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La Boca» Forums » Variants

Subject: More Players + Shorter Playing Time + Less Setup = Win rss

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Tom Scutt
United Kingdom
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I know it's bad form to suggest a variant when I haven't even played the game yet.

But I'm always on the lookout for games that support 8 players and a couple of reviews I've seen suggest that the game goes on a bit too long when everyone partners everyone else twice (something which is necessitated by the way partners are chosen in the game)

So, here's a new way to choose partners which means you only partner each other player once, and you don't have to fiddle about with the partner chips during setup:

You'll need something to use as the start player token, and 4 tokens with 1, 2, 3 & 4 written on them (or use a big dice instead) - I'll make some of these and add them to the files.

Give someone the start player token (they keep it for the rest of the game) and the 1 Token (or the dice with 1 showing). They partner the player 1 step to their left (i.e. the player next to them). When their turn is over, the 1 Token gets passed to the next player clockwise who now partners the player 1 space away (this means player 2 has now played twice in a row) and so on. When the token comes back to the starting player (after every player has partnered the person to their left) the 1 Token is swapped for the 2 token. The starting player now partners the player 2 places to their left. Then the 2 Token is passed to the person on his left (the Token is always passed to the next person round the table regardless of the number on it). When the Token gets back to the start player, swap it for the 3 Token and so on...

The number of times the Tokens go round the table depends on the number of players. Divide the number of players by two and take away a half (so for 5 players you'll need just the 1 & 2 Tokens, for 8 players you'll need all 4 Tokens but Token 4 will only go halfway round the table). At the end of this, every player will have played every other player exactly once.

If you're playing with 5 or more players, you might want to do the 2 Token round first so that everybody gets into the game quicker.

I know this explanation has made this sound complicated, but really it's easy...though I suspect there are even simpler ways of doing the same thing!

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Brent Lloyd
United States
League City
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I played this a couple of times (four player) recently and never found the game too long. Even when partnering with each player twice the game is still well under 30 mins long.

I think the issue is it really is a two player game - played 6 times during a 4 player game. If folks do not like the downtime then the game could feel a little long. I enjoyed watching others fumble around with the blocks and trying to figure the puzzle out.

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Anthony C
United States
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I love the idea! I was just thinking of ways that more people could be added but without having the extra downtime. I was thinking of making a little chart for the different numbers of players and setting it up so that there isn't a ton of downtime for each player in an 8 player game but you've solved it beautifully already! I would definitely start with the higher numbered tokens in the beginning of the game so everyone can get into the game faster. The only issue I can imagine is that in my games, the game board stays pretty stationary and people get up and move seats to accompany the partners. If everyone was assigned numbers, people might forget their position more easily than when they have colors. It can be solved pretty easily by just having people get a playing card with their number on it though and keeping their score chits on it as well. Worst case scenario, pin their number to their shirt!

Just for my own reference, I'm going to list what an 8 player game would be like:

Round 1 (4 spaces per turn)
Turn 1, Players 1, 5
Turn 2, Players 2, 6
Turn 3, Players 3, 7
Turn 4, Players 4, 8

Round 2 (3 spaces per turn)
Turn 1, Players 1, 4
Turn 2, Players 2, 5
Turn 3, Players 3, 6
Turn 4, Players 4, 7
Turn 5, Players 5, 8
Turn 6, Players 6, 1
Turn 7, Players 7, 2
Turn 8, Players 8, 3

Round 3 (2 spaces per turn)
Turn 1, Players 1, 3
Turn 2, Players 2, 4
Turn 3, Players 3, 5
Turn 4, Players 4, 6
Turn 5, Players 5, 7
Turn 6, Players 6, 8
Turn 7, Players 7, 1
Turn 8, Players 8, 2

Round 4 (1 space per turn)
Turn 1, Players 1, 2
Turn 2, Players 2, 3
Turn 3, Players 3, 4
Turn 4, Players 4, 5
Turn 5, Players 5, 6
Turn 6, Players 6, 7
Turn 7, Players 7, 8
Turn 8, Players 8, 1

Downtime between turns per player (starting with round 1)
Player 1's downtime: 0, 3, 4, 2, 5, 1, 6
Player 2's downtime: 1, 3, 4, 2, 5, 0, 0
Player 3's downtime: 2, 3, 4, 0, 1, 6, 0
Player 4's downtime: 3, 0, 2, 5, 1, 6, 0
Player 5's downtime: 0, 4, 2, 5, 1, 6, 0
Player 6's downtime: 1, 4, 2, 5, 1, 6, 0
Player 7's downtime: 2, 4, 2, 5, 1, 6, 0
Player 8's downtime: 3, 4, 2, 5, 1, 6, 0

Total downtime for each player from beginning of game to player's last turn=
Player 1= 21 turns
Player 2= 15 turns
Player 3= 16 turns
Player 4= 16 turns
Player 5= 18 turns
Player 6= 19 turns
Player 7= 20 turns
Player 8= 21 turns

A normal 6 player game would have 30 turns. This version with 8 players would have only 28 turns. I love it. The game is two turns shorter and you get to have 2 extra people join the fun. Plus, due to the chart I've pieced together, you now know who to place in what position according to their ability to stand downtime! And you also know when it's safe to go use the bathroom or get a snack! Or if you want to have someone go setup another game on a separate table, assign them the player 2 slot so they can run along and set it up while everyone else is finishing their turns!

Brilliant variant!
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