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Subject: Reducing predatory play rss

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Sight Reader
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EDIT:
The only rule is this:

Every move must extend one of your own lines.

We only play this version and it works quite well. I would be interested in feedback from other experienced players.

I suggest "hand sizes" of at least two tiles to play this variant. Playtests suggest this version is quite a bit faster and less confusing than the original version.

ORIGINAL POST:
We play tested this variant a few times, and it worked very well. I would be interested in feedback from more experienced players.

1. If you play in the middle, you must connect to an existing tile.

2. If you play along the edge, you must show that you are extending one of your own lines.

You are thus allowed to short circuit someone to a one tile line, but it ends up being a dangerous play because you are exposing one of your own lines to termination along the edge.


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Steve Oliver
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sightreader wrote:
1. If you play in the middle, you must connect to an existing tile.


That's already in the rules. You must play a tile so that it either connects to the edge of the board (if allowed), or else connects to an existing tile. You can't simply play against a station in the middle.

sightreader wrote:
2. If you play along the edge, you must show that you are extending one of your own lines.


Sounds interesting and worth giving it a try, but in a way, that type of play already carries a caveat for the person who is playing it, because by short-circuiting one of your opponent's, you might be missing a chance to extend one of your own lines.
 
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Sight Reader
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steveoliverc wrote:
1. If you play in the middle, you must connect to an existing tile.

That's already in the rules.

Correct. I wanted to clarify that this rule is unchanged.

steveoliverc wrote:
2. If you play along the edge, you must show that you are extending one of your own lines.

Sounds interesting and worth giving it a try, but in a way, that type of play already carries a caveat for the person who is playing it, because by short-circuiting one of your opponent's, you might be missing a chance to extend one of your own lines.

Unfortunately, we haven't found this to be a strong enough incentive, especially when there are a lot of players. If you extend your own line, let's call it offense, and if you short circuit an enemy, we'll call it defense. If you make one defensive play for every 6 offensive plays, that's a pretty noble ratio. However, in a 6 player game, if there is a player everyone picks on, all those single defensive plays add up so quickly that he's pretty much shut down by turn two even with everyone being nice in their offense/defense ratio. You can imagine how much worse it is given a more realistic ratio.

The other benefit is that this rule is much simpler to explain than the protections they try to institute in the existing rules.

At any rate, the results of our play test suggested some very interesting strategy, even without all those adjustments others have suggested (allowing different orientations, having multiple tiles to choose from, etc). The reason is that purely defensive plays can only take place in the interior, which is much more difficult because interior plays are needed desperately to make or break big scores for your own lines that escaped death along the edge.

There are still a lot of harsh defensive plays along the edge, but it's harder because not only do you have figure out how to do it while extending your own line, you also expose that line to quick death by turning away from the center.
 
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Anders Troberg
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I've tried using the rule that you may only play tiles that advance your own lines. Of course, that may in the process kill off some opponent lines.

My experiences:

* It leads to less short-cutting of opponents near the start.
* It requires more strategy, as you need to get into a position where you can short-cut an opponent.
* It introduce an added element or risk, as you need to get up close with your own lines in order to hurt the opponent.
* It gives longer lines, which I find more satisfying. In an ordinary game, most lines are cut off after only a couple of tiles.
* It speeds up the game by limiting the available choices.

All in all, I find it a huge benefit, lifting the game from tolerable to good. I will probably never play using standard rules again.
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Sight Reader
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Troberg wrote:
All in all, I find it a huge benefit, lifting the game from tolerable to good. I will probably never play using standard rules again.

Yay! I'm glad it worked out! We played the other day and reduced everything to one simple rule:

All moves must extend one of your own lines.

Players who have no lines left are either out of the game or may terrorize randomly, depending on your preference. We played elimination style, and found the game went very fast once players started disappearing, meaning that the expected elimination downtime wasn't much of an issue.

Here's what I found:

* You definitely get bigger scores.
* There is still a lot of nasty play to go around, but it has to be a lot more calculated.
* If you only have a few lines (or options) left, you can be really screwed with a bad tile draw. It may be better to have a "hand" of a few tiles to choose from rather than one.
* There is much less analysis paralysis, with play becoming especially fast towards the end as the number of options available shrinks.

The threat of eliminated players terrorizing randomly may scare others into keeping players into the game: hard to say for sure, because we haven't tried that variant.
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Simon Woodward
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Hi all, seems I'm late to the party.

Sightreader, did you still prohibit u-turning stations?

We played for the first time today, using the above rules:
- hand of 2 tiles.
- no u-turning of numbered stations unless no other play available.
- must extend your own line.
- once all your trains are done you no longer place tiles.

Seemed to work well! One issue was that we needed to recycle the tiles of the eliminated player.
 
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Sight Reader
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manukajoe wrote:
Sightreader, did you still prohibit u-turning stations?

Nope. We now use One Rule to Rule Them All:

Must extend own lines.

Has worked well for many games now. Still plenty of predatory play, but doing so makes your own lines vulnerable enough that people naturally avoid it (and thus the U turn) if they can.

manukajoe wrote:
- once all your trains are done you no longer place tiles.

Seemed to work well! One issue was that we needed to recycle the tiles of the eliminated player.

True, I forgot to mention that.
 
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Simon Woodward
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So you CAN uturn stations?

Do you maintain tile orientation according to the arrows?
 
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