything separated.

Even doing that, though, will not solve two other things. First is the aversion to the board. That is just not going away.

Second is your pace of play. From your mention of that as a problem, I get the impression that everyone was waiting until their turn came around to reevaluate the game state and making their decisions as to what to do. This is one of those games where, in order to have play flow easily, players should pay at least a little bit of attention to what they are going to do and be ready to go when their turn comes around. If everyone is having more fun chatting and socializing and paying no attention to the game until their turn comes around, it will drag. We once played with 9 people and one of the players did not pay any attention to what was happening until it was his turn. He took as long to play a card as everyone else combined. It doesn't take a lot of attention, since you only have 3 cards to choose from, but you do need to remain a little aware of what is happening, particularly if you are controlling multiple teams.

There is nothing wrong with your group if their preferences don't mesh with this, or any other, particular game. It just sounds like you may be trying to fit a square peg in a round hole no matter what you do, especially with the inherent resistance to the board.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Drew Heath
United States
Galesburg
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
We could just have them disappeared... I know this guy in Durango...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sight Reader
United States
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Before I start, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for being so patient with me... I know it's aggravating to talk with a brick wall like myself, but - believe it or not - I am actually interested in your feedback.
Psauberer wrote:
As detailed in the previous post, you could manage the components better, having the setup pieces prepared beforehand.

Of that, I have no doubt. Since I don't have experience with this game, the first few times are necessarily rough - the problem is, I may not get another try.

Psauberer wrote:
This is one of those games where, in order to have play flow easily, players should pay at least a little bit of attention to what they are going to do and be ready to go when their turn comes around. If everyone is having more fun chatting and socializing and paying no attention to the game until their turn comes around, it will drag.

We didn't have any problem with analysis paralysis and the group was quite studious and quiet. Most of the problems were in raw mechanics: "Where are the Attack Chits? Can someone give me one?", "I need another card... can you reach the deck for me?" and so forth. There was a general sense of being cramped and fearful of knocking things over that grated on everyone's nerves.

Since it was a quiet group, then most of their downtime was spent getting aggravated that their card draw can't stop what's happening. I think frustration manifested itself as grumblings about getting stuck with a hand full of Attack cards or whatever. I also get the feeling (yet unconfirmed) that people couldn't find enough to think about during their downtime.

I personally didn't have any problem with this: I'm sure lucky draws had something to do with it, but I found a lot of subtleties in delaying tactics and distracting the efforts of my enemies by contributing to other conflicts. When I explained how I used the "useless" Defense and Attack cards to clog up an enemy, there was a general, "Ahhhh" that indicates to me that many were considering anything short of big goals and big fouls as a bad draw. Indeed, if you can't work the subtleties of delaying tactics or setting enemies upon you, then there really isn't much to think about.

Next time, I may not actually play myself, but rather roam the room and help people figure out how to use their hands... I just hope there is a next time, because it was a lot of work to acquire this game!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sight Reader
United States
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Shad wrote:
We could just have them disappeared... I know this guy in Durango...

You know a guy in Durango? You have my sympathies...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Drew Heath
United States
Galesburg
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Friend of a cousin's ex-boyfriend, has a mohawk, probably would be willing to convince your friends to play again for a few bucks devil

Playing the game master might indeed be a better approach. OR, try playing 1930 with only 2 or 3 people and supervising them - this gives them more teams to worry about and more chances to actually make plays. If you can convince 2 other people that it's a game worth playing that would build the overall rep of the game within your group.

Perhaps trying to play with so many new players at once was the real root of the problem - all other issues aside?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Drew Heath
United States
Galesburg
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I should add:

I love this game, and on my Chinese income it was a really big deal to buy it and expansion 2 and have them shipped over here - so I can totally sympathize with your desire to get your friends hooked on this game, thereby getting more plays in and getting your money's worth...

which is why I'm sticking it out with you and trying to explore all options! thumbsup
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Sauberer
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
sightreader wrote:
We didn't have any problem with analysis paralysis and the group was quite studious and quiet. Most of the problems were in raw mechanics: "Where are the Attack Chits? Can someone give me one?", "I need another card... can you reach the deck for me?" and so forth. There was a general sense of being cramped and fearful of knocking things over that grated on everyone's nerves.


