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Succession: Intrigue in the Royal Court» Forums » Variants

Subject: Variants for less luck and shorter game rss

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Brian Jones
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Charlotte
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Here are some changes to the game that should balance some things, reduce some of the luck and "take that" elements and also shorten the game.

Removing Cards

I remove 3 intrigue cards - A Bad Sign, Wrong Side of the Bed, Lumpy and Fair is Fair
1 Influence card - the 9 value
and 2 Event cards - Fortune's Fool and Big Jerk, Little Jerk

Removing these cards helps take some of the worst take that or lucky cards out, reduces the total number of cards in the game and the intrigues which reduce standing. This should shorten the game if you find it goes too long.

Alternate Start for Taxman/Wizard

Simple fix - give +1 Galahad standing to Taxman and +1 Archie standing to the Wizard. This also increases their income, but not by much. Maybe in addition to this (or instead) those two characters go first and second.

Start of Game

I think starting hand variance can be too great with this game, and it is very easy to fix. Just make a set starting hand, shuffle each type of card and deal each player 1 Intrigue, 1 Influence and 2 events for their starting 4 cards (or maybe some other mix if you prefer). Then shuffle all the remaining cards to make a draw pile. Finally, limit all players to a maximum of 2 event card plays per turn.
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Chad Ellis
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Brookline
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I like your card suggestions. You could also modify Fortune's Fool so that you can only play it on yourself if you want to avoid the "Take That" aspect. It's not uncommon that I'll play out my hand and then use Fortune's Fool to get a couple of new cards.

I also agree that starting hand variance is too big. Pre-determined start hands is a good solution; you could also start off by dealing out larger hands (maybe seven cards) and letting people discard extras.

I'm surprised that you want to power up the Taxman and Wizard. In my experience the players are reasonably balanced but if I had to guess which ones might be overpowered I'd guess them. Have you found them to be weak?
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Jon G
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We played our first game last night. The slowest part seemed to be auctioning credit and blackmailing for blame/event effects. On that note, some ideas:
1. When a benefit is being sold, everyone holds up a number of fingers in gold they're willing to pay for it. The seller can then choose from any of these offers, or take it themself. You can repeat this for each benefit.
2. When extorting funds to avoid blame/negative effects, you can either pick one person to negotiate with, or have people hold up fingers for what they'll pay you to avoid the effect. If the latter, everyone you don't hurt pays you their bid. You can repeat this process for each penalty.
3. You may not extort funds while threatening to play a card. You actually have to irrevocably play a card for funds to exchange hands.
4. Open negotiations are allowed on what candidates are affected by a card, since this is harder to simplify.

Regarding characters, we thought the taxman was actually the weakest in a 5-player game, but speculated his ability gets stronger in as the number of players decrease. As a variant, we thought he should receive money equal to the number of players in the game.
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Chad Ellis
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dr.mrow wrote:
We played our first game last night. The slowest part seemed to be auctioning credit and blackmailing for blame/event effects. On that note, some ideas:
1. When a benefit is being sold, everyone holds up a number of fingers in gold they're willing to pay for it. The seller can then choose from any of these offers, or take it themself. You can repeat this for each benefit.
2. When extorting funds to avoid blame/negative effects, you can either pick one person to negotiate with, or have people hold up fingers for what they'll pay you to avoid the effect. If the latter, everyone you don't hurt pays you their bid. You can repeat this process for each penalty.
3. You may not extort funds while threatening to play a card. You actually have to irrevocably play a card for funds to exchange hands.
4. Open negotiations are allowed on what candidates are affected by a card, since this is harder to simplify.


I like this approach. The various possible auctions are one of the weak points in the game -- for some groups it doesn't matter because they handle them quickly, but for others these methods to keep things flowing seem like a good idea.

Quote:
Regarding characters, we thought the taxman was actually the weakest in a 5-player game, but speculated his ability gets stronger in as the number of players decrease. As a variant, we thought he should receive money equal to the number of players in the game.


Both the turn-based powers (Taxman & Wizard) benefit from having fewer players since it's your turn a higher percentage of the game. That said, I really don't think the Taxman's power is weak with five players.

I know the plural of anecdote isn't evidence, but when we launched Succession at GenCon several years ago we held a tournament which had fifteen (IIRC) four- and five-player games with the winners advancing to the semi-finals. Before the semi-final round we asked people for their impressions and several people had strong opinions that one of the powers was stronger than the others. They just didn't agree on which. We did a quick survey and as it turns out each player character had won three of the fifteen round-one games.

What I think happens with Succession is that when you win you win in part because you got good use out of your player power and when you lose part of the problem is that you didn't. This can give the impression that it was the power rather than play decisions.
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