Hot answers tagged

24

As an informal handicap, when I'm playing in a game like this I usually try to make myself take my 2nd strategy - instead of doing the most obvious thing on the board, I come up with something more oddball and see if I can make that work. Another thing that's not a huge handicap but can help is letting the less experienced players choose the 10 Kingdom ...


21

Historically, pro ranks were an indicator of playing strength. It was said that 3 (later: 4) ranks are about a stone difference. To my knowledge, there never was a time when 1 rank difference actually meant 1 stone. In the 20th century, there was a sudden and increasing change in the strength of new pros. This is generally considered to be a consequence of ...


17

Play an open game If your friend is willing, why not play a completely open game? All players show all of their cards and explain why they're taking each action. If your friend really is significantly better, you could learn a lot by discovering why he makes certain moves. Perhaps there's some critical flaw in your strategy that's preventing you from ...


17

There are a variety of ways to level the playing field in chess. The two most common methods are material advantage and time odds, although there are also a number of more exotic handicaps that one can conceive of (e.g. giving away free moves, requiring a given piece to give checkmate, allowing the King to move two squares, etc). With material handicaps, ...


15

Suggestion I'd start you with one to three "traveling worker" tokens. Once per turn, when it's your turn to place a family member, you can place a traveling worker token instead of a member of your family (ie: You get to occupy and take an extra action.). The traveling worker goes away at the end of the turn you used it. You never have to feed your ...


13

Some actions you can take, in increasing order of difficulty it will impose: Don't aim for the Longest Route. Don't draw from the visible options. This will reduce the 'skill' you can exercise, making your plays more dependent on luck. Don't use wild Cards to fill out a color set. Makes it harder to get the longer routes. Knowing that they may gather in ...


11

Draft Occupations/Minor Improvements The Family version of Agricola is a game of very low randomness. If one player is consistently beating another, then the second player will just have to step up their game, there isn't really any satisfactory way around that! Maybe I am a purist. However! The full game, with the occupation and minor improvement ...


9

There are a few good books about handicap go. Handicap Go is a really good one, but it's out of print. Get Strong at Handicap Go has a lot of examples of good play by both White and Black. Kage's Secret Chronicles of Handicap Go discusses handicap games played between two professional players of nearly the same rank. It also includes reviews of games with ...


9

Forbid the strong player from taking the First Player action. It's not terribly awkward to implement, and if you always get to choose the first action of the round you'll have a really significant advantage. In a multi-player game he could always play last regardless of the start player marker, but that's likely too much of a disadvantage.


9

Probably the easiest form of handicap would be to subtract a certain number of VP's from your score at the end of the game. That should allow of a pretty fine grained control over you handicap and you can still play exactly the same as you would in your other group.


8

The aforementioned "gain a Curse on each shuffle" handicap is pretty harsh, and may not be appropriate for all card sets. It's conceptually interesting, though. Consider letting the other players get a number of extra turns at the start. That'll let them ramp up a little before you jump in. Alternately, give each other player a special "extra turn" token ...


8

The idea behind playing in the upper right first is so that White doesn't have to reach far to play his first move. The corner immediately in front of him on his right is left open. So the third stone goes in the lower right corner, from Black's viewpoint. [Edit as per the comments: Move order for 9 stones] $$ --------------------------------------- $$| ...


7

How about practicing and getting some revenge? Steps for Revenge Visit play-agricola.com. Play a couple games solo to get the hang of the interface Advertise in the public chat channel that you are a beginner looking for a game Play five games or so I'll bet you can now beat your friend. It worked for me, and I wasn't even purposely trying to get ...


7

To be contrarian: in my experience, if you're adding a sufficient number of new people (which it sounds like is the case here), I'd encourage not handicapping them at all. My recommendation would actually be to start not with drafting but with some form of sealed-deck play (maybe a simple three-round league or the like), so that the new players have fewer ...


5

My experience with Descent is that some maps are balanced towards the Heroes, and others towards the Overlord. If you still find the heroes are losing a lot on most of the maps, in my opinion, your best bet is to pick up The Tomb of Ice expansion. It adds Feat cards for the heroes which are quite powerful, especially when you add them to the base maps. If ...


