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Subject: Experimental blind information variant rss

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Jordan Booth
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Warning: This variant vastly changes the game making it almost completely luck-based. It is still fun, but only if you play as a learning experience and don't get too obsessed with winning. DO(N'T) TRY THIS AT HOME!

So now that my group has played about 10 games we are interested to play a variant where all of the trade tokens are left face-down so as to better model the discovery of new worlds theme that some people have said is not present enough. But really just more luck based and sadistic. (cards are still public knowledge; "Rumor is there's gold in this 'America' land.")

So we have a few versions explore. For this game we'll start with completely blind, that is no one sees any of the tokens until someone takes them. Other versions could be any combination of the following:
-Europe starts face-up.
-When you ship to a region you can peek at a city in the region.
-When you ship you can peek at the next token on the track.
-After the shipping track is full all cities in that region flip.
-(other suggestions?)

The players:(this is turn order too)
Red(Jeremy): has played about 5 times and is good at sneaking up from behind FTW.
Green(Jordan): I've played about 7 times.
Purple(Ben): This is his first game, but he's a seasoned gamer and picked up the rules very quickly and was finishing explanations as they were explained.
Black(Brendan/Lexx): has played once(in my first game).
White(Brandon): has played once(also in my first game).

So let's get to it:

Turn 1:
Red took Workshop.
Green took Shipyard.
Purple took Workshop.
Black took Shipyard.
White (who said he's going to RP the white man abolishing slavery) took Market.

Red started by occupying Constantinople because it has three connections, he gained a politics.
Green shipped to South America and found an attack token(Woot!).
Purple occupied the Baltic city and found a ship/draw token.
Black occupied Britain and got a finance.
White occupied Vienna gaining an occupy/draw token.
Purple used his token to draw Slavery(0) for two industry.
White used his token to draw Euro/Med(0) for one culture and one finance.

Turn 2:
Green went for another Shipyard.
Purple built Docks.
Black built a Workshop.
White built a Shipyard.
Red built a Guild Hall.

Green occupied Madrid for an industry.
Purple shipped to The Far East and got culture.
Black occupied Paris for politics.
White occupied Cairo for industry.
Red occupied Tripoli for finance.
Green continued the journey to South America and found culture.
White shipped to North America for industry.
Red drew Euro/Med(2) for two culture and a politics.

At this point Red and White trade threats about who gets to abolish slavery.

Turn 3:
Purple built a Workshop.
Black built a Guild Hall.
White built a Barracks (Colony House left occupied)
Red built a Bank.
Green went all in for the last Shipyard. (one Shipyard left occupied)

Purple occupied Lisbon for culture.
Black shipped to Caribbean for culture.
White attacked Constantinople and claimed politics and industry on the connections.
Red occupied Tunis for politics.
Green shipped to South America gaining politics.
Purple Shipped to The Far East gaining politics.
Black shipped to The Caribbean getting industry.
White drew Euro/Med(2) for three politics.
Red Shipped to The Far East and found culture.
Green shipped to South America for a payment token.(Woot!x2)
Green used the payment to free up a shipyard.
Green shipped to South America for a finance (Red Woot!ed at my misfortune of not drawing an industry to get a bank.)

Turn 4:
Black built a Guild Hall. (other Guild Hall left occupied)
White built a Bank. (Colonial House left occupied)
Red built the last Guild Hall.
Green built the last Workshop. (Shipyard left occupied) (Phew--so glad no one took the easy and obvious block of snatching that Workshop.)
Purple built a Bank.

Black shipped to The Caribbean for finance.
White attacked Tripoli to gain industry.
Red shipped to South America for finance giving Green the Governor for three politics.
Green occupied Rio for finance and culture.
Black shipped to The Far East for culture.
Black shipped to The Caribbean for culture.
White drew Euro/Med(3) for one each of industry, culture, finance, and politics.
Red occupied French Guiana for worthless politics.
Green shipped to The Caribbean for culture.
Red shipped to The Caribbean getting an occupy/draw token. The Governor goes to Black for two culture one politics, and one glory.
Green shipped to North America netting a culture.
Red used his token to draw South America(1) for two culture.

