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Subject: Rethinking the Roles rss

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Jonathan C
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A while back I posted "Decline and Fall", some rules for a GtR variant I have been working on and have spent a little time play-testing. A wonderful discussion followed which helped hash out several problems with the design.

I'm hoping that the BGG community will once again shoot this framework through with as many holes as possible, in order to make it "work" without feeling clunky or annoying. Several initial comments I received cautioned against the bloating deck size and color distribution, so some of my changes below attempt to address this issue.

What's new?

Quote:
Courtesan -- a non-followable Role, which may, if desired, replace any "Thinker" action if one discards a Courtesan to the pool. The basic idea is to mitigate the negative effects of a larger, diluted deck with a better and selective "search" action.

Slave -- initiates an auction for cards remaining in the Pool, followed by a second non-followable "hidden" role. I've finally abandoned the round-robin bidding in favor of a simultaneous blind bid, and provided a compounding bidding power for Slave Orders cards to make the auction less predictable.

Barbarian -- a new role, implementing a catch-up mechanic which puts runaway Influence leaders in danger of losing their precious buildings.


Please add to the discussion if you spot any problems or would like to share further refinements, I like reading people's opinions.

Updated rules file is located here, but is still awaiting approval:

Decline & Fall

So here is a preview:



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Robert Seater
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Woah. Battering ram is an interesting variation on Prison. Is it too much directed grief? With prison, the recipient gets a consolation prize. But maybe that's why prison doesn't get played all that much...
 
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Heiko Günther
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Wow. You really put a lot of work into this.

My feeling is that each of the new roles should be a single "expansion" that you can add independently to the base game. So, if you feel like having a more competitve game, you toss in the barbarian, if you feel like your group can handle the constant monitoring of the buildings in the pool, you add the slave and so forth.

I really like a lot of the barbarian buildings, but have the feeling that the barbarian role itself, while thematically great, is a bit fiddly and bureaucratic in execution. It seems to me that some simplification is needed here.

The courtesan role sound like a great cost-3 building power to me, perhaps simplified as well (Whorehouse: when thinking, discard one rubble or wood to the pool. Draw 6 cards, keep 2 and add the rest to the bottom of the deck), but a bit too weak as a role in its own.

A slave auction also sounds like a great element to add to the game, but I am not sure if allowing the losing bids to be taken back to the hand is a good idea. If there are a lot of cards in the pool, you bid your whole hand, whoever is the lucky guy with the most coins on his hand gets to exchange them for the ones in the pool, everybody else just keeps their cards. If there are few cards in the pool, it seems highly unlikely a player will lead slave. Also, I have the feeling that allowing additional secret roles may break the tactical element in role selection and makes the slave a highly unrewarding role to lead.

Lupanaria seems grossly underpowered to me, why would I want to give cards to my opponents if I do not have any advantage from it. Do I miss something here?

Campus Martius on the other hand seems crazily overpowered and sounds like if you have it out, you will always be the only player executing the roles you lead. Might be worth considering moving that to a 3 coin card, or making it a little weaker.

Castel may be to strong, and Mausoleum may lead to extreme AP.
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Jonathan C
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lee elektrik wrote:
Wow. You really put a lot of work into this.

My feeling is that each of the new roles should be a single "expansion" that you can add independently to the base game. So, if you feel like having a more competitve game, you toss in the barbarian, if you feel like your group can handle the constant monitoring of the buildings in the pool, you add the slave and so forth.


That's a good idea. Or even replace one of the roles with a new role, different card interactions, etc.

lee elektrik wrote:
I really like a lot of the barbarian buildings, but have the feeling that the barbarian role itself, while thematically great, is a bit fiddly and bureaucratic in execution. It seems to me that some simplification is needed here.


You should have seen the first equation I came up with re: who wins Legionary vs. Barbarian conflicts. I think that it involved some integrals and a Laplace transform.

lee elektrik wrote:
The courtesan role sound like a great cost-3 building power to me, perhaps simplified as well (Whorehouse: when thinking, discard one rubble or wood to the pool. Draw 6 cards, keep 2 and add the rest to the bottom of the deck), but a bit too weak as a role in its own.


I guess the thing that seemed unique and powerful to me re: Courtesan was that it was not a followable (is that a word?) action, but may be used interchangeably with THINKER (if you have a Courtesan to discard). Especially better when one is at his or her hand limit, but doesn't have the color needed. It could also have some pretty interesting interactions with any other building power which helps THINKER. But I definitely see your point--with such a different looking role, it probably needs some more attention.

lee elektrik wrote:
A slave auction also sounds like a great element to add to the game, but I am not sure if allowing the losing bids to be taken back to the hand is a good idea. If there are a lot of cards in the pool, you bid your whole hand, whoever is the lucky guy with the most coins on his hand gets to exchange them for the ones in the pool, everybody else just keeps their cards. If there are few cards in the pool, it seems highly unlikely a player will lead slave. Also, I have the feeling that allowing additional secret roles may break the tactical element in role selection and makes the slave a highly unrewarding role to lead.


That's a really good point. When we playtested this, a Slave auction was only rarely initiated rarely (just once in fact) because two conditions must be met: the Pool must be large/bloated, and the Leader must have a lot of expendable cards in hand. This is a difficulty I am not sure has been solved. This is perhaps one of the reasons I came up with the expontentially-increasing contribution of having Slave clients, to offer some counter-balance to having a huge hand of cards when bidding.

lee elektrik wrote:
Lupanaria seems grossly underpowered to me, why would I want to give cards to my opponents if I do not have any advantage from it. Do I miss something here?


My thought behind giving a card to an opponent would be to follow up with a Legionary attack--you know what to Demand. But it helps Followers more than it helps the Leader, who would have to wait until the Lead comes back around to him in order to make a demand, and people's hands have likely changed. So this also needs some more careful thought and improvement.

lee elektrik wrote:
Campus Martius on the other hand seems crazily overpowered and sounds like if you have it out, you will always be the only player executing the roles you lead. Might be worth considering moving that to a 3 coin card, or making it a little weaker.


Agreed, Campus Martius is a bit strong. Making it 3-cost is probably a good move, or perhaps changing the building's condition to "when opponent follows with a Jack" vs. just "follow".

lee elektrik wrote:
Castel may be to strong, and Mausoleum may lead to extreme AP.


Castel is certainly a boost to any Merchant strategy (which may or may not need any boost!). This power could be limited to buying exactly '1' influence for a cost of '3', or some other weaker embodiment of the same idea, but we'll have to try it and see if it loses too much lustre.

Thanks for your feedback!
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