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Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: Daniel’s Enriching Culture Amid Financial Depression Variant rss

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Daniel Hammond
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I really like this game, but I have found myself unable to avoid gathering coins no matter what my strategy is. You get a tech and then do stuff you would do anyway (win battles) or throw away stuff you don't need for other things (Resources, Trade, Culture) until by turn 10 you are closer to an economic win than whatever else you thought you were going to do (Culture, Military or Tech). Each coin you get increases your trade (almost every turn) and so it makes everything else easier. In addition for the coins on tech there is NOTHING anyone can do about it once you have them (and there are enough of them that you don’t need any other coins to win). So for me, it is too easy, too fast and too difficult to stop, in addition it helps you with everything else you want to do (giving extra trade for tech and culture as well as helping in battles with Computers and production with Military Science). So I added a new tech to help hamper a coin win (at a price) and limited the numbers of coins on techs a bit more.

On the flip side of the Economic Antique coin there is culture. While I have not played Rome, I have tried to win a culture victory (but found myself closer to all 3 of the other victory conditions by the end of the game). I just couldn't justify ignoring the other aspects of the game by giving up my cities’ actions (besides hoarding incense) to force the issue. I thought of some new Wonders that might help, but decided when mixed in with the original wonders they might never come up. So I wanted Culture to be something you could build to and get help so as to speed up a Culture win. So I have added 2 new Techs to help make culture more attractive.

Unfortunately I don't have many gamers down here in Honduras, so I was hoping that people could try my variant and give me some feedback.

Here are the rules I am uploading the rules and new Techs in the Files section and they should arrive eventually:

Changes to the Game:
• All Technologies that add coins (max 4) are now (max 3).
• Add level 2 Tech Aesthetics: Culture cost for moving up the Culture table reduced by 1. Wonders cost 2 less hammers. Spend 2 of any resource(s) to add 1 culture token to a city tile. Capitals/Cities with culture tokens provide an extra culture per token when city Devotes to the Arts.
• Add Level 3 Tech Patronage: Trade cost for moving up the Culture table reduced by 1. City Management: Gain 2 Trade every time one of your cities “Devotes to the Arts”.
• Add level 4 Tech Socialism: Cost of buying new units, armies and scouts reduced by 1 hammer. Spend 2 of any resource(s) to place a coin on Socialism. Each coin on Socialism is -1 coin for all players (max 3 per player with Socialism)(Min 0 coins).


Obviously I am kind of winging it here and my concerns are that maybe it helps too much. If you would be kind enough to give me some feedback on the balance shift especially people who find coins a too easy path for victory and culture not worth the trouble (like me).
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Filip Murmak
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Daniel as well as you me and my friends love the game a lot and have spent lots of hours discussing how to solve this obvious problem with culture and coins.

We came out with very similar solution to coin strategy:

• All Technologies that add coins (max 4) are now (max 3).
• Every time you win a battle, you may remove one of your enemy's coins from one of his tech cards.

Obviously this encourages a bit more military approach which was another concern of ours, since the coin stragegy is also highly military effective (well it's, as you said, all purpouse effective), we wanted some effective way for players who decide to stop coin runner by military. Don't get me wrong, we are anything but wargamers, but in this game it's pretty much the only way to interact with each other and the coin strategy, being designed as it is, is kind of too discouraging for others to go heavy against it.

Anyway your addressing of the culture problem seems very appealing. To your techs:

• Aesthetics: since the game usualy lasts around 12-14 rounds I don't find it too useful, especialy if you compare it to other level 2 Techs, which are all usualy very appealing. All together it gives you, if you pop it soon enough and spend a lot of resources, maybe 10-15 culture throughout the game? Instead, what do you think of this idea: Gain 1/2/3 Culture (in 4/3/2 player game) every time another player adds a coin to one of his Tech cards.
• Patronage: this one I love. The enormous trade cost of Culture was our biggest concern and this could help to solve it very effectively.
• Socialism: also very interesting. More ways to cancel other player's coins please!

