Michael Donaghy
United Kingdom
London
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Originally we misread the rules - but having played it both ways, we like the game a lot better if you don't deal a card to each player at the start of each round. It seems to make the game a lot tenser, as it becomes a real open question whether any challenge is going to be passed.

Other effects: it does make a few of the keys particularly powerful, particularly the "draw two strength cards when you win a challenge" one; we didn't find this particularly unbalanced as there are enough chances to steal a key. Despite these keys being more powerful, this variant seems to lead to fewer keys in the game, as it's much less worth sacrificing two strength cards for one; keys are mostly acquired as a result of card effects.

Anyone else tried playing this way? What did you think?
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Ken Myers
United States
Maryland
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We mis-read the rules in the same way and as such have played it both ways. I can see what you are saying as far as the benefits of playing that way. However the biggest problem we had with playing that way is that it makes combos almost impossible to pull off due to the limited hand sizes. Since combos are one of the more interesting parts of the game for us, we play with the deal.

I would say however that no-deal is a good variant.
 
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