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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: Extremely Basic Rule Changes/Variants rss

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Dickie Crickets
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Many of the variants or house rules listed here are quite common amongst Buffy the Board Game devotees. Still, I'll slap them up here for newer players to consider.

The Big Bad Evil Black Die Of Death:
- One of the main reasons that Evil is the underdog lies within The Big Black Die that determines who gets to move that turn. I've personally witnessed many games where Evil lost in the endgame simply because the player rolled the 'three minions' option two or three turns in a row, and their Mega-Villain could only sit there helpless as Good hogpiled on him. The Mega-Villain is generally Evil's best attacker, so not being able to use him as either an offensive force (or to simply have him run for his life when necessary) can be a total gamebreaker. Hence, the Evil Die Rule was created. Evil may choose to ignore the die-roll and simply select the 'Mega-Villain and one minion' option. This is an especially useful rule when Evil is down to just the Mega-Villain, as it seems highly unfair for Evil to have no turn at all if he rolls the 'three minions' option. You can also allow Evil to select the 'three minions' option if he so chooses, although this could potentially be abused during Season 3. In any case, the 'Mega-Villain and two minions' rule should never be available as a free choice, as it's generally considered to be the luckiest roll.

One Life To Live
- The actual rules allow for Evil to re-summon reinforcements over and over, as long as their respective color is open. So you could summon Harmony, burn through the deck as she gets slowly killed, and then just re-summon her again when she dies. Many players see this as both silly and unbalancing, so you can make a rule where every reinforcement can only be summoned once. If the spell is a success, the card is removed from the Evil deck. If it fails, it goes back into the bottom of the pile and can be re-tried later.

First Aid
- The Spell of Healing completely recovers any Good player, including Buffy. This can really tear the heart out of Evil, as all of their hard work to bring down Buffy's hit points to 2 or 3 will be erased with a single easy-to-cast spell. Since Evil cannot similarly heal their Mega-Villain (except for The Master's Story Artifact), this seems a bit unfair. Therefore, you can limit the capabilities of Healing Spells by having them only heal 5 points of damage, a la the Joyce Summers Help Card. This still completely repairs Buffy's sidekicks, so it's not a huge change.

Two-Handed Sword
- Good's permanent Weapons (the Sword, Machete, Sledgehammer, etc.) are perhaps a little unfair, especially in Buffy's hands. Therefore, a possible house rule is to force Buffy to use both hands if she wants to wield any of these weapons in combat. (This makes no sense in the case of, say, the Machete, but there it is.) The player will have to discard the Weapon (or trade it) if s/he wants to arm Buffy with something new. The Good sidekicks can use these Weapons normally, since their meager fight dice and hit point totals make them unreliable melee fighters regardless.

Minor Modifications
- Spike has vanquished two Slayers and helped terrorize all of Europe, but he gets the same number of Fight Dice as generic-brand Vamp X? Hrm. Give the guy 3 Fight Dice, for crying out loud. And Drusilla seems like she has a touch of the mystical in her addled brain... that should be good for two Magic Dice instead of one. Really, none of the popular vampires should be inferior to Kathy or Vamp X. It just ain't right.

Blockage
- Players of opposing sides cannot pass through each other. While this certainly creates some interesting strategic moves, it also defies logic. Are you telling me that a giant snake-demon can't push aside a 90-pound redhead to get to Buffy? Some have suggested a 'fight for territory' rule, where a character can attempt to steal an adjacent opposing guy's spot. Each player rolls a die, and adds their character's basic fight dice to it. (Good players can use Help cards to boost their odds; ditto Evil's Surprise Attack.) Whomever gets the higher number can seize the space, and can push the loser into any adjacent open spot. I haven't personally playtested this one, so I'm not sure how well it works.
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Red Dragon
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I've only done a basic run-through of the rules, and only once, playing both sides to make sure I could explain the rules when I get a chance to play it, but I came across three of the problems you mention.

The Black movement die is BAD for the game. In the run-through, The Master stepped outside in the first phase of NEW moon to draw two cards, and was killed instantly by the sun before he could move again. One in three chance of not being allowed to move, one in nine of passing two turns stuck in place, means 11% chance that THIRTY-SIX movement dice will be rolled before he can move again. If he steps outside in the first phase of new moon, and 10 of those 36 dice advance the phase, he'll get caught by the sun. And if the good players have blocked him in (despite, as you said, the silliness of Willow being able to keep him from easily pushing her out of the way), he's roasted, game over. My solution: let the evil player move three characters every turn, and choose which three to move, but one of them only gets one movement die instead of two, and can't use it to draw cards except during new moon, getting only one card even then. The trade-offs are getting much more flexibility of movement and always being able to move the strongest fighter vs. drawing fewer cards overall and getting only 15 movement dice in 3 turns instead of averaging 16. (Adam's artifact would give Adam 1 extra die of movement if the evil player chose him to get 0 or 1, so he would always get to move.)

I agree that Spike and Drusilla should be more powerful than the average vampire that jumps up and gets staked and goes away, but I think giving them the same fighting skill as Buffy would affect the game too much by making it far too easy to sire a vampire. Instead, I think they should have the option of rolling their fight dice in defense, and any hit, punch, or jab would block a stake first and damage second. Thus they would last longer, without being excessively more dangerous to Buffy's friends.

Lastly, I agree that any character being able to always block any other character's movement is bad. I would solve it by allowing a 'fight' action to attempt to push the other character back, instead of doing damage. Roll the fight dice of the one pushing, and the fight dice of the one being pushed. If the pusher scores more hits, he can move into the space occupied by the other, and push them to any empty adjacent space except the one he pushed from. Hits scored by the defender would do damage, and if the defender ties in hits the pusher stays in place. For example, if the Master scored 2 hits on his 4 fight dice, there's nothing Willow could do to hold him (except with Help, perhaps), but if she scored a hit, he would take a point of damage. If it was sunrise, he could then run from his new location, or take a point of damage from the sun and push again.
 
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Jeff Wolfe
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I just played a game in which I had a different problem with the evil die. As the evil player in the first season scenario, I sired Xander. According to the rules, he was the first minion I had to move every turn. I rolled "villian and one servant" a couple of turns in a row, which meant my only choice was to move the Master and Xander.

What I needed was to move my other minions--they were in the best position. As it was, the good players were able to run from the minions. Had the good players gone on the offensive, my other minions would have been sitting ducks.

I finally got fed up and moved Xander outside to wait for sunrise. Good re-ensouled him just before that happened, so he died as a good guy.

I think I might create a house rule to allow evil to choose to use the large icon to control a minion instead of the villian. That's slightly less powerful than the "three minions" option, because it has a 1/3 chance of being "two minions".
 
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