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Subject: Seriously considered options rss

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Christopher Dearlove
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I want to create a list of options that people (mostly in the monster thread) have seriously considered. The aim is to help provide options to Martin, which I expect him to apply simplicity and theme filters to, plus of course consider options not on it.

I expect to update this posting when people point out options I've missed. Which might of course make later postings outdated.

However this is not going to make any attempt to be absolutely inclusive of all things that have been suggested. Ultimately of course what goes on this list will be what I put on it - anyone who disagrees with it is of course free to make their own list. The first thing that's not going on this list is auction options, for a number of reasons. Other excluded things include needing additional components. However that doesn't mean I've excluded everything I don't like - personally I don't like some of the options I do list, but they are still here.

I'm going to number areas of change, and then letter cases within those areas. Sometimes those cases will be mutually exclusive, sometimes using more than one case will make sense. Numbered points will overlap yes, but will always be possible to combine together.

In some cases there will be comments in [] which indicate that other related possibilities exist in that area, but no firm alternative proposals seem to have had serious support. When a whole area only has a comment in [] then there doesn't seem to be a fully defined option, more of a concept.

1. Improve French starting position on board:
a. Fortify Louisbourg.
b. Fortify Quebec. [This is secondary to fortifying Louisbourg, and less often proposed. The French should have time to achieve this themselves, though this makes it easier.]

2. Give the French two actions in their first turn.

3. Adjust French starting deck:
a. Start with Bateau either in reserve or in available Empire cards.
b. Start with Fortification card in deck.
c. Start with Halifax. [A Halifax native has pointed out this is unhistoric.]
d. Add additional Regular Infantry.

4. British start with additional locations, and corresponding cards in deck. [The exact method of selection does not have a generally agreed definition.]

5. Home Support:
a. Can only be played before any other action or free action.
b. Can only draw cards from draw deck, not discard pile. [The proposer now no longer supports this, but it is retained here.]
c. Can only draw a maximum of half the cards in draw deck plus discard pile. [This is not as well supported as the previous two cases, and is a more borderline case to include in this list.]
d. Is not a free action.

6. Drafted cards do not go into the discard pile until after end of turn draw. [Variants of this have been suggested, but this is the version with most support.]

7. Modify the operation of the reserve:
a. Location cards cannot be put into the reserve.
b. [No other firm proposal, but the previous case is not the only possibility.]

8. [Some option that returns more military cards, from both sides, to the available empire cards after a siege when forces are large. No single firm proposal.]

9. Improving ambush.
a. Make an unsuccessful ambush a free action.
b. [No other firm proposal, but the previous case is not the only possibility.]

10. Limit on number of "heavy" military cards a player can draft. [This is usually defined as Regular Infantry and Siege Artillery, but other definitions are possible, such as a cost greater than 2.]
a. Limit is number of towns plus fortified villages that the player owns. [No clean and generally acceptable solution to the problem of when a player loses a town or fortified village has been proposed.]
b. [No other firm proposal, but the previous case is not the only possibility.]

11. [Some form of paid support costs, for cards in a siege and/or for cards in reserve. No single definite proposal.]

12. Improve Intendant:
a. Make it a free action (though still costing gold).
b. [No other firm proposal, but the previous case is not the only possibility.]

13. British (and maybe French) must settle a certain number (3 is most common suggestion) of locations before being allowed to start a siege.

14. Modifiy maximum available military.
a. Remove one British Regular Infantry to make equal maximum values.
b. [No other firm proposal, but the previous case is not the only possibility.]

15. Improving raids.
a. Make an unsuccessful raid a free action.
b. [No other firm proposal, but the previous case is not the only possibility.]

16. Military cards may be discarded for free.

17. [Some form of raid or ambush on military units besieging a location. No definite proposal.]

Edits from original: converted 1 to 1a and added 1b, added comment to 5b, added 5d, converted 7 to 7a, added 14, 15, 16, 17.

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Ken Dilloo
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Think I suggested the only draw from the deck and not reshuffle discards to fulfill Home Support. Feel free to throw that out. It patched the major abuse, but I found it can also hurt the French, and can be generally wonky. I have fully abandoned that for just requiring HS before any action. Delayed discard is also fine, but I personally prefer HS tweak.

I think people should run through the Brit Nova Scotia run a bunch before making sweeping changes. With HS tweak or delayed discard, it is a viable,aggressive option, but far from broken. This particular British strategy is pretty straightforward, so it is easy to simulate solo, to get in many plays quickly.
 
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Your subject line and introduction seems a bit vague, especially for someone reading this post out of the blue. "Options? For what? Why?" Is this discretion deliberate?
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I'd hope you'd seriously consider adjustments to either French or British max military. Without adding components, you can just reduce available British military.

