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Subject: Superhawk’s two-player variant for TotAN rss

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Jamey Philipp
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Superhawk’s two-player variant for TotAN.

Part of TotAN is cycling through the encounter deck to alter the state of the day (morning, noon, night) which influences which encounters are played. Also there are certain circumstances where it is helpful to encounter a fellow player. The problem with a 2-player game is both using enough cards to cycle the deck (and thus the time of day) and encountering another player can be difficult. Hopefully this ghost player variant helps. I see this as a living document which I will add to as I rack up plays and I see opportunity for improvement.

1.Both players agree on one additional character they will share their adventures with. Each player then picks 3 skills the ghost player character (GPC) will start with.

2.Each turn this ghost player will take a turn by having an encounter card drawn for it.

3.If the encounter card is a city card, move the GPC to that city where it will have an encounter. If the card drawn is any other type of card the GPC stays where it is currently located and its turn ends.

4.If the GPC was moved to a city then he has an encounter by rolling the destiny die. If the roll is a "+" than the GPC will gain a skill, if the roll is a "-"then the GPC will lose a skill, if the roll is a blank the GPC’s turn is over.

5.If the GPC gains or loses a skill each player rolls a die. The person rolling the higher number chooses which skill to add or to subtract from the GPC and then the GPC’s turn is over.

6.If the GPC loses all of his skills then he has succumbed to the perils of his adventures and he is removed from the board. Put one of the GPC’s destination markers on the board where he met his demise and the first player to visit the space may draw one treasure card.

7.If the GPC gain all of the skills in the game then he has amassed so much fame and wealth that he retires from adventuring and his character settles down in the city where he acquired his final skill. He is still in the game but he will never move from this city. Bring something nice if you decide to visit as a player can learn any skill by visiting this city and discarding one treasure card.
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Tristan Hall
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Re: ]Superhawk’s two-player variant for TotAN
This sounds like a right ball-ache. Is it really that awful to play with only 2 players?
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Jamey Philipp
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Is is not awful with two players, but we won't play with only 2 characters on the board again. With two players we never got to cycle the cards to change the time of day, which means we only used "morning" encounters. That leaves 2/3rds of them untouched without chance to use them. And I thought our game ran long. I had enough point to "win" much earlier than i actual did and if that happened even less of the deck would have been used.

This variant isn't that bad. basically is simulates a 3rd (or 4th, or 3rd AND 4th) player without having to waste the encounters while doing it.

I had a curse in one game that to get rid of I needed to be on the same space as a different player and give them a treasure (and they had to have a particular skill for it to work). With two players it just was not going to happen. The ghost player should allow some strategy (abiet slight, which fits the game well) as to which skills to pick to gain or lose.

And it won't add nearly the time as adding an actual 3rd or 4th player would (as you are not really doing encounters for the ghosts).
 
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Rob Corn
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What about changing the time of day trigger? Maybe based on destiny or story points (or both). Like "when you reach 5 destiny points, advance the time mark, advance again at 10".
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Jamey Philipp
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Something like that would work as well, but we would forget to do it most likely. I guess would could put something on the tracks to remoind us. That won't address the lack of possibility for player interaction though.

If it seems the variant is a lot of work, do not dispair. I am always over-thourough to head of questions.

It basically boils down to this extra stuff once each turn: Draw a card and if it is not a city card, thats it - the turn is over. If it is a city card just move the pawn to that city and roll the die. If you add or subtract a skill roll a die to see who gets to make the choice. Thats it. It took way longer to write this one paragraph than to do the extra work.

So in real time:

- Draw card - move pawn - roll die - roll dice - add skill chit
Seriously about 30 seconds, tops.

And the whole point of the game is to use your imagination to "get into" the story. The extra character collecting skills and traveling about adds to the "feel" quite a bit, as well as game functionality. Good value for the 30 second spent I think.

It might be worth saying that is the time it takes to add the extra character bothers you, you might not like the game in the first place and the whole experinece that game is about might seem like a PitA to you then.


