Cadwallon has become my friends' and my favorite game, and I wanted to share three house rules that we've found help game play. I would also like to hear house rule ideas from other posters, and any official explanations and rationales from FFG about these rule changes.
Rule 1: Dropping Treasure
When you are forced to drop treasure because your character has accumulated more than three, drop them right there on that space. If your character is in a room, place it in the room, even if there is another treasure there. Any treasures in that room will still have to be picked or bashed open. Being a thief, your character won't be building a chest to tuck something he's dropped into. He/She will however be a crafty, looting expert enough to quickly stash the treasure.
Therefore, the lock picking roll another character will have to do in that room to find that dropped treasure reflects the time taken to search the room for the treasure (or the time to ransack the whole room, emptying shelves and breaking bedboards, if you spend two action points to "bash open.")
If you are in the street, such as when you rob someone of treasure and they run away whupped, again let the treasure you decide to drop just sit there, in the space. It can be picked up without using an action by any character carrying less than three treasures., as it is just lying in the gutter. Or, as we play, picking it up counts as one movement space (so if you move into the space with a treasure as your fourth space, you will have to wait till your next turn to scoop up the glittering bauble, but you will be close enough to it to have to be fought for it by anyone else trying to come take it.)
REASON: Dropping excess treasure tokens in "any empty room on the board," is completely unrealistic and jerks you out of the game like the shadow of a camera in a romantic candlelit dinner scene jerks you out of a movie. I have no problems with the entry-level mechanics of games like this, nor with the fact that all the stats are the same on every gangmembers' cards, as I assume it lends ease to incorporation of the incarnates' abilities and future expansions this game so sorely deserves. Contrary to some complexity addicts, these games are great, and not meant to be six-hour number-crunching dork-a-thons like some of my more strategic and quite frankly less frequently played games. But it's rules like this that make even Tom Vassel call this game "fluffistic." Dropping treasures where you must enhances the realism of the game, reflects the choice between treasures a heavily laden thief must make in a heartbeat, and allows for madcap runs for dropped trinkets in the street.
Rule 2: Letting Gang Members Pass
We do not play with the rule that you cannot let gang members pass. It is just too dumb. I agree with another forum poster that one can imagine that these thieves would not want to be too close to each other for too long, drawing more attention to their antics, so not ending in each others' spaces makes sense. Having personally done many of these kinds of night, um, "runs" in my youth, I can tell you thieves are a bit competitive too, coveting bragging rights after the heist. But whether lightly vandalizing or running boxes of beer whence another underage comrade has dropped them out the grocery store garbage chute into fenced dumpsters, I can tell you it is necessary to let your team members pass near you, silently, many times in the night.
REASON: This rule is unrealistic and makes the game feel like you're playing a dressed-up version of Sorry. Do I really have to give a reason for this one?
Rule 3: Sudden Niggling injury
You can wait until the player has activated a character and decided to move him/her whither his/her movement ends, and THEN play the card, subtracting from the character two spaces already moved (so that if he/she moved only three spaces, he/she moves back two and effectively has only moved one space that turn.) This isn't
REASON: The playing term on this card ("during an opponent's movement") is crazy vague. We forwent the generally fruitless dip into the web for a nonexistent FAQ, and decided to not yet again interrupt play for a scanning of non-FFG sites, which always seems insultingly unnecessary. After saying conducting a group prayer for FFG to do a full reprint soon (preferably with a more responsible printer that could bring customers playable pieces, instead of literally and ironically thieving from us the price we've paid for what we expect to be a complete and playable game), we decided to figure out the logic between us and came up with this mechanic after thorough discussion. This is the power of house ruling, and I beg your thoughts.
REAL REASON: I want FFG to weigh in here and explain to us how this card works, as it is difficult to believe one should be able to assume premonitions of where a player will move a character, but it's hard to assume we're expected to have the card ready as soon as the player activates a character but before initiating movement, and yell out "Niggling Injury!" which comes out offensively to some of my friends when you say it slurred together too quickly. Here's a form of gameplay I suggest to make this and possibly other aspects of the game easier to sort:
Activate a character by placing an action point token on that character's card and announcing whether he/she will now move or act. At this point it becomes clear what character is about to do something. It also keeps spending of action points easy to track.
As for clarifications, the Double Locked arcana card isn't clear as to whether it applies to bashing open chests. It says when an opponent "opens" a chest—which implies opening it by any means, including bashing it open—you can play this card to double lock it, at which point the opponent has to re-roll—which implies s/he rolled to pick the lock in the first place. If the card only applies to lockpicking attempts, the card reprint should say "When an opponent successfully picks a lock..." In most the games I've played, this stupid oversight has caused a minor argument. There are several other clarifications posted elsewhere in this forum that I agree need to be officially addressed, and preferably in the reprint of this gorgeous game, not on BoardGameGeek for chrissakes.
Fellow Forum Folk, along with your playtested house rules, please post or re-post here any rules clarifications for official FFG consideration. The two often go together Please make sure you've really looked through the rulebook for an answer to them first.
I entered this forum and even started an account at this site because I love this game so much. I have no such accounts at any other website of any kind. I've avoided FFG games for ten years because of their well-earned reputation for poorly written rules and careless editing (or is it playtesting?) I even avoided getting their reprint of my favorite game in the world, Cosmic Encounter, even after everyone said FFG has done this game more justice than anyone else. Cadwallon changed my mind in five minutes. It's the perfect wedding of Dungeon, Clue, and several other games I loved as an adolescent, with the flavor and depth of an RPG world, minus the complexity. It's easy to teach even to novice game players, fast-moving, beautifully illustrated (though I hear even the pre-ordered miniatures leave much to be desired), highly interactive even during other players' turns (which is my litmus test), foresee-ably easily expandable, and fun as f-ck. I hope this game becomes a classic, so let's help push it that way.
Your Fellow Cadwë,