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Subject: Barter Or Cannibalize - You Decide! rss

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Sky Zero
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I don't want to get into the starvation/no starvation debate, but I do want to share a variant my wife and I played with a few times last night that we really enjoyed which opened up some interesting decisions during gameplay.

Please note: In the spirit of theme (at least to us), points are NOT a commodity in our game that can be leveraged or traded away. They merely indicate how well you are managing your tribe and its resources.

Variant:
At the end of the season, you have two options when feeding your meeps: You can feed them or let them starve to death. Every season your meeps aren't fed, be it one or ten, 1 meep will die (starved or eaten). If you find yourself short on food, you can barter the following resources:

1 wood = 1 food
1 brick = 2 food
1 stone = 2 food
1 gold = 3 food


None of these variants are new, but what I didn't see was a variant expanding on some existing game mechanics (resource bartering) along with injecting some thematic reality of what would happen if you didn't feed your tribe. In our few games played with this variant, I've made some interesting choices sacrificing surplus resources gambling on short term card/hut grabs while potentially screwing myself out of claiming cards and/or huts in subsequent rounds. We like it and it's going to become a permanent house rule going forward. If anyone tries this out, let me know what you think. I know I made a few critical decisions with this variant that ended up costing me one of the games against my wife.
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D a v i d B u r k e y
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I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it. Edgar Allan Poe
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I like the idea of sliding scale of bartering resources for food for feeding, rather than a straight 1:1 swap. However, my initial thought was that bartering should still come with a penalty. Right now brick (4 pips) and gold (6 pips) barter at the same ratio as the pips needed for the food, maybe having brick still give 1 food and gold give only 2 food would be more appropriate.

The especially like the idea of the lost of a meeple on starvation and plan on trying this variant out in my next game. Just how often have you or your competitors suffered this penalty in your plays with this variant?
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Sky Zero
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settlerdave wrote:
I like the idea of sliding scale of bartering resources for food for feeding, rather than a straight 1:1 swap. However, my initial thought was that bartering should still come with a penalty. Right now brick (4 pips) and gold (6 pips) barter at the same ratio as the pips needed for the food, maybe having brick still give 1 food and gold give only 2 food would be more appropriate.

The especially like the idea of the lost of a meeple on starvation and plan on trying this variant out in my next game. Just how often have you or your competitors suffered this penalty in your plays with this variant?


We considered your points about brick and gold, but remember it's more difficult to collect brick and gold than it is to collect food. Brick is sum divided by 4 and gold is sum divided by 6. Brick and gold are also limited in meeple space (7) and # of tribes allowed in each round for gathering whereas food is always unlimited to tribes and only divisible by 2. Resources are also an economic commodity and worth victory points at the end whereas food is not. So when bartering away Stone Age's economic commodity for food, you're trading away a much more valued resource and potentially even sealing your doom in a close loss by just a few points. So to say that bartering brick and gold is essentially the same as gathering food isn't true. If you do happen to try a different trade value for resources though, I'd be curious to hear how it played out. I could maybe see bumping brick down to 1 but leaving stone at 2 and gold at 3. For us though, the current scale has seemed balanced and the only time we're bartering away resources is when we're gambling on short term gains.


And to your question how many meeples have died mid-game in our three games with this variant.....ONE. I again gambled on grabbing an extra card and put 1 less meeple gathering food then I normally would have and rolled a frickin ONE! Needles to say, my wife was happy to see my population decrease for being greedy. I also went on to lose that game 147 to her 196.

EDIT: As a side note, I did let meeps purposefully starve to death in the last round attempting point/card grabs at end-game.

 
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