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Subject: Cutthroat Variant *BETA* rss

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Christian Marcussen
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Hi guys. If anyone is up for trying the following variant and letting me know how it goes it would be great. If it is positively received (or some variation of it) then I think it can be made an official variant along with the upcoming FAQ. So give me your input arrrh

Cutthroat Variant
A player may "Scout" for the active player when the active player moves into his Sea-Zone (including moving from port out to sea). If successful a battle occurs. If a player decides to make such a scouting attempt he only has one action on his next turn (for balancing reasons - you need to consider if it´s worth it). Flip the Captain card to indicate such an attempt has been made. Flip it back after taking your next turn.

- If there are multiple players in the same Sea-Zone they may each make an attempt (in turn order) and do so prior to any NPC's present.

- A player cannot make such an attempt if he already has (i.e. if his Card is still flipped).

Why this?
I think this could be an exciting variant that could make the merchant more vulnerable and thus spending more Gold in defense of themselves (increasing interaction and excitement for everyone and introducing less "i go you go"). Some have felt that the fact that merchants could avoid combat when needed detracted from the game. I understand why this design decision might not sit right with everyone. This could prove to be a nice fix for them.

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eric chang
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i think this is great! arrrh
i am waiting for my pre-order to come in, but i can see why people may want more of a cutthroat game. they may feel that the merchants wins more than the pirates because perhaps they do not see the balancing mechanisms (ie. pirate's victory path is not as luck dependent as a merchant because the use of special weapons, modifications, glory cards, and the san juan sea-zone. also, port hopping for the merchant "waste" turns meanwhile the pirate can now "get ahead").

i like how there is a balancing mechanism in scouting for the active player by having only 1 action during the next turn. i was wondering; where there any other balancing mechanisms that you were considering besides having only 1 action during the next turn that players may playtest?
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Christian Marcussen
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Yes, I considered that the player only loses 1 action, but that the scouting check is opposed - i.e. the active player is not found if he succeeds a scouting check. This brings more skills into play, but it´s also a tad harder to explain and write down, so I opted for the simpler mechanic.
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marqzen wrote:
Yes, I considered that the player only loses 1 action, but that the scouting check is opposed - i.e. the active player is not found if he succeeds a scouting check. This brings more skills into play, but it´s also a tad harder to explain and write down, so I opted for the simpler mechanic.


you could make it as "optional" for your Cutthorat Variant as it is also a good idea !!

very nice you finally made this Variant !

many thanks for listening your fans !
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John Van Wagoner
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i will def give this a try when/if my game ever arrives!!! (apparently lost at sea...or are those damn somali pirates to blame??)

will try it using my beta ships, on my beta board...betta be good!
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Ewan L
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Yep,
I agree that this is a good idea for a variant. I look forward to testing it out when my pre-oreder arrives.
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powerwis wrote:
marqzen wrote:
Yes, I considered that the player only loses 1 action, but that the scouting check is opposed - i.e. the active player is not found if he succeeds a scouting check. This brings more skills into play, but it´s also a tad harder to explain and write down, so I opted for the simpler mechanic.


you could make it as "optional" for your Cutthorat Variant as it is also a good idea !!

very nice you finally made this Variant !

many thanks for listening your fans !


will you implement that as optional ? i really like the idea of skills being used and thus being more important !
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Christian Marcussen
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powerwis wrote:
powerwis wrote:
marqzen wrote:
Yes, I considered that the player only loses 1 action, but that the scouting check is opposed - i.e. the active player is not found if he succeeds a scouting check. This brings more skills into play, but it´s also a tad harder to explain and write down, so I opted for the simpler mechanic.


you could make it as "optional" for your Cutthorat Variant as it is also a good idea !!

very nice you finally made this Variant !

many thanks for listening your fans !


will you implement that as optional ? i really like the idea of skills being used and thus being more important !


Right now I'm still waiting for feedback on it as is... Keep in mind though, that if the merchant is found then loads of skills come into play
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Kenneth Petersen
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After playing a few times, I was also thinking of adding that the Scout action can become an "interrupt" action... but also combining that with simultaneous actions - ie players have their usual 3 actions, but each player takes 1 action at a time in turn order (but can do an action out of turn if they want to scout a player who enters their seazone or it they enter a seazone with a player) ... i considered this because it would reduce the downtime with 3-4 players. In our group we are a bit slow, so it can take quite a while for your turn to come back around...snore

Is this something you tried out during play test?

