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Ad Astra» Forums » Variants

Subject: Visible Planning for the Action Cards rss

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Roberto Di Meglio
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In another thread Bruno opened a window on the designer process, mentioning that two possibilities were taken into account about the setup of starting planets for the players.

So I'd like to give another 'glimpse' on the development process, as at one point our editorial staff working on Ad Astra thought of experimenting a variant. While the variant had a very short life and quickly phased out of the project (Bruno said it was 'interesting' but sort of a 'mind breaker' - which I think was a nice way to say "no way" )I personally played it with interest, so I post it for anybody who might like to experiment with it.

The variant is very simple - and very radical. Action cards are played face up rather than face down, except scoring cards (which are played face down, so you can see they are scoring, of course, but you don't know which type of scoring).

This of course produces a quite slower and "mental" game, but mantains several of the interesting elements of Ad Astra about bluffing and trying to benefit from other player's action at a different level - for example, trying to guess which scoring is being played on the basis of visible action cards by the same player;opportunistic play or waiting to play certain actions to influence other players, or trying to reap the maximum from other player's actions.

So, if you like the concept, and your fellow players are not too much AP-prone, try the variant and let me know what you think!

 
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Mike Ruskey
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while visible action cards are an interesting idea, I woold not care to play that way because 1) it impairs the concept of trying to anticipate your opponents cards
2) it would tend to lead to the aforementioned AP
That being said, individual gaming groups are free to play any variant that pleases them
 
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Brodie
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I'd not care to play the game this way. The face-down planning is a feature I enjoy, because there are several members of our regular gaming group who would grind the game to a halt mentally working through every possible permutation in order to get the most optimal result, and I can't stand the tedium. We've actually quit a game of Descent at the four-hour mark because we couldn't get one player to speed up his turns -- we were barely halfway through the dungeon. This seems like a variant that would end in a similar fashion.

I also enjoy the unpredictability the face-down play adds. Without that element I think the game would lose a lot of its charm.
 
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Bwian, just
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Agent Archer wrote:
The face-down planning is a feature I enjoy, because there are several members of our regular gaming group who would grind the game to a halt mentally working through every possible permutation in order to get the most optimal result, and I can't stand the tedium.

While I tend to agree with you, I'm not sure that face-down planning solves the problem. I certainly know people who might still grind the game to a halt, because they're trying to mentally work through every possible permutation of the hidden cards, too. With them, at least turning the cards face up eliminates the hidden card computation.
 
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Mike Inside
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I do this for the first few turns when introducing new players to the game. I also explain why I put down each card... it helps them to quickly get a feel for the strategy.

But in every case, people have wanted the cards to be hidden once they feel more confident.
 
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Gandalf the Greyjoy
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What if we get rid of planning and play cards face up on nearest open place and resolve them as they go? How would the game change?

Optionally a player can place a face down card on some future spot instead (further on the card track), and therefore hide and pospone his action.
 
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