We are so trying this variant at next session. I'll let you know how it ended up!
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Daniel Hammond
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karel_danek wrote:

• Aesthetics: since the game usualy lasts around 12-14 rounds I don't find it too useful, especialy if you compare it to other level 2 Techs, which are all usualy very appealing. All together it gives you, if you pop it soon enough and spend a lot of resources, maybe 10-15 culture throughout the game? Instead, what do you think of this idea: Gain 1/2/3 Culture (in 4/3/2 player game) every time another player adds a coin to one of his Tech cards.


We are so trying this variant at next session. I'll let you know how it ended up!


Aesthetics has 3 abilities:
1) It lowers the culture cost to move up the culture table by 1 (dropping culture needed to win from 105 to 84).
2) It gives you a 2 hammer discount for making wonders.
3) It lets you boost the culture generation of the city you are going to be devoting to the arts with (by +1 permanently every time you use the ability and spend 2 resources once per turn).

Thanks for the feedback. I hope it works out for you, please let me know. I hope the tech cards I made for it get released soon.
 
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Filip Murmak
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Ah yes, silly me, my mind drifted away very quickly, you are right, it's a great tech with all 3 abilities (maybe too great, but we'll see after couple of sessions anyway )
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Filip Murmak
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And yes, I would almost forget, we have decided to ignore the effect on level I Culture cards which is giving a coin to one of your opponents.

Coins are alrady too easy to gain, makes me wonder how they could have missed all this in playtesting...
 
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Carl Bussema
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dlhammond wrote:

Changes to the Game:
• All Technologies that add coins (max 4) are now (max 3).


I might start with this alone and see how it does. It's very simple and my rough guess is that this pushes the game to 12, maybe 13 turns. 11 is possible if you're able to fuel printing press heavily and have a good GP draw or two from villages.

Quote:
• Add level 2 Tech Aesthetics: Culture cost for moving up the Culture table reduced by 1. Wonders cost 2 less hammers. Spend 2 of any resource(s) to add 1 culture token to a city tile. Capitals/Cities with culture tokens provide an extra culture per token when city Devotes to the Arts.


This seems very good, should probably be your 2nd level 2 tech after irrigation (or first if you've got an exchange of ideas level 2 card [you better not wait for this though] and/or are russia). I might tweak this to only reduce the cost of level 2 / level 3 culture improvements. Templating: "Spend 2" ability needs to be "City Management: [?][?]: Add 1 culture token..."

Quote:
• Add Level 3 Tech Patronage: Trade cost for moving up the Culture table reduced by 1. City Management: Gain 2 Trade every time one of your cities “Devotes to the Arts”.


This actually seems like a wonder ability to me. I peg the first half of this at 2-3 trade per turn, which is fine for a tech, especially a level 3 one. The second half is probably 4 or 6 more trade per turn which is a little much. What about "Wonders, Temples, and Cathederals you own produce an extra 1 culture when devoting to the arts"? The tech might need to be named something like "Religious patronage" or something like that. The idea being that the religious leaders are actively supporting/promoting the arts (no doubt in exchange for works of art that support the religious teachings devil).

Quote:

• Add level 4 Tech Socialism: Cost of buying new units, armies and scouts reduced by 1 hammer. Spend 2 of any resource(s) to place a coin on Socialism. Each coin on Socialism is -1 coin for all players (max 3 per player with Socialism)(Min 0 coins).


Clever. Let's see if we can fix the templating.

The cost to built new units and figures is reduced by 1 hammer.
City Management: [?][?]: Place a coin on Socialism (max 3). Each coin on Socialism counts as -1 coin for all players (including yourself). The penalty from multiple players with socialism is cumulative. A player's coin total may not be reduced below 0.

Now, is this balanced? I don't know. It's a level 4 tech and with economic victories in 10 turns, you only get one level 4 tech. Even with econ in 12-13 turns you might still only get 1 level 4 tech (remember if you get 2 level 4 techs you probably have tech victory the next turn!). Is this going to be your one level 4 tech? Possibly, unless you have a nuke.
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Daniel Hammond
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-> InfoCynic

The max 4 to max 3 is to cause more diversification in a coin victory and slow it down a bit.

Aesthetics: I have it formatted correctly waiting for my file to post. I like it for level 1 culture because then it makes culture more viable for everyone even those who would have normally ignored it completely (me).

