Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Our Games, Modified for 7-8 Players


One key to happiness – GAMES

Our family group (ages 8-63) enjoys many different light-to-medium weight card and board games. We also enjoy keeping records of our games, noting winners and assigning points based on how each person finishes in the games. We have kept these records for the past six years, and we enjoy the competition created by those records. We only count games that at least all of the adults (6 of us) play together. We also count games that either or both our grandson and granddaughter play with all the adults.

We have several preferences for our games, including:
** individual, equal competition – no teams; no unbalanced arrangements, such as one person vs. the remainder of the group (Betrayal on the Hill); no cooperative games (Lord of the Rings)

** games that can be played in 90 minutes or less, normally (although some 120-minute games are acceptable)

** games that allow all of us (7 or 8 players) to play simultaneously; no dividing into smaller groups

** no wargames; no games involving violence as a theme; no realistic sports-themed games

** no party games or games that involve performances or voting on individuals

** no dexterity games

** no trivia, word, or general-knowledge games

We enjoy game mechanics such as tile-laying, connection-making, negotiating and trading, trick-taking, special set-collecting, limited action-point, or limited or no chaos and randomness, and games that provide more than one way to score or win, as well as the traditional one-way-to-score/win games. We prefer games with easy-to-learn rules and games that allow for conversation during the game (game-related or otherwise). We do not enjoy deep games that require a lot of analyses and constant concentration. Our games can include a limited amount of “gotchas,” but we prefer games that allow both offensive (helping yourself) and defensive (thwarting others) play, without direct vicious attacks on individual players. We do not play games that eliminate any players before the end of the game, except those in which players may finish and leave the game, with others finishing soon after (Around the World in 80 Days). There are other restrictions, but these are the primary ones.

Obviously, these preferences severely restrict the number of quality games we can purchase and enjoy. Fortunately, many games meet all or most of the criteria, except for the number of players for which they are designed. A large number of quality games designed for up to 5 or 6 players are available. Some of those games would be impossible or very difficult to modify to allow for 7-8 players, but some of them can be extended easily or with moderate effort, and a few require no modification at all.

With few exceptions, we use a single die roll by each player to determine the first player in our games, with tied players rolling to break the tie. We do not adjust our seating to match the die roll results. I add a die to each game box that does not already include one, just for this purpose.

Our granddaughter (the eighth player) enjoys only a few games, preferring to occupy her time in other ways, while the rest of us play games. However, we try to include her in at least one game each time we play. Therefore, only the games she likes need to accommodate 8 players, while the others need to allow for 7 players.

This article is a description of the games we have modified to allow 7 or 8 players to enjoy simultaneously. A few are listed that require no changes or that only need an additional player token. Others require some minor rule adjustments or a modified set-up, such as the amount of starting money or number of cards dealt. Finally, some games require some effort or minor expense to create additional player token sets or to copy, print, and cut additional game materials. They are presented in order of their current rating on BGG. The game modifications that have been tested by our group are noted as such.

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Settlers of Catan (designed for 3-6 players, with the 5-6 player expansion, extended for 7 players) – Tested - BGG: 7.68

Our grandson Joel at the end of a game of Settlers of Catan >>>>

This was one of the more complicated game modifications we have done. We considered purchasing a second copy of the 5-6 player expansion, selecting several tiles to add to the mapboard, but decided that the board would be too large to be manageable on our tables.

-- Rules Changes

We like the starting mechanic of placing the first settlements in order of players, and the second in the reverse order. The major difficulty was the fact that the mapboard fills up quickly, even with 6 players. In some 6-player games, we have reached a point where only a couple of players had places available for building more settlements, and most settlements had been upgraded to cities, so that everyone was buying Development Cards to acquire another Victory Point. Adding a seventh player would fill the board even more quickly and make it much more difficult for anyone to win. We decided to make some modifications to the rules, to accommodate the seventh player.

We lowered the winning score to 7 points. On the first round of placement, each player places a city and a road, rather than a settlement and a road. The reverse placement action does not involve placing additional settlements or cities. The seventh player (in the player order) has the option of placing a second road, drawing two Resource Cards of his choice, or drawing one Development Card. The sixth player may place a second road or draw any two Resource Cards. The fifth and fourth players draw two Resource Cards. The third and second players place a second road, and the starting player draws one Resource Card. Then, the starting player rolls the dice to begin his turn. This reverse set-up round emulates the pattern of advantages allowed the players in a regular game for 6 players.

