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Subject: Variant Session : Aces Payout Option rss

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Jeremiah Lee
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Note: You'll probably need to know the rules to Magnate to make sense of this report.

My good friend Willow and I have been playing a lot of Magnate, and we love the game as a quick (20-30 min) two player game with plenty of decisions. We're getting to the point that deeper strategy choices are becoming part of play, and we're thinking about ways to possibly improve the game.

One of the things that can be a bit frustrating about Magnate is when you're nearing endgame, and you're only pulling aces or twos from the deck. You feel like you're not getting strong enough cards to effect the balance of the game.

Now, this is to be expected. The aces and twos almost always end up in the discard pile to be recycled in the next run through the deck. They're worth more sold than they are developed, so you tend to find a lot of them in the second cycle through the cards.

Having a hand full of aces, however, can feel like a bit of a letdown near the end of a game where you need only 2 or 3 points to sway one district to your side.

So, here's the variant:
Any time during the game, if you draw an ace, you have the choice of putting it into your hand and playing it with the standard rules, or immediately putting it into the discard pile and drawing a new card. If you discard/draw, anyone that has a property in play that can produce the ace's suit gets -one- of that resource (just one, regardless of the number of properties).

This, we hope, will give players more useable cards in hand near the end of the game. It also has an unintended side effect of shortening the game a bit, as players will sometimes go through two cards on a turn. The draw/discard option could be chosen an odd number of times, and as such, you'll need to remember who was the first player, and make sure that the second player takes the last turn, even if they have to do it with a two card hand.

--

Willow and I played at my kitchen table, as normal, with our single color resource counters, and the little printable resource mat.

The game started out with very few 10s rolled, and we didn't seem to have cards to play that matched our sold resources. I only drew one of the aces, and since it was worth 2 resources sold normally, I didn't choose the discard/draw option.

In the second cycle through the cards more aces found themselves discarded right away, but not all of them (and I consider this a success, I didn't want the discard/draw option to be -so- much better that a player would always choose it). The game seemed to play quite normally, but we had the added bonus of having more higher-ranked cards to sway the game's end.

Willow won, 3-2, in a tightly contested game. We'll certainly give this variant another try, but even if we don't keep playing with this option, we'll keep playing Magnate.
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P.D. Magnus
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Cool. We'll definitely try this.
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Jeremiah Lee
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Let me know how you like it. And say thanks to Cristyn for the game from me. I really enjoy it.
 
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P.D. Magnus
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We tried it. I used the option several times, but she did not. I lost in the end (2 districts to 3) so hastening the end of the game might not have been good for me.

I like the variant. Not only does it avoid the problem of being bogged down with Aces, it gives you a chance to control the tempo of the game. Cristyn comments that someone could use it to make sure that they got the last turn.

We also have another variant which does something to fix the stuck-with-low-cards-at-the-end problem. I'll put it in a separate thread.
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P.D. Magnus
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Jeremiah - I've taken the liberty of adding a version of your variant to the Magnate webpage. When I was typing it up, I did not see any clear reason to require that you have a property that could generate the resource in order to collect it. So I simply wrote that both you and your opponent get one of the resource if you decide to replace the Ace.

In any case, I've included you in the credits.
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Jeremiah Lee
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pmagnus wrote:
I did not see any clear reason to require that you have a property that could generate the resource in order to collect it.
That works, and I think it's actually a bit better. Since it's only one resource, and since the game's balance wants each side to get something, this works.

Thanks for including it.
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I've got another option for getting around the relative uselessness of aces, but it requires a bit of work to put together. See my recent thread on the subject.
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