Dan Moore
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San Francisco
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Link to original thread: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/679955/the-craftsman-angst-v...

Thanks for the comments so far. Perhaps we can now move the discussion away from the implications that the Craftsman Angst variant has for the influx of money into the game, and proceed to considering how the Craftsman Angst variant alters the role selection of the official Alea variant, and discuss what effect this has on the gameplay and to what extent it improves it.

Here's a selection of comments on this point about the role selection of the official Alea variant, and why many folks prefer the altered role selection of the Craftsman Angst variant:

1. It avoids a back-to-back role choice at the start of a round for the new Governor.

This is probably the main reason why some people favour the Craftsman Angst variant above the official Alea one.

"I was turned off that every other round you'd get to pick 2 roles in a row (just as you became governor). This seemed completely antithetical to how Puerto Rico was supposed to work! You could craftsman and then immediately trade or captain -- craftsman fear would be gone. I didn't play it for a long time because of this." - Roderick Schertler
"My wife and I always play that the Governor picks 3 roles, the opponent 2. Works great. This way you prevent getting 2 consecutive turns." - _Kael_
"One slight issue with the two player version is that with three roles each, the non-governor gets two turns in a row (ie their last turn - plus their first turn as governor). Same for both players I guess, but it does mean you can craft with safety on that third role pick as you will be governor next (and can then Trade or Captain). I read of a slight variant to the offical rules where the governor takes three roles, and the non-governor takes two (I think you also ditch the prospector in this variant). Sounds like it might work." - Craig Liken
"We play 2-player using the Alea rules with only one change: The Governor chooses 3 roles to the other player's 2, and then the round ends. This prevents a player from choosing 2 roles back-to-back, and only leaves 2 roles to get extra coin. It worked very well for us." - Michael Weston
"We play using the standard Alea 2-player variant, but instead of each player selecting 3 roles per turn and players alternating getting a double turn, we have the Governor selecting 3 and the other player selecting 2, much like the way 2-player San Juan works. This prevents players getting the double turn." - Jamie Pollock
"I play Alea with a few small changes for balance but the one big one which I considered vital was the 3-2 role for many reasons." - jayjonbeach
"I have played PR many times and with two players I set up the game as advised by the "offical alea variant" with the following exceptions: Turns are taken as usual with the Governor drawing three and the second drawing two per round. The left over two have 1 coin added after each round. We have found that using these extra variants provide a greater balance to the game with two players." - Bruce H
"I think that the two-player variant that has the same player take two consecutive turns (3 phases each then switch) is flawed. If you want you can pick the Mayor on the last phase of the previous turn which will allow you to move colonists to give a favorable draw for colonists the next turn (an odd number does this). Then on your first turn of the next phase you can pick mayor again, replace your colonists how you want, and get the extra colonist. I think this is a better variant: The player who is govenor starts each round and gets 3 choices while the other player gets 2 choices. This makes the turns alternate properly." - Brett Berger
"The official rules have the two players each taking 3 roles before switching governor. The variant we are discussing has the governor taking 3 roles to the second player's 2, *then* passing governor. This prevents a player from choosing 2 roles consecutively, as the official two-player rules would have you do." - Greg Durrett


2. It avoids nearly all the roles being chosen each round.

Avoiding the back-to-back turns is one reason why people prefer the 3/2 role-selection of the Craftsman Angst variant, but another reason is unhappiness about seeing nearly all the roles being chosen each round with the official Alea variant, as is evident from comments like these:

"The thing I dislike about the official 2-player variant is that roles are chosen too often - in 'regular' games, there are always 3 roles per turn that go unchosen, and so things like craftsman angst, or the general crappiness of the mayor, get offset over time by the placement of doubloons." - John McGeehan
"I can't stand the official version. I hate the fact that almost every single phase is taken each round, I hate being able to take three phases in a round, and I hate being able to take two phases back to back when the governor passes. I did try." - Yehuda Berlinger
"My wife and I tried the 2 player version. We didn't like the fact of the double turns. We tried the tweak mentioned above (gov. gets 3 roles, non-gov gets 2, 2 roles go unused). It gets a little more cash in the game. I also didn't like 6 roles getting selected (in the 'official' varient) because basically every round includes a building, mayor, etc. role. With 2 roles omitted, a builder vs. shipper both must vie to get the proper roles selected as many times as possible. Summary: we like the varient with 7 role cards, but the gov chooses 3 roles and non-gov chooses 2." - Andrew Gallagher
"My partner and I have played the two player variant each evening for the last three nights (as you can see, we like the game!). The first two we played with the official Alea rules, and felt that while it worked quite well there were a couple of problems; firstly, once the quarries were gone the settler seemed unattractive as apart from having first pick there was no advantage to having it; secondly, because 6 roles are taken, and therefore the mayor was taken a lot, a lack of colonists caused the end of the game both times, and in both cases before either of us felt we wanted it to (in terms of the strategies we were using); thirdly having two goes in a row when switching governship wasn't good. Tonight we tried the variation that the governer got three roles and the other player two which seemed to work much better. The only possible issue was that there was more money in the game, with two roles each turn getting the doubloon." - Eddy Richards
"I play this 2-player version with some slight changes. I prefer to take out one prospector (so there are 7 roles) and let each player pick two roles each round. I prefer this more than 3 for each with 7 roles because almost every role gets picked each round, so things like mayor get picked far more often then they should simply because there are few alternatives at the end of a round. This results in having more colonists than you really need and I feel sort of trivializes that element of the game... " - Cameron McKenzie


What do others think about these two points? Personally I'm inclined to agree, particularly with the second one, although I think there are advantages and disadvantages to the first point.
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Chris Gibbs
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Judging from my server stats for games played against the hard AI on Tropic Euro ( www.tropiceuro.com ), the variant with 5 roles per round certainly seems to be popular, although the official 6 roles/round option is still played the most often by a small margin.

I'm considering also adding a 4 roles/round option to see if that gains some popularity (i.e. with the prospector removed, as recommended in the two player variants thread).
 
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