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Subject: Bonus for First in Region rss

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T. Rosen
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Arlington
Virginia
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After playing China a few times now, I've been toying with the idea of trying out a variant rule, but since I'm not someone who normally changes rules, I was wondering if other people out there had considered or tried this particular modification, and what people thought generally. Perhaps I'll give it a try at a future game session, and then report back on how I think it works in practice.

It seems like being the first person to place a piece in an empty region is a serious disadvantage since you are only allowed to place one piece, instead of two. While some people want to enter a new region for strategy reasons (like continuing a road or maximizing emissary efficiency), often times people seem forced to enter a new region just because of the cards in their hand. My first thought was to just remove the restriction on only being allowed to place one piece in a previously empty region, but instead of doing that, I think a possibly better idea would be to give the person entering a new region bonus points, perhaps 2 bonus points immediately. This would encourage people to start new regions, and slightly change the calculus for deciding whether to place two pieces in a region that is already being worked on or whether to start a new region with one piece. Two points is just a starting point, maybe 1 or 3 would work better? Or maybe the whole idea is not good, anyway, just curious if anyone had any initial reactions.
 
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Michael Kandrac
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I've only played China 4 times, but after having similar feelings about the one piece (always a house) into an empty region rule I've come to see it differently.

After placing that initial house, you open it up to others, but oft times the other players choose to focus their activity elsewhere. If another player plays a house and an emissary, you do the same and maintain a share of both house and emissary majority, and it then becomes difficult for a 3rd player to vie for alliance points; it's a two horse race at that point.

One should play into a new region with the intention and card resources to follow-up with 2 pieces on the next turn. Things could turn out differently than descibed above, but that would be an exception rather than the rule, or so it seems to me.

Gg
 
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Francesco Grimaldi
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Dear Gg, i completely agree!! Be the first to open a new region is a big advantage, as my gaming group see it, for the reason you explained!
 
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Sight Reader
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Gamegrunt wrote:

After placing that initial house, you open it up to others, but oft times the other players choose to focus their activity elsewhere. If another player plays a house and an emissary, you do the same and maintain a share of both house and emissary majority, and it then becomes difficult for a 3rd player to vie for alliance points; it's a two horse race at that point.
Gg


We haven't found "activity elsewhere" hopes to bear much fruit, especially with five players. The problem is that, out of five players, SOMEONE is bound to have the jokers needed to force you into a "two horse race". Even worse, the involved players are competing for BOTH houses AND emissaries, meaning there's little point in anyone else playing in the country at all. Thus, each player has only a few regions that they are competitive in, which intensifies the problem and your five player game fragments into a bunch of two player card races which completely ignore each other.

I've found the best rule is simply to forbid emissaries on the first move into a new country (i.e. you can play either one or two houses on your first turn). The double house play still leaves open a dominating double emissary play by the next player, but the opening player still maintains a power base in houses. Note how this instantly diversifies the interests of the players involved, with one player being dominant in emissaries and the other in houses. This causes players interests to be spread across more countries, and creates complex situations since the emissary leader is at the mercy of someone else's house totals. With interests far more diversified and the source of threats more complex, it becomes harder to keep up in your two horse races and they end up less likely to develop.
 
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Michael Kandrac
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Quote:
I've found the best rule is simply to forbid emissaries on the first move into a new country (i.e. you can play either one or two houses on your first turn). The double house play still leaves open a dominating double emissary play by the next player, but the opening player still maintains a power base in houses.


I'm not adverse to modifying rules in some games, but I don't see how this could possibly be an improvement over the official rules, as it virtually concedes emissary dominance to the player who can immediately play two of them at once.

I'll trust Michael Schacht on this one.

Gg
 
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Frank Griese
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Actually, the author himself has published an official variant that will do just this : give a bonus for the first region.

The variant is on boardgamegeek.com under the name China: Erweiterung.
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fer moros
South Korea
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I think that to grant one point to the opener in a region is a great idea. I would say yes, without hesitation.

Two or three points, i would need to think about.. but surely it diserves one point as a token of appreciation for making that move. Nothing too big, but may be decisive in a tight final score.

The rule that allows only one piece to the opener, favors the followers and limit the opener too much. But without that rule, the opener could keep the lead for that region unchallenged to the end.

I think that keeping the rule and giving one or may be two points to the opener could work out well.

Let us know what do you think.

regards and happy games!
fer
sk
 
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Dvd Avins
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Kendall Park
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I'd rather see 0 points for the first region you start and 3 points for the second region you start. And maybe 2 points for any regions beyond that. So either you go that route or you don't and later in the game all players can see who has incentive to open new regions.
 
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