5

If I remember correctly, Agricola scores with victory points. You could simply give yourself a handicap. It may not make you feel much better but it would certainly give you a reachable goal.


5

In Edo period go, the system worked like this: Even: Taiga-sen (Alternating Black and White) One Dan difference: San-Ai-Sen (Black two out of three games) Two Dan difference: Josen (Always Black) Three Dan difference: Sen-Ni-Sen (Black two games, two stones on game) Four Dan difference: Sen-Ni (Alternating Black and two stones) Five Dan difference: (Always ...


4

I will often pick a good card that I'd normally want >1 copy of and try to win without it. This is similar to @lilserf's great answer of picking your 2nd strategy, but a little less harsh. Like that answer, it's polite in that it's not at all obvious that I'm taking a handicap. Also, I can choose card(s) that are particularly annoying, either attack cards or ...


4

Something that's very easy to do and explain is tweaking your starting deck: instead of 7/3 start with 6/4 or maybe 7/4. I haven't tried this so I can't say how big the handicap will be. Another thing you can try is simply skipping your first turn. This is probably a lighter handicap. Update: I don't know why it didn't occur to me earlier, but of course ...


4

Regarding your question: To my knowledge, handicap is intended to be linear. The observation that large handicap games tend to end with a large score difference is not necessarily true. A large difference in score is usually a group dying involuntarily, which happens in both high handicap and even games on a regular basis. However, it is far less common to ...


4

One way to remove a first-player advantage (in general for any open-information game) is to let one player make a proposed first move. Then the other player can choose to play as either side. This is similar to splitting a cake by letting one person cut and one person choose. The first player cannot take too obviously powerful a first move, or the second ...


4

Simply play a game with a fully open hand. All of your car cards, tickets are played face up. Pre anounce & explain your every move & intention openly to the novice player. This will not only serve as a handicap but will accelerate the rate at wich your novice players become seasoned players. This applies to all games you will teach to novices as I ...


3

The formula I use for the point differential for handicap stones is 2/3 (X**2) +12x-6. That means 6 2/3 points for one stone, 21 points for two stones, 36 points for three stones, 53 points for four stones, 71 points for five stones, 90 points for six stones, 111 points for 7 stones, 133 points for eight stones, 156 for nine. Each stone is worth more on ...


3

You obviously have to read better and avoid any unnecessary losses. Your endgame has to be superior, and you should not make any tsumego mistakes. Apart from that, playing flexible is probably the most important idea. At the same time, you should also see further and try to let black have what he wants, while you're working for a bigger goal that he is ...


3

Tweaking with the starting deck is a handicap that scales on most Kingdom setups and, in particular, replacing Copper(s) with Silver(s). Before analyzing this, here is why some other handicaps would not work: Deduct points: it's simple to apply, but not simple to design it, as it's arbitrary. You have to decide before the start of the game, but on what ...


3

Generally, I agree with Steven, the best thing to do is to coach them, but not give them an explicit handicap of any kind. That way they will learn how it is really done. Of course they will lose more often than they will win, but booster drafts are a bit more random than Constructed so they may win some as long as they know the basic rules, and anyone ...


3

Increasing the number of cards flipped on tunnel routes should be considered. Likewise, one can readily balance things with a requirement for more cards per track segment. For the most experienced, increase the card requirement by 2 per chunk, but do not increase the score. 1 additional for the more experienced. It's brutal, but changes play very little, ...


3

Giving the weaker player 3 train cards per turn instead of 2 has created balanced, competitive (2 and 3 player) games for us, with everyone trying their hardest. Face up locomotives (wild cards) count as 2 train cards, but count as 1 if blindly drawn from the deck. Minor side effects: Face up wild cards get depleted quickly by the weaker player The weaker ...


3

There are two handicap rules I play with to even out skill levels with kids (who otherwise know how to play). The first is that the experienced player(s) lose all of the cards they invested if a tunnel fails to be completed (as opposed to the cards returning to the players hand). The second is to not let station placement count against the kids' scores, so ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible