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House rules to nerf the conspiracy

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#1 Paul Grogan

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 02:33 AM

A slight modification on my suggested house rules for last time.  Want peoples comments and honest feedback.

Note that these rules are based on the fact that myself, and everyone else in my play group believes the puzzle to be completely 'broken' - Placing a puzzle piece is way more powerful than placing a single piece of evidence.  So much so that in all our games, everyone now just follows up the conspiracy and it is completed very early.  Anyone who doesnt do this falls way behind on points.

So, my choice was to either make the puzzle pieces less powerful, or to make them harder to get.  I chose the latter because it means changing less.

The idea is quite simple.  There are now 4 piles of puzzle tiles.  But one of them is empty.  And this is the one the hero markers start next to.  So the first time a hero follows up a lead to investigate the conspiracy, they can only dig deeper - to the first pile that actually has pieces in it.

In a 4 player game, no additional changes are needed.  With 3 players, 3 pieces of the conspiracy already start in play (1 from each pile, dealt out randomly and then placed touching the centre space (but the placing player doesnt get any bonus from it).  With 5 players, the conspiracy investigation cannot be chosen. 

Without these tweaks, the puzzle is hard to be completed in a 3 player game and still completed too early in a 5 player game.

Also, conspiracy tokens are only worth +2VP.

#2 Bleached Lizard

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 09:04 AM

I don't get your adjustments if playing with 3 or 5 players.  Could you explain a little more, please?

#3 Paul Grogan

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 11:31 AM

Sorry - I was in a rush.  Your comments are certainly ones I would take seriously :)

Essentially, my new rules slow down how fast the puzzle gets completed, and with a very rough bit of maths, I worked out that with 3 players it might not get completed, but with 5 players it would still be completed a bit early.  This, and subsequent discussions with other people lead me to believe that the game has scalability issues.  The fact that the puzzle is the exact same size no matter how many people are playing.  This I would go so far as saying is a bit of a 'flaw'

So, with 3 players, take 1 puzzle piece of each pile, shuffle them, give them out randomly, and then in player order, each player places one of the puzzle pieces so that it is touching the central piece and is a legal placement.  That leaves 21 spaces of the puzzle left for the players to fill in. 7 each on average.

With 4 players, no more changes.  Thats 24 puzzle spaces remaining. 6 each.

With 5 players, it would still be completed a bit early, so nobody can follow up a lead and use it for anything other than placing evidence on days 1-2. With 24 spaces remaining, this is 4.8 each

We're going to use the rules on Saturday along with my other house rules (some of which have already made it into the FAQ).  Others are:

1. Leads cannot be placed in the hero's district OR an adjacent one.
2. Favours are worth less points (not sure yet to use a plain half points, or make it so that you need 2 favours to get the points).
3. Ray's memory cards.  3 of these will be used in the game.  With 4 players, each other player gets one. With 3 players, the player to the right of Ray gets 2, the player to the left 1.  And with 5 - the player to the left of Ray does not get a card.
4. Broadcast station.  Along with the new rule in the FAQ, the broadcast station can only be used to take a puzzle piece from the lowest value pile.

I dont think any of the house rules break the game - they just address our perceived balance issues, and all in all I think they will make us enjoy it more.  Favours need nerfing as they are just worth too many points.  But also, in the 5 games I've played, hardly anyone used a special location (except for Broadcast Station).  Nobody ever took a Jinteki / Haas token, because it was always better to just keep the favours.

And the placing of leads.  I've only ever played with 3, so maybe this rule isnt needed with 4/5 players, but it was just a bit boring with people placing leads near themselves all the time and there was little interaction or squwabbling over leads, since heros were quite spread out.  So the whole mechanic of placing them was not that interesting because 90% of the time, you could place it near you and far enough away from everyone else that they wouldnt be bothered to get it anyway.


#4 Bleached Lizard

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 12:57 AM

IMO, I'd say that your first rule - the one of having a fourth conspiracy tile pile - is enough.  There's no real reason why the conspiracy puzzle needs to be "complete" by the end of the game.  Whichever links are created are created - if there are less in a game with fewer players then so be it.  Everyone benefits equally from whichever links are created, so it doesn't really make much difference.

That first rule is a good one.  The modifications for 3/5 players seem a bit forced an unneccessary.

But you're certainly right about the game having bad scalability issues. 

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