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Subject: A third alternative to the basic and auction variants rss

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Tor Gjerde
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I belong in the camp that find the luck factor too high in the basic (non-auction) variant of Tikal, but that the auction variant takes away far too much of the flavour of the game, as the auctions feel like a metagame that has nothing to do with exploring and digging.

My variant is an intermediate solution, preserving the thematic feel of the basic version, while offering the players more choices and reducing the luck factor.

• The first player reveals two tiles, and selects one to play. A marker of some sort is placed on the other.

• Subsequent players reveal one more tile, and selects either this or the one passed by the previous player. A marker is again played on the other tile.

• A tile that has been passed one or more times will hold one or more markers. A player who selects a tile with markers get the same number of bonus action points to spend this round.

• If a volcano with markers is selected, the bonus action points are not spent on the scoring round, but in the following non-scoring round.

• The last player has to select the single remaining tile.

Note that luck is not reduced only by giving the players a choice between two tiles, but also by increasing the value of "bad" tiles until they are worth enough to be picked.

The fact that some players will have more than the normal ten action points will also tend to reduce time spent by players prone to analysis paralysis counting exactly how far each other player will be able to move on their subsequent turns.
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Eric S.
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I like your idea and will try it out. My only thought is that it may encourage AP for those that NEED to max out every turn but then they only have two tiles to point out vs upto four.

Happy Gaming
Eric
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Alfred
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gjerde wrote:
The fact that some players will have more than the normal ten action points will also tend to reduce time spent by players prone to analysis paralysis counting exactly how far each other player will be able to move on their subsequent turns.
I really like your ideas on the subject. I'll remember to implement it the next time we play, but it may be a while though, unfortunately.
I'm not sure about the AP reducing aspect though, it merely shifts towards the possibilities of the next player. I can't say I mind the AP in the game anyway.
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Tor Gjerde
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I agree with both comments in that this variant probably won't reduce AP; after all, the change hardly affects the choices of a player after the tile selection. What I meant by my (hastily added) final paragraph was that a particularly anti-thematic form of overanalysis would be discouraged: checking exactly how many workers each of the other players will be able to move onto a given pyramid in their upcoming turns, in order to find the lowest safe number of guards. As the exact number of action points available for the other players is unknown in advance, a thin "fog of war" masks their exact capabilities from the current player.
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Steve Cox
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Suppose that every time it is a player's turn, he takes the tile with the marker on it, and places a marker on the other tile. If everyone does that every turn, then everyone gets 7 actions per turn. This will change the game a lot.
Perhaps it would be better if the markers represented victory points, not actions?
Or how about this: all of the tiles for the round are turned over at once, as in the auction variant. However, their order is maintained. On his turn, a player can take the first tile for free, or put one of HIS victory points on it, to pass on to the next one, where he can do the same. Anyone taking a tile with VPs on it, gets the VPs. Think Vinci, obviously.
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Alfred
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gjerde wrote:
... What I meant by my (hastily added) final paragraph was that a particularly anti-thematic form of overanalysis would be discouraged: ...
Ah now I understand, it is a subtle difference but I agree.

Steve Cox wrote:
Suppose that every time it is a player's turn, he takes the tile with the marker on it, and places a marker on the other tile. If everyone does that every turn, then everyone gets 7 actions per turn. This will change the game a lot.
It becomes a question of calculating the average AP/turn over a number of typical games and adjusting for that. Maybe the default would have to be 5 instead of 6 AP's? Ermm, the average is nearly 7 AP's: (6-7-7-7-7-7-7...) or with varience (6-6-8-7-N-N-N...), thus (6+T*7)/T where T=number of turns. So, the default start value for available AP's would have to become 5 with 6 AP's for the first turn of the starting player (aka: hand him/her 1 free marker at setup).

Another way to go and having a little extra AP's on average is when the markers represent AP-tokens (APT), to be collected and spent on a turn of choice (upto a max AP per turn?). The APT value needs to be established so that it doesn't affect the game too much as Steve suspected. 1 APT would represent a fraction of an AP of 1/2 or 1/3 or lower.
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Tor Gjerde
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Quote:
Suppose that every time it is a player's turn, he takes the tile with the marker on it, and places a marker on the other tile. If everyone does that every turn, then everyone gets 7 actions per turn. This will change the game a lot.


As the normal number of action points is 10, not 6, the difference is not that significant. On the other hand, the average number of action points will increase by one as you point out. I don't find this a problem, but if you want the average turn to be the same as in the basic game, you just give each player 9 action points plus the number of bonus markers. The reason why I didn't suggent this right away is that I feel that with only 9 action points, it could be too difficult to move to an open tile and establish a camp in one turn.

Quote:
Perhaps it would be better if the markers represented victory points, not actions?


This could work fine as well. However, I think that victory points on average is worth more than action points, and increasingly so for each scoring round that passes, so if your concern is that the bonus for picking a previously passed tile is too valuable, this option would aggravate the problem rather than alleviate it. Also, it would not have the positive side effect of a player not knowing exactly how many workers his opponents are able to move into an already explored area without creating a new and shorter path to it.

Quote:
Or how about this: all of the tiles for the round are turned over at once, as in the auction variant. However, their order is maintained. On his turn, a player can take the first tile for free, or put one of HIS victory points on it, to pass on to the next one, where he can do the same. Anyone taking a tile with VPs on it, gets the VPs. Think Vinci, obviously.


This too could possibly work, but I think I would find that like the auction version, it would detract significantly from the thematic feel of the game (though less so). Also, this means that one player loses one VP and another one gains one from each such exchange, so even though they won't happen as frequently, the effect of each is twice that of the method above.
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Alfred
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gjerde wrote:
As the normal number of action points is 10, not 6, the difference is not that significant. On the other hand, the average number of action points will increase by one as you point out. I don't find this a problem, but if you want the average turn to be the same as in the basic game, you just give each player 9 action points plus the number of bonus markers. The reason why I didn't suggent this right away is that I feel that with only 9 action points, it could be too difficult to move to an open tile and establish a camp in one turn.
Looks like we were typing at the same time. And sure, AP had to be 10 not 6, *duh*, I felt uneasy but couldn't put my finger on it.
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Kevin Bourrillion
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I'm quite thankful you posted this. We tried it tonight and it was easily the best way to play Tikal. Hooray!

We did use 9 APs as the base. You said "with only 9 action points, it could be too difficult to move to an open tile and establish a camp in one turn." But I don't think this is a problem since you're always guaranteed to at least have the *option* of taking a tile that gets you at least 10 APs.
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Tor Gjerde
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kevinb9n wrote:
I'm quite thankful you posted this. We tried it tonight and it was easily the best way to play Tikal. Hooray!

We did use 9 APs as the base. You said "with only 9 action points, it could be too difficult to move to an open tile and establish a camp in one turn." But I don't think this is a problem since you're always guaranteed to at least have the *option* of taking a tile that gets you at least 10 APs.


You're right. Since this is the solution that closest approximates the standard rules, it should be used unless one actually wants to change the (average) number of APs, and not just reduce the luck factor.

I'm less certain about how to handle the special case of the first player. The three options that springs to mind are:

1) First player gets 9 AP

2) First player gets 10 AP

3) The player to the right of the first player places a marker on the tile he judges to be the least good one

I think I would prefer 3, with 2 as second choice.
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