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Xanadú» Forums » Variants

Subject: A Variant Proposal for Xanadu - Get Paid Differently! rss

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David Minken
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First, let me start by saying that I think Xanadu is a great game. I have played 2p-4p and each play is quite different and very enjoyable. What I am proposing here is just an idea that might increase my own enjoyment of the game (and maybe even yours too!). I have not play tested nor tried these ideas - but I thought that I would lob it up there and let the BGG community take a few swings at it!!

MY PROBLEMS:
1. In a 2p game I feel resource limited. The designer has posted a variant where each player starts with 2 cards on the table and 8 cards in hand. However, I find that the game 'pulses' too much with only two players. The resource restriction often yeilds few choices on your turn as to what you can build. You can time the building of your expensive buildings better as you only have one opponent that could potentially sabotage you, but having the necessary resources is tricky.

2. In a 4p game, the resources are more plentiful. The main problem is building up your more expensive buildings and actually having them left standing for your next turn to sell - buildings are much more vulnerable. I find that I rarely put workers on my own buildings to improve their worth with 4p because I am essentially making the sabotage less expensive for my opponents.

Now, I hate it when people just list all their problems without offering a solution(s), so....

(Proposed) SOLUTION(s)/ALTERNATIVE(s):
I propose that when you sell your building(s) at the beginning of your turn (or when your building is exhausted and you must automatically sell) that you do not get paid in the little cut out coins, but instead you get paid with cards such as these:




(I do apologize - I made these as a hack job in PowerPoint.) I propose that the coins be replaced with cards like I have shown.

The game would now have 3 currency decks, shuffled and place to the side that you draft from when you sell buildings. Ecah deck will have an associated discard pile.

Let me explain the cards:
They are multipurpose. They can be used in 3 different ways:
1. Currency. This is still what determines the victor!
2. Warriors. Depending on the currency value, you may have 0/1/2 (maybe more...these are just examples) warriors on the left side of the card.
3. Storehouse. Like the regular buildings, there are some resources on each card. The number of resources is proportional to the value (i.e. there are more resources on the '5' card than the '1' card).

So, how do we use these cards?
1. Currency - Keep them as you normally would. Use the currency value to get your final score at the end of the game.

2. Warriors - AFTER you have built your building and BEFORE you place workers to sabotage or add value to your own buildings, you may take one of your currency cards and slide it under the left edge of any of your current buildings on the table. You slide it so that only the warrior columns are sticking out the side of the building. These warriors are protecting this building so that looters cannot just walk in and take what they want.

You can only have one building protected at any time. You can only use one warrior card to protect the building (if you want more warriors, you have to sacrifice a higher value card).

If I choose to put a warrior(s) on a building that already has workers on it, I can remove as many workers from the card as I have warriors. The warrior (or currency) card would then be returned to the currency pile. If I have two warriors on my card and there is only 1 worker, for example, the 1 worker would be placed on the "+2 Warrior" column, leaving only the "+1 Warrior" column available to gaurd.

If another person wants to sabotage you or take any of your goods from the protected building, they must first place workers on all of the unoccupied Warrior spaces, and then proceed as normal.

When you sell a building with Warriors protecting it, you score the building as normal and add +1 coin for each Warrior still protecting it. For example, if I had 2 warriors protecting my temple that I will sell for 4, my total payment would be 6. The Warriors are then discarded back to the currency decks.

In this way, you can choose to take money that you earn by selling buildings and re-invest in protecting higher value buildings. The opportunity cost is the money you will not get to count for your final score (but the incremental reward may be worth it).

Depending on the # of players, the # of warriors per card may vary. If you have too many warriors in a 2p game, then nobody will get anything. So, perhaps in a 2p and 3p game the warrior value is as printed minus 1 (i.e. a warrior card of +1 cannot be used as a warrior). In a 4p and 5p game the warrior values are as printed.

3. Storehouse
After you have sold your buildings, and BEFORE you build a building, you can take a currency card and place it to the side as a storage house. The resources on the card are available to you like a normal building. The storehouse gets the intrinsic benefit of already have warriors on it to protect it.

Opponents can still raid your storehouse, but they will have to go through the warriors printed on the card as described above.

You can sell the storehouse at the same time you sell your buildings.

This will allow you some additional flexibility for stockpiling or gaurding a resource that you want access to in your future turn.

This option would also have to be player number specific. In a 2p game, each player may be restricted to 2 or 3 storehouses each (for example). In a 4p game, each player is only allowed 1 storehouse. This will help with my feelings of being resource starved in a 2p game and my inability to accurately plan in a 4p game.