-- Components Changes

I purchased wooden dome-shaped furniture screw-hole plugs the approximate size of the settlements and larger wooden cubes the approximate size of the cities, to create a seventh set. I found at a craft store small wooden sticks, two feet long, with the exact diameter of the wooden road tokens in the box. I cut 15 pieces the same length of the tokens in the box, and there was plenty of wood left to cut more, if needed. I left all the new tokens in their natural wood finish, to distinguish them from the other sets.

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Carcassonne (designed for 2-5 players, expanded for 6 players with the Inns and Cathedrals expansion, extended for 7 players) – BGG: 7.50

This is a family favorite, so we certainly need it to be playable by 7 players. We always play with the River, Inns & Cathedrals, and Traders & Builders expansions. We also play with the additional tiles from the King & Scout expansion, but not with the King and Robber Baron scoring rules. Fortunately, the extension was fairly simple.

-- Rules Changes

No rule changes are necessary for the additional player. However, we plan to try playing with each player starting with two tiles in his hand, replacing one at the end of his turn.

-- Components Changes

An additional set of player tokens is required. I added eight small natural-finish wooden cubes for the regular meeples (approximately the same height as the original tokens), one larger wooden cube for the larger meeple, and two dome-shaped wooden furniture screw-hole plugs for the pig and the builder tokens (marking one with a “P” and one with a “B” with a permanent marker).

My wife had already made a blue cloth draw-string bag for the tiles, larger than the original bag. This was handy, after adding the additional tiles from the expansions.

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Hunters and Gatherers (designed for 2-5 players, extended for 6-7 players) – BGG: 7.32

We enjoy Hunters & Gatherers about as much as Carcassonne. Although the games are, of course, very similar, there are enough scoring differences to make it a good variation. We always use some of the optional rules posted on BGG for the Aurochs. We had already extended the game for 6 players, using the gray meeples from Carcassonne, before we added a seventh player.

-- Rules Changes

No rule changes are necessary.

-- Components Changes

Our extension for 6 players uses six of the gray meeples from the Carcassonne Inns & Cathedrals expansion, and the pig and builder tokens for the two river huts. For the seventh player, we add six of the natural-finish wood tokens with which we expanded Carcassonne, and the two wood plugs for the pig and builder as the river huts. We may in the future add two complete additional player token sets to Hunters & Gatherers, so we don’t have to borrow them from Carcassonne, and so they would always be in the box. One of the additional sets would need to be painted a unique color.

Since my wife made a new tile-drawing bag for Carcassonne, we use the original Carcassonne bag for the smaller number of tiles in Hunters & Gatherers.

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For Sale (designed for 3-6 players, extended for 7-8 players) – BGG: 7.31

This is a very quickly-played game and is a great filler for our family group. The rulebook has modifications for 3 and 4 players, removing six cards from each deck for 3 players and two cards from each deck for 4 players. That makes it easy to modify the game for 7 and 8 players, using the same changes for 7 as for 4 and the same for 8 as for 3. The two decks have 30 cards in each. With 3 players, the decks have 24 cards in each, resulting in 8 rounds; with 4 players, 28 cards give 7 rounds; with 5 players, 30 cards give 6 rounds; with 6 players, 30 cards give 5 rounds; with 7 players, 28 cards give 4 rounds; and with 8 players, 24 cards give 3 rounds.

-- Rules Changes

The starting amount of money for each player has to be adjusted. For 7 players, give each eight $1,000 chips and one $2,000 chip; for 8 players, give each seven $1,000 chips and one $2,000 chip. This does not materially affect play, since there are fewer bidding rounds with more players. The bigger impact is the fact that bidding levels rise quickly, and players have to be more careful regarding their bids.

-- Components Changes

For 7 players, remove two Property Cards and two Check Cards. For 8 players, remove six Property Cards and six Check Cards. I have read some discussions about how to decide which cards to remove. Our method is to do it strictly by random selection – shuffle each deck and deal face-down the number to be removed. Place those cards face-down in the box. Not knowing which cards are missing from the deck inserts more chaos into the game. If you prefer a more calculable game, remove specific cards, such as the Void Check Cards.

