Re: [Unity_Games] Digest Number 101
- Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2000 21:38:44 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jonathan Yedidia <jsyedidia@...>
Subject: Aladdin's Dragon variant suggestion
At Botanic Gardens Gaming II tonight (Alison said she'd
write a session report, so I'll wait for it before I make
other comments about the session), Alison, David, Matthew,
Charles, and I played an interesting and intense, but
strange game of Aladdin's Dragon. There was much discussion
(especially by Alison, but of course she won anyways) of
how the game was broken when drastic magic spells are
played (like everybody must give up 7 treasures; or 1's and
9's switch values, but in fact a lot of the spells are
pretty powerful) which mess up your entire strategy. We
discussed possible rules variants like getting rid of some
magic spell cards or all of the magic spell cards, but I
have another suggestion for a variant, consisting of the
following two additional rules:
1. When you acquire a magic spell card, you leave it
exposed for all to see until you use it. Of course, when
you use it, it is discarded as usual.
2. You may not use a magic spell card until the round after
you acquire it.
I think this weakens the magic spells too much. Sure a spell can mess
up your "perfect plan", but I think that's a feature, not a bug; you always
have to keep something in reserve to deal with the unexpected. If you
have a fragile plan that you really want to make sure works, that's what
the spell-cancellation artifact is for! I like the fact that spells are
disruptive enough that the spell-cancellation artifact is comparable in
value to the other artifacts.
Spells have to be very powerful, or they wouldn't be worth acquiring in the
first place. Since casting a spell uses your artifact for the turn, they
have to be at least as powerful as doppelganging your 9, or flying a magic
carpet into a treasure room. Since in order to cast a decent spell, you
first have to acquire a good spell, this means you usually have to
get first in the spell-acquisition place, so the spell has to be worth
more than the cost for acquiring plus the opportunity cost of not using
a flying carpet or doubler. Add in the fact that your spell may get cancelled,
and unless the best spells are very powerful, they won't be worth the effort.
A spell that denies everyone else an artifact this round, while you get one,
may seem game-disrupting, but it's no more powerful than a use of a flying
carpet that lets you get one extra artifact.
I've played twice with 5 players, won both times, and never used spells
Which spells do you think are too powerful? You mentioned switching 1's and 9s,
but that is certainly less powerful than a (hypothetical) spell that removes
everyone else's 9's from the board. And that in turn is comparable to
giving you an extra 9. And that's almost what you get from the doubler,
which you are giving up to use the lamp. Lose 7 treasures would be unbalancing
if only your opponents lost them, but you lose them too. Others may miss
a planned artifact, you will have to be spending some time down
in the caves yourself after playing this one. I'd rather have Taboo! or
Trade than one of these "unbalancing" spells.
As to the worth of the camel, the beauty of the bidding system is that
it doesn't matter how much it's worth, the game still works. I don't think
it's worth much, and in the games I played, it rarely cost more than a 2
to acquire. But in a group where people think it's worth more, bids
will go higher.
The point is that the spell cards add a lot of flavor to
the game (and are the whole point of the lantern and
counter-spell artifacts), but it can be extremely
frustrating when something you could have no way of knowing
about destroys your plans.
But a doubler or flying carpet that wins a square you had counted on winning
can destroy your plans just as well. I like the fact that nothing is
certain, and you need to make a plan with some flexibility.