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21

I played a diceless variant where every village has a "worker". you place the worker in an empty tile next to the village when you create the village at the beginning of your turn, you get one resource for each worker, from its tile -OR- you may skip acquisition to remove another player's worker (he'll be able to re-assign it at the end of his next turn) ...


20

The card system that you describe is not just a variant, it is an official expansion, Catan: Event Cards, which includes not only the rolls (in the form of the totals with the appropriate distribution) but also red dice for Cities and Knights and a selection of minor game events.


20

I'm old and tired, and I haven't played Magic much in the last 15 years. With that as a caveat, my recollection is that the harsh penalty for declaring a mulligan was to prevent excessive "gaming" of declaring a mulligan. Part of the point of M:tG was to create a deck that was playable despite the fact that the order of the cards would be random. Being ...


15

A few points: "Good for the game" is drastically different if you are playing competitively or casually. Competitive Magic should encourage good deck building and make it as fair as possible to each player. Paris mulligan vs. lenient paris mulligan isn't going to drastically change the fairness between the two players at the table and adds more complexity ...


11

I haven't tried this variation, and to be honest, I don't think I would want to either. Randomness in games can bother me, but Settlers of Catan is one of those games where I don't mind the randomness. With the deck-of-cards variation, you know at some point in the next 36 cards that, for example, a 2 and a 12 will come up at some point, and if you can ...


11

Yes. In fact, Arimaa was designed explicitly for this purpose. http://arimaa.com/ It was designed by an AI expert who wanted a game where humans could beat the best computers. There is a contest every year called the Arimaa Challenge where AI's compete to try to beat the best humans. So far, none have.


9

Informed idea: The problem with a more "open" mulligan rule is striking a balance between "fair randomization" and "how a deck is supposed to work." It's fairly easy to construct a deck in which the correct 6-8 cards being in your starting hand gives you a near-guaranteed win in 1-3 turns. Preventing this is the reason decks have a minimum size, and ...


8

Formula D is a more recent version with a few rules changes and some tweaks. Car miniatures are different. I think the old Formula Dé ones are higher quality; that said, both are perfectly functional. Formula D comes with some nice new 'gear stick' control sheets which let you track your current gear by sliding a gearstick, alongside a pegboard for ...


8

While I used to play with futures trading, I now explicitly prohibit it for the following reasons: Problematic/ambiguous mechanics Consider this case: I trade you a brick and a future wood for your wheat. Later, you attempt to cash in the future trade, but I claim to have no wood. Unless it's obvious that I'm lying, there's no great way to determine ...


7

The large majority of my games of Settlers, or more recently Cities and Knights, were done using a computer program to simulate the deck of 36 dice. It would randomly reshuffle at some point between 34 and 36 cards through, so you can't count rolls precisely, but it was a blissful solution to the frustration of the "Settlers probability distortion field". I ...


7

The rules in my copy of the game note that two people get 10 cards. Generally these will be the two people left of the dealer. You cannot call pit with the Bear in hand; you can call Pit with a Bull and 8 copies of a commodity. If you call Pit with a Bull and all 9 copies you get double points for that commodity. Of note, it is courteous to remind people ...


6

A few Boggle variants I've heard of: Scrabble-style: Lose the timer - take turns making words, end game when (n) words made (try about 20 to begin with). You cannot repeat a word already made. Collapsing Boggle: Use a shorter timer. After it runs out, remove 1 die at random and keep going. Remove another die and have a third (and final) run through. ...


6

One dis-recommendation: don't lower the amount of money for the win condition. The game advances through phases from initial building (limited range) to networking to running those few big deals that are finally possible late in the game. By reducing the win condition you'd be cutting out that last phase and that can be a lot of fun. Tested ...


5

The original Hasbro Edition is probably the physically best edition ever made - much better than the current US version with cardboard counters. The other highly recommended edition is the 1992 Deluxe Diplomacy by Avalon Hill, which turns up very occasionally and very expensively on eBay. The only professionally printed Dip variants I know of are Colonial ...


5

Axis & Allies Chess Rules Okay, I finally found the link to the website with the original A&A Chess rules. To be honest I didn't play this variant much, but it seemed apropos to the original post about luckless games so I mentioned it. From my limited experience I can concur with the inventor's comments: although it looks identical to normal A&A ...