This will help give you a little more control on your resources and manage your strategy a little bit better.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Let me be clear, I am just thinking outloud and I do enjoy Xanadu very much! But I thought that this would be a good place to make the proposals above, garner some feedback, and then move forward if there is any traction!

I should add that players would not be allowed to 'make change' with this either. For example, suppose a player sold a building for 4 coins. He could either get 4x1 coins OR 1x3 + 1x1 coins. He could not take a '5' coin and give the bank back '1'. He could, however, trade 5x'1' coins for one '5' coin to be used later.

In the manner suggested above the Warriors are being used strictly in a defensive manner (i.e. protecting your buildings). I have not thought about any ways to make them offensive (i.e. attack other warriors or buildings). But that would be the next logical thing...?

In terms of production, printing the money on cards like this (I'm guessing) would be much cheaper compared to printing the cardboard chits. As a further benefit, this would make the game completely card based and could fit into a box similar to Coleretto and make it more portable (Imagine having this game in jacket pocket while out 'n about - my play count would certainly be higher!)

I do value any and all constructive feedback. Thanks for taking the time to read!!
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David Minken
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So I was having a think about how your warriors could attack (as opposed to simply defending). Here's a thought...

1. First, your warriors must be placed into your own buildings (as described above).

2. Later in your turn (not really sure when) (or maybe even during the turn of the person you want to attack) you can use these warriors either to attack existing buildings or a players hand.

Ok - the top two steps I really haven't thought about the logistics, but here is the mechanic (keeping in mind that we want something simple that keeps production costs down).

You roll the same # of dice (six sided) that you have warriors. (I am assuming that the max # of warriors you will ever have on one card is 2). To win you must achieve the following results:
Jade: roll of 10 or better
Yellow: Roll of 7 or 8 (not sure) or better
Blue: Roll of 5 or better
Borwn: Roll of 4 or better

This way you must use 2 warriors to attack the more valuable cards. You could attack the brown and blue cards with only one, but your odds of succeeding are less. If you win the building, the workers flee in fear (if there were any on it) and you get to add it to your buildings without any workers. Normal building limits apply. If the building is guarded, then warriors will cancel each other out (1:1)

If you are attacking the hand to reduce someone's ability to build or sabotage, you could do something like Stone Age or Clash of Cultures, where you divide your roll by a number and that person has to reduce their hand by that many cards (of their choice). The die roll can be modified by your warriors.

An example - I declare that I want to attack your hand with my 2 warriors that are on a previoiusly placed card. I roll a 10. Suppose the number to divide by is '3'. So, without modification, you would have to trash 3 cards. But, I choose to use my 2 warriors and modify the roll to 12 - now you have to trash 4 cards. At the end, my warriors are discarded.

Anyhow - I am just rambling and brainstorming here. I know Javier is playtesting and trying new things for a second version, so I am just throwing some things into the mix!

Cheers!
 
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Javier Velásquez
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Hi David!

I've read this a while ago, but finally I have the time to answer! As you know, you've touch some of the points I'll be addressing in future expansions of the game, if we go all the way through the first run (I think we are almost half way there so my hopes are up!).

The warrior mechanic for defending building is quite similar to what I have in mind, but I won't give more away until I have playtested it. Still, it's nice to here someone with such a close idea... maybe that means I'm in the right path, but playtesting will define that. The storage idea in the other hand is really different to what I had in mind and I'll have to take a closer look to it

About using the warriors for attacking, I don't think I'll explore that path soon enough, because with the chaos it already can exist in a 4+ player game, adding another "attacking type of card" can increase it a lot (the workers are technically attacking when sabotaging). Also, I'm trying to stay away of dices for the time being to keep the bits and pieces and chance mechanics at a minimum

I still can't believe all the thought you've given the game and I'm really grateful for your ideas!
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David Minken
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Javier - it is a great game! I wish I could play it on my drive home so I would not have to think about it as much!!

As for the storage idea - I imagine the resources you would want on here would be the more 'valuable' ones. (or maybe even wildcards, so you can choose what to put in there). Again - just rambling, if it doesn't take any traction, then don't let it derail your creative thought process!

As for attacking - I would love to be able to attack someone's hand. Because, if I attack your building I am simply reducing the $$ you get your next turn. If I attack your hand, I might reduce the ability you have to sabotage me your next turn (and maybe give me a chance to sell my own cards for higher). In A Few Acres of Snow you can (either ambush or raid - I forget) but it allows you to attack the other player's cards, rendering them less powerful on their next turn against you.

Anyhow - I will stop pestering you. I will instead turn my attention as to how this game can get wider distribution here!
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Javier Velásquez
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Oooo, attack the hand! That could be interesting. I'll have to try it out
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