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Subject: Less downtime, less runaway leader rss

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Fabien Conus
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I truly like the mechanism of The City, but I have two problems with it:

- huge downtime at the end of each round
- runaway leader problem, where a player in the lead with be almost impossible to catch up with

These problems mostly come from the end game conditions.

I therefore came up with a very small change that makes the game much more fun for me:

Instead of counting points at the end of each round, you play a total of 8 rounds before ending the game. Once the game had ended, you add up your points and whoever has the most points wins the game.

This fixes the downtime problem, since you won't have to add up your points at the end of each round and it fixes the runaway leader problem, since points are not exponential anymore.

Of course the number of rounds was chosen quite arbitrarily based on the average number of rounds you play in a regular game, but you could decide to go for 10 or more for a slightly longer game.

I hope you enjoy it.
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Thomas Staudt
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FabienC wrote:
I truly like the mechanism of The City, but I have two problems with it:

- huge downtime at the end of each round
- runaway leader problem, where a player in the lead with be almost impossible to catch up with

These problems mostly come from the end game conditions.

I therefore came up with a very small change that makes the game much more fun for me:

Instead of counting points at the end of each round, you play a total of 8 rounds before ending the game. Once the game had ended, you add up your points and whoever has the most points wins the game.

This fixes the downtime problem, since you won't have to add up your points at the end of each round and it fixes the runaway leader problem, since points are not exponential anymore.

Of course the number of rounds was chosen quite arbitrarily based on the average number of rounds you play in a regular game, but you could decide to go for 10 or more for a slightly longer game.

I hope you enjoy it.


I don't think this is a "very small change" to the game.
You are completely taking out the race aspect and the consideration of early VP vs. money.

I'm not saying the game is less enjoyable this way (though I fear it might be for me), but this is a _big_ change.
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Marc
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I find the game perfect as it is, and the accounting-time can be reduced with poker chips or dice (I use small green and red dice)
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Mike S.
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Pokerchips ??? Dice ???

You still need to calculate your score, or not ?
 
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Fabien Conus
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ashman wrote:

I don't think this is a "very small change" to the game.
You are completely taking out the race aspect and the consideration of early VP vs. money.


Actually, not really. Since you still have a fixed amount of rounds, not building on a round will have a big impact on your score. So this dilemma is still there.
 
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Thomas Staudt
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FabienC wrote:
ashman wrote:

I don't think this is a "very small change" to the game.
You are completely taking out the race aspect and the consideration of early VP vs. money.


Actually, not really. Since you still have a fixed amount of rounds, not building on a round will have a big impact on your score. So this dilemma is still there.


I'm not talking about not building. Let's say I play a 2 VP card in round 2, this gives me 14 points in a regular game (assuming 8 rounds) but only 2 in yours.
So there is no real reason to build it in round 2 instead of a money card.
Even worse for a card that gives points per symbols. In the regular game there is a strong incentive to play them early. And the card costs are balanced out with that style of play in mind, so they might not fit with a different approach.

Unless you do a _full_ scoring as in the original game in the end.
But that would just mean moving the downtime to the end, so I don't think that is what you proposed.
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Fabien Conus
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ashman wrote:

I'm not talking about not building. Let's say I play a 2 VP card in round 2, this gives me 14 points in a regular game (assuming 8 rounds) but only 2 in yours.
So there is no real reason to build it in round 2 instead of a money card.


Which is exactly what I'm trying to achieve ! No more exponential scores.

ashman wrote:

Even worse for a card that gives points per symbols. In the regular game there is a strong incentive to play them early. And the card costs are balanced out with that style of play in mind, so they might not fit with a different approach.


I disagree. With this variant you do want to play them early, as this will define your strategy for the following turns, and it is what will make the difference, if you manage to add buildings with the right symbols.

That said, I'm not trying to convince anyone. I understand the point you're making and I think it is perfectly valid. It's just that for me the game is not fun this way
 
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Thomas Staudt
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FabienC wrote:

ashman wrote:

Even worse for a card that gives points per symbols. In the regular game there is a strong incentive to play them early. And the card costs are balanced out with that style of play in mind, so they might not fit with a different approach.


I disagree. With this variant you do want to play them early, as this will define your strategy for the following turns, and it is what will make the difference, if you manage to add buildings with the right symbols.


But what difference does it make if I play this card early? It has the same effect if I play it as the last card. I can as well play cards that have the symbol but provide money, and play this card as the last card, so I have drawn more cards and still get the same points for it (or even more depending on the additional cards I've drawn).

FabienC wrote:

That said, I'm not trying to convince anyone. I understand the point you're making and I think it is perfectly valid. It's just that for me the game is not fun this way


And I think you should enjoy the game the best you can, with whatever rules you like.
I'm only saying that this change shouldn't be advertised as a small one, it is substantially altering the game
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FabienC wrote:
Which is exactly what I'm trying to achieve ! No more exponential scores.


Sorry for being a math nazi here, but the scores are cubic, not exponential. Score''(n)~n, since every turn you add to your plateau a building that earns you slightly more points than the building you added to your plateau last turn (and score'(n) is the number of points that your tableau produces every turn).

People using exponentially to describe a phenomenon that doesn't increase exponentially is kind of a pet peeve of mine. But hey, at least you didn't say that a number was exponentially bigger than another one, which makes strictly no sense.

And as you might understand, I'm not bothered by the sums done each turn, but the poker chips idea might be a good idea to help those that forget their VP earning from turn to turn.
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Marcin B.
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elprofesor wrote:
Sorry for being a math nazi here

+10 for the phrase "math nazi".

(I am a mathematician, and I am going to use that wording from now on.)
 
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Tom Lehmann
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elprofesor wrote:
since every turn you add to your plateau a building that earns you *slightly more points* than the building you added to your plateau last turn

This is not true for most winning tableaus. (Mathematicians who make false simplifying assumptions happen to be one of my pet peeves. ;-)
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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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Reminds me of the joke with a physicist, a chemist and a biologist in which the physicist starts off, "assume that cows are spherical."
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Marcin B.
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
elprofesor wrote:
since every turn you add to your plateau a building that earns you *slightly more points* than the building you added to your plateau last turn

This is not true for most winning tableaus. (Mathematicians who make false simplifying assumptions happen to be one of my pet peeves. ;-)

+1

(Though we do it all the time.)

But *now* I got intrigued.

What does the points-vs-time plot in this game really look like (on an average, of course)?
 
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Tom Lehmann
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Here's data from my last 5 3P (2x AIs) games I played, VPs/turn, winner:

0 0 0 3 5 12 23 38 = 81 (w/ Stadtvillas, which feed off each other)
1 1 1 1 2 10 18 25 = 59
0 4 4 6 6 9 11 13 = 53
1 1 1 8 10 19 26 = 66
0 1 4 5 6 10 20 29 = 75

Arguing that each turn's delta is slightly greater than the last turn's delta is nonsense; you have lots of big jumps in VPs (as players shift from increasing production to scoring VPs).
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Eric Brosius
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My favorite 18xx game for six players is two games of 1846 with three players each.
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I have to say that I've played at least 70 times, and there has been no sign of a runaway leader problem.
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