Nate Straight

Covington
Louisiana
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This game strikes me as particularly underrated. The only flaw I can see in the design is the endgame.

I doubt anyone is interested in discussing a variant, seeing as the game's so ill-received, but I'll try anyway.

The central problem with the endgame is that you can see it coming about three or four turns away, and there's very little you can do to affect the eventual winner of the game once that tipping point is reached. It would take extreme collusion and good luck in the movement of the thief in order to rein in the leader once they've established themselves firmly enough.

The problem arises because of the limitation of one "buy" per turn [which is itself not problematic] combined with the relatively small impact of the thief and the difficulty of getting it to hit one person multiple times in succession. If a person manages to get ~20 or so cash and is a turn ahead of everyone in the "buying things" race, then the conclusion is foregone.

I don't have anything in mind in particular [I don't usually when I start variant threads], so I'd like to brainstorm.

I find the game similar to Dominion in structure, so that drives some ideas below. I could see some of these working together.

- Only end the game when the Prestige cards are depleted. This would lengthen the game, but would seem to require the leader to maintain their income advantage for a longer period of time instead of just hitting a magic number that essentially seals the deal.

- Require a more direct cannibalization of production in order to begin generating VPs. Perhaps each Prestige card requires one stall from the board to be removed and placed on it. This would work particularly well with the above variant, I would imagine.

- Make the victory condition depend on more than just the number of Prestige cards acquired. Perhaps value of Prestige + Investments + Businesses in colors where you have Market Dominance ? Or maybe just Prestige + Investments + 2 per Market Dominance?

Any other bright ideas?

Does anyone care?
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Nate Straight

Covington
Louisiana
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New, simpler suggestion:

- Market Dominance cards are worth 1 Prestige Point at the end of the game.

Slightly less simple addendum:

- The game ends only when all the Prestige cards have been purchased; you play with (2 * # of players + 2) Prestige cards.

(The addendum is to allow a player who has a very good economic engine, but no dominance, to have a fair shot at winning by picking up a 4th or even 5th Prestige card.

Seems right to reward this type of play since in the rules as written they'd be the winner by default, or at worst tied.)
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jon larsen
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Think bigger.

What the game needs is a NON-thief equalization element. You've got 2 options. 1) a reverse buy, extra rolls/spaces/activations for players based on their distance from the current leader. 2) automation...this completely changes the game, but if the customer pawns are moving around either in a random direction, a random amount, or both, then you spend your actions attracting them. I see this as being more of a Dragon Parade type game then.

A pawn/board-position dual-phase interaction...now that's really tough, but I think the ultimate goal of the soul of this game. Think of an actual customer, you have to both attract them in, and keep them.
 
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