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Subject: How to improve round 1 rss

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Rufus Frog
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Gosford
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We've played this game a few times (5 or 6 players) and quite enjoy it but the first round seems to go on for ever because there are so many meeples fighting over (and over again) for so few resources.

I propose that each player gets 1 randomly chosen brick from supply at the start of the game therefore there is some point in attacking and defending settlements (especially if someone's picked a stone!).

What do you think?

Maybe more sophisticated play will sort out the 'round 1 problem'? On our last play one person didn't place all their meeples on the first round thus ensuring they got easier pickings on round 2 when the other players all had more of their meeples hospitalised.

Also, on a completely different topic: preventing cheating. It's ludicrously easy to cheat if you're crafty at the placement stage, 'accidentally' slipping a meeple onto an uncontested space when no one is looking. I've seen someone do this but was too polite to challenge them. To avoid this, how about all players shifting their board round to the next player for the actual placement phase? (Not sure if that would be foolproof - what if the next player misplaces your meeples to their advantage and then denies it?)
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Bradley Knoll
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Ontario
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Your idea sounds ok. I will try it next game as I have also found the same thing happening in round 1.

As for the prevent cheating thing. It is not impolite to challenge that person. He is ruining the game for everybody including himself. Cheaters know their actions are sometimes detected, but also gamble that the person will not say anything so as to not upset the social activity at the game. Confront him immediately. It will tell him that his actions are not acceptable and that he will be held accountable. He will probably just say "Opps I made a mistake...sorry, I was not cheating...honest" to save face and then stop his behaviour. If you allow cheating then what is the point of wasting the time playing the game. If he continued after confrontation then i would never play with him again as he ruins the experience. Just my advise
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Ted Groth
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Appleton
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I kind of enjoy the mayhem of round 1 as it is, but your variant would probably improve the game. As it is the player who gathers the fewest bricks also has the most injured vikings, and therefore has the least chance of gathering bricks in the following round. It is easy to fall far behind at the start, and difficult to recover. I've never seen anyone NOT place all of their Vikings as a preventative move. Maybe we aren't that smart, but then maybe we are very aggressive! (Not opposites, I know.)

Cheating? I haven't seen it. If I did see a piece misplaced, I would assume it was an honest error, and point it out immediately so it could be corrected. Naturally I would keep my eye out for a repeat of the mistake, whether accidental, or intentional. But I rarely have seen blatant cheating among serious gamers in any game, and never with this game. If I did, the game would be over. (not counting pretending to cheat, just to tease!)
 
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Andrew Stingel
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what if all players start with vikings hospitalised?

if all players did a quick round of one-on-one battles before the game commenced (enough to play through all four combat cards dealt to each player) then each player would have an average of two vikings somewhere in the hospital system. this would reduce the number of vikings involved in the first-round scramble, providing potential newly-healed "reinforcements" from the beginning of the second round, and any player who lost an above-average number of pre-game skirmishes should end up with a proportionately stronger hand.
 
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Ian B
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Tradewinds Ted wrote:
I kind of enjoy the mayhem of round 1 as it is, but your variant would probably improve the game. As it is the player who gathers the fewest bricks also has the most injured vikings, and therefore has the least chance of gathering bricks in the following round. It is easy to fall far behind at the start, and difficult to recover.


That is a good point and therefore I think it would be sensible to use a variant that makes R1 more like subsequent rounds. However I don't like the random element of the 'random brick'.

Why not give everyone 1 of each brick at the start and they can construct them anyway they like in their castle. Or alternatively choose another set of bricks e.g.

3x grass
1x wood
1x clay

I don't think this would shorten the game (due to extra bricks) but if it did you could also play with some vikings in the hospital to start with e.g.

1 viking in back of the hospital and 1 in the next hospital space.

Ian
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Robert Stewart
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If you want to preserve vikings during the first round, you can either attempt to target unpopular resources (an unstable strategy since if everyone adopts it, you're liable to collide over those bricks) or send several to defend your torp - even if something goes wrong and someone sieges you, you get your man back a turn sooner than you would from the same fight elsewhere.
 
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Will Fleeson
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North Carolina
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It's pretty standard strategy for me now to leave many of my vikings out of the first battle. They "defend" my castle. After turn 2, I'm usually in the lead.In fact, when I teach the game tonight, I will mention this strategy.

Edit: But, I do find your variant quite intriguing. It might encourage this strategy more, and also make it feel less wasteful to actually defend something. The luck difference might be too much to bear, so I like the fixed distribution ammendment.
 
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Brian Walker
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To avoid the battle for resources in round one, please a substantial number of vikings in your stronghold, then clean up in round 2 when the hospital will be overflowing with casualties.
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Ian B
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Last time I played we played with 6 points worth of bricks to put into the castle at the start. It worked really well. I put 6 grass equally spread (1 brick high all the way around) others bought a stone and maybe a wood as well.

The game was a little shorter but didn't lose any of the fun.
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Ben Bateson
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Batz wrote:


3x grass
1x wood
1x clay


We do this with 1 clay, 2 wood and 4 grass. Giving people 7 resources makes a nice initial building challenge and puts the game at something closer to a suitable length.

We've also been known to shorten the field hospital by one space with 6P only.
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