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Bohnanza (designed for 2-7 players, extended for 8 players) – Tested – BGG: 7.21

Although this game was originally designed for up to 7 players, we have found that it plays just as well with 8 players. However, we do not agree that the special rules in the rulebook for 6-7 players are appropriate for 6 or more.

We have found that generally it is not practical to purchase a third bean field in games with 7 or 8 players, using our modified rules, because there is seldom sufficient time for the third field to replace its cost.

Each additional player adds significantly to the trading aspect of the game, because a larger variety of beans is available at all times (in more players’ hands), if the players are willing to trade them.

-- Rules Changes

We have found that Bohnanza plays well for 6, 7, or 8 players by using all the cards, dealing the same number of cards (five) initially to all players, having players draw three cards at their turn end, and still charging three gold for a third bean field. However, we have begun discussing the possibility of reducing the cost of a third field to two gold, as recommended in the rulebook. This might make the purchase of a third bean field practical with a larger number of players.

With the larger number of players, it is best to exhaust the draw deck only two times, rather than three. By the time the deck is emptied the second time, there is a limited number of cards left, because many have been removed for gold scoring.

-- Components Changes

No component changes are necessary for additional players.

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Alhambra (designed for 2-6 players, extended for 7 players) – BGG: 7.14

This is a very good game that we enjoy occasionally, so we wanted to be able to play it with 7 players.

-- Rules Changes

No rule changes are necessary.

-- Components Changes

I copied and printed a Lion’s Gate fountain tile and a player’s Reserve Board on matte photo-quality paper. I cut them to the correct size and used double-stick tape to fasten them to pieces of cardboard the same thickness as the pieces in the box. I purchased two wooden cubes the same size as the round Counters, leaving them a natural wood color to distinguish from the others.

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Coloretto (designed for 3-5 players, extended for 7 players) – BGG: 7.09

Fortunately, the additional cards needed for more players of Coloretto are not cards that have to be shuffled and drawn from the deck. Therefore, they do not have to be perfect matches to the original cards.

-- Rules Changes

We had made a rule change in Coloretto even before adding additional players. We did not feel it was fair to the first player to not have an option of taking a row or drawing a card on his initial turn. Therefore, we always turn up the first card from the draw deck and place it by a row card to begin each round. This gives the first player the same option as all other players on his first turn.

The only rule change for additional players is the number of cards placed below the Last Round marker card in the deck. There must be cards in the amount of three times the number of players available for play in the last round. For 6 players, 18 cards are below the marker; for 7 players, 21 cards are below the marker. There are 76 cards in the deck, so the game is much shorter (in rounds) with more players, which requires players to adjust their thinking when deciding whether to draw a card or pick up a row.

-- Components Changes

I copied, printed on heavy photo paper, and cut two additional Row Cards and two additional Scoring Summary Cards.

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Royal Turf (designed for 2-6 players, extended for 7-8 players) – Tested with 7 - BGG: 7.04

We like to play this game with hidden bets, so players cannot be absolutely certain who is betting the most (or not really placing a bet) on which horse.

-- Rules Changes

No rule changes were necessary.

-- Components Changes

I cut two sets of player tokens and betting chits from white and brown thin cardboard, the same thickness as those in the box. I numbered the betting chits appropriately with a marker, to match the other sets.

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Elfenland (designed for 2-6 players, extended for 7 players) – BGG: 6.82

This is a neat game that we have played only a few times. The modification for 7 players required several additional components.

-- Rules Changes

No rule changes are necessary.

-- Components Changes

One additional natural-finish set of player pieces is required: a token approximately the same size as the boot tokens in the box, and twenty one-half-inch dome-shaped wooden furniture screw-hole plugs.

An additional Obstacle tile and an additional Transportation Chart are needed. I copied, printed on photo quality paper, and cut them for the additional player. The Obstacle tile was fastened with double-stick tape to a square of thin cardboard the same size and thickness as the originals, to facilitate picking it up from the board.

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Hare & Tortoise (designed for 2-6 players; extended for 7 players) – BGG: 6.68

As with most race games, the board gets more crowded with more players, which sometimes decreases the length of the game.

