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Crown of Roses» Forums » Variants

Subject: Two-player "Kingless" variant rss

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Steffan O'Sullivan
United States
Plymouth
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"To be honorable and just is our only defense against men without honor or justice." -Diogenes of Sinope
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We played this variant earlier this week. Some background:

* This was only our second game, so take the very idea of needing a variant after only one play quite likely to be premature.

* We have only played two-player. However, a simple thought experiment convinces us that the multi-player game, either with three or four, does NOT need any changes at all. The perceived problems we found in the two-player game simply would not exist with more players.

So, after playing our first game, we decided the King, if any Noble other than Henry VI, was simply too powerful in a two-player game. The +5 Votes, extra IP, extra popular support, the Block, the ability to use each of the once-per-turn powers of the other Offices which have such a thing, the tie-breaking ability, etc., meant that whoever had the King (excepting only Henry VI), would be able to keep it. This meant the other player could only win if he went for a military victory, which isn't easy and probably not doable against the King, anyway.

So here's what we came up with for our second game, which was also with two players:

We removed the King entirely. He's an unnamed soul visiting foreign lands or maybe in a coma or state of madness (which Henry VI historically was), who knows? At any rate, the squabbling is going on without him.

Instead:

1. Political victory is X turns ("X" depends on the scenario) with your Senior Heir being Lord Chancellor. The Chancellor does *not* get the King's 5 votes, just his own normal 3 votes.

2. Unlike the King, the Lord Chancellor does not have to be the Senior Heir. You simply won't advance on the political victory track if you assign it to someone else.

3. The Lord Chancellor, even if not the Senior Heir, *may* start in the King's Shires, such as London.

4. If Henry VI is Lord Chancellor, he does count for Political victory, but may not use the block and may not use the "swap two influence chit stacks" special ability.

5. Ties are broken by rolling dice.

6. The Office of Lord Chancellor is determined by votes during the phase in which the King is normally elected, not by bidding influence.

7. Embassy Mandatory Events: either leave them out or let the Lord Chancellor attend (or use a Writ). We haven't decided which yet, but we left them in for our game earlier this week and it was okay.

There are probably other small changes I'm forgetting.

---- The Result ----

So, how did it go?

We still didn't come near finishing. We tried scenario 4, a full nine-turn game, and only finished four turns in six hours of playing. (We only finished three turns in a slightly longer first game, so this was faster!)

However, we feel the experiment was a success. The Lord Chancellor's office swapped hands only once in those four turns, but it was pretty close that last election, and in our post-mortem discussion, we both agreed it could go either way the next turn. I (York) had more blocks than he did, but we probably had about the same number of total combat steps on our blocks: he was rolling six hits in eight dice in more than one battle!

We fought more than we had in our first game, which is a good thing. (I love how this game does block combat - best I've seen.) I managed to kill the Lord Chancellor and cost him its powers, which is why I was able to win the vote later that turn.

All in all, we think the experiment was a success and will continue to play this way in future two-player games.
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Björn Engqvist
Sweden
Goteborg
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Interesting variant, but looks a bit complicated to me on first sight. Why not just keep the King as the title to win a political victory but do away with all the trappings? So, no bonus votes, IP or support, no block and no special abilities? Perhaps just keep the tie-breaker ability and embassy weakness?
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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Plymouth
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[When asked if he would give a speech, Jinx said,] "Me, I'm a doer, not a talker." And when they asked him what it was he did, he said, "Sleep, mostly." -Walter R. Brooks
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Delirium_EU wrote:
Interesting variant, but looks a bit complicated to me on first sight. Why not just keep the King as the title to win a political victory but do away with all the trappings? So, no bonus votes, IP or support, no block and no special abilities? Perhaps just keep the tie-breaker ability and embassy weakness?

We thought of that, but we like the fact that Henry VI has special weaknesses and didn't know how to implement that with your proposal.

And the tie-breaker ability is killer in two-player. It would actually be interesting in multi-player, as many of the ties would involve players other than the King. Does he break ties one way this time and the other way the next time? Or ask for favors? That has a nice ring to it. But in two-player it sucks: it's always me or it's always you.
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Jack Smith
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I'm getting this game primarily for 2 player. I fully accept 2 player will naturally kill off the multiplayer aspects of the game but I do worry about the balance. Anything that addresses this is welcome.
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Danger Mouse
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I was going get this as a 2 player game so was put off when I found out about the issues. Like Jack I am also hoping someone can resolve it.
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Björn Engqvist
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Goteborg
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The simplest solution then would be to keep the King but do away with the Office card and all its abilities (so no votes, IP, support) and no using other officer abilities. Also, no tie-breaking, and you drop the +1 command rating from the block.

So the King just gets the block, effectively only giving some extra troops. Like in the regular game, Henry does not even get that.
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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Plymouth
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"To be honorable and just is our only defense against men without honor or justice." -Diogenes of Sinope
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[When asked if he would give a speech, Jinx said,] "Me, I'm a doer, not a talker." And when they asked him what it was he did, he said, "Sleep, mostly." -Walter R. Brooks
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Well, Björn, I must admit that sounds better than what we came up with! I ran it by my gaming buddy yesterday and he said what I'm proposing below (slightly different from yours) sounds good and we'll try it next time we play (probably Christmas break).

What we'll try, for two-player games only, is:

The King:

* If not Henry VI, uses the block (with its +1 command ability).
* If not Henry VI, can assign mustered troops to any block.
* Responds to Embassy events; can use Writs; cannot be the subject of a Writ.
* Gains a card draw.

So, NONE of: extra Votes, IP, or Popular Support; Tie-breaking; or use of other Officers' special abilities.

Thanks for the suggestion! If we find it still too powerful, we'll probably try dropping the +1 command ability and possibly +1 card draw. But we love the combat in this game, so we'll try it with the +1 command first to encourage more combat. And we love lots of cards (which might mean more impulses, also a good thing), so we'll try it with the extra card draw.
 
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Scott Blakely
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Has anyone tried this out yet?

We haven't gotten the game to the table yet and we bought it primarily for 2-player. May have to trade it off if a good solution cannot be found.
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Frédéric Mariusse
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Saint Romain de Lerps
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Major SNAFU wrote:
Has anyone tried this out yet?

We haven't gotten the game to the table yet and we bought it primarily for 2-player. May have to trade it off if a good solution cannot be found.


Same situation at home.
 
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