Home > house rules, session report, variant > Leonardo da Vinci — update

Leonardo da Vinci — update

October 27, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Well, S and I went through the rules, made sure we were playing correctly, and gave it another go today. Being more familiar with the game helped a bit, and things seemed to flow more smoothly.

The game still felt awfully short, however, and I began to think: with four players, inventions would be completed and cards would turn over more frequently. You’d get through more of the deck, in other words, and things like the ability to snoop and reorder the next four cards would be much less powerful (especially toward the end of the game).

It was time, we decided, for a couple house rules. I know some people are allergic to house rules, but I’ve never had a problem with them — after all, I am a game designer…. Ó¿Ò

The first thing we did was make it so you could snoop the next four cards in the deck, but you couldn’t reorder them. What we had been running into was the crushing, overwhelming importance of reordering the upcoming cards to your liking, then having to guard this new order with sufficient meeples. Eliminating the ability to reorder the cards made snooping an attractive option, but not an essential one.

Then, while we were at it, we decided we could move the game along a little faster by allowing players to add mechanical men to working labs.

Why stop there?

In order to lengthen the game a little and allow for the completion of a couple more inventions, we decided to make turns 8 and 9 function like any other turn. New inventions would continue to be flipped up as old inventions were completed, and what’s more (I’m not sure I like this, but this is what we tried), any newly-requested inventions (ones that were just flipped up) that someone had already completed were resolved immediately. Theoretically, then, the completion of one invention could trigger a domino effect, with up to three more inventions in a two-player game being completed that same turn.

And finally, in one last burst of house-rule insanity, we decided to allow work on new inventions to be started at any time during your turn. This doesn’t make too much difference in most cases, but it does matter if you have one or two mechanical men in a free lab. With this rule, you can acquire the necessary resources, start work on an invention, and get a couple good weeks of work in before the end of the round.

Some of this I’m not sure of, as it may remove too many of the game’s restrictions, but I think for two players it needs to be opened up a little. Time (and repeated plays) will tell if we’ve overdone it.

In general, though, I like my games to have a more wide-open feel. I like to tell my friends that while I recognize the need for controls in the real world, in the gaming world I’m a died-in-the-wool free market capitalist. Put as few restrictions on players’ actions as possible, and see what behaviors emerge.  =^..^=

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