Edit: contected change for clarity sake.

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Sam I am
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How about just drawing and dicarding a set number (or die rolls) of cards at the end of every turn. I has to be less of a PitA. No real need to resolve them IMO.

Nothindg has to be harder than you want to make it!
 
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Tristan Hall
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Haggis wrote:
What about changing the time of day trigger? Maybe based on destiny or story points (or both). Like "when you reach 5 destiny points, advance the time mark, advance again at 10".


Yeah, I've never played it so forgive my ignorance and please don't take this the wrong way, but maybe you could explain why you can't change the trigger or just start the next game at night or something? Having to run an NPC just to shake up the encounters sounds like a real annoyance.
 
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Jamey Philipp
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ninjadorg wrote:
Haggis wrote:
What about changing the time of day trigger? Maybe based on destiny or story points (or both). Like "when you reach 5 destiny points, advance the time mark, advance again at 10".


Yeah, I've never played it so forgive my ignorance and please don't take this the wrong way, but maybe you could explain why you can't change the trigger or just start the next game at night or something? Having to run an NPC just to shake up the encounters sounds like a real annoyance.


No offense taken!

I just edited my pervious post to be more clear when you were posting this but basically you could just pick different times like you suggest, but the additonal pawn moving about will provide a chance for some interaction where as only one other player on the map makes this pretty tough. And seeing as you will get into situation where you need some character interaction to advance that can make the game drag as you try to play "tag" with the other player who is trying to avoid you. Nothing is more of a ballache than getting assigned something to do that is impossible to do in a game like this.THAT was annoying.

So there is a good chace the "NPC" (hard to really call the added pawn that) will make the game shorter, not longer and will certainly make completing some goals more fitting to how the game intended, I think.

This game is not about "winning" or even really "doing anything". It is about casually sharing an adventure with people and enjoyingthe flavor of what happens. The variant tries to add to this while adding some functionality you cannot get with two players, at minumum time expense. If this seems like it would bother you, the whole game may bother you and I'd really do some research before buying it then.

Good Luck!
 
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Alan Goodrich
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ninjadorg wrote:
Haggis wrote:
What about changing the time of day trigger? Maybe based on destiny or story points (or both). Like "when you reach 5 destiny points, advance the time mark, advance again at 10".


Yeah, I've never played it so forgive my ignorance and please don't take this the wrong way, but maybe you could explain why you can't change the trigger or just start the next game at night or something? Having to run an NPC just to shake up the encounters sounds like a real annoyance.


I've never played TotAN (waiting on my pre-order), but I can't imagine the OP's variant is that much work. I'm not a fan of non-existent (scripted) players, but we use one to play 2 player Primordial Soup, and it works quite well, with a lot more work than the OP is proposing here. I mean, really, it is just flipping a card, rolling a dice. Not a biggie.

That said, I think I'll go with the trigger idea if we find our play needs variety. Seems much easier, and we don't necessarily care about extensive player interaction (doesn't seem like many play this with 4 or more much anyway).
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Evgeni Liakhovich
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Please also forgive my ignorance as I haven't played the game yet, just really anxious about it. You talk about improving player interaction, but how does it improve if you meet an NPC? I am really curious to see a variant that improves a chance of two live players meeting. Knowing the rules and having played the game, do you think it could be done?
 
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Jamey Philipp
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Glad8r wrote:
Please also forgive my ignorance as I haven't played the game yet, just really anxious about it. You talk about improving player interaction, but how does it improve if you meet an NPC? I am really curious to see a variant that improves a chance of two live players meeting. Knowing the rules and having played the game, do you think it could be done?


Player "interaction" is nohting more than ending your turn where another player is. Sometimes you have to end your turn the same spot as a plyer with a certain possession or skill and perhaps discard something. The word "interaction" is misleading.

BUT - sometimes it is really necessary to do this as it is what fullfills a quest or condition. With only one other player it can be literly impossible to do. If that is your quest - too bad.

