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Subject: Block 'n Burn Variant rss

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Robert
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Lebanon
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At the local game store I game this game has been a big hit. When someone brings it in it usually ends up being played at the end of the night. However, we have found out that we have been playing it wrong!

The way we play: Whenever your move is blocked and it is your turn you HAVE TO throw away one of your cards in your hand and draw a new one. So everyone throws down a card and gets a new one, regardless of wether they move or not, and at any point during the race everyone has the same amount of cards in their deck.

When we found out we had been doing it wrong we (of course) played it right: if you are blocked you just keep your cards and do nothing until the next time your turn comes up.

Guess what: we will be reverting back to our "wrong" way of playing, as we had way more fun that way.

There is one issue with our variant: there are a lot of people that don't finish (that's not the issue, that's hilarious) and sometimes a player already knows early on they won't finish, because they had to burn several high cards without getting the move value. As we are playing this more and more this is becoming more appearant. To counter this, I have come up with the following rule.

Caesar's favor: if you are the first chariot to hail caesar in a round you are awarded his favor; you may take a card from your discard pile and shuffle it into your deck.

We have not yet played with caesar's favor, but it seems a simple enough rule to keep every player in the game, with a chance to win, until the final round.
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René Christensen
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I do think you played it right from the start.
If you path is blocked and your hand is all high cards and you have to discard one of them, you might not make it to the finish line.
That's the way I always played the game, but of course I could be wrong too.

"Caesar's favor" is new to me, but my game is an older one, so perhaps that rule has been added or is it a houserule of yours?
 
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Mik Svellov
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No, you are never supposed to discard cards.
You must move of you can (even if you don't like it), but if you can't move you will simply wait where you are until you can.

It will be almost impossible to finish the race in the original version of the game, with your variant.

However, the variant may work find in the Pro Ludo version as the track is boringly easy anyway.
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Andy
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The way WE play is that if you cannot play (because all your cards are higher than the amount of space you would be able to move) you recycle a card from your hand... i.e. you discard it to the bottom of your deck and draw a new one... this adds an element of hand management to the game, because you can choose (to a certain extent) what cards you are going to get at the end of the race.
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Robert
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Slotracer wrote:
"Caesar's favor" is new to me, but my game is an older one, so perhaps that rule has been added or is it a houserule of yours?


Caesars's favor is my own creation, invented to deal with the "I already know I can't possibly win anymore" problem that discarding a card when blocked creates.

Great Dane wrote:
It will be almost impossible to finish the race in the original version of the game, with your variant.

However, the variant may work find in the Pro Ludo version as the track is boringly easy anyway.

I think we do play the Pro Ludo version. We have the box that is currently being sold on Amazon. Someone on this site did the comparison and posted that the Pro Ludo tracks are exactly one space shorter than the older ones. We have never done the math ourselves, but I believe that if you burn even a single 6 in our variant, you will not be able to finish the race. It seems that, unless there is substantially more blocking going on on the old tracks (hard to imagine, seeing how much blockage we have already), this variant should work equally well in either version of the game.
 
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Secret Agent
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We tried a version when we where 9 players, we also used a similar mechanic as you, but when we were blocked we gained a "blocked counter" two blocked counters = discard a card of your choice. We used 2 games combined (9-10 players!) and put some other counters (randomised) on the track, 3 of each colour.

The counters where:
Blue
Red
Green
Yellow
Black

And you could on lap 1 or 2 stop at the "caesars alley" to exchange counters and do the following action.

2 Blue counters = Add a card from your discard pile to your deck
2 Red Counters = Discard the top card from an opponents deck to the discard pile
2 Green Counters = The player to the left randomly selects and discards a card from your hand to the discard pile.
2 Yellow Counters = You randomly select a card from the player to the rights hand and execute a move with your carriage (if possible).

Black counters can be substituted/exchanged to any of the other colours.

We have had tons of laugh with this variant as it adds a lot of laughter and a sense of "Take that!"and is the perfect game when we get bored of Formula Dé or other 6+ player games and feel like we wanna play a game where all can participate.

We usually play in teams where the team that first get two horses over the finishing line wins.

Always a ton of laugh!
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Matt
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I play with Robert, who started this thread -- we use the Asmodee edition, by the way -- and I'm responsible for getting this rule wrong. Mea culpa.

However, I agree that forcing players to burn a card adds excitement and a good screwage factor to the game. In fact, I don't think I'd play without card burning.

I like Robert's 'Caesar's Favor' idea, but I imagine that the first chariot to salute Caesar probably doesn't have to worry about running out of cards. Still, some sort of bonus would create more of a race to get to Emperor's Alley first.

Back to the card issue: There has to be some way to keep lagging, oft-blocked players in the game with a decent chance of finishing while maintaining the fun of card burning.

Another person in this thread mentioned assigning tokens to chariots that are blocked, with the second token resulting in the loss of a card. That might work well -- you'd still be burning cards, but only half as many.

I look forward to trying out some of these variants, just as soon as the family can shake our late-winter colds.
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With this variant, how many people still reach the finish line?
I mean, burn one 6-card and you're already eliminated. This sounds like tihs usually would end in only 1 or 2 players making it. Quite possibly even none...

Not disputing the fun factor, but in my experience there are plenty of opportunities to force people into outer lanes (sometimes setting it up by blocking them in the previous turn), or by blocking their path into the Ceasar lane, which is my favorite way to eliminate others.
 
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Robert
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yup
 
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Matt
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I've been thinking recently that we might try starting players out with a slightly larger hand -- 4 or 5 cards, working back to 3 via discards -- to allow more flexibility in the beginning of the game, where a lot of people get screwed on that first bottleneck, but keep the 'card burn' variant.

Even so, not everyone will finish, but that's a big part of the fun for our gang.
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Robert
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Mattgo wrote:
I've been thinking recently that we might try starting players out with a slightly larger hand -- 4 or 5 cards, working back to 3 via discards -- to allow more flexibility in the beginning of the game, where a lot of people get screwed on that first bottleneck, but keep the 'card burn' variant.

That's actually not a bad idea. We should give that a try.

Mattgo wrote:
Even so, not everyone will finish, but that's a big part of the fun for our gang.

Yeah, remember that time when Rod was stuck in first place, one spot before the finish, with only a six n his hands, and no one else could finish either.
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