-- Rules Changes

Each player begins the game with two Lettuce cards, rather than three.

-- Components Changes

I added one natural-finish wood disc, 1 inch in diameter, and the approximate thickness of the discs in the box.

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Take It Easy (designed for 1-8 players) – BGG: 6.54

We enjoy this game occasionally, and it requires no modification, since it is one of those rare games designed for up to 8 players that meets our game criteria.

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Around the World in 80 Days (designed for 3-6 players, extended for 7 players) – Tested – BGG: 6.53

This is one of my current favorite games, so I naturally wanted to extend it for 7 players.

-- Rules Changes

The game rulebook specifies starting each round with one more face-up Travel Card than there are players (except to use six cards for either 5 or 6 players), and the board is marked to accommodate up to six cards. Each of the cards is assigned a different benefit for the person choosing it, depending on where it is located by the board. When each player reaches the finish (London), the number of starting cards for the next round is reduced by one, so that there is always one more card than the number of active players (again, except with 6 players, six cards continue to be displayed for the remaining 5 players after the first one finishes). It appeared logical to add a seventh card to the lineup, for a 7-player game, reducing it to a six-card lineup only after two people reach London. The difficulty was in creating a logical benefit for the seventh card, without un-balancing the game play. We decided to turn face-up two cards (rather than one) in the seventh position, requiring the player who selects those cards to immediately discard one card from his hand (which may or may not be one of the two cards he just picked up). This modification worked well, and the game plays with the same “fun factor” with 7 players as with 6 players.

-- Components Changes

There are three different tokens for each player, in colors red, yellow, green, blue, and gray. I created a set in white. I purchased a round wooden game token at a craft store, which is approximately the same size as the original tokens, and I painted it white with craft water-color paint. I purchased a small wooden dome-shaped furniture screw-hole plug and painted it white, for the Time Marker. Finally, I cut a piece of white light-weight cardboard the same size as the other Betting Slips.

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Pick Picknic (designed for 2-6 players, extended for 7-8 players) – BGG: 6.53

This is a very quick filler game we play occasionally. The game easily accommodates more players, without any changes.

-- Rules Changes

No rule changes are necessary.

-- Components Changes

No component changes are necessary.

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Circus Flohcati (designed for 3-5 players, extended for 7-8 players) – Tested – BGG: 6.52

Circus Flohcati plays well for 3-5 players. Only one change is needed to make it play well for 6-8 players. Game play time is about the same for any number of players. Although there is more time required between any one player’s turns, the cards disappear more rapidly from the draw deck with more players involved, ending the game. With fewer players, a Gala is easier to achieve, which can end the game quicker, but that doesn’t always occur.

-- Rules Changes

Only one rule change is needed. When playing with 6, 7, or 8 players, a Gala (one card of each color in the player’s hand) is worth 15 points. The normal Gala score is 10 points, but it is much more difficult to acquire a Gala with additional players, before the draw deck runs out, ending the game (completing a Gala also ends the game). The 15-point gala is a better offset score for the three-card sets that other players probably will score (10 points for each set). Since the value of the cards-in-hand represents the player’s score, plus sets played before the end of the game, 15 points for a Gala make it worth attempting, sometimes. It is most difficult with eight players, but since each player receives fewer cards, normally, than when playing with fewer players, the 15-point value of the Gala is reasonably consistent with 6, 7, or 8 players.

We tested playing with a 20-point Gala, but that caused the player to exceed other scores significantly, when successful. We felt it un-balanced the scoring. At the same time, 10 points for a Gala did not sufficiently reward the difficulty of obtaining it in a 6, 7, or 8-player game. Hardly anyone attempted to build a Gala for only 10 points in those games.

One 7-player game ended with the creation of a Gala, with only one card remaining in the draw deck.

-- Components Changes

No component changes are necessary.

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Dragon’s Gold (designed for 3 to 6 players, extended for 7 players) – BGG: 6.35

This game is a lot of fun, but some of the original components bother us. The tiny treasure disks tend to roll around a lot and would be very easy to lose. We plan to create our own treasure pieces from small wooden cubes, painted the same colors as those in the box. The colors on the scoring summary cards are confusing to some extent – “gold” and “yellow” look almost exactly alike; blue and green are hardly distinguishable; and even the red and purple are very similar. The printer did not choose ink hues wisely. I have created new scoring summaries that are easier to understand. I know that this will not be important after a few games, but it is needed to teach the game to new players. I also downloaded from BGG the excellent score sheet created by Mikko Saari. I modified it for seven players and added our names in the columns.

