Friday, September 5, 2008

More Noblemen thoughts. Can you have too many?

I recently audited (Watched) a live 4 player game of Noblemen. I am pretty pleased with it although there were a handful of exceptions.

The rules they played were mostly what I played solo here:

I am pleased with how balanced the game is scoring-wise. Even though players took different tracks and sometimes switched tracks in mid-game 3 of the 4 scores ended up almost identical. The game ended with two players at 75 points, one at 74, and one at 66. The 66 player played a bribe strategy mostly. He never took the queen and for most of the game did poorly in the Balls.

Right off the bat we had some awkwardness with Scott and Andy not sure how to get more land. I believe they did not receive any more woods than the default two. After the game we discussed this and I believe this can be fixed by simply changing the initial lands a player gets. The problem is players that do not start with 4 woods are at a disadvantage. Scotts idea was that players can just put back some of their lands and draw new ones once at the start of the game.

The bag ran out of lands! Even though Tim seemed to be fine with this I was not. I added one rule at the start of this game that players could draw 3 lands as their action whenever they wanted. They only did this twice I believe. I will need to review the game log and figure out how many lands I need for a 5 player game. I will have to have a rule about the bag running out just in case.

Tim ran out of actions. Tim was also fine with this. He is an easy to please guy! To solve this I, unfortunately, think I need an action were players can take 1 VP if they don’t want to or can’t do anything else. This seems like a crutch to a bad design but in my defense other games do this too. I also don’t like it being one of the actions increasing the number of actions to 10.

Should the prestige track cap? During the last Ball Andy was ready to take the Duke from Scott with his hidden but trackable 12 bribe chits. But since Scott had the crown Scott pegged the track and stayed Duke. After giving this some thought I think that I could solve this by making the prestige track double in length and go to 36. Scott still would have been Duke because he had 22 prestige. So I am not sure if any change is needed.

Do players need the guaranteed turn at the end before a scoring round? To solve Andy’s inconsistency problem I could just describe a Scoring round as “At the beginning of a scoring round all players take one more turn then …”

I really like 9 turns per decade (before subtracting for the queen moving) and since everyone gets 1 turn at the end I have to start the decade marker on 2. If players didn’t need the guaranteed turn then I could start the marker on 1 which is a bit cleaner.

I think players do need this turn. You have a plan to do two things but then because of events the Ball is here and you didn’t even get one turn. That sucks.

I am not sure I liked the displaced castles from new palaces filling in the Castle queue. I t never seemed urgent to buy a castle or they might run out. Castles were always there.

The final thought is that its clear to me that I have not achieved the $1 = 1 land = 1 prestige = 1 VP. Its close. but its more like this 1 presitge > 1 land > $1 = 1 VP.

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