Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
7 Posts

Chicken Caesar» Forums » Variants

Subject: Child-friendly variant? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Allan Third
United Kingdom
Milton Keynes
flag msg tools
Gàidheal Laidinneach
badge
Genii Cucullatii
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Does anyone have any thoughts on how the rules might be adapted to make a variant younger children can play? It seems a little too complicated and I wondered if there were elements of play that could be streamlined for less sophisticated players. I think a fixed tax rate would be a start but probably not enough.

A little unbalancing as a consequence wouldn't necessarily be harmful; although my youngest gaming colleague is very smart and understanding when he loses, it never hurts to have the option to skew a game in his favour without him noticing. :-)

I'm well aware this isn't the real point of the game, it's supposed to be an adult one, I'm just curious to know if anyone thinks it's possible.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tiamat
United States
Plymouth
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmb
Some ideas:

1. For lower level advancement get rid of the possibility to pay money to support yourself or pass for $1.
2. I don't think the tax rate should be fixed (would give aediles nothing to do) but maybe it would be more comprehensible as a simple vote? If not then maybe you have to say the top aedile gets to make the call.
3. Replace the guard cards with a die roll or two. The praetors could still determine (again perhaps by straight vote) where the fox attacks go. The specific casualties could be determined randomly too (make the game nicer)
4. IIRC you put down money by the dead roosters before you know who the consuls will be, and then the consuls have a process for getting through all of the "offers." I wonder if both of these are too complicated. I think the simplest variant would be that players make offers to specific consuls, and during the consul phase. Maybe you only get to make one offer attempt per insignia or something.
5. Is the variable length of Caesar's term a problem? Would it be easier to base it on a die roll? On one hand I like the idea that Caesar cares whether there is a fox attack, but on the other hand, this player cannot necessarily affect whether there is one or not.
6. Is the scoring too complicated to understand? Simplest change, I think, is to have set collection of insignias where you want to get one of each type. Although, there are relatively few caesar and censor insignias to be won, so that might not work properly as written.

Off the top of my head I don't think I have a great idea on simplifying the election to higher offices. You could simply vote, but would have to hope for ties to just disappear after enough discussion, and there's also the issue of needing to elect more than one rooster sometimes.

(edit: regarding set collection in #6. I played once a version of this game where I stripped out as many of the functions as I could. One thing I removed was the idea that individual roosters own an awarded insignia. (I also had a 3-man censor office.) So, this is what I was thinking of when I suggest just collecting sets of insignias.)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Berger
United States
Round Lake
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There's one part of the rules that I'm already worried about explaining to my game group - which is a bunch of 30-somethings, intelligent, mostly-hardened gamers. That's the scoring. So I would probably simplify that for a younger player. Maybe just say gold emblems are worth 3, silver are worth 2, and bronze are worth 1. (Unless he's fine with not understanding the scoring and just playing to collect the better emblems.)

I think the Consul's role is probably a bit confusing as well. Instead of what they do, I might do something totally different - the head Consul can choose a group of (face down) guard cards to ignore, second Consul can either approve or choose a different group, third Consul can approve either of the first two. Then whichever group of guard cards was chosen is thrown away and those roosters are safe. That might still be a little complex, but it works a lot like the tax rate, so at least that's just one mechanism to learn, and I think it's simpler than trying to place bribes to affix medals to dead roosters... In fact, I'd probably just score all medals and not worry about whether they're on a rooster card or not. Also, while it would be a bad thing in a standard game to add extra safety, it might help for a younger player to make the game less brutal.

I think the Praetors probably work fine as they are - I think that's a simple enough concept - put the traitors by the roosters you don't like.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Sizemore
United States
Richmond
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
www.NevermoreGames.com
badge
This is NOT a Chihuahua. It is a Sphynx cat. A bald, grouchy Sphynx cat who will bite you if you mistake him for a Chihuahua.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for your feedback and suggestions. Chicken Caesar is recommended for ages 13+, due both to its complexity and the fact that it's a mean-spirited game in which most of the roosters get eaten. We have played with some bright younger folks, though, down to about 10 I believe, and they've done pretty well with it. If you'd like to teach your kids to be competitive, and not to take it the wrong way when somebody does something mean to them in the context of a game, you may find that Chicken Caesar works quite well!

For adults who have played Euro games before, the scoring shouldn't be too difficult. The scores for the sets of tokens are just triangular numbers, which show up in a lot of games. The silver tokens are worth twice as much as the bronze tokens, and the gold (Caesar) tokens are worth three times as much.

For kids, you can just say that they should try to get a lot of the same kind. That's pretty much all I do, anyway. 8ˆ) As they get older, they can learn about concepts like trading two points to gain four, and so forth. You can also point out that going up the left side of the board makes it easier to get valuable sets of tokens, but going up the right side makes it easier to get money, which is also worth points.