-- Rules Changes

No rule changes are necessary.

-- Components Changes

I copied, printed and cut the Treasure Screens and printed them on light cardstock. I copied, printed, and cut one additional set of Adventurer Cards, printing them in black-and-white, to make them distinct from the original sets.

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Canyon (designed for 3-6 players, extended for 7 players) – BGG: 6.01

We had modified the rules for this game when playing with 6 players, as we didn’t care much for the rules included in the box. Also, we always use the optional box rule of skipping from turn 5 to turn 10, avoiding the deals of less than 4 cards per person (except for the 10th turn, which does have 3 cards).

-- Rules Changes

> Order of Canoe Movement
--- On first turn, canoes move in order of player turn (established randomly at start of game).
--- After first turn, canoe farthest down river moves first, followed by next in line, etc.
--- Canoes in tied position: canoe on farthest left side of river facing downstream moves first.

> Movement Before Rapids Area
--- Correct Bid: 4 spaces
--- Missed Bid by One: 2 spaces
--- Missed Bid by More Than One: 1 space (drifting with the current)

> Movement in Rapids Area
--- Correct Bid: 2 spaces
--- Missed Bid: Drift one space according to arrows

-- Components Changes

I added a dome-shaped wooden furniture screw-hole plug about the same diameter as the canoe tokens, leaving it the natural wood finish.

I copied, printed on photo quality paper, and cut an additional set of Tempo (bidding) cards, printing them in black-and-white for the seventh player.

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Station Master (designed for 2-6 players, extended for 7 players) – BGG: 5.86

This is a neat game that plays quickly, regardless of the number of players.

-- Rules Changes

No rule changes are necessary. Simply follow the original instruction of always having the same number of engines in play as there are players, until near the end of the game, when not enough are available.

-- Components Changes

I created one additional set of Passenger Tokens, using wooden disks approximately the same diameter as the plastic ones in the box, marking the bottom of each with the same numbers as on the other sets. In fact, we like the new tokens better than the originals, because they can be more easily picked up, due to the fact that they are much thicker. In the future, I may replace all the original tokens with painted wooden ones.

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Trumpet (designed for 2-6 players, extended for 7-8 players) – Tested – BGG: 5.84

This game is simple to modify for additional players. We have played it very successfully with 8 players, and I believe it would be possible to play with as many as 10 players, with one additional modification. Before we had 6, 7, or 8 players in our group who liked to play Trumpet, we made two modifications to make it a better game for any number. Those changes are explained below, but were not made specifically for 7-8 players.

The game time is about the same, regardless of the number of players. Although more players take more time for each hand, the increased number of tokens on the board involves more jumping, thus moving tokens quicker to the winning space.

-- Rules Changes

After all six trumps have been placed on the board, in the designated spaces numbered 1 through 6, the next player who lands on a Choose Trump space switches any two trumps. This is the key to winning the game, generally. However, the first six times players land on Choose Trump, they have fewer and fewer choices of top trump. The first one selects from the six trumps and places that color in the number 1 trump spot. The second one must select from the remaining five unplaced trumps, even if he prefers to keep the sixth color as the top trump. Each succeeding placement offers the person changing trump one less choice, and the sixth one has no choice, but must place the last remaining color as the top trump. This is not a good rule.

We allow every Choose Trump placement to be able to select the top trump color. The first player to choose a trump color may select from any of the six colors and place it in the number 1 trump spot. The next player to change trump may place one of the five remaining colors in the (higher) number 2 spot, or he may move up the color from the number 1 spot to the number 2 spot (keeping it as the high trump) and place another color on the vacated number 1 spot. The next player to change trump may select one of the four remaining colors as the high trump, or may move the color from either the number 1 or number 2 spot to the number 3 spot, placing one of the four unused colors in the vacated trump spot. This continues until all six colors have been placed, adding a new one each time, but allowing the player to always select the top trump color, which is the most important part of the action.

