House Rules

Miniatures Battle Variant for Three Players: Down in Front

Most miniatures war games usually revolve around battles between two opposing forces. But what do you do when you have three interested players?

Here’s my suggestion for a game style based on an all-out free-for-all, but with scoring mechanics to encourage shifting targets and a back-and-forth battle.

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Channeling Land and Champions of Kamigawa

It’s almost that time again: time for the group I play with to spin up a mini league of Magic.

We could have gone with the new set, Scars of Mirrodin, but for various reasons chose Champions of Kamigawa instead. And we’re still planning to make use of the Channeling Land variant; in this post I’ll cover an area where Champions is not immediately compatible with Channeling Land, and explore ways the handful of exceptional cards can be adapted for the variant.

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Vegas Showdown Five-Player House Rule

Last night was my first opportunity to play Vegas Showdown with five players. With three or four players it’s a game I enjoy immensely, but adding a fifth player seemed to break it (despite the scale enhancements in the rules).

While we didn’t implement it quite in time to save last night’s game, here’s a simple house rule that I think will keep the game fun when playing with five.

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Dominion: Democratic Supply

Playing Dominion with a random supply can be fun sometimes, but inevitably requires slight editing of the random selection to ensure a range of prices and effect types. Here’s simple house rule inspired by that editing process that takes things a step further for more fun semi-random supply sets in Dominion.

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Netrunner: The Big Sell-Out

I just wanted to make a brief mention of excellent multiplayer rules for a game I have a special soft spot for: Netrunner.

The Big Sell-Out is a Netrunner variant for four (or more) players, pairing a runner with their corporate “sponsor” for cyber-hijinks in the vein of Magic’s Two-Headed Giant.

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Weekend Gaming Recap – 20100122

My group played Dominion: Intrigue, Kung-Fu Fighting, and Wreckage, and instead of an in-depth analysis or review I thought it might be fun to share a few quick thoughts on the experience with each game.

Plus a card set for Dominion: Intrigue.

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Dual-Queue Draft for Jyhad/V:tES Cards

VtES Dark Sovereigns booster box

Drafting can be a great way to enjoy CCGs. While booster drafts are popular, I’d like to put the spotlight on my favorite drafting format: The Queue Draft.

In this post I’ll explain how the queue draft works and what you need in order to enjoy drafting. Plus why I think it works especially well for one of my favorite CCGs, Jyhad (aka Vampire: the Eternal Struggle) – but keep in mind it can be used with just about any CCG!

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Magic: Channeling Land, Oona, and You

It’s been some time since I wrote the Channeling Land Magic variant. In my group we’ve been playing that flavor of Magic exclusively for several months now. There are just a couple of sticking points, which I’ll cover here and offer suggestions on how to smooth them over.

The Faerie Queen

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Thoughts on Stealth and Perception in Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition

I have always had a bit of a problem with perception in role playing games. One issue is the fact that, with so many players (five or six for most games I have run), one player will inevitably roll high and thus find whatever it is they are looking for, even if they have a low score in perception. The RAW for D&D 4th Edition tries to avoid some of this by using Passive Perception Checks.

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Risk Revisited Edition – More on House Rules and their Biggest Design Mistake

Our group has been playing the Risk Revised Board Game for the past few weeks and I wanted to do another post about about the game. I have done fairly well at winning this game so it may have skewed my opinions on but I do feel it is a solid game with solid rules.

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Review of Risk Revisited Edition

In case you missed it Hasbro has a new version of their classic Risk game. This game is being called a reinvention as it is not the same as Risk 2210, Lord of the Rings Risk, Godstorm or any of the other versions of the game but is instead a new version of classic Risk and is being distributed by Hasbro as a mass market game and not by Avalon Hill as several of the other versions have been.

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Ticket to Ride: Marklin Edition – Game Review

Before I get into the review I feel I should mention that I haven’t played any of the other versions of Ticket to Ride.  This review will reflect that and those who have played other versions of the game are welcome to comment on the differences, but as I only have second-hand accounts of the differences I will not be discussing them.

