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Hansa Teutonica» Forums » Variants

Subject: Limited Action Progression Variant rss

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Neil Christiansen
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There have been quite a few discussions of how constrained the opening of HT is with the focus on Gottingen and increasing the number of actions a player can take.

I do NOT think the game is broken as is. However, it is 'fragile' in the sense that a good game of HT depends on all players understanding the game and not enabling one player (often to the right of a newbie) to get this advancement too easily. The scripted opening and 'fragile' aspect has limited the enjoyment in several groups I have introduced the game to, even with the cards from the Eastern Expansion.
We have therefore developed the following variant that changes opening strategies considerably.

First, extra actions gained are not available until the next turn, although the extra trader is.

Second, when an extra action is gained (but not at the second of the two 3 and 4 spaces), the trader removed from that space must be placed on another track on the player board. This can be the space that started as open at the beginning of the game, but this will limit the player in future turns until it is removed.

Town Keys: Covering the 1 space means that no bonus points are gained at game end for each office in the longest chain of connected cities.

Privileges: Covering the white office space means that players may no longer place any offices in cities (with the exception of using additional office bonus marker). Routs can be completed, but no office is gained.

Books: Covering the 2 book space means that only one piece can be shifted when a Move action is taken.

Money Bags: Covering the 3 space with a trader from the freed action space means that only 1 trader or merchant may be moved from the general stock into the personal supply when the Income action is taken.

The play testing so far has been very interesting. Players still compete for Gottingen, but less intensely and more attention is played to the starting bonus markers and other advancements. Typically, players rushing for extra action to increase to 3 will cover the first key space as this has no current effects on game play, but it does create a whole that one must dig out of or suffer a significant endgame scoring penalty. Some have covered the white privilege temporarily, focusing on gaining advancements and bonus markers rather establishing offices until it can be uncovered.

It certainly opens up the beginning of the game in terms of strategy and decreases how critical it is to get 3 actions.
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Rik Van Horn
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Personally, I'd rather suffer through a game where the new person learns the game than to fiddle with what is already a genius design.
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Tim Seitz
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chris1nd wrote:
Money Bags: Covering the 3 space with a trader from the freed action space means that only 1 trader or merchant may be moved from the general stock into the personal supply when the Income action is taken.

Interesting approach, but all you've done here is make the bag route the as or more important than the action route at the start, as getting your first bag upgrade increases by 50% your effective available actions. Instead of a 3-action player doing insert 1, bag 1, insert 1 / bag 1, insert 1, bag 1, for 3 placements in 6 actions; a 2-action player can insert 1, insert 1 / insert 1, bag 3.
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Neil Christiansen
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Well, I am not sure that is ALL that it has done, but it does increase the relative importance of bag route.

Of course, it increases the importance of ALL of the other advancements relative to the extra actions, as it is intended to do. And bonus markers.

So far, although coveted, the bag route does not dominate the same way Gottingen did.

Edited to add: to the extent both routes are more roughly equal, it is an improvement to me.
 
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Neil Christiansen
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I have played games with experienced players where I saw the player before me "enabled" by the others into Gottingen.

I watched them run away and felt as if there were nothing in my seat position I could really do about it.

I have not felt that way with the variant.

But hey, YMMV. If you like the game the way it is, more power to you. I do too.

But I cannot get it to the table in 2 of the 3 groups I play with.
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Jeff B
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chris1nd wrote:
There have been quite a few discussions of how constrained the opening of HT is with the focus on Gottingen and increasing the number of actions a player can take.

I do NOT think the game is broken as is. However, it is 'fragile' in the sense that a good game of HT depends on all players understanding the game and not enabling one player (often to the right of a newbie) to get this advancement too easily. The scripted opening and 'fragile' aspect has limited the enjoyment in several groups I have introduced the game to, even with the cards from the Eastern Expansion.
We have therefore developed the following variant that changes opening strategies considerably.

First, extra actions gained are not available until the next turn, although the extra trader is.

Second, when an extra action is gained (but not at the second of the two 3 and 4 spaces), the trader removed from that space must be placed on another track on the player board. This can be the space that started as open at the beginning of the game, but this will limit the player in future turns until it is removed.


I was actually about to start a thread about this subject until I noticed this one. I have only played one game (three-player), and as much as my friends and I enjoyed it, I noticed that the very beginning does seem somewhat scripted in that everyone wants to immediately upgrade to that critical third action. This is clearly because having only two actions available is extremely limiting, and when playing with 3 or 4 players there is only one route to that city.

One idea that came to my mind was to set up each player's board (desk) as usual, and have each player begin with three actions, rather than two. Although the action ability would begin showing 2 actions uncovered (as is the case in the beginning, per the rules), each player would act as if the numeral 2 were in fact a three. So, in other words, it would take three action upgrades to get from 3 to 4 actions. Instead of progressing from 2-3-3-4..., each player would progress from 3-3-3-4...

Perhaps some players would find staying on 3 actions for so long to be distasteful, but it would certainly keep the opening more variable, and the players would still have an incentive to upgrade the action ability, just not as immediately. What are others' opinions on this? Has anyone else tried this?


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Neil Christiansen
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We have tried that Jeff. It opens things up some, but still a lot of pressure on the same routes. That is why we came up with the above variant which makes the extra action less attractive (but still damn good).
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Grant
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stratomaster wrote:

I was actually about to start a thread about this subject until I noticed this one. I have only played one game (three-player), and as much as my friends and I enjoyed it, I noticed that the very beginning does seem somewhat scripted in that everyone wants to immediately upgrade to that critical third action. This is clearly because having only two actions available is extremely limiting, and when playing with 3 or 4 players there is only one route to that city.


Kudos for finding an existing thread before starting your own. Regarding your comment, I can see how you might think it is way too restricted with four players if you had only one route to Gottingen. You were playing on the wrong side of the board. Four players uses the other side which is for 4 or 5.
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