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Subject: Board shape and initial positions rss

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I was just curious if anyone had experimented with different board shape designs and/or starting positions for the pawns to encourage different strategies. My copy is on the way but I'm wondering if anyone had tried anything different yet.
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Valentijn Eekels
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In a possible 'expansion', maybe free expansion, we divide the board in 5 regions. 4 of 9 tiles of 3 by 3 and the '2 bridges in between' of 2 by 2. The sections of 9 tiles are 'Seasons', Summer/Fall/Winter/Spring. The player that controls more than 50% (at least 5) tiles in an area like this has an unlimited ability, like travelling but something else that fits with the Seasons. This changes the game completely because certain tiles become more important than the other. It's interesting to maybe make a whole new shape for this idea.

Also, we have tested many (possibly expansion- or online-) cards that changes the importance of certain tiles (like the state gets changed with crystallize and mystify). It doesn't change the shape, but does change the board.

Hope you'll enjoy the game when you receive it!
 
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Ender Wiggins
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Variant starting set-up
Interesting suggestion to modify the starting set-up. I find that when players start on opposite sides of the board, the early stages of the game tend to be more passive and solitaire, as you work on building your own Temples. More interaction and competition begins in earnest quite a few turns into the game, and especially later in the game as you contest smaller areas for a second Temple.

In one game, rather than play spells I deliberately used a couple of turns to Travel to my opponent's part of the board. This allowed me to draw lots of cards (giving more choices) and then tamper with his plans and monkey around with and change the tiles on his side of the board. This turned out to be one of the longest but also the most tense and exciting games I've played, with a real see-saw battle in that part of the board, as we kept changing each other's tiles!

For a game with a higher level of interaction from the outset, you could try placing both pawns on adjacent tiles towards the middle of the board. Play-testing might find that it favours either Day or Night, but it seems to me that this would be definitely worth trying as a variant starting set-up that encourages immediate interaction.
 
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I figured that starting across the board would lead to "safe" early movements, but since I haven't tried it yet I don't know how easy it is to mess with someone and whether it's worth it to go across the board. I was also thinking of a board that wouldn't have so much "open space". Maybe after I get a feel for the game I'll try slight variations.
 
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