Patronage: Reduces the burden of losing trade for following a Culture path, first by reducing the trade spent (total savings of 14 trade over multiple turns) and second by letting you get SOMETHING for all you give up when Dedicating to the Arts. Going Culture costs so much trade you fall behind in tech and takes actions which cost you building up your cities (to get more of whatever) so getting some trade back seems like a good bump to me. I am looking forward to see how it plays out.

Socialism: Is a mechanism for being able to in affect take coins away from other players (which in my opinion is needed). I do think the powers are a bit weaker than I wanted and was thinking of maybe increasing the discount to 1 + the number of coins on your Socialism Tech. So it would be :

Socialism (IV)
Armies, Scouts, and Units cost 1 hammer less to produce + 1 additional hammer less per coin on your Socialism tech.
City Management: ? ? : Place 1 coin on your Socialism tech (max 3). All players lose 1 coin per coin on Socialism (cumulatively) to a minimum of 0 coins.

This way Socialism will help you if you don't care about coins (often Culture seekers don't) and can reduce production costs of defending yourself which will also help players who have not spent turns building up their production (the way coins help Military Science) as well as taking away from your opponent's bonuses from Military Science/Computers as well as slowing their Economic victory.

If anyone wants me to send them the file before it is posted send me a message.

Daniel
 
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Carl Bussema
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Patronage just seems too strong for a level 3 tech, and the problem with variants in a 2-3 hour game is that if they're wrong, it takes a long time to figure out / fix.

I think the new socialism may be too strong, but eh... it's a level 4 tech, what can you do? I might also try instead of reducing coins, increase the number of coins needed for an economic victory. I also don't think Socialism should be cumulative, as any two opponents putting a coin on this almost certainly means the game goes another turn, and then the socialists can do it again, at which point the econ player is going 'How the heck am I supposed to get 19 coins!' ... hm, or maybe make the max penalty = 3 even with accumulation, so two players could cooperate to slow down the economic players a bit.

The econ players did put some effort into getting those coins and getting the bonuses from Military Science/Computers, and taking those away on top of slowing down their victory condition seems extremely harsh.

[Keep the cost-reduction benefit but change it to 'token']
City Management: ? ? Place a token (not a coin) on this card (max 3). For each token on this card, the number of coins needed for economic victory is increased by 1 (this penalty is cumulative with other players' Socialism technologies, to a maximum of 3 across all players).
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Lawrence Davis
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First let me say I "think" I have been wrong on the coin strategy. I was firmly under the impression that the strategy could easily be attacked by a military player. I'm no longer under such a rigid impression.

The coin strategy is indeed a very strong strategy and is almost too easy to win with.

Culture seems to be the hardest and in the few games I've played in nobody has won with it. It's the only strategy that seems to force the player to go with it right off the bat. And unlike the other strategies, there is almost no way to disguise what the player is actually doing. If you choose to go for culture as early as early game, it's already too late for you.

This is quite depressing and I too am shocked that this problem was not seen doing playtesting.

Anyway, I think to resolve the problem, simpler is better.

I've seen the idea of decreasing the max number of coins on the tech cards to 3. That to me seems to solve the coin strategy's strongest point by just extending the game a few more turns.
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Daniel Hammond
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InfoCynic wrote:


The econ players did put some effort into getting those coins and getting the bonuses from Military Science/Computers, and taking those away on top of slowing down their victory condition seems extremely harsh.


People spend a lot more building up a city only to have it destroyed by a level 4 tech and Uranium.

People put walls in their cities can be thwarted by Combustion.

People build huge armies only to get ganged up on.

My point is coins are hard to knock down (impossible in the game's current state, unless you put GP in cities). You can still get 15 coins through techs that no one can touch. Add 3 more for banks. Then you also have great people. IF multiple players want to sacrifice 2 resources per turn (keep in mind this is a resource ability and can be countered) to slow a coin victory it is a sacrifice for them. A coin player could conceivably make 4 coins from Pottery, Democracy, Printing Press and Code of Laws in a single turn, WHILE building 3 banks and adding a great person (by advancing culture) and another great person with Philosophy. That could be a round of 9 coins and if they can get a scout or two on opponent's coin that could be even more. I am just saying can the culture guy hope to get 2/3rd of a victory in a single turn?