Turn 5:
White built a Theater.
Red built a Barracks.
Green needed a Bank. (Shipyard left occupied)
Purple built more Docks.
Black built a Barracks. (Shipyard left occupied) (Brendan had to go play Shadowrun and Lexx took over here, he's played twice before.)

White attacked Paris and gained politics.
Red occupied The Caribbean middle city that gets him a connection, then cursed when he revealed two more politics.
Green occupied Lima for politics.
Purple Shipped to The Far East for culture.
Black occupied the Bahamas for politics.
White drew Euro/Med(4) for five glory.
Red shipped to North America and got yet more politics.
Green shipped to North America for culture.
Purple shipped to The Far East for culture.
Black drew Slavery(1) for two finance.
White shipped to North America and found a crucial occupy/draw token. (he's over his hand limit)
Red shipped to North America for finance.
Green ships to North America for a finance, netting the Governor for two politics and a finance. (Red kicked himself for not noticing I had another ship action available.)
White spent a draw token to Abolish Slavery; Euro/Med(5) for three culture and three glory.(then discarded Euro/Med(0) and Euro/Med(3) losing one industry, one politics, two culture, and two finance.)
Green used a token to attack The Bahamas netting a politics.


Turn 6:
Red built a Market.
Green built a Market.(Shipyard left occupied)
Purple built a Fortress.
Black built a Market.(Guild Hall and Shipyard left occupied)
White built a Docks. (One Barracks left occupied)

Red occupied New Orleans for two culture (connection to Tunis).
Green occupied the lower Caribbean city for two politics (connection to Rio).
Purple shipped to The Far East for industry.
Black drew The Caribbean(1) for two politics.
White occupied New York and gained a politics.
Red Attacked Lisbon to gain industry.
Green shipped to The Far East finding some necessary(and rare) industry, giving Purple the Governor for two industry, one culture, and one glory.
Purple occupied Singapore for politics and industry on the connection.
Black shipped to The Far East for presence.
White occupied Montreal getting finance and culture.
Red drew South America(2) for three culture.
Green drew South America(3) for four culture.
Purple occupied Beijing for industry.
Black immediately attacked Beijing.
White shipped to India for politics.
Red drew North America(1) for two industry.
Green shipped to India getting a lucky finance.
Purple occupied New Guinea (out of spite for Black) finding an occupy/draw token.
White drew North America(2) for three finance.
Red drew North America(3) for two finance, two culture.
Purple spent a token to draw Far East(1) for one industry, and one finance.

Turn 7:
Green built the last Market. (Shipyard left occupied)
Purple built the Exchange. (Colonial house left occupied)
Black can only take the last Barracks. (a Guild Hall, a Market, and a Shipyard left occupied)
White built a Fortress. (A Colonial House and a Shipyard left occupied)
Red built a Cartographer. (a Market and a Barracks left occupied)

Green occupied Japan.
Purple shipped to India for culture.
Black attacked New Guinea to gain finance.
White attacked Britain to gain culture.
Red double shipped to Africa for industry and finance.
Green drew South America(4) for three finance, two glory.
Purple shipped to India for politics.
Black drew Far East(2) for two industry, and a finance.
White used Docks to ship to The Far East so he can occupy Hong Kong and get politics and culture.
Red shipped to Africa for culture.
Green drew South America(5) for three finance, and three glory.
Purple used his exchange to pay the Dockworkers.
Black attacked Paris breaking White's world-spanning connections, unfortunately..
White attacked and took it right back(he now has an unbroken line from Hong Kong through Europe to North America and back to UK--WOW!)
Red shipped to Africa for finance.
Purple shipped to Africa for industry.
Purple attacked Paris to siphon three points because White thwarted him from teching up industry with Slavery cards (and we all really wanted him to).

India was hiding all the rest of the action tokens: one payment, one attack, and most of the ship/draw, D'oh!