This has the benefit of still enabling certain strategies, allowing them to win if unchecked by the opponent, but not making them invincible.
 
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I think we were all taught that if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. So I am not going to say anything about these "options."
 
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QuintMorrison wrote:
I think we were all taught that if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. So I am not going to say anything about these "options."
But you just said something, and indicated you had nothing nice to say in the process.

Not the list I'd have put forth, but it's better than nothing. And yeah, a few lines of context wouldn't be out of place.
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Christopher Dearlove
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garygarison wrote:
Your subject line and introduction seems a bit vague, especially for someone reading this post out of the blue. "Options? For what? Why?" Is this discretion deliberate?

Sorry, I really hadn't considered that there might not be people who hadn't at least some awareness of the 700+ posting thread. Of course there aren't. In short there are discussions that something or things might need to be changed. Many suggestions have been made, some more seriously than others. (I have omitted more than one suggestion I made.) This is an attempt to collate them. But if not knowing the background, or caring, just ignore.
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QuintMorrison wrote:
I think we were all taught that if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. So I am not going to say anything about these "options."

I think you're missing the point of this thread. Have you read the 800 plus post thread in the Strategy forum?

These fixes above address that issue.
 
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out4blood wrote:
I'd hope you'd seriously consider adjustments to either French or British max military. Without adding components, you can just reduce available British military.

This has the benefit of still enabling certain strategies, allowing them to win if unchecked by the opponent, but not making them invincible.

I've added this, with specific reference to removing one British Regular Infantry which from memory (I'll check the actual game a bit later) put them equal. As you note, I'm not including options to add cards.
 
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AndrewE wrote:
Not the list I'd have put forth, but it's better than nothing.

Well, thanks for the faint praise. Actually it's not exactly the list I'd work from, but then I'd get accused of imposing my preferences.

What specifically would you add? Or remove, but that's a higher threshold because this is capturing a group effort. If you'd just like it differently structured, that I'm afraid would just be too much like hard work.
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Dearlove wrote:
AndrewE wrote:
Not the list I'd have put forth, but it's better than nothing.
Well, thanks for the faint praise.
To clarify, I wasn't going for a dig with faint praise, though I suppose I can see how it came off that way. My preferences for the direction of the game is firmly planted on the side of fairly radical changes, such as free military discards, free action ambushes & raids (with some damper, such as coins or successes cost the action or both), and a banned or totally overhauled reserve, with a dash of trying "discard your whole hand every turn" to see if it works (probably won't). I understand why none of that made your list aside from free action ambushes, but still wanted to state that your list as is is a step in the right direction.
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AndrewE wrote:
My preferences for the direction of the game is firmly planted on the side of fairly radical changes, such as free military discards,

That should be on the list (and will be soon).

Quote:
free action ambushes & raids (with some damper, such as coins or successes cost the action or both),

I thought free unsuccessful ambush was on the list? I'll check. I'll add similar for raids. (Ideally adjacent, but I don't want to renumber, so it won't be.) I'm not sure coins are the right thing, and in the absence of a concrete proposal I won't include that now.

Quote:
and a banned or totally overhauled reserve,

Banned reserve is I think a step too far. Not reserving location cards is there, and (taking off my trying to be neutral hat) I think well worth considering. I think I'll change the existing case to a general modifying reserve point, with the existing case as a sub-case but no concrete second sub-case yet.

Quote:
with a dash of trying "discard your whole hand every turn" to see if it works (probably won't).

I think (still not neutral) that would defeat Martin's purpose, and agree it probably wouldn't work. That one is I think a step too far right now.

Quote:
I understand why none of that made your list aside from free action ambushes, but still wanted to state that your list as is is a step in the right direction.

I think while I didn't/don't plan to include quite everything you just listed, most should be there.

But as we are discussing military options, what are your views on the idea that after a massive siege both sides should have to return military to available empire cards? I haven't seen a good specific proposal to achieve this, but I think the idea is a potentially good one - and I think in keeping with the rest of your thinking.



 
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Dearlove wrote:
But as we are discussing military options, what are your views on the idea that after a massive siege both sides should have to return military to available empire cards? I haven't seen a good specific proposal to achieve this, but I think the idea is a potentially good one - and I think in keeping with the rest of your thinking.
It's interesting, but difficult. It makes opening a siege with a location card ridiculously powerful. If the defender responds by putting a military card on the siege, you've already won, because you can withdraw, forcing the loss of that card for just one action, just like a successful ambush, but without the potential downside. Edit: oops, better than an ambush, because it's no action loss for the attacker - both sides spent an action on the siege.