As far as the bonus goes. By the time you get a level 4 tech you are nearing game end. All of them have pretty powerful abilities. Usually by this point in the game your production would be pretty high (unless you have been ignoring it in pursuit of culture perhaps) and so it would be a fairly rare case where knocking off even 4 hammers will make that much of a difference. You can't build more stuff only the same stuff cheaper (allowing a culture focused player to defend himself better). For an attacking player there are MUCH better choices (Combustion, Computers, Flight and the other unit boosters). I also like that it lowers trade which might hurt tech players too (but if the Socialist player has coins of his own they also hurt him).

I spent a lot of time thinking this through and I hope that it offers an alternative for players that feel like I do that Coins are too fast and easy and Culture is too slow and costly. I also hope I get good feedback and can tweak it if needed. I am also going to play it next time I get a chance.

Daniel

 
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Holger Hannemann
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dlhammond wrote:

Changes to the Game:
• All Technologies that add coins (max 4) are now (max 3).
• Add level 2 Tech Aesthetics: Culture cost for moving up the Culture table reduced by 1. Wonders cost 2 less hammers. Spend 2 of any resource(s) to add 1 culture token to a city tile. Capitals/Cities with culture tokens provide an extra culture per token when city Devotes to the Arts.
• Add Level 3 Tech Patronage: Trade cost for moving up the Culture table reduced by 1. City Management: Gain 2 Trade every time one of your cities “Devotes to the Arts”.
• Add level 4 Tech Socialism: Cost of buying new units, armies and scouts reduced by 1 hammer. Spend 2 of any resource(s) to place a coin on Socialism. Each coin on Socialism is -1 coin for all players (max 3 per player with Socialism)(Min 0 coins).



Indeed, Daniel,

those are exactly the kind of things I expect from the first expansion. Some great ideas, maybe Kevin will see this thread. But then I bet he has got similar ideas on the shelf already.
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Stig Beite Løken
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The MatrixCube wrote:
dlhammond wrote:

Changes to the Game:
• All Technologies that add coins (max 4) are now (max 3).
• Add level 2 Tech Aesthetics: Culture cost for moving up the Culture table reduced by 1. Wonders cost 2 less hammers. Spend 2 of any resource(s) to add 1 culture token to a city tile. Capitals/Cities with culture tokens provide an extra culture per token when city Devotes to the Arts.
• Add Level 3 Tech Patronage: Trade cost for moving up the Culture table reduced by 1. City Management: Gain 2 Trade every time one of your cities “Devotes to the Arts”.
• Add level 4 Tech Socialism: Cost of buying new units, armies and scouts reduced by 1 hammer. Spend 2 of any resource(s) to place a coin on Socialism. Each coin on Socialism is -1 coin for all players (max 3 per player with Socialism)(Min 0 coins).



Indeed, Daniel,

those are exactly the kind of things I expect from the first expansion. Some great ideas, maybe Kevin will see this thread. But then I bet he has got similar ideas on the shelf already.


Ditto! Expansion please, or at least an official stance on this before the expansion (a pdf of optional rules from FFG).
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Chris J Davis
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Vicar in a tutu wrote:
The MatrixCube wrote:
dlhammond wrote:

Changes to the Game:
• All Technologies that add coins (max 4) are now (max 3).
• Add level 2 Tech Aesthetics: Culture cost for moving up the Culture table reduced by 1. Wonders cost 2 less hammers. Spend 2 of any resource(s) to add 1 culture token to a city tile. Capitals/Cities with culture tokens provide an extra culture per token when city Devotes to the Arts.
• Add Level 3 Tech Patronage: Trade cost for moving up the Culture table reduced by 1. City Management: Gain 2 Trade every time one of your cities “Devotes to the Arts”.
• Add level 4 Tech Socialism: Cost of buying new units, armies and scouts reduced by 1 hammer. Spend 2 of any resource(s) to place a coin on Socialism. Each coin on Socialism is -1 coin for all players (max 3 per player with Socialism)(Min 0 coins).



Indeed, Daniel,

those are exactly the kind of things I expect from the first expansion. Some great ideas, maybe Kevin will see this thread. But then I bet he has got similar ideas on the shelf already.