I believe even more players could be added, but it probably would be good to deal only six cards to each player, rather than seven, in those cases, since there are only 72 cards in the deck, and you always want to have some un-dealt cards for each hand.

-- Components Changes

The simple component change necessary when adding players is to add a unique (color or shape) player token for each additional person.

The component change we made to the board, following our first couple of games, is to mark out the last (sixth) Choose Trump space. We found it to be most unfair to allow a player to select trumps when his token was only two spaces from the finish line. Eliminating this trump change option allows trailing players a better opportunity to catch up with the leader. We simply drew an “X” across the space with a permanent marker. The space still is in play, but a player cannot change trumps when landing there. This change, combined with the rule change for placing the first six trumps, makes this game much more balanced, and it works as well for 7-8 players as for 2-6.

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** The following games are the exceptions to this list of game modifications – they have been extended for only 6 players. **
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Through the Desert (designed for 2-5 players, extended for 6 players) – Tested – BGG: 7.50

Through the Desert plays well for 2-5 players. One change allows a challenging game for 6 players, but several changes probably would be necessary to make it work for 7-8 players. We have not attempted to play with more than 6 players. The game plays at least as quickly with 6 players as with 5 players, because the game still ends when the last camel of any one color has been placed. It is more difficult to enclose high-value territory and to connect to as many oases, because of the additional two camels placed between your turns. In fact, players have to “think smaller” in a 6-player game. With five colors of camels, at least one player will not be able to have the largest caravan in any color, although two players might tie in a color and share the 10 points. This creates a more intense competition for largest caravans.

-- Rules Changes

No rules changes are necessary. Use the same rules for 6 players as for 5 players, including each player playing with four caravan leaders and the first two players being allowed to place only one camel on their first turn (after placing the caravan leaders). Also, as in the 5-player game, the first five caravan leaders placed must be with different colors of camels; the sixth player may play any of his camel colors on his first leader-placement turn.

-- Components Changes

The only change in components needed for a 6-player game is to have a sixth color of caravan leaders. The game box contains one extra caravan leader for each player, to be placed on the gray camels, to indicate which color each player is playing. We found it not to be necessary to use the gray camels, since each person in our group always played with the same color leaders. We used the extra caravan leaders to create a sixth group. A black permanent marker converted that set into a black set, clearly distinguishable from the other colors. If it is necessary to have a designator for which player is using which set of caravan leaders, I suggest adding some type of color marker (stone, painted block, card with the color name, etc.) to the box, one for each color of caravan leader.

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Marco Polo Expedition (designed for 2-5 players, extended for 6 players) – BGG: 5.97

Having more players in the game complicates your timing of when to leap over other caravans and when to hold up and accumulate cards.

-- Rules Changes

No rule changes are necessary

-- Components Changes

I added one medium-sized wooden game token, about the same size as the camels in the box.

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Future Considerations

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We do have some other fun games in our collection, none of which are designed for 7 players, but which we enjoy playing with the number for which they were designed. Some might be extendable, but not all of them, I believe.

I suspect that Princes of Florence is designed so ideally for five players that it would not be a good idea to try to extend it, even for six players. – BGG: 8.02

I have plans to add a sixth player to Ticket to Ride. An additional set of “trains” could be created from square wood sticks cut to the proper length and left a natural-finish color. I believe some rule changes would be necessary regarding how the game ends (how many trains are left, or beginning with fewer than the normal number of trains, which would probably change the game strategy). – BGG: 7.60

I believe Hacienda would not work well with more players, and it would be extremely difficult to extend it. – BGG: 7.13

Oasis is a game we enjoy from time to time, but the board already gets very crowded before the game ends. I do not think it would work well to expand the number of players for this game. – BGG: 6.80

Cartagena hardly plays well with more than four players. However, I think a second set of boards could be added, and it might be good with six players, using fewer tokens, each. – BGG: 6.75

Hoity Toity could be extended by creating an additional set of player cards, which would not be difficult. We have not yet played the game enough to decide whether we like it well enough to modify it, though. – BGG: 6.65

Australia could be extended with some additional tokens, but I’m not sure it would play well with more than five players. – BGG: 6.54

Mississippi Queen works fine for five players. I understand the Black Rose expansion adds an additional player, but we have not purchased it. We may do so sometime in the future, if I can find a copy of it. – BGG: 6.42

Finally, Tongiaki is chaotic enough with six players; I cannot imagine adding more players. – BGG: 6.20

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It is challenging to modify many games for 7 or 8 players, and I expect to continue facing that challenge in the future, as we acquire new games for the family group. The difficult part is making an educated guess about whether a game can be extended, before purchasing it.