In fact, any siege where the defender wins, this rule would make them worse off for it.

Maybe if the defender wins, it stays as is, (attacker drops one, defender doesn't) and if the attacker wins, they both discard one (attacker leaves a garrison). That would help in cases where winning one siege only makes the next easier.

But I think the core issue is that your deck is ridiculously terrible after a huge siege. This proposal feels like an attempt to attack that problem from an angle from an angle I don't really like. I think the parent problem of that one is that military in your deck is just so incredibly bad for getting anything else done that it makes military an all or nothing path. This proposal feels like an attempt to treat the symptom of that, rather than the cause.
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As a tweak on 10., maybe key military cards to certain locations on the map? To draft the card, you need to have the location.

And/or require a city (as opposed to settlement) for each regular and two or three settlements per militia.

How about making it cost a gold (or two) to deploy an attacking card and/or having a maintenance cost on the siege of a gold per card?
 
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AndrewE wrote:
Dearlove wrote:
But as we are discussing military options, what are your views on the idea that after a massive siege both sides should have to return military to available empire cards? I haven't seen a good specific proposal to achieve this, but I think the idea is a potentially good one - and I think in keeping with the rest of your thinking.
It's interesting, but difficult. It makes opening a siege with a location card ridiculously powerful.

I think you've missed "massive". It would be important that small sieges gave the same effects as currently, only large sieges had the additional effects. How to specify that would be critical.

Quote:
But I think the core issue is that your deck is ridiculously terrible after a huge siege.

Agreed, that's the point.

Quote:
This proposal feels like an attempt to attack that problem from an angle from an angle I don't really like. I think the parent problem of that one is that military in your deck is just so incredibly bad for getting anything else done that it makes military an all or nothing path. This proposal feels like an attempt to treat the symptom of that, rather than the cause.

I don't think I'd agree with that characterisation. When do you pick up massive military? Feeding them into a siege. (No one builds up a massive military in advance of starting a siege.) When does this become a problem? When the siege ends and the military goes back into play. So that's the time to attack that problem, at the end of a siege. Is this thematic? Well, there's a good question for a historian, did the British military scale down after e.g. the taking of Louisbourg?

As I said, no concrete proposal seen. Here's the sort of thing that might be considered. After a siege return all but X (two? one?) cards with two or more military strength to your available empire cards. Then if the loser return an additional non-location card.
 
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AndrewE wrote:
My preferences for the direction of the game is firmly planted on the side of fairly radical changes

It would be a shame, I think, to radically change the game in order to address the few overpowered strategies. It was actually a fun game before someone figured out that you could do this. I'd say the goal should be to make the smallest change possible that will nerf the currently broken strategies and push the optimal strategy in the direction that Martin clearly intended. A radical change is far more likely to either turn the game into a shuffling contest, or to introduce new imbalances.

I appreciate the willingness of people to work on a solution to the problem. Until you figure something out, though, I'm content to play the game with people who haven't read this whole debate, and to play as if I hadn't read it myself.
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qzhdad wrote:
As a tweak on 10., maybe key military cards to certain locations on the map? To draft the card, you need to have the location.

I think that's problematic, and as I don't think the right approach is to think up more possibilities that could be added, I think the comment that other possibilities exist is sufficient.

Quote:
And/or require a city (as opposed to settlement) for each regular and two or three settlements per militia.

OK, let's go with towns and villages as the terminology. The proposal made was as you suggested for regulars, except forts also counting.

I don't think militia is an issue. In fact I think more militia and fewer regular infantry is to be encouraged.

Quote:
How about making it cost a gold (or two) to deploy an attacking card and/or having a maintenance cost on the siege of a gold per card?

There already is a cost for siege artillery. I think that's intended to define it. Maintenance cost on siege is I think already there, but exactly how much I don't think is sufficiently well defined yet.

 
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skipsizemore wrote:
Until you figure something out, though, I'm content to play the game with people who haven't read this whole debate, and to play as if I hadn't read it myself.

You can even play with people who have read it all - provided you play British, and don't go down the thin deck route (except to point out to the French player that if he tries it you will, and will be better at it).
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This is a good list. I hope if Martin reads this (hi Martin!) that he also reads the entire big thread, as there are valuable suggestions and discussion there.
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Agreed.

I don't necessarily share Andrew's more radical notions on fixing the "boring" strategy, but I agree it's an issue, and this doesn't address it in a satisfactory way, at least for me.

Eminent Domain's solution to the thick deck is to "discard whatever you want". Now, this would really screw with the current balance of the game, but it's already broken, so radical changes might be in order.
 