Ditto! Expansion please, or at least an official stance on this before the expansion (a pdf of optional rules from FFG).


This never happens. It would basically mean FFG admitting that their game is flawed. To keep business strong, they would rather sell you the fix in an expansion.
 
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Carl Bussema
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Ran this by my group and the general consensus is we'll try the limit 3 coins but everything else has to wait until that's been tested. None of this fixes culture's extreme vulnerability to military either, so I'm pretty sure that with these changes all you're doing is making sure that every victory is military.
 
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Has anyone considered addressing poor Culture Victory performance by just shortening the Culture track? The other victories key to the number 15, how about knocking a few spaces off the 21-space Culture track?
 
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Daniel Hammond
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InfoCynic wrote:
Ran this by my group and the general consensus is we'll try the limit 3 coins but everything else has to wait until that's been tested. None of this fixes culture's extreme vulnerability to military either, so I'm pretty sure that with these changes all you're doing is making sure that every victory is military. :)


Nothing?

Culture cards will come faster (and they have military defenses).

Culture players will have more trade and won't fall as far behind in tech (which means they won't have to neglect their military upgrades).

If coin players are slowed some-what and culture players given a bump in speed then all four conditions should be squeezed together. Nothing has changed to make military stronger and the culture player will have more cards to defend himself with and can probably spend an action or two more for his defense.

 
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Carl Bussema
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The increase trade directly competes with Metal Casting which is pretty much essential for culture. All of these techs in fact compete directly with the limited # of techs that you get and which you need to fuel your culture. Getting cards slightly more easily and hoping for a Mass Defection / Disorientation / etc. is a pretty weak defense. You can't possibly hope to hold off multiple military-minded opponents, while the economic, tech, and military players obviously all have strong militaries and therefore don't want to attack each other. Maybe these changes are sufficient for a 2-player game but in a 4-player game I'm sure that military or econ will still beat this modified culture.
 
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mateo jurasic
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um, culture players will have defectors, and military players will probably not have any culture cards to counter... so unless they have a lot of spies and the right techs, those armies are gonna have a hard time getting to the culture cities...
slow down gold and everyone else, including culture, will have a chance to win.
really like the idea of 3 max coins per tech

we used a tie breaker house rule to help out too
military beats culture, which beats tech, which beats gold...


also, how bout culture cards which can steal/destroy gold...
 
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Carl Bussema
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You're going to draw enough culture cards to stop 3 military players for more than 1 turn?
 
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Daniel Hammond
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InfoCynic wrote:
You're going to draw enough culture cards to stop 3 military players for more than 1 turn?


The strongest military player can't hold off 3 military players for a single turn.
 
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Carl Bussema
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He doesn't have to. No one is attacking him because they're all going after the culture guy. If you look strong and Joe looks weak, they'll go for him every time.
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Ian Kelly
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InfoCynic wrote:
dlhammond wrote:

Changes to the Game:
• All Technologies that add coins (max 4) are now (max 3).


I might start with this alone and see how it does. It's very simple and my rough guess is that this pushes the game to 12, maybe 13 turns. 11 is possible if you're able to fuel printing press heavily and have a good GP draw or two from villages.


Meh. The first time I tried an economic victory (with Egypt and the Colossus as my starting wonder, which was totally unbalanced), I won on turn 9, with 4 coins on Democracy, 3 coins on Pottery, 2 coins on Printing Press and Code of Laws, 1 coin from Metal Casting, 1 coin from a map tile, and 2 coins from banks. A 3-coin limit on Democracy would not have extended the game another turn, because I would have researched Computers that turn and gained my 15th coin that way.
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Daniel Hammond
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Twice I have gone from 13 to 16 coins in the last turn.
 
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dlhammond wrote:
Twice I have gone from 13 to 16 coins in the last turn.


In the game I mentioned above, I think I started the last turn with 10 (edit: actually, I think it was 11) coins.
 
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mateo jurasic
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InfoCynic wrote:
You're going to draw enough culture cards to stop 3 military players for more than 1 turn?


no one should really be able to hold off 3 other players focused on destroying them for very long... one or two turns maybe, but anything more not really
 
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