House Rules

Have you ever had one of those weeks where disparate elements just seem to converge? Well, that’s what’s happened to me, and I feel newly liberated when it comes to making house rules.

Perspective is everything, right?

Being a Publisher has given me a broader perspective on things I thought I knew, as well as opened my eyes to things I never knew before.

One of the things that had radically shifted for me is the gospel truth of the rule book, so much that last week I told you about variations on our very own Pocket Ops. I used to be a very ‘by the book’ player. If the rule book said to do it, that’s how I played, up to the point of brokenness.

But my shift in perspective and the recent fan engagement has altered my view. To that end, I wanted to share some game changes of my own, something I never would have done before.

Recent examples

Some of my own house rules:

Coconuts–The rules say to play until someone has 6 cups. Well, if your aim is as bad as mine is, that could take a looong time. So, we set a 30 minute timer, and when it goes off we finish the round. Most cups wins.

Piratas–There are a set of cards called Ghost Pirates that go onto your ship and never come off. When I played the game, those cards really stifled our fun, so midgame we just said “Goodbye Ghost Pirates!” They’ll not come out again.

Unreal Estate–Yes, I have house ruled my own game! When I play with 4 or 5 players, I’ll increase the Proposal Board to 6 or 7 cards, and I’ll play through the deck twice. This leads to more cards in the Scrap, higher scores, and a longer–but not too long–and more satisfying game.

While we as Publishers have a specific intent when we put out a game, if a fan finds a way to have their version of fun, who are we to say no? And if you’re having fun and getting those games to the table, all the better!

Do you have house rules for any games? Share them with us in the comments!

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Playing D&D made me comfortable with house rules, though I still had a period where I had to realize that they could be applied to other tabletop games to the benefit of each particular group you’re playing games with.
    One game in particular that, (imo), demands house rules is Flick ’em Up Dead of Winter. Super fun game, but definitely requires some skirting of rules to make it feel satisfying.

  2. Mark, you make a very interesting point, and I can’t believe I didn’t make a connection between my days GMing D&D–I did it for 8 years!–and house ruling board games. Isn’t it funny that as an RPGer I was constantly making things work on the fly, yet with board games I’ve wanted to be such a stickler!

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