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Subject: The Happy Birthday variant rss

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Ender Wiggins
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We've found that many of the gifts aren't that crappy, but totally cool and awesome! So sometimes you just can't give a crappy gift, because they're actually all rather good!

So here's a variant we came up with: on the first round of the game you play as normal. But after you've gone once around the table, the aim in the next round is to give cool gifts instead of crappy gifts, i.e. the player whose turn it is has to pick the gift that they like the best (rather than the worst).

In other words:
Round 1 = Crappy Birthday round (give and choose the worst gifts)
Round 2 = Happy Birthday round (give and choose the best gifts)

We find that this enables players to make good use of the `cool' cards, many of which players want to give and receive! You can still give away crappy gifts in the first round, but can carefully begin to stock-pile the cool gifts with plans to give them to specific players in the second round. Fun, fun, fun!
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
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First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
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That's a great variant!

We tested the game that way quite a while, and liked it a lot. In the end, we decided to go with the simpler rules because we wanted people to be able to open the box as a present at a party, read the rules, and play at that party. But for actual game play, we also like that variation better.

Another variation that we like a lot is for everyone to give 2 gifts each round. The receiver chooses the crappiest gift, and the best gift. The players who gave those gifts each get a point. Play to 6 points instead of three.
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Ender Wiggins
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domcrap wrote:
Another variation that we like a lot is for everyone to give 2 gifts each round. The receiver chooses the crappiest gift, and the best gift. The players who gave those gifts each get a point. Play to 6 points instead of three.

I wasn't keen on this suggestion (especially with 5-8 players), because I felt it put too many cards on the table and slowed the game too much by giving players too much to choose from.

However, I see that this variant has now been revised so that the receiver chooses both the crappiest and the coolest gift, but players only give one gift each round (two gifts in 3-4 player games). This incorporates my suggestion to have players use the cards for the cool gifts in a positive way, but does so in a way that is even better than the Happy Birthday variant I proposed above!

This really improves the original game, and I hope that the rules of the next print-run will take over this change. I highly recommend playing this way!

Full details here: Official North Star Variant
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Dominic Crapuchettes
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North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
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First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
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Yeah, I had only played the variant with 3 and 4 players when I posted it. After playing it several times with 6+ players, I realized that there was an overload of cards to choose from, which slowed down the game too much.

My plan is to use those rules for the next print run. I'm glad you like them. I need an "EnderGame Approved" stamp for the second edition rules!
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