Final scores:

Black: 18
Purple: 31
Red: 42
White: 47
Green: 57

Impressions: (written by the players themselves)

Black(written by Jordan because actual players abandoned the game): Black was kinda hosed due to not being able to get the Bank that he needed, and small population due to their attacking strategy. Also, of course, in any game a player will suffer when they have to have someone else replace them in the middle without explaining what they were trying to do. Black was basically flailing the whole game, not very fun. Which is probably why he did so much random cutting.

Purple(Ben): My first game. Very enjoyable, and, it seemed to me, the blind variant is friendly to newer players, since it keeps experienced players from running efficient engines out of the box. Random, but fun.

Red(Jeremy): Red here. While I found this to be very much a different game and fun, I think the original rules are more fun. I really enjoy the planning phase, and anticipating opponents and found that limited when no one knows what's coming. I am looking forward to the limited information variant; I think that'll be more like poker as different people will have different information.

White(Brandon): This game variant should definitely be entitled "Top Decking." You have no idea what's coming your way from the board tokens and it made it really hard to get the resources you needed and make a solid strategy.

Green(me): HOT DOG! This is actually my very first win. I was following a strategy I saw Tom Lehmann talk about because I noticed that IMHO The Americas have the best draw decks and knew with the tokens being random that it would be even more about the cards. But even though I had a fairly solid strategy, I still got incredibly lucky with my token draws (two of them giving crucial and timely tier increases) though I probably should have saved the payment token until the end to draw more high-rank cards. also the third Shipyard turned out to be a waste, I should have taken a Workshop turn 3. Red was also incredibly unlucky with all the politics and few draw actions. I'm kinda surprised that anyone was able to get a 5-brick building (I still have yet to build one in any of my games) because industry was the rarest type of token found. I also noticed a lot less checking between players of available actions, especially during planning phases because without being able to see what the next available tokens will be people can't predict what others will do as accurately. It seemed to me that the players who did well (40+) were the ones who stuck to building their own strategies and didn't worry about hurting others' too much. So this variant may be advised for people looking to weaken the influence of attacking.

So to sum up:
There is no doubt that this is a vastly different way of playing the game, and takes it from virtually no luck to nearly all luck. But with everyone having the same handicap I'm not convinced it really breaks the system and as Ben mentioned it can even be beneficial for teaching new players the basics quickly (especially someone prone to AP). I'm pretty sure one of the limited info combinations will be more enjoyable for everyone, but we had to start somewhere and it made sense to start at the far end of the spectrum. Still, everyone (except Black) still agreed it was fun. I'm looking forward to the next test, probably one of the peeking variants.
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Jarratt Gray
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Well the theme isn't really supposed to be discovery. I blame the blurb that I didn't like anyway. It's the 18th century, the discovery (pacific excluded) has been done, now the empires are setting up trade routes and influencing colonies.

But I fear Endeavor will forever be seen as an age of discovery/colonial empire game spanning the late 1400s through to the early 1800s.

Your blind variant sounds insane but nice write-up. The blindness shouldn't break the basic engine which is based around the track tier bonuses and action interaction.

I do wonder if your session report should come with a warning like for stunts or pro wrestling: "Kids, don't try this at home."
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Jason Clague
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I'm keen to try a variant I think I have read about on here somewhere, where the Europe tokens are faceup, and the first token in each shopping lane. As a shipping lane token is taken, the next one is revealed. Once the shipping lane is open, tokens for that region are revealed. I think this retains some luck, but leaves you able to strategise a bit.

I'm intruiged to hear about how your 'peeking' ones go - yould could get some real psychological warfare going on there!

DISCLAIMER: I am still waiting for my copy to arrive soblue, so haven't played any version yet.

EDIT: Hmmm - the plot thickens. Who did post this variant first?
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Jordan Booth
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jarratt wrote:
I do wonder if your session report should come with a warning like for stunts or pro wrestling: "Kids, don't try this at home."