But dont get me wrong - we love this game!! arrrh
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Christian Marcussen
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No, I have not tried exactly that... It sounds like it would increase the complexity a bit - at least of the rules.

Regarding downtime, I have a suggestion you should try. Whenever a players last action is doing things in port, then let the next player begin his turn. It helps quite a bit. Worth considering (in addition to not being slow arrrh)
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Dave de Vil
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Regarding the active player scouting: wouldn't it be more appropriate if the player doesn't get to choose which type of ship to scout?

That is, a successful scout will discover a ship chosen at random from every ship in the relevant sea zone?

The reasoning is that for the time you had to get pretty close to a ship to make out exactly what type of vessel it was, certainly enough to consider one "Action" being used up.

Of course if the player doesn't wish to engage the first ship scouted he can move on to the next action immediately.

However, if the scouted ship wishes to engage the scouter, he should be considered to be now within close enough range to do so if able (perhaps modified by manouverability?)
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Dave de Vil
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To put it another way, I think a player wishing to hunt a merchant ship should run an equal risk of running into any ship in the area, with the chance of becoming the hunted ship if the first vessel scouted happens to be hostile and you wish to avoid it.

I'm still working out exactly how the mechanics work, but might this obviate the need for Cut-throat rules as suggested?
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Christian Marcussen
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Quote:
Regarding the active player scouting: wouldn't it be more appropriate if the player doesn't get to choose which type of ship to scout?


We had something like that, but ditched it as a) I did not want to introduce more mechanics (a randomizer for what you find) and b) by letting the player choose, it offers more control (to put a curb on the randomness in a game with many random factors).

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Dave de Vil
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OK, get it now.

My suggestion for "Shadowing" is not quite as cut-throat, in that a pirate has to lie in wait for a specific player hiding out in port, rather than get an automatic scouting opportunity.

Also, he has to use up an action on his current turn to place a shadow, rather than "borrow" an action from his next turn. If the pirate himeself is attacked by a third party he also loses the shadow opportunity, so the action is therefore wasted.

A little less of an advantage for the pirate then, but maybe he gets a bonus to his scouting roll to represent the fact that he's keeping watch on a specific port, therefore more likely to find the enemy than scouting on the open sea. Maybe NPCs can be given the ability to shadow specific ships with the same blockade bonus?
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Lance
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I think this is absolutely needed in the game, otherwise people can simply hide in ports and never get attacked by other players.

I do think they should lose only one action on their turn though. Only having one action is a killer.
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Christian Marcussen
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UndeadViking wrote:
I think this is absolutely needed in the game, otherwise people can simply hide in ports and never get attacked by other players.

I do think they should lose only one action on their turn though. Only having one action is a killer.


Thanks for the feedback. If you try it some more, let me know how it works out for you.

Cheers
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John Van Wagoner
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i really think this is not necessary...we simply play you may not leave one port and enter another port in the same turn (regardless of how close they are); that way a merchant is "exposed" a min of one turn between ports...otherwise someone (like my wife) might never do more than sail around delivering goods...(smile)...
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Seth Jaffee
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I do like the sound of this variant (the one in the original post). It matches the way the Naval Ships work, if you pull into a sea zone where an 'enemy' NPC is, they scout for you - why not also an 'enemy' player?

I'd almost suggest making it mandatory, like with the NPCs, except then there could be an abuse by a player who wants to fight on his turn simply rolling up to an unsuspecting opponent who DOESN'T want to fight...

I am skeptical that it should cost *2* actions from your next turn, when you are active it only costs 1 action to scout. However, forcing someone to have to fight you might be a little crazy, so costing an additional action does make sense in that regard.

My biggest concern would be that a player could get 'blockaded' in a port by a stronger opponent - might someone be unwilling to leave port lest they get raped by the pirate lying in wait? I suppose the pirate would have to MAKE his scouting roll, so it's not a guarantee. Still, if players refuse to progress the game because of that rule, that would be lame.

Which brings up a different question I had - MUST players do all three actions on their turn? I.e. if you start your turn in port, you could Port of course, but could you just sit around and pass your other 2 actions? Or are you required to leave port (which would work well with this cutthroat rule)? This would come into play in the published game when a Man-O-War who will hunt you is just off port...

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Seth Jaffee
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John_VW wrote:
i really think this is not necessary...we simply play you may not leave one port and enter another port in the same turn (regardless of how close they are); that way a merchant is "exposed" a min of one turn between ports...otherwise someone (like my wife) might never do more than sail around delivering goods...(smile)...

