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Subject: A Tale of Two Cities rss

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Purple Paladin

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Tried this variant last night:

The councilor stood on the podium in the center of the city square, desperately trying to convince the crowd of the coming dangers to Atlantis, and urging them to join him in his quest to save the island. Some listened intensely in fear, others shook their heads, laughed, and walked away. A second councilor stood watching the proceedings. Although he thought about joining in on debate, he thought again, his energy could be much better spent on other important tasks.

Put out one city token/symbol/chit for every two players, rounding up. We had 4 players, so I put out two city tokens (got them from my Civilization game, so they look great).

During the Placement phase, each time a player puts one or more of his Atlanteans (Ats) on a city tile, he takes one city token. When there are no more city tokens, a player may not put any of his "Ats" on city tiles (until next turn). At the begging of the next turn, the city tokens are placed back next to the city area of the island again.

In addition to this, only advance the Athenian Galley if they rolled a 4 or 5 on the black die.

Result: This will do two things to the game: First, since only about half the players in a game will be using the city tiles each turn, this leads to players actually choosing a variety of options and strategies each turn, not just cities every turn, then no cities ever again. Cities tiles may also be a viable choice throughout much the game.

Second: Since players will be acquiring Ats at approximately half the speed, the Athenians only advancing about half the time balances this out. An additional side effect of this is that Athenian rolls are now a lot more exciting; did we win or lose the battle?; did the Athenians advance up the track, or do we have some breathing room to do other things next turn.

We played twice last night, lost the first game, won the second. I can't imagine us playing without this variant ever again.


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Purple Paladin

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Just played our 3rd game with this variant. We no longer consider it a "variant", as it's pretty much the standard rules from now on for us.


Oh, and we won, by ONE roll.
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Sam Carroll
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Sounds good - I will have to try it out.
 
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Michael Bishop
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I think I'll try this out too. Seems like an improvement.
 
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Purple Paladin

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Believe me, when your islands are 2/3rds sunk, and the cities are still a viable option, it's great.

Having every player cram every worker on the cities every turn at the start was silly, and, sadly, usually your best option.

It's even better when the first several turns, players are actually looking at the component cards, weighing multiple options, and figuring out how which of many paths to victory to play other than a city rush.

Oh, and I guess we better name this variant. How about "Limited Podiums Variant".





 
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Michael Bishop
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How many people are you playing with? Or does it matter; i.e., does the variant work well for all numbers of players?
 
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Purple Paladin

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Hmmm, we've only played with 4, 4, then 5.

I don't believe the number matters, as it scales with the # of players, and the game's built in mechanics take care of the variation in the # of players.

 
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Michael Bishop
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I'm usually playing with 2 or 3, that's why I ask. I know a lot of co-op games act different with 3 players or less.
 
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Purple Paladin

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Actually, I'm a tiny bit perplexed by the scaling of this game. 2 or 3 players is the same settings; 4, 5 or 6 is the same too.

When tried 2 player, just going over the rules, and, rolling a 5 made 3 tiles sink, we felt stuck, Because if we put enough players so even if they roll a 5, your safe, and you have 1 meeple total to play on the island.
 
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Michael Bishop
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Sounds about right. I haven't gotten the chance to try it yet, but are you saying you tried your variant with two?
 
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Purple Paladin

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I was referring to the "unvarianted" game when referring to the 2-3 players.

But it's still the same bit of perplexment, as either way, in a 2 player game, your almost certainly going to have 2-4 islands sunk after the Athenians attack on your first turn.
 
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Galen Ciscell
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Correct. The island is sinking no matter what. The goal of the game is not tokeep it from sinking but to build all 10 components before it sinks completely!
 
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Purple Paladin

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Yes, but look at the extremes. In a 2 player game, your going to have up to 7 tiles sinking, with almost no way to stop them.

In a 6 player game, you could prevent 5 from sinking by putting guys on the boats; 2 from sinking using 6 of the mystic energy.

 
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Galen Ciscell
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Purple Paladin wrote:
Yes, but look at the extremes. In a 2 player game, your going to have up to 7 tiles sinking, with almost no way to stop them.

In a 6 player game, you could prevent 5 from sinking by putting guys on the boats; 2 from sinking using 6 of the mystic energy.


All I can tell you is that AR was playtested over 100 times; I found it to be balanced with 2 players That said, feel free to house rule or create a variant if you find it to be too challenging!
 
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Michael Bishop
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It's formulaic. After the requisite "Cities" phase of the game, one player shoves all their Atlanteans at the Navy for the rest of the game, and the other player gathers resources and builds components. No sense in sharing the responsibilities because, well, you can't share anything else like resources.