---- Gerald; near Denver, Colorado
aka: gamesgrandpa -- a grandpa who is a mile high on gaming

9 comments:

Fellonmyhead said...

What an excellent article. The limit on the number of players a game will accommodate has often been an issue in our group and your article is timely as the group I mainly play with has risen to seven in number.

In the past I have modified some games myself to allow playing with more than the norm; the two that spring to mind are Puerto Rico extended for six players and Kramer's Tycoon upped to five. The problem was the more finicky players turned up their noses because the increase in numbers often changes the way the game is played and/or behaves.

Me, I loved it! If you're interested in the variant we used for six players in PR it involved using the Governor as an extra role as suggested here. I have since developed a better variation on this but it remains untested.

For Tycoon I simply added an extra set of pieces; I discussed that here.

Yehuda said...

Fabulous article.

Yehuda

Ian said...

Trans America/Europa get the 7 player treatment as a filler when we are waiting for more people to turn up. Just use any two things as start and scoring markers and deal out all 35 cards.

More recently Diamant (plays upto 8) is taking over that role.

I recently bought Oriente (plays 4-12) to fit in that 6-8 player gap, but have only played once so far (with 7 players).

Gerald McD said...

fellonmyhead -- I wondered whether there were other groups with 7 players (or more) who enjoyed playing a game simultaneously. Thanks for the info on PR and Tycoon. Those are not games in our collection at this time, but might be in the future, with the knowledge that they can be extended.

yehuda -- Thanks!

ian -- Diamant and TransAmerica are on my "want" list, and I am glad to read your comments. I had not heard about Oriente. I just looked it up on BGG and am not certain it would appeal to our family, but I will keep it in mind, since it would not need to be modified.

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After writing this article, we did play a game of Trumpet with 9 players, and it worked fine for us.

Dr. Matt J. Carlson said...

Some interesting ideas.

I was unaware that Settlers as a 7/8 player game was a user modification. When the Mayfair editions first came out they were in two different color sets, what I thought was for creating mega-settlers games. However, when using two complete sets of tiles you still often have one player hemmed in an unable to do anything with 8 players. 7 players is still OK. (The same thing happens in 6-player settlers regularly. Thus I highly prefer 5 player or 7 player settlers for the space.)

I've played For Sale with up to 8 players as well. Great game for lots of people.

Bohnanza is another good game that does just fine with "messing" with it. I'm always taking out different beans to make the game shorter or choosing to go through the decks only two instead of three times. (Although the third time is often so short it really doesn't matter much.)

Your ideas for 80 Days were intriguing.

Gerald McD said...

I'm finding it interesting that other people have made game modifications to accommodate 7-8 players. I have not seen many articles or discussions about this topic, so I appreciate your comments.

I have just acquired 6 new games and am studying them for extension possibilities. If you are interested, I'll eventually post comments about them on my Games Gist blog at www.timefound4games.blogspot.com.

Thanks for all your comments.

Anonymous said...

While I like your solution to the problem of having pieces for the additional Settlers player, there is a somewhat easier solution. Mayfair Games sells sets of unpainted Settlers pieces for not too terribly much. We picked up a few of these after we saw a friends custom painted set. We wanted our set to have purple and yellow pieces.

Fraser said...

Wow - a lot of thought and effort has gone into adjusting those games for extra players Gerald. Well done.

Definitely get yourself a copy of Diamant!

With Ticket to Ride, I know that Ticket to Ride - Märklin Edition has some different coloured sets of trains that the original, I don't remember if the same is true for Ticket to Ride - Europe though.

Gerald McD said...

"anonymous" and Fraser -- Thanks much for the suggestions. I will check those out. Today, thanks to a "heads-up" note from Mary, I purchased 100 assorted meeples from meeplepeople.com. I'm sure I will use them for a variety of games.