With the limited interaction the game seeks the NPC could fullfill the same requirements as a human player could.

I have a feeling there is going to be a lot if dissapointed folks in this one.
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Chris
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I have (unfortunately) played a 4 player game and still didn't go through the entire deck. Set it so that when someone hits 8 story points you switch (like the grief stricken card which is almost always out). Or even each time you play change the time of day. Just throw in a mix. I can understand the player interaction as it gives you a chance to make someone else grief stricken or get rid of the wounded card for DP's instead of just missing a turn (Don't see the benefit of giving a player DP's to heal you when you can just skip a turn). I have not seen anyone go out of their way to end their turn with another player in their spot. The player interaction is in the matrix / tales book not on the board. This is a 2 or 3 player game (I want to see a group suffer through the 6 player version shake ). I don't see any problem with placing a marker of an unused character on a SP or DP spot and just switching the Time of Day Marker remember when you draw cards for a ghost player you are also missing those adventures so you are kind of defeating the purpose of your variant. You're not seeing some adventures (just like when you flip a card and don't do the midday adventure).

Just my two cents.
 
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Teague Webb
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When we play with less than 5 we simply divide the encounter deck in thirds and change the time of day when we get through each of them. We've also divided it in half for 4-5 players, just to make sure we get into night.

I see what the OP means about the "interaction", and it never occurred to us in the one 2-player game we played. I don't think we had a situation arise where it would be helpful to meet other PCs, but those have come up occasionally in the games with more players. My concern with the OPs ghost player is the idea of moving the NPC to a city when a city card is drawn. A PC could spend several turns moving toward the NPC only to have it whisked away across the board. Yes, this could happen in a game with more players through encounters, but not nearly as often as city cards are drawn.

By the way, we play with 4-6 and we don't "suffer". It really needs the right group, though, for sure.
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Chris
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teaguewebb wrote:

By the way, we play with 4-6 and we don't "suffer". It really needs the right group, though, for sure.


The downtime would be insane. Do you speed read the stories?
I know a 4 player isn't horrible but a 6 player. Man talk about a Loooooooooong game.

teaguewebb wrote:
When we play with less than 5 we simply divide the encounter deck in thirds and change the time of day when we get through each of them. We've also divided it in half for 4-5 players, just to make sure we get into night.


GREAT IDEA!! Your my new hero of the week!
 
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Teague Webb
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lordunborn wrote:
teaguewebb wrote:

By the way, we play with 4-6 and we don't "suffer". It really needs the right group, though, for sure.


The downtime would be insane. Do you speed read the stories?
I know a 4 player isn't horrible but a 6 player. Man talk about a Loooooooooong game.


We read everything aloud, so everyone gets to experience each others' story and we don't feel like there's any down time. Like I said, it needs the right group.

lordunborn wrote:
teaguewebb wrote:
When we play with less than 5 we simply divide the encounter deck in thirds and change the time of day when we get through each of them. We've also divided it in half for 4-5 players, just to make sure we get into night.


GREAT IDEA!! Your my new hero of the week!


Happy to be of service. cool
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Matt
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Would it be a terrible idea to just start the game with the noon or night counter active?
 
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Teague Webb
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madhatter wrote:
Would it be a terrible idea to just start the game with the noon or night counter active?


I don't think it's a bad idea at all, especially if you're playing with folks who've played before and haven't seen very many of those. You could even have the counter roll over from night to morning, rather than repeating the nights, if you get through them. Or not.

For what it's worth, we played with 4 last night, splitting the deck into thirds, and still only got a little way into the noon part. I think I will actually bounce your idea off them next time. Maybe we'll still split the deck in 3, but start with noon or even night. Thanks for helping with the brainstorming!
 
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Pdclose (Diane Close) had a brilliant idea in another thread. Throw the +/- die when drawing an encounter:

- = morning
blank = noon
+ = night

I think this is the way I'll play from now on. Unless the designer didn't want many night encounters, this should be perfect.
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