Good idea! I'll add that to the beginning of the post.

jarratt wrote:

Well the theme isn't really supposed to be discovery. I blame the blurb that I didn't like anyway. It's the 18th century, the discovery (pacific excluded) has been done, now the empires are setting up trade routes and influencing colonies.

But I fear Endeavor will forever be seen as an age of discovery/colonial empire game spanning the late 1400s through to the early 1800s.


Yeah, I really feel for you on that. Yet another example of hype overcoming fact. I only mentioned bolstering the theme because others felt it was too abstract, naming that theme "discovery" is all my (wrong)doing, sorry. In fact my group just wanted to see if it was as fun to play with more luck, we don't really care about how much theme is present. However, I have a feeling that the official version will turn out to be the most enjoyable because we are all hardcore gamers.

But it also pointed out some important principles to remember during a regular game. Most crucial for me being; don't worry too much about what the tokens actually give you, it's cards and buildings that will win it.
 
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Jason Clague
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Born-of-Ashes wrote:
... don't worry too much about what the tokens actually give you...


Unless of course it is nearing game end you are on level 9 on any tracks - getting them to 10 (and safety) can be pretty important!
 
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Steve Duff
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superbgg wrote:
I'm keen to try a variant I think I have read about on here somewhere, where the Europe tokens are faceup, and the first token in each shopping lane. As a shipping lane token is taken, the next one is revealed. Once the shipping lane is open, tokens for that region are revealed. I think this retains some luck, but leaves you able to strategise a bit.


This was my idea, the first two tokens visible, each time you take one, reveal another.

So, there's both discovery and planning.
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Jason Clague
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Thanks Steven - knew I'd seen it somewhere!
 
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Jordan Booth
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superbgg wrote:
Born-of-Ashes wrote:
... don't worry too much about what the tokens actually give you...


Unless of course it is nearing game end you are on level 9 on any tracks - getting them to 10 (and safety) can be pretty important!

Indeed, without question. I was just generalizing the lesson I've learned from doing knee-jerk grabs for action tokens I didn't really need.

Steven's variant does sound like it would strike a good balance, I'll add that to our agenda. Thanks!
 
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Steve Duff
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Hang on, I meant "this was my idea now", not that I had posted it before.

So if you've already seen it posted, it was someone else.
 
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Jordan Booth
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Yeah, no worries. It's a pretty simple variant to come up with (by which I mean a short leap). I hadn't seen it anywhere else. We all just approached it from different angles, which is best anyway.
 
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Jason Clague
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
So if you've already seen it posted, it was someone else.


Curiouser and curioser! I'm sure someone will claim it before too long!
 
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linoleum blownaparte
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Try this variant:

You may choose to place your Shipped token on any space on the shipping lane. If it is not the first available space, flip a coin. Heads: place the token. Tails: place the token beside the shipping track (and don't collect a trade marker).

 
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Jarratt Gray
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Linoleumblownaparte wrote:
Try this variant:

You may choose to place your Shipped token on any space on the shipping lane. If it is not the first available space, flip a coin. Heads: place the token. Tails: place the token beside the shipping track (and don't collect a trade marker).



Flip a coin. It destroys my will to live. Perfect Information people.

Actually seriously I quite like this one. I mean I would never play it but is has some charm. You could use an 6 sided dice. If you roll equal to or more the distance between the space you want to play and the current start of track then you succeed. The current start of track would be the last space where tokens all link back to the start of the track.

I can't believe you people are pulling me into this. Argh! Brain melt!
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Jamie Pollock
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I think the only variant I'd consider here is the one where the Europe tokens are faceup, and the first two tokens in each shipping lane. As a shipping lane token is taken, the next one is revealed. Once the shipping lane is open, tokens for that region are revealed.

This actually sounds quite good fun and stops it from becoming too much of a complete luck-fest. Nevertheless, I think it would take quite a bit to convince me to play this over the way it's supposed to be played.
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James Honeyfield
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Some of these variants sound like great fun - i quite like the euro revealed and partial shipping lanes revealed version too.

 
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