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

Subject: No special abilities for Civ's. rss

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Chris Ritchie
United Kingdom
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I seem to remember reading somebody's house rule stating that none of the CIV's start with any special abilities. Have many players used this and if so how did it turn out?

I'm planning on using it for tonights game and will post our thoughts.

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Stig Beite Løken
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Anxiously waiting your experiences with this. I'm considering the same house rule.
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Chris Ritchie
United Kingdom
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All in all we found this to be very well-balanced and fair. The game didn't go as quickly as normal games, but did go nice and smoothly.

I would say its a great house rule and would thank whomever came up with this first. It does mean each CIV loses its flavour somewhat, but with some inspirational narration during your moves that can be replaced.

So in a nutshell, try it and see if you like it.
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I can see the point of doing this if you want all players to start with exactly the same starting conditions.

However have you given any thought about the starting tech and starting map tiles? These are also parameters that makes the civs what they are (e.g. the Germans have a coin on their starting tile and the Russians have a really strong starting government).

Instead of making the civs more equal you might end up making the civs more unequal.

If you want to give all players exactly the same starting conditions you need to take the starting tech and starting map tile into consideration. Fixing starting tech is easy (e.g. all players may choose a lv 1 tech to start with), but starting map tile are harder to make equal (maybe if you choose 1 map tile and and make a photocopy of it for each player).
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Zsolt Bihary
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We play vanilla game with the variant described below.
Basically, we disregard civ special abilities. We rebalance victory conditions to lift everyone up to Roman / Chinese level at Culture, and to Russian level at Tech. We slightly nerf Economic Victory, we nerf Hanging Gardens, and boost buildings with culture. Everyone forges his own character with this variant in the setup phase.
I would love to hear feedback if anyone tries this.

General Changes
• Civilizations play without their special attributes.
• For Economic Victory, 16 coins needed (instead of 15).
• Additional looting possibility after defeating armies / scouts: Discard any one of the loser's coins.
• Additional looting possibility after destroying city: Take any one of the loser's coins and place it on your civilization sheet.
• When building Hanging Gardens, place 3 army figures (no scout) on the wonder card. During your starting phase, place an army from the card to the wonder marker. When armies run out, the wonder is obsolete.
• When a player builds a building or wonder, or when he first plays a great person on the map, he immediately collects one culture token for each culture icon found on the building / wonder / great person marker.

Setup of the game
Setup is different from the original rules in the following ways:

1. General setup
Each player draws a starting map tile and a color at random. The players receive their civilization sheets, but they disregard the special attributes printed on them. Everybody starts with Despotism.

2. Secret tech card
Every player shuffles his deck of level 4 tech cards, picks three of them at random, then chooses one of the three. He puts the card on his civilization sheet face down. He will be able to play this card during any of his starting phase, free of charge, if he has place in his tech pyramid.

3. Choice of starting techs
Each player gets 7 culture tokens. Each player chooses two level one tech cards in secret, then they simultaneously reveal their chosen cards. Then each player, for both of his techs, pays twice as many culture tokens to the center, as many other players picked the same tech. The tokens then are redistributed back to the players evenly, as much as possible. Remaining tokens stay at the center.
In the following example, there are four players:
1. player chose techs A and B.
2. player also chose techs A and B.
3. player chose techs A and C.
4. player chose techs D and E.
1. player pays 2x2+1x2 = 6 tokens. (1 left)
2. player pays 2x2+1x2 = 6 tokens. (1 left)
3. player pays 2x2 = 4 tokens. (3 left)
4. player pays none (7 left)
Then the collected 16 tokens are redistributed evenly (4 to everyone). So finally,
1. player has 5 tokens.
2. player has 5 tokens.
3. player has 7 tokens.
4. player has 11 tokens.

4. Bidding for bonuses
In this phase, the players bid for bonuses with their culture tokens. The bonuses are all put on the table, then they are bid one by one, in the following order:
1. One random hut marker face down + one free resource. The winner of the bid takes the hut + he can choose a resource from the marketplace.
2. One army figure. The winner of the bid puts an additional army figure on his civilization sheet, he will start the game with two armies.
3. One random infantry unit card face down.
4. One random cavalry unit card face down.
5. One random great person face up.
6. One random ancient wonder face up.
Culture tokens paid by the winners are collected in the center. After each bidding (except the last one), the collected tokens are redistributed evenly as much as possible. After the last bidding, the collected tokens are put back to the marketplace from the center.
In the following example, there are four players:
1. After the first bidding, there are 3 tokens in the center. Nobody gets back tokens, as there are less than 4.
2. After the second bidding, there are 6 tokens in the center. Every player gets back one token, two remains in the center.
3. After the last bidding, there are 11 tokens in the center. Nobody gets back tokens, all go back to the marketplace.
The players start the game with their chosen techs, with their won bonuses and with their remaining culture tokens.

5. Regular setup
After these phases, the setup goes normally:
1. Map is built. Suggested setup for 4 players:
o x o o
o o o x
x o o o
o o x o
Suggested setup for 3 players:
...x o
..o o o
.o o o x
..x o o
2. Each player builds his capital.
3. Each player places his scout and army, and his extra army, his great person and his wonder marker, if applicable.
4. Each player sets his trade dial and economy dial.
5. After all these preparations, the game begins with the first starting phase.
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Pete Gume

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After playing Civilization (with W+W, no social policies) a lot, the balance issue of the game annoyed my gaming group (4players) more and more.
We tried different modification suggested on BGG. (Modification of cultures, biddingsystem on cultures, playing with no culture abilities)
The last two games we tried this variant and were all happy with it:

0) No civilization abilities.

1) Every player gets a pile face down and random with: 1 ancient wonder, 2 tech II cards*, 2 tech I cards.

*The techs card should come from one tech deck to prevent equal techs; "Monarchy" is forbidden/ sorted out before.

2) Each player picks: The ancient wonder OR 1 of the 2 Tech II cards OR both tech I cards.
The wonder is played like normal (Egypt), the tech II card is put on the culture tableau*, one tech I card is put in the tech tree, the other is put on the culture tableau.

*Techs on the civilization tableau are count like abilities of the civilization and are not part of the techtree.

3) After each player made his choice he chooses a starting (additional) Technology (I).
He gets 2 starting tile at random and chooses one of them.

pro: Different civilization abilities, every Player can choose his ability, nearly no balancing problems.

contra: No original civilization abilities

Try it!
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