This is "balanced" in the sense that sometimes you lose and sometimes you win based on how the deck is shuffled and the dice rolls.

Is there any other winning strategy for 2 players? I've not seen one posted yet.
 
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Art C

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Cush1978 wrote:
It's formulaic. After the requisite "Cities" phase of the game, one player shoves all their Atlanteans at the Navy for the rest of the game, and the other player gathers resources and builds components. No sense in sharing the responsibilities because, well, you can't share anything else like resources.

This is "balanced" in the sense that sometimes you lose and sometimes you win based on how the deck is shuffled and the dice rolls.

Is there any other winning strategy for 2 players? I've not seen one posted yet.


Sharing the load with the Atlanteans works as well as you are limited to one component purchase per player per round it can be very nice to have that second purchase ready to go. And the library is very handy. As long as you pay attention to what the other player is collecting the sharing cubes restriction isn't that limiting. I also like sharing the load on the navy so both players can have a courage token insurance available when using the outer ring.
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Michael Bishop
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yffip wrote:

Sharing the load with the Atlanteans works as well as you are limited to one component purchase per player per round it can be very nice to have that second purchase ready to go. And the library is very handy. As long as you pay attention to what the other player is collecting the sharing cubes restriction isn't that limiting. I also like sharing the load on the navy so both players can have a courage token insurance available when using the outer ring.


I could agree on sharing the load. It really doesn't matter as long as roughly half of your Atlanteans are fighting the Navy. And yes, as long as you pay attention to who's gathering what, you make it work. Strictly talking two players, though, I don't see how anyone has time to use the library. When I have "free" time, I usually try to get mystic energy. In a two player game, there's little "free" time; you're stockpiling resources and using the mystic energy to prevent floods or help out your dice rolls.
 
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Mike Krajewski
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This is why we've exclusively switched to using the excellent Navy Cards Variant. What's interesting about it to me is that it ties the Navy into the rest of the game and ensures that more people take a stake in the Navy.

The variant introduces cards that get flipped up each turn with a number of spots on them, like the spots on the island game board where one worker fits on each spot. This replaces placing your workers directly on the navy tile. Each of the spots is on a ship of some kind, and the kicker is that you cannot have more than one of your workers on a ship at a time (or you cannot fill the entire ship yourself in 2-player mode).

This ensures that you cannot have only one person going to the navy because a single person cannot fill up as many spots on their own. Some of the spots require resources in order to use the spot, so it ties into the collecting or spending of resources as well so you need to balance the spending of some of the resources on the navy with building the components. Spots can have more than one strength as well, so it's possible to send less people to the Navy on some turns to use them for other activities.

I highly recommend this fun variant! Thanks to Brian for developing it!
 
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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mkrajew wrote:
This is why we've exclusively switched to using the excellent Navy Cards Variant. What's interesting about it to me is that it ties the Navy into the rest of the game and ensures that more people take a stake in the Navy.

The variant introduces cards that get flipped up each turn with a number of spots on them, like the spots on the island game board where one worker fits on each spot. This replaces placing your workers directly on the navy tile. Each of the spots is on a ship of some kind, and the kicker is that you cannot have more than one of your workers on a ship at a time (or you cannot fill the entire ship yourself in 2-player mode).

This ensures that you cannot have only one person going to the navy because a single person cannot fill up as many spots on their own. Some of the spots require resources in order to use the spot, so it ties into the collecting or spending of resources as well so you need to balance the spending of some of the resources on the navy with building the components. Spots can have more than one strength as well, so it's possible to send less people to the Navy on some turns to use them for other activities.

I highly recommend this fun variant! Thanks to Brian for developing it!


Soooo this is an entirely different variant than the one this thread is devoted to yes? Have you tried both together? Are they even compatible?

How much overlap to they have in how the address perceived problems in the official game?
 
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Mike Krajewski
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NuMystic wrote:
mkrajew wrote:
This is why we've exclusively switched to using the excellent Navy Cards Variant. What's interesting about it to me is that it ties the Navy into the rest of the game and ensures that more people take a stake in the Navy.

The variant introduces cards that get flipped up each turn with a number of spots on them, like the spots on the island game board where one worker fits on each spot. This replaces placing your workers directly on the navy tile. Each of the spots is on a ship of some kind, and the kicker is that you cannot have more than one of your workers on a ship at a time (or you cannot fill the entire ship yourself in 2-player mode).

This ensures that you cannot have only one person going to the navy because a single person cannot fill up as many spots on their own. Some of the spots require resources in order to use the spot, so it ties into the collecting or spending of resources as well so you need to balance the spending of some of the resources on the navy with building the components. Spots can have more than one strength as well, so it's possible to send less people to the Navy on some turns to use them for other activities.