One way to maintain the spirit of the tax rate without it being too difficult would be to use the system that we used early on. The senior (A) Aedile can set the tax rate to anything he wants, 1-5. The B Aedile can then adjust it by up to 2 spaces in either direction. Finally, the C Aedile can move it one more space in either direction, setting the final tax rate.

We moved away from this in our design because we felt that it didn't give Aedile A a sufficient seniority bonus. It also took away the notion of taxes having a bit of inertia, which we felt was somewhat important. In our demos it usually led to a constant tax rate of 5 (because, let's face it, killing roosters is fun), which in turn led to very short and chaotic games. It will work reasonably well for kids, though, and might even be a good method if you're teaching the game to casual gamers who aren't going to play often enough to learn the intricacies of tax rate manipulation.

As for the Consuls, it's difficult for me to think of a way to make that much simpler. You could do away with the decision-making by saying that the "gratuity" should always be the monetary value of the token(s) being added -- 1 for a bronze, 2 for a silver, 3 for a gold. And you could say that a Consul has to accept the proposal of his choice, if any are available. The concept is fairly crucial to the game that only one of each type of insignia can go on each rooster, and that one can put the "extras" onto the monuments of dead roosters who don't already have them.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Sizemore
United States
Richmond
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
www.NevermoreGames.com
badge
This is NOT a Chihuahua. It is a Sphynx cat. A bald, grouchy Sphynx cat who will bite you if you mistake him for a Chihuahua.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Tiamat wrote:
Off the top of my head I don't think I have a great idea on simplifying the election to higher offices. You could simply vote, but would have to hope for ties to just disappear after enough discussion, and there's also the issue of needing to elect more than one rooster sometimes.


The voting mechanic was probably the the part of the game that we spent the most time on. We tried every conceivable variation and permutation we could think of before settling on the one in the game. We wanted to make sure that every voting decision was an important one, even if the player is not directly affected by the outcome. But we also needed to make sure that votes could go very quickly, so that players who aren't as interested in the outcome don't have to wait around while the others sort it all out. I'm very happy with the final version of the voting mechanic, and believe that most kids should be able to figure it out with a patient teacher.

Once players have done it a time or two, voting goes very quickly, and with increasing sophistication. They usually learn first how to bribe to the left. Then they learn about the weakness of the player to the right, and about predicting who will make the final decision. Eventually they see the value of making the player to the left waste his vote, and how to time the vote so that the decision is made by the most favorable player.

Tiamat wrote:
6. Is the scoring too complicated to understand? Simplest change, I think, is to have set collection of insignias where you want to get one of each type. Although, there are relatively few caesar and censor insignias to be won, so that might not work properly as written.


We also spent a lot of time on the scoring. Early on, it was very complicated -- families got points as a whole, and individual roosters also got points. We wanted to encourage players to get the tokens spread out as evenly as possible among their roosters, rather than concentrating them all on one. For a while we had a Tigris & Euphrates-style system, where your score was that of your lowest rooster, but that didn't work well in many cases.

The scoring system we landed on balanced the concept of spreading around the experience, while keeping things relatively simple.

Tiamat wrote:
5. Is the variable length of Caesar's term a problem? Would it be easier to base it on a die roll? On one hand I like the idea that Caesar cares whether there is a fox attack, but on the other hand, this player cannot necessarily affect whether there is one or not.


Caesar only gets a second term very rarely, in our experience. Caesar can affect the Attack phase with bribes and his veto, and will have to do so perfectly if taxes are at 3. The more players there are in the game, the harder it is to do -- he has to use his roosters in other offices very carefully, and won't have as many to work with in larger games. If he can keep taxes at 3 or less, convince the Praetors to play nicely (hint: get two Traditors on the Censor), and get the Censor to use his exile powers carefully, he absolutely can make it happen.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tiamat
United States
Plymouth
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmb
Personally I would not want to actually change the game in the ways I thought of. The various voting rules are quite slick.

I can think of two possible tweaks
1. Praetors make their decisions publicly
2. Drop the traitor count a notch

It is fun to kill roosters, but the aediles have a high risk of killing themselves even with the middle tax rate. I realize somebody's got to die or else nothing's going to move. Maybe requiring praetors to expose their decisions would make it possible for aediles (and, actually, the praetors themselves) to plan better.

Great game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Allan Third
United Kingdom
Milton Keynes
flag msg tools
Gàidheal Laidinneach
badge
Genii Cucullatii
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the suggestions, really interesting! What I'm going to have to, when my copy arrives, is to sit down with it and play through variants of all of those to see what I think our two could best cope with. I don't really expect the voting mechanisms to be too big a deal, I think they'll be fine with them once they're explained.

The reason I thought just a fixed tax rate would be good is simply to remove a subsystem from the game so there's less to understand - not so much about how you vary the tax rate but more *why* you would want to vary it up or down. Yes, the cost of that is that aediles become pointless but for kids, I think just having a placeholder office en route to Censor probably makes enough sense, they're good at hierarchies. :-)

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.