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Subject: 5 Player Variant Proposal rss

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Mike M
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My group was brainstorming a 5 player variant for this game that yields a similar game to the standard 3 player (about 2 plays per player per feeding). Here is a proposed variant that I am going to try to convince folks to play next week.

Each resource space is used by 2 boats, not 1. Basically player 1 goes in the first circle and player 2 does as well. Players 3 and 4 will go in the next circle and 5 and 1 into the third etc. Each time a boat goes in that circle the resources are doled out. When the last space has two boats that will trigger round end. Exception: only the first boat in the interest circle triggers interest being paid.

Three player round cards, ship food values and food costs per turn are used.

Possibly, though not for sure, we may play with the Harbor Watch as a starting building. We are worried that higher food demands and 4 blocking players may make things a bit tough without it.

Any suggestions?
 
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Mike M
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A followup because I suspect this will be asked: Why double resources per round?

Well 200% resources per round will come out.

But 166% total food cost per round is going to be spent over the normal 3 player amounts. The 5 player cards only have the standard resources coming out but then they charge far less food each round. I sort of view this as the balance: how many resoruces enter the game vs how many leave each round.

We still have a disparity (200% vs 166%) but we have:
- Added blocking and resource/building contention.
- More difficulty planning since 4 players are between you and your next play.
- Though boats are bigger there are less boats per player than in the standard 5 player (since there are less rounds) and thus they will be harder to come by.

So the theory is that this is a wash or at least close as can come without inventing lots more complexity and house rules. I am attempting to create an elegant and simplistic variant. I don't want to reinvent the game with a pile of house rules...I just want to find a way to make 5 players more fun without changing much .
 
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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In a 3-player game you play 18 rounds. With your variant, each round consists of 14 actions (2x7=14) for a total of 18x14=252 actions. Not only is this 50 actions per player and, thus, more than in 1- or 2-player games, but also there are 2 left-over actions (252-5x50=2), i. e. players 1 & 2 get an additional action over all the other players.

Also, with 50 actions per player, heavy shipping becomes the only viable strategy in the game. It's already strong in 2-player with their 49 actions each, but with 5 and 50 actions per player, still only 30 standard buildings (in 2-player there are 15, I know), you will have way too many actions towards the end. With the Harbour Watch in play, people will constantly ship goods for a boring last third of the game.

Interesting idea, however, screwed.
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Mike M
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The 2 extra actions for player 1 and 2 are bad, yes. Not sure how to solve those.

I don't necessarily see the 50 actions as bad since the 3 player food costs normal give 42 actions and you are dealing with twice as much blocking and more difficultly getting ships (thus more wasted actions getting food and more actions doing inefficient things because what you wanted is blocked).

Perhaps no starting Harbor Watch would be better then. Shipping would then be a risky strategy as blocking would be a major concern. I feel shipping is so strong in 2 player not only because of action count but also because getting into the shipping lane is easy.
 
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