Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Glory To Rome: MIT Secret House Rule

Apparently the designers of the game endorsed a secret house variant which supposedly makes the game less cut-throat for beginners as well as attempts to balance out the craftsman and architect powers.

The changes are as follow:

1) PETITION becomes “Play two cards of same role as JACK” (i.e., the same as the current Circus function)
2) CIRCUS Function becomes “May play card of any role as JACK when leading or following ARCHITECT”

3) FORUM victory requires not just one of each client in clientele but also one of each material in stockpile

The change in the Forum victory condition is due to the ease of recruiting clients given that you now only need 2 rather than 3 of a kind to petition. While I don't see this as an issue for experienced players since they are particularly careful of leading/following Merchant or Patron roles without a Jack or through a petition, I do see the rationale behind it. 

The game plays just fine for me and I suspect the change in the petition rule may reduce the skill necessary to manage one's hand well. I do however like the change in the Circus function as the Craftsman is overpowered compared to the Architect for most of the game unless you build the right buildings.

I may try the variant once or twice with new players to see how it plays out but I suspect I'll probably stick to the standard rules for most games.

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