Bruce Linsey
United States Hudson New York

Andy Latto has a variant in which weighted dice are simulated, with 6 being rolled more often than 5, etc. It's a cool idea that I'm eager to try one of these days, as it will make placement of installations much more strategic than it is now.
I'll notify him that I've posted this and let him provide the details if he's so inclined.

Darrell Hanning
United States Jacksonville Florida
We will meet at the Hour of Scampering.

For those of you who want a more deterministic game, here's an idea that just dropped out of my head, like a ball through a pachinko machine:
Take a deck of cards, and give each player the Ace through six of one of the suits. (Make sure that the red suits are given to players on opposite sides of the board.)
After making initial purchases/sales of oil/gas from the markets, and instead of rolling the dice, the current player secretly selects one of his cards, and the player to his left does the same. Both cards are then revealed simultaneously, and the values in the red suit is used for the red die, and the value in the black suit is used for the black die. (Flip the used cards facedown, and place the dice accordingly, to annotate this.) Play resumes from there, with each player's die roll for their turn being replaced by the cardselection mechanism. Each card played cannot be played again, until all cards have been played.
Once all players have played their cards (i.e., after three turns for each player), all players pick up their cards. At this point, the direction is reversed (just for the hell of it), so the current player and the player to their right secretly select cards, until all cards are exhausted again. Rinse and repeat.
The interesting take on this is if you mentally keep track of the cards played, then you can try to make doubles "happen" with something better than a completely random chance at it; likewise for a doublehit on one of your spaces. (Of course, if you have someone who has a memory much superior to everyone else's, then have all played cards left faceup, so everyone can keep track.)
Hmm. I just made this up, and I'm tempted to try it out for myself.

Bruce Linsey
United States Hudson New York

Sounds cool, Darrell, but I think I'd definitely want all the cards faceup and open to inspection.

Neil Christiansen
United States Mount Pleasant Michigan
OOK! OOK! OOK!

I would let cards get picked up for reuse after 5 plays of the 6. So on 5th play, there are only 2 left to choose from and the refresh.
I don't like it being exactly known what the last play would be.

Andy Latto
United States Foxboro Massachusetts

Bruce Linsey wrote: Andy Latto has a variant in which weighted dice are simulated, with 6 being rolled more often than 5, etc. It's a cool idea that I'm eager to try one of these days, as it will make placement of installations much more strategic than it is now. Thanks for reminding me about this! Now that the game has been reprinted, there are lots ore people who might be interested in this, so it seems worth writing up.
In crude as it stands now, one space on the board is much like another. There is an advantage in reducing variance, so as to keep your inventory low without risk of running out, so many people wind up using the same placements all the time (typically gas stations on a diagonal, and three refineries placed to cover all 6 red and all 6 blue numbers).
But in real life, there are better and worse places to build a gas station, or drill for oil. If the numbers are rolled with different frequencies, some locations will be activated more than others, and the decision as to what to put where on your island becomes much more interesting.
The simple version of the variant, which I don't recommend, but makes the idea behind the variant easy to understand, is to roll two red dice and two blue dice, and use the higher number in each color to decide which row and column to activate.
However, this produces too great a disparity between the good and the bad numbers, so I came up with a slightly more complex system, detailed below.
Roll 5 dice; a white die, a large blue die, a small blue die, a large red die, and a small red die. (you can use light and dark blue and light and dark red instead of sizes if that's what you have handy; the important thing is two have two distinguishable dice of each color).
If the white die is
1  Use the large red die and the large blue die. 2 or 3  Use the large red die, and whichever blue die has the bigger number. 4 or 5  Use the large blue die, and whichever red die has the bigger number. 6  Use whichever blue die has the bigger number, and whichever red die has the bigger number.
In all cases, use only the large red and large blue die to determine whether doubles were rolled, and which double, for the purpose of deciding when the economic phase changes, what it changes to, whether rumors happen, and whether continuouseffect rumors stop. The probability of transitioning from rapid growth to prosperity, or a gas tax occurring, is not something the variant should change; only the probabilities that various squares on the board are activated.
I know that the new version has an alternate way of deciding when the economic phase changes, but I don't know the details. But again, only the large red and blue dice should be used in making this determination, so the probabilities are unchanged.
I've tried this variant a couple times and found it works well. If you try it, let me know how it works out!

Bruce Linsey
United States Hudson New York

Andy, I think I'm going to try this with the modification you suggested in our correspondence. Namely:
Roll the white die first. Then roll the indicated number of red and blue (black, in the new version of the game) dice as per your post, using the higher of any color for which you roll two.
For doubles, use only the two blue dice if they are present, otherwise the two red dice, otherwise both dice.
This gets rid of the need for different sizes of dice and seems more elegant to me. I'm looking forward to trying this!

Darrell Hanning
United States Jacksonville Florida
We will meet at the Hour of Scampering.

chris1nd wrote: I would let cards get picked up for reuse after 5 plays of the 6. So on 5th play, there are only 2 left to choose from and the refresh.
I don't like it being exactly known what the last play would be.
That makes sense. The problem I see with that is it's possible to consistently avoid one row on an adjacent player's board, all the time, if you permit one card to never be played.
If you're set against hidden discards and knowing what the last play is, then I'd recommend the following:
Each time that you pick up your discards (every 2.5 turns, I guess), you must discard a card that you did not discard the previous time. Place it facedown so nobody knows what it is. Then play the remaining 5 cards in your hand, before picking up all your cards, and discarding a different card, again.
The only restriction is that you cannot choose to discard the same card, twice in a row. That way, you can only avoid an adjacent player's row half of the times that you rebuild your hand.



How about this idea?
1) Give each player 2 sets of 6 cards.
2) Use the cards as you described above.
3) When he has played a set of cards, i.e. 1 to 6, he gets a set back from the used pile. The duplicates played remain in the used pile.
4) He may not play cards so that his last 2 cards are the same.
5) He may not play 2 identical cards consecutively.
That way you can never be absolutely sure what card will be played yet keeps the distribution close to even. 4) is to reduce abuse of having 2 sets of cards.