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skipsizemore wrote:
AndrewE wrote:
My preferences for the direction of the game is firmly planted on the side of fairly radical changes

It would be a shame, I think, to radically change the game in order to address the few overpowered strategies.
I fully agree. However, I don't propose radical changes to address the narrow problem of a dominant strategy. I propose radical changes because it is my opinion that some core mechanics need adjusting, entirely aside from the dominant strategy.

---

Dearlove wrote:
I don't think I'd agree with that characterisation. When do you pick up massive military? Feeding them into a siege. (No one builds up a massive military in advance of starting a siege.) When does this become a problem? When the siege ends and the military goes back into play. So that's the time to attack that problem, at the end of a siege. Is this thematic? Well, there's a good question for a historian, did the British military scale down after e.g. the taking of Louisbourg
You pick up massive military in the process of feeding them into a siege, because right now that's the only way to do it without totally sabotaging your deck. The problem manifests at the end of the siege when it all goes back into your deck, and you claim that therefore that's when to attack the problem, but I disagree. It may be the time to attack the problem, but we can also attack the problem earlier.

So right now nobody buys military without the intention to throw it on a siege at the earliest opportunity. I claim that, right there, is the problem. I claim that carrying some quantity of military in your deck ought to have positive defensive qualities that aren't hugely outweighed by the negative card drag affecting absolutely everything else.

People don't buy massive militaries before a siege. But who's to say they shouldn't? A military already bought beats a military you could buy because it arrives faster. I think that would be an interesting dynamic, the aggressive player stocking up on military while the defensive player tries to do other things while leaving open the possibility to expand military quickly enough if the aggressive player follows through. It creates tension - how far can the defender afford to fall behind on military in deck and not get burnt by losing a location? But right now it doesn't happen because buying military and not immediately using it is too expensive.

As for theme, I think throwing theme under the bus in the pursuit of better flow, better balance, and better anything else is a trade to make every day and twice on Sundays. Of course, if you can have all that and theme, even better, but I think a good game should be generated first, and then theme made to fit, rather than the other way around. For example, I thought of the idea "winning a siege means both sides lose a military card" because I thought it was a decent idea in terms of gameplay first, and then later attached a theme to it (attacker winning a siege means the defender loses a military as a casualty, and the attacker loses one to leaving a garrison behind, while attacker losing a siege means the attacker loses a military as a casualty, with no penalty for the defender, because he already owns the place)
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I don't have a copy of the game in front of me to look at the numbers, but #10 actually sounds fairly brilliant to me, in theory. It's thematically satisfying, and makes it difficult to push the broken siege strategy without also pushing the settle and improve strategy (and fluffing up the deck). One would have to do some analysis to see whether this would put a sufficient brake on the military build-up, but it sounds like the right direction.

As for how to deal with lost towns and forts, I don't see why it has to be complex. Units are lost from time to time in the normal course of the game, anyway; if the player is limited at the moment that he proposes to buy a new unit, I would think that should be sufficient.
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AndrewE wrote:
As for theme, I think throwing theme under the bus in the pursuit of better flow, better balance, and better anything else is a trade to make every day and twice on Sundays. Of course, if you can have all that and theme, even better, but I think a good game should be generated first, and then theme made to fit, rather than the other way around.

So long as the bare essentials of thematic consistency are observed (e.g., a strong army beats a weak army, money doesn't grow on trees, etc.) I agree completely. And I think Martin Wallace would agree, as well. That's actually one of the fun parts of designing a game: translating the theme into the mechanics, tinkering with the mechanics to make them work better, and then performing the reverse translation of your mechanical changes in a thematically satisfying way.
 
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skipsizemore wrote:
I don't have a copy of the game in front of me to look at the numbers, but #10 actually sounds fairly brilliant to me, in theory. It's thematically satisfying, and makes it difficult to push the broken siege strategy without also pushing the settle and improve strategy (and fluffing up the deck). One would have to do some analysis to see whether this would put a sufficient brake on the military build-up, but it sounds like the right direction.
This doesn't work for pretty basic reasons. British have a develop advantage and they already start with +1 disks. This restraint just hampers the french even more.

One tester who tried it said this:
Quote:
We restarted, same sides, and gave the French a fortified Lb, 2 turns, and tried the fix of "you can only have as many RI/SA as you have cities+plus forts". This doesn't work, of course, because the Brits simply expand faster than the French so they end up with 6 RI/SA allowable to the French 3 and start a siege and it's pointless.

An alternative for the British is to just grab the settlers and settle rush, since the french can't effectively counter with military, and with only Quebec and a crappy Intendant, they cannot compete.
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out4blood wrote:
Now, this would really screw with the current balance of the game, but it's already broken, so radical changes might be in order.

I can be pretty sure Martin won't see it that way. Neither do I.
 
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