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The King Commands» Forums » Variants

Subject: The King Commands . . . Replenish the Coffers! rss

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Ben Stanley
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I've added a house rule option with the crown: the player may use the crown to shuffle any gold bags he has back into the draw deck (place all bags of gold back into the deck, shuffle thoroughly), then draw a replacement card for each gold bag returned.

It isn't very powerful when you only have one bag, and other crown actions are better, so it isn't overused, but it can be a help for that one player who was unlucky enough to draw a bag of gold three times in a row and who is certainly going to lose as a result.

It offers a simple way to keep the game competitive despite a really unfortunate string of useless draws, but takes a crown action and returns the gold to the draw pile, so they remain in play and just have a chance of getting a slightly more fair distribution the next time they are drawn.

Try it out. I like it a lot and think it is balanced, fair, and very helpful in an uncommon but not extremely rare situation.
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Magnus Esko
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That is an interesting rule variant I'll give it a try when I get my hands on a printed copy.

Here's another variant I didn't include, to keep the game as simple as possible. Whenever anyone takes a bag of gold from you, you draw a new card to replace it.
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Ben Stanley
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Thanks, Magnus. It's a really fun game, and I'll have to try it with your rule (drawing a replacement card) to see how that works as well.

I wrote up a quick review of the game that you can read when the moderators approve it.
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Magnus Esko
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Thanks, I'm glad you like it laugh

Sweet! A review. But I'm off to work soon so I'll probably read it when I get back home.
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Magnus Esko
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I played TKC twice yesterday, once with your command. I liked using it but I'm not sure if it is balanced, it seemed very powerful once you had 2 or more bags in your hand.

We had two very interesting games on 3, it seemed like we all put more thought into our actions and both games took 25-30 minutes each.
 
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Ben Stanley
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Yes, lately I have been re-thinking my house rule as well. At first it seemed incredibly important for that poor, unfortunate soul who drew several bags of gold in a row through no fault of his own. I also liked your suggestion that a player be able to draw a replacement card when he has a bag of gold taken, but then I came to realize something:

The times when a player draws several gold bags in a row are relatively infrequent, and the far more common problem is that someone will use crowns to take several turns in a row, and each turn discard an artifact to draw tons of cards. I don't know if that's strictly allowed, but the way we play you can keep commanding "attention" over and over and take sometimes as many as five or six turns in a row. Each turn you draw a couple of cards, and then if you discard something instead of attacking, you draw even more cards. Gaining all those cards puts you in a tremendously powerful position for the rest of the game, but the one thing that balances it is that you are also almost certain to have a few bags of gold, and everyone attacks you until you run dry. If you can replenish the coffers after having used crowns and discards to pull way more cards than anyone else, you would be unstoppable, so I am now inclined to think that the game is better balanced as originally written than with my variant.

The risk that one person draws tons of gold in a row during regular draws is an issue, but it isn't as big of an issue as the possibility of a player drawing most the deck, then getting rid of the bags of gold in all those cards.
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Magnus Esko
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There is nothing in the rules to prevent a player from playing multiple consecutive turns, like you describe. However, we have never had anyone trying to draw that many cards. People rarely discards relics when we play. As you say, the risk of drawing bags of golds prevents people from drawing too many cards. It's fun to hear your report on the matter though, thanks for trying things out

Would you say there is a problem with drawing a replacement card as well or just the command?
 
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Ben Stanley
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I think the gold issue is probably best handled the way it is in the official written rules. I now feel like "Replenish the Coffers" and even a replacement card do too much to compensate someone who has pulled tons of cards. It's interesting to me that you don't see a lot of that in your games. We see quite a bit, and often find that discarding an artifact is a great use for it, especially when you feel like you know (from what's been happening) what most people probably have in their hands and that a disproportionate amount of gold has already been pulled, so the odds are lower that more gold is going to come up when you discard. Usually it is the crystal ball people toss if they can.

I'd be curious to hear which "commands" people in your groups use the most. We almost always use the "attention" or "fear my might sword" (when we know where the gold is), and sometimes abdicate, but we never seem to use "lend me your aid" or "lay down your swords." We may not play as well as you do, though!
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Magnus Esko
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Good to know that the original is best

The only relic people discard in my group is the crown, and that is rare. Abdication is quite popular, but "lend me your aid" and "lay down your swords" is often used early on. "Fear my mighty sword" is not used much at all but it originally ended the turn, I changed that in the rules just before the game went to print. Attention is used more in mid-late game.

In my group most people use the crystal ball to look at the top 4 cards, this gives you more cards with practically no risk of drawing bags of gold. You also get to know the two cards the next person in turn will draw and if you like the cards for yourself you can just discard a card. I love using the crystal ball to look at someone's hand, by memorizing things like shields, Excaliburs and bags of gold you can usually get 1-2 bags quite easily, if they have any. Reclaiming a card is rare but it happens, it can be used to get that one sword you are missing for a backstab or getting a crown.

I won both games last time but it's usually another guy who wins (he's one lucky bastard with dice and cards). I think various tactics works better depending on the number of players. We were only 3 so looking at people's cards and asking for their help can be really effective. Once I exhausted all of a player's cards but a bag of gold by asking for help two turns in a row, he could only give me one card and had one left so I just attacked him with a swing.
 
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Magnus Esko
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BTW, don't expect us to be any better then you. We don't really play the same games over and over, except for a very few games. TKC have changed a lot over time and me and my friends have not played the final version a whole lot and group think is probably a serious issue with this game. Due to the amount of luck and randomness it is very hard to predict what options you have will give the best results. I have not done any math on this game, I just modified it until it felt good to play.
 
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Sgt. Elias
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Interesting discussion. I've been looking into this game but from what I'm reading here I think I'm starting to get cold feet. Exploiting some angle of the game to take 5-6 turns in a row sounds frustrating to me.

Still considering...
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Magnus Esko
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zanti_misfit wrote:
Interesting discussion. I've been looking into this game but from what I'm reading here I think I'm starting to get cold feet. Exploiting some angle of the game to take 5-6 turns in a row sounds frustrating to me.

Still considering...


You should read more carefully, Ben have been playing with a house rule which supported such behavior. And if it ever becomes a problem you can simply limit the amount of consecutive turns to two.

Actually, after taking a look at the rules I noticed it was written as "two turns" and that might actually be a good limitation of the command. The rules can be interpreted either way but it might just be too powerful (used in specific ways) to allow more then two turns in a row.
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Sgt. Elias
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Thank you Magnus for clarifying that with me. It was late and I was reading a lot of information. Sorry about that.

Very good news indeed that the "two turns" rule is there. I'm relieved. The game is back on my "get soon" list.
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Magnus Esko
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You are welcome I'm glad that you find the game interesting again.
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