This is defintiely something that can be cured with better setup. In addition to having the chits separated in two containers as I mentioned before, we also split the deck in two piles, putting one pile on each end of the table. This means no reaching over things, until possibly the end of the round when we will just pass cards to whoever needs them.

Quote:
Since it was a quiet group, then most of their downtime was spent getting aggravated that their card draw can't stop what's happening. I think frustration manifested itself as grumblings about getting stuck with a hand full of Attack cards or whatever. I also get the feeling (yet unconfirmed) that people couldn't find enough to think about during their downtime.

I personally didn't have any problem with this: I'm sure lucky draws had something to do with it, but I found a lot of subtleties in delaying tactics and distracting the efforts of my enemies by contributing to other conflicts. When I explained how I used the "useless" Defense and Attack cards to clog up an enemy, there was a general, "Ahhhh" that indicates to me that many were considering anything short of big goals and big fouls as a bad draw. Indeed, if you can't work the subtleties of delaying tactics or setting enemies upon you, then there really isn't much to think about.


Maybe you need to add a little strategy primer to your explanation. The purpose of the game is to win the World Cup. Only one team can do that. You have to position yourself in the best possible way to do that. Sometimes that means sacrificing one or more of your teams to get your best seeded team to advance. Sometimes it means looking at your potential opponents in the next round and trying to sabotage their matches to make your path forward easier. You can play both offensively and defensively and you have to figure out what is the best path given your hand of cards and the current situation.

Quote:
Next time, I may not actually play myself, but rather roam the room and help people figure out how to use their hands... I just hope there is a next time, because it was a lot of work to acquire this game!


Maybe you could convince them by admitting that you did not do the best job of showing off the game. Try to make the fault that it didn't go over yours and not the game's. Explain that you have been researching things about the game and have solved the component issues and taken the time to get the setup better. Also mention that you have read some articles about how the game works and the straegies involved. Maybe they will go ahead and give it another try so that you won't have wasted the effort you put into it.

Good luck.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sight Reader
United States
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Shad wrote:
Friend of a cousin's ex-boyfriend, has a mohawk, probably would be willing to convince your friends to play again for a few bucks devil

Yep, definitely from Durango.
Shad wrote:
Perhaps trying to play with so many new players at once was the real root of the problem - all other issues aside?

Yeah, I might try the "test group" approach. Keep in mind, though, that my primary motivation for buying this one was to get something for huge numbers of players that's not brain dead...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sight Reader
United States
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Psauberer wrote:
This is defintiely something that can be cured with better setup. In addition to having the chits separated in two containers as I mentioned before, we also split the deck in two piles, putting one pile on each end of the table. This means no reaching over things, until possibly the end of the round when we will just pass cards to whoever needs them.

Having multiple piles might work, but the table was pretty cluttered with components already - as you can see, the board barely fits on the table, and the table barely fits in the room (note how squished up everyone is to the table).
I might eliminate the soccer balls entirely, and, as described above, eliminate the cards as well.
Psauberer wrote:
Maybe you need to add a little strategy primer to your explanation.

Yes, this is generally what I do in all of my games. In this case, however, I couldn't do it because I was just discovering the strategy myself. One of the pitfalls of starting a new game...
Psauberer wrote:
Maybe you could convince them by admitting that you did not do the best job of showing off the game.

Yep, that's how I convinced them to try this one, since the first time I brought this game out I didn't even get to finish the rules. It took a long time to build a group that didn't have anyone from that first experience.

My apologies, by the way, for being something of a brick wall on suggestions, but obstructionism is a frequent symptom of frustration. I do appreciate your suggestions greatly... I'm just grumpy about the whole thing at the moment...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Drew Heath
United States
Galesburg
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's been over 2 weeks, tried it again yet?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sight Reader
United States
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Shad wrote:
It's been over 2 weeks, tried it again yet?

Sigh, yeah... it didn't work out so well. For some reason this game is just hard for people to wrap their brains around. I don't know what it is... I think it's just the general feeling of "clutter" that people are reacting to. Oh well... I guess it goes over to the also-ran shelf...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.