I highly recommend this fun variant! Thanks to Brian for developing it!


Soooo this is an entirely different variant than the one this thread is devoted to yes? Have you tried both together? Are they even compatible?

How much overlap to they have in how the address perceived problems in the official game?


Yes, these are different variants. This thread tries to solve the problem of players always going for cities until they have all their workers, then ignoring cities entirely for the rest of the game. The other variant tries to solve the problem of only one person running the Navy and encouraging everybody to join in that aspect of the game.

I have not tried this variant but I don't really have a problem with everybody rushing to get workers as long as it isn't getting workers just so you can put them back into the Navy. That's the main problem with the base game is that you rush to get workers but you are practically required to put them on the Navy so it's almost a wash where you don't have much choice of where to put them anyways. I imagine this variant would work with the Navy one just fine.
 
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Purple Paladin

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No, have not combined them yet. Rule #1 of beta testing (or science experiments): never change more than one variable at a time, or, if it works/fails, you won't know "which" variable was responsible.

So far, Limited Podiums is simple and quick enough that it does it job, and does not interfere with the core game. Soon I'd like to try the Navy cards along with it.
 
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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Purple Paladin wrote:
Soon I'd like to try the Navy cards along with it.


Please do report your experience when you do!
 
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Michael Bishop
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I got around to trying this with a friend this past weekend. He chose the guy that gets mystic energy each round and I chose the guy that could build things cheaper or use a component's reward twice. We played on easy...and won!

It seemed like a bit of a challenge but not much. We didn't lose an entire segment of the island. We did draw 4 Controlled Floods and 5 other "special" bad cards. We only drew 1 Calm Seas.

At the end of the game, the Navy was only one notch short of its max.

We didn't use the library at all (because we're used to not having time to), but we could've easily have done it.

I spent "extra" actions stocking mystic energy to help out die rolls.

As intended, more time was spent using the cities due to the limited ability to do so. One of us was using the cities each turn, so they were only valuable for 6 rounds, but that's longer than usual. I wish I'd counted the total number of rounds in our game to compare.

In short, we played the game on Easy difficulty and found it fairly easy. More importantly, we found it fun. Each and every time we played by the standard rules, it devolved into frustration from bad die rolls (resources and Navy) and not being able to keep up with the game. You can't "waste" turns on bad die rolls, spend time getting mystic energy, deal with the Navy and hold off the misfortune cards. It's just too much.

The slower pace of the Navy definitely helps balance things out. I think this variant's a permanent addition to the way we play this game.

Ideas/Thoughts:
- The Navy movement is random; it could move quickly or it could not move at all. Maybe note the first player of the game and move the Navy when it's his/her turn? I guess I should also note it seems to "work" as-is.

- Maybe have a way to move the Navy backwards? Maybe by beating them by more than double? This would only work once per "notch" on the Navy board; if you push the Navy back, they can't be pushed back on that notch again. This kind of introduces an "ebb and flow" where you can dedicate a LOT of resources to fighting the Navy to buy some time, then concentrate on building your components awhile. As it stands now, you never really "beat" or "weaken" the Navy; you only successfully defend against them.

- Maybe have a way that mystic energy can affect other aspects of the game? Spend it to draw cards, repel Navy, even build components? It's more "expensive" than spending one Atlanteans, but also introduces strategy where you let valuable spaces flood early because you can always "buy" stuff with mystic energy.

Definitely plan to bump up the difficulty and try this again. It's definitely revitalized the game in my mind. Great work, Purple Paladin!
 
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CLARENCE TAN
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Hi ho,
I like your idea for the game, especially having the navy not advance each turn. Our first 4player game was hard and we only managed 3 components due to unlucky draws and the athenian fleet sinking atlantis. It seemed like we never had enough to have a glimmer of hope.

I think that a 4/5 athenian roll should maybe be a 2/3 though. I guess the reason is that if you get really unlucky with the rolls, they could continue crushing atlantis with 4s and 5s while advancing. With 2s & 3s, it is like they are biding their time and amassing their fleet when they send a smaller force.

On a slight side note, i think that the idea for scaling the fleet is cool, but should have had one more notch for 4players to max out at 10. A jump from 8-12 is more punishing for 4p that 5+ players.

As my group tends not to like coops of seemingly inevitable doom, I was thinking to make it more fun (and be eventually able to try different components) I would integrate your navy rule, have 4pl start at the 2-3 fleet level, and have each player start with a courage and knowledge card. This might sound way too easy for some, but I think it should give some breathing room.
Thematically, the councillors all come with some plan to save the island and inspire courage to the atlanteans by stepping up.
 
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