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HirumaShigure

A proposed variant I really appreciate

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4. ‎Draw the private objectives after you are done placing the initial set of control markers. This way, you can avoid the situation of having achieved half or more of the private objective as part of the initial set up.

-Credit to LittleBlueCubes on BoardGameGeek.

Also, I'm half tempted to buy a second set in order to get duplicate secret objectives (as well as extra scout and shugenja cards, for 7 player variants, and a spare board) so that multiple people could have THE SAME secret objective. Now wouldn't that make for some viscous conflict!?

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True, that's why it's a half temptation. Mostly, if this game seems to find its way to the table and lot, which seems to be the case this far, I'll wear the board out. I'm hoping for a roll up play mat style board on the horizon though. Thought that was the coolest in Onitama and Marvel Legendary: Villains. Just played a couple hours of Doctor Who: Time of the Daleks, and for some reason really wanting to mindlessly plunk some tokens down now! 

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I played with receiving secret objectives after placing initial control markers tonight. I can't see myself playing any other way from now on. It feels more thematic and really gives you something to work for throughout the course of the game. It came down to my last round to secure my secret objective. Totally made it worth waging many viscous battles to secure it (the Scorpion Clan capital). In addition, the objectives were just dealt randomly, not chosen out of 2 being dealt to each player. This 2nd aspect may have swayed thing from being too easy to too hard but I don't recall anyone complaining about it. I highly recommend at least the secret objectives being chosen after initial control token placement if nothing else. 

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I really don't understand what people dislike so much about the secret objectives. Sure, you can secure them during setup. You can also lose them on the very first round. In the last game I played, the person in second (by two points) accomplished their objective on the second or third round. They only lost because of a bad guess at the strength of a defending army (basically a 50/50 chance). 

This variant adds even more luck to them as the person who gets randomly dealt an objective they've already claimed will get the advantage while others have to fight across the map. At least the rules as written give everyone a chance to set themselves up for the points. 

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Adds luck yes. But adds purpose to your 5 rounds as well. Now instead of securing your objective during setup and often waiting for a diplomacy token to lock it in you have a mission to carry out that will likely guide your actions for the remainder of the game rather than trying to defensively hold your initial setup. 

Of course there are always plays that will cause a failed secret objective despite being able to achieve it during setup: raid tokens, Shadowlands cards, Cultural Exchange (Unicorn territory card), etc.

Once you play the game a lot little variants, no matter how minor, will help keep things fresh and new. When you go back to playing by the original rules any hurdles you had put in place for yourself will likely have made you a better player. As I've said previously or elsewhere, my group tweaks little rules almost every time we play and I usually try to share what these games added to our experience and report what sort of impact it had on our enjoyment of the game. 

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Also of note, I don't dislike the secret objectives at all. Definitely adds more depth to the game. I haven't personally found that winning your secret objective ensures that you will always win the game. Sometimes I will ignore them if it's too costly to achieve if grabbing up more territories is the better alternative. 

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