Peter O
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Oakland
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I get so engrossed in thinking about strategy and talking diplomacy that remembering little things like advancing the round marker can be missed causing longer games. One way that I already proposed to keep track in the base game is using tech by placing one for each turn on the round number. Well, the expansion comes with 10 rare techs, each unique and each doesn't count towards the number of tech drawn for the turn.

So the variant is: before players choose their seat place 1 rare tech on each round number. When the that round comes, the rare tech becomes available (and normal tech draws happen normally).

That's it! What it does is help direct players attention to particular rounds as they want to know what will be coming up. It also removes the mystery of when rare tech comes available. This will be good or bad depending upon player preference. But for the ultra competitive it gives everyone the ability to know when to pass early for the one and only chance at a particular tech.

The other effect is that at lower player counts rare tech under normal rules will be rarer than games with 6 players on average. This variant guarantees all but one rare tech to come up.
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Captain Yellowbeard
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Winston-Salem
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tranenturm wrote:
...place 1 rare tech on each round number. When the that round comes, the rare tech becomes available...

...it gives everyone the ability to know when to pass early for the one and only chance at a particular tech.


Me thinks I like your idea. However, it sounds as if you are proposing to place the rare tech's where they are visible to the players. I prefer that they remain unknown to the players before the beginning of the turn.
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Joseph Courtight
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I seccond that, if you can keep it hidden it would be purfect.
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Wim van Gruisen
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Den Bosch
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I'd like to play the regular game with expansion a few times before trying out this variant. That way I can estimate the impact.

Apart from that, it sounds like a good idea. I think that being able to see when a new tech comes into play is fun.
As a compromise between those who want the tech open and those who want the tech hidden, what about putting techs down hidden (by blackening one side of the tile, if need be) and turning each one up on the turn before it would come into play? So at the start of turn 6 you reveal what rare tech becomes available in round 7.
 
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Peter O
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Whymme wrote:
I'd like to play the regular game with expansion a few times before trying out this variant. That way I can estimate the impact.

Apart from that, it sounds like a good idea. I think that being able to see when a new tech comes into play is fun.
As a compromise between those who want the tech open and those who want the tech hidden, what about putting techs down hidden (by blackening one side of the tile, if need be) and turning each one up on the turn before it would come into play? So at the start of turn 6 you reveal what rare tech becomes available in round 7.


I guess if you REALLY wanted to do this without seeing the tech and didn't want to mark your set, you could get some construction paper and make little numbered pouches to keep the tech secret.
 
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JT Call
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Pocatello
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tranenturm wrote:
Whymme wrote:
I'd like to play the regular game with expansion a few times before trying out this variant. That way I can estimate the impact.

Apart from that, it sounds like a good idea. I think that being able to see when a new tech comes into play is fun.
As a compromise between those who want the tech open and those who want the tech hidden, what about putting techs down hidden (by blackening one side of the tile, if need be) and turning each one up on the turn before it would come into play? So at the start of turn 6 you reveal what rare tech becomes available in round 7.


I guess if you REALLY wanted to do this without seeing the tech and didn't want to mark your set, you could get some construction paper and make little numbered pouches to keep the tech secret.


Or, you know, you could put tokens (penny gems, anyone?) on the turn track and then replace the token with a rare tech (drawn blindly from a bag) as needed.
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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I like this variant with 4-6 players more than with 2-3 players. With 2-3 players, there is a good chance that several of the Rare Techs won't come out. Using this variant changes that dynamic, and it definitely changes the way I'd play PMs at the very least. Chances are that at least one (if not both) of my opponents will have the opportunity to snag one of the anti-PM Rare Techs.....which means I'm much less likely to waste my time researching the PM tech in the first place. With the normal rules, there is a greater chance that those 2 techs won't come out.

With more players, more of the Rare Techs are likely to come out so it doesn't affect the dynamic as much. More importantly, there are more players who are likely to snag that anti-PM tech...and they may be sitting on the opposite side of the universe.
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Edmund Ward
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What might work better than the rare tech for this variant would be to use the developments. Developments have a 'blank' side so they can actually be placed face down and there are 8 of them so you could have one on each turn from turn #2 onwards.

Personally, I felt that 3 developments in a 3p game was way too few anyway...
 
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