When I played I wondered why it wasn't the case that pulling into port didn't simply trigger a Port action (and also perhaps pulling into a sea zone trigger a Scout action). Seems like that would make the game flow a bit better, but it would also require some other balancing tweaks (like your "no visiting 2 ports in the same turn" for example, and/or no Port action when starting your turn in a port - you'd have to leave and come back).
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Christian Marcussen
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sedjtroll wrote:
Still, if players refuse to progress the game because of that rule, that would be lame.


That would be lame, and this might not be a variant for such a group

However in a real game scenario this is very unlikely to happen for a number of reasons. First of all you can't halt the progress of the game for others than yourself (i.e. lose the game). Even the blockading pirate will often have option for scoring points, like raiding merchants near by and returning to your spot. If he does not return, or is damaged, then the situation changes and the player may once again venture out. In other words, it's not really a problem

[EDIT] Regarding only having one action after scouting for someone on their turn. I think you may be right, but I need more feedback/testing on it. I fear it will be too cheap... results pending.
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Christian Busch

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sedjtroll wrote:

My biggest concern would be that a player could get 'blockaded' in a port by a stronger opponent - might someone be unwilling to leave port lest they get raped by the pirate lying in wait? I suppose the pirate would have to MAKE his scouting roll, so it's not a guarantee. Still, if players refuse to progress the game because of that rule, that would be lame.


I've only played a few games but it seems that a stronger player waiting for the weaker one to leave port will not succeed. The weak player can sit in port and just take the same port action each turn while the strong player sits there and does nothing each turn.

Granted repeated port actions in the same port aren't as effective as going to different ports, there are chances to still make money, pull a rumor from that port and repair/upgrade your ship. All the while the strong player loses turn after turn waiting for his prey to set sail.

With the added event deck rolling, eventually naval or pirate NPCs will run into the strong player and slowly weaken him, or storm events will come up to weaken him further. I think the strong player would have to have quite a substantial lead for this strategy to succeed and it can only be in a 2 player game.

I like the variant and will likely test in a few upcoming games after we get over the "beginner" hump.
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Max Maloney
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I don't see the point of this variant. If a player doesn't want to fight, doesn't this variant just make the game unpleasant for them? If they do want to fight, there's no need for it.

Merchants who "hide" are already disadvantaged by having very inefficient turns (ie, leave port/move/enter port does not combine well with taking port actions). Additionally, their turns will over-and-over take 5 seconds, meaning they're hardly playing the game while their opponents have lots of fun.
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Christian Marcussen
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Dormammu wrote:
I don't see the point of this variant. If a player doesn't want to fight, doesn't this variant just make the game unpleasant for them? If they do want to fight, there's no need for it.


Hi... Surely you see the point of the variant? Obviously this is not a variant to implement in your group if it makes the game unpleasent

But it's a variant - it's something to spice the game a different flavor for those who want it. The game is made to accomodate the way you feel about it, that is that people should be able to avoid a fight (lots of a people felt that way which in part has formed the present rules). However I want this game to appeal to all kinds of groups, including those who either feel the merchants are overpowered or dont like the fact that you can avoid combat.

It's a win win arrrh


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Seth Jaffee
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sedjtroll wrote:
Which brings up a different question I had - MUST players do all three actions on their turn? I.e. if you start your turn in port, you could Port of course, but could you just sit around and pass your other 2 actions? Or are you required to leave port (which would work well with this cutthroat rule)? This would come into play in the published game when a Man-O-War who will hunt you is just off port...

Has there been an answer to this question? I think it would be a good rule to have with the cutthroat variant that you cannot "skip" your action.

That way there COULDN'T be people sitting in port waiting for their pursuers to leave - it would force people to play the game. And it would become risky to travel around with a lot of gold and stuff. There's Pirates in them there seas after all!

I'll try this variant next time and let you know how it goes.

It matches the way NPCs behave (they Scout for you when you enter their space) as well, which I think is nice from a consistency of rules standpoint.
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Christian Marcussen
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Quote:
Has there been an answer to this question? I think it would be a good rule to have with the cutthroat variant that you cannot "skip" your action.


Yes, it's covered in the FAQ 'm working on here - found here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/595002/faq-wip-you-can-h...

The answer is that you do not have to spend all your actions. You could change that if you wan't, but I don't think it's strictly needed.

Btw: I'm quite interested in your thoughts on whether a Captain scouting outside his turn should lose one action on the upcoming tur, or rather only have one action. So get back to me on that subject if you feel like it.

Cheers
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