5

One advantage the xbox version has over RL is that it can shuffle the deck instantly, whereas in RL it take a bit of time to shuffle. Other card games take alternate routes to make it work with less mulligans needed. Universal Fighting System: To mulligan you remove your hand from the game and draw a new one. Only one Mull is allowed. Magi-Nation: ...


5

This may not be exactly what you're looking for, but check out the Scenarios FFG created for League play (here's a link to information about them on the Arkham Horror Wiki). They do ramp up in difficulty, and the Spanish league scenarios have a continuing story. I'm sure you could easily adapt things so that your characters grow and develop through the ...


4

Swapping the knights and bishops is one version of displacement chess. I'm not sure what you wish to learn though; the main aim of displacement chess systems, such as Fischer random chess, is to negate the benefit of rote learning. Learning how to play this variant well by studying sounds like a strange goal!


4

As I see it there are two independent questions being asked here. One is how to play a short game and the other is how to deal with having fewer than seven players. I'll discuss them separately. First what to do when time is scarce. There are two ways I know of to deal with this. One is to play an abridged version, the other is to ensure play proceeds at a ...


4

You probably need an odd number of players, say five, to make the game flow with a majority vs. a minority dynamic. Second, you need to choose two countries to eliminate. Italy is the obvious first choice, least fun to play. Germany is the recommended second choice by the game designers. But that has the disadvantage of separating the board into ...


4

In a well-designed deck, the possibility of a truly unplayable hand is small. The possibility becomes vanishingly small after a single mulligan. Thus, there really should never be a need to mulligan more than once (unless you're fishing for your golden starting hand). Being down a single card is NOT a "significant disadvantage" - it's relatively minor. ...


4

I use an iPod/iPhone Settlers Dice App. The benefits I see are: 1.) They're quiet, 2.) They're fast, 3.) They don't make a mess and get hung up on piles of cards or the edge of the board, and 4.) The probabilities are assured by the programming. The probabilities exactly match the theoretical probability of each dice roll, which is not the case with ...


4

We own several versions and editions of the crayon rail games in my house. In each one that we have, there is a "Variants" section of the rules. One of the variants we always play with is the fast game. It has 5 main effects that I can think of offhand: Increases starting cash by $20 Adds one additional pre-movement turn Gives you 5 initial demand ...


4

The answer to this depends a lot on why the game is taking you so long to play. We had been suffering from the same problem, and the main reason is because we have one player who is just an incredibly slow thinker. He often took over 15 minutes just to make one move. Over time, we made a lot of small changes to the game to reduce the amount of information ...


4

A variant much more similar to chess than Arimaa is Twilight Chess. Like Arimaa, the design goal is explicitly to be harder for computer to master. The creator is an Associate Professor is Computer Science and a very good chess player. The rules are All classical laws of chess apply. Moving to the Twilight zone (Warp move) is a legal moves for all ...


4

I haven't played this game, but the rules seem fairly clear to me. 1) You can swap which character is covered, and which is exposed, each game turn. So they don't have to stay in the background. At the beginning of any turn, after dealing with such cards as Jail and Dynamite and before Phase 1, the active player chooses one character to be exposed ...


4

First, I agree that Mandatory Quests can be a little unbalancing. I've never played 2-player, but I can see how they could be even worse in that case. I've seen a handful of alternatives, any of which may work for you and your opponent: Don't use them. Remove them from the Intrigue deck beforehand, or discard and draw again if you draw one during the game. ...


3

I came across the following variants whilst doing a bit more digging at Board Game Geek: The Anniversary edition with metal pieces, an 'Asmodee' edition, a German variant from the 70's and some amazing custom-built boards (one & two - shown below).


3

Hand and Foot While I'm not a huge fan of this variant, everyone else in my family is and it is now the only version of canasta played regularly for us. There are a lot of slightly different rules set out there, I've linked to the one that seems to resemble the rules my family uses. The main difference for Hand and Foot is that each player is dealt 2 ...


3

There is a call for this kind of switch when it is felt that chess is "too well understood." The first call was about eighty years ago from former world champion Jose R. Capablanca. He embraced a "scientific" form of chess, took it to a high level, and then he (and his admirers) felt that there was little left to learn about in chess. As it turned out, ...



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