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Skill Challenges – Comparisons, Game Incorporation, and House Rules

I’ve spoken at some length already about my feelings toward skill challenges and in general those feelings have been rather positive. This article is meant as a wrap-up of all of the previous discussions and to be sort of my “final word” on the subject. In all likelihood I will mention them again but probably not at this length. I hope that this post will not end up being tragically rambling but then that is my writing style and I am trying to touch on several related topics so I’ll do my best but don’t count on it.

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MtG: Playing with Channeling Land

This all started when I mused about building Magic decks without land. Much discussion ensued. In the meantime, my group and I spent a little time playing with the variant; what follows is my account of how the variant plays, with a look at some of the ups and downs of employing this seemingly simple change to Magic: the Gathering.

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Fat-Free Magic: the Gathering – Without Lands (Channeling Land Variant)

Ever since Magic’s debut, there has been a built-in inefficiency to deck building and play caused by the requirement of including basic land.

This always irked me, and here I’ll look at why basic lands exist, then explore some house rules variants which remove them and evaluate the merit of each. Find out how Magic: the Gathering can be more fun with no lands!

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Iron Dragon House Rules: “Good” Events

Iron Dragon Board Game Box - Fantasy Rail Building Game

Iron Dragon by Mayfair Games is a board game I was introduced to years ago and haven’t forgotten its fun rail-building, drawing-with-crayons gameplay. Out of print for a little while, Mayfair seems to have solved that problem and recently I picked it up.

Overall the game is a lot of fun, though quite long. My group has tested a few house rules that reduce the playing time considerably, which I’ll also cover. However one facet of the game that stands out as “needs improvement” is the events.

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History of the World – Balance of Power Variant

The so-called Help the Little Guy Variant was essentially a building block for what I am now calling the Balance of Power Variant. I feel that this new Variant, which uses several of the same rules as the old one we tried, works fairly well to do the things we wanted it to do.

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Scion – Opening Gambit

Scion Demigod Cover

I am now reading Scion: Demigod to get a better idea of where the game should be heading. So far it seems like an interesting book although, as many people have already stated, the pre-made characters and adventure do take up a lot of room.

My group had our first Scion game this past Saturday and overall I feel it went fairly well. One of the players is new to our group but seems to fit in quite well and while first sessions are (at least for me) rife with distractions it seemed everyone had a good time.

So far only some small pieces of the story have unfolded. I won’t include any information the players don’t know here (and would also hope no one else would in the comments section) so that they may read this post if they so choose.

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History of the World House Rules – Help the Little Guy Variant

As I previously mentioned in my Games I Play post our group has some problems with History of the World and yet lately we’ve played it a lot.

One of our problems is that there is too much of a chance of a person in last ending up with the worst Empire because while they get to pick a card to either keep or pass, if they draw a bad one and pass it they often end up with whatever is left over in the end (and that left over Empire could easily be pretty horrible or even the worst of the bunch).

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Social Combat – Intrigued but Uncertain

I just wanted to make a quick post on some of my thoughts about Social Combat. I added a link to Social Combat rules under my Scion House Rules post. These rules have been modified from Exalted 2nd Edition for use with Scion and I have been thinking about this concept for a couple of days.

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Scion – House Rules

I have been trying to decide exactly what rules I want to change for Scion (it seems almost everyone feels that some rules need to be changed) so I have been tracking down places on the net that have information about different rules. I’m going to try to keep this post up to date and add the rules that our group ends up using. For now I am going to post the rules I plan to change and places that people can find information about what other groups have changed.

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Time for a Little Big Deck Magic

So what does one do when one is the only person in a group of friends that has magic cards but that person wishes to play some magic with his friends? Why that person makes up a way to play and then writes an article about it!

So you have probably at one time or another played some form of Big Deck Magic. There are so many variants out there these days that the term “Big Deck” has lost almost all meaning. The way we use to play was to have one deck in the middle, everyone draws seven cards, and then can play a spell as a basic land that produces the same color of mana as the spell.

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Wreckage Game Review and House Rules

Wreckage Board Game

Wreckage by Fantasy Flight Games takes place on post-apocalyptic Mad Max-style desert highways. The art and design of the cards and game pieces are superb, readily setting the stage for car combat mayhem despite the game’s threadbare story.

Playing the game with my group did not, however, unlock the fun that its impressive-looking components suggested. Rather it revealed another case of style over substance. Yet it feels like there is some potential within this game, unrealized by the rules, waiting to be released.

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