While playing my Session this weekend I had a house guest who wished to get in on our RotR play session. This added a 7th player to our game for the evening. I decided to just run the game with the standard 8 locations and 30 blessings in the count down deck. This seemed to work in a tolerable manner but it came down to turn 30 in scenario one, turn 27 in the second scenario and the third scenario ended on 28. That seems pretty common from the other listings on the board here for a scenario with a high player count, but these still seemed to be very close calls from the other player's perspectives and I agree with them.
My concern is that it did not follow the Players +2 location guideline from the standard play. I think that a 9th location should have been added with it's own 10 card location deck and another henchman. This then leads me to believe that successfully completing the game in the normal timeline of 30 turns would prove unmanageable without extreme levels of luck.
So I am looking for feed back on the purposed changes for such sessions that I have laid out below. If there is another thread out there for this line of thought please point me there as I wasn't able to locate one.
- Additional Locations -
To add a Location for the new player select the last location from the the Scenario prior then if another player is added take the first location from the following Scenario.
Do this for each additional player that is added to the game. I suggest to continue to stagger the locations if possible, taking location 8 from the previous then location 1 from the following, then 7 then 2 until the location total has been met.
DO NOT use locations from outside the adventure path. If you are in the First Scenario of the adventure you must choose the First location of the second Scenario and if you are in the Last Scenario you must choose the last of the previous Scenario.
The location deck would be built using all of the normal rules. The Henchmen card would need to be a proxy of some sort. I would suggest using a henchman card from another scenario, with it using all of the rules from the current henchmen in the scenario. This will maintain the Color indication system and remove the possibility of confusing the "proxy" with a standard boon/bane card. This proxy would then be mixed into the normal villain/henchman pile and added to the location decks.
- Increasing the Blessing Turn Order (needs the most work) -
The current Turns to players ratio is hard to replicate and maintain the notion of a successful game. The Players:Turns:cards 1:30:30, 2:15:40, 3:10:50, 4:7.5:60, 5:6:70 and 6:5:80 works very well, but breaks down going forward. 7:4.25:90 and 8:3.75:100 makes for a too tight turn limit for the additional cards added for the locations.
So I am suggesting that the Blessings deck be increased to maintain a full 5 Turn Limit for all Players. Essentially adding 5 Blessings to the Blessings Deck per additional player beyond the 6th.
Yes I know that adding 10 location cards and 5 turns per player seems like too many turns, but with the standard variance of the location decks it is likely that this will keep the players down to the wire on most scenarios. I was toying with the idea for allowing for more turns with a calculation like Players-2 in turns, so 8 players would have 6 turns for 100 location cards and 9 would have 7 for 110, but that seems to add too much positive variance to balance out the negative variance of the addition location decks.
- All other rules -
This system specifically avoids messing with player decks and available boon cards. The adventure paths as we have played them so far seem very well balanced within their own adventure sets. I do not feel that modifying the player's power level due to additional players, up or down, is unnecessary.
The adding new players in ongoing games rules would still apply for any character deck creation.
Option 2: Getting another box and running a 3-player table and a 4-player table. The game isn't really meant to go above 6, and you'll run into quite a lot of issues. The blessings deck is fixed at 30 cards because as you get more players, there is more synergy between them allowing for much more effective turns. If your games are running up until the last turn or two, that's a good thing -- it means the pacing is right to offer some tension in the game. Winning should never be a foregone conclusion, but should only come after good, strategic play (and even then the dice gods may not smile upon you). Furthermore you'll have issues with card shortages by building a 7th character deck, particularly in the blessings department should you start adding turns to the blessings deck.
Option 3: running a different game that accommodates 7+ players.
That said, if you're gung-ho about this, feel free to disregard my snark and do what you want -- it's your game after all. If you do, please post the results of your 7+ sessions so that other people with the same question can see how such games actually work in practice. I'm going to flag this to be moved into the Homebrew forum since it's really about extra rules/house rules rather than a discussion about the existing rules.
I'm kind of surprised that it was that close. Though, was that other person not an experienced player? You basically had more resources (1 extra player) but the same amount of total turns and cards in the scenario. That would mean both spreading out damage and having more on hand to boost checks.
I've not really got any suggestions for, unfortunately. The one group I play (with Calthaer) is actually 7 players now, but all 7 never actually show up. There is an 8th guy that used to play but took a break due to an extended trip to Florida to work with NASA. And there are others that we've talked about inviting to join. I think there is a possibility that we'll end up running multiple boxes soon and switching to organized play format so we can accommodate the larger number of people. We've talked about it. We are a bit behind (still in S&S with that group) and so right now we can both have our S&S built for that group in case all 7 do show up. We'll just split up into 4 & 3.
One thing to remember is that the more players you have the more locations you can temporarily close at once. So as the number of explores you need is almost constant for any number of players, the only difference is that after closing two locations you take longer (on average) to find the villain at all. And of course this taking longer to find it is offset by having another 10 resources to consume in the form of player's cards. That's why the blessings deck size remains constant from 1-6, and it should continue the same way to 7+. For the extra location, I'd suggest picking a thematic one over just taking one from the next adventure.
That said I agree with the others that 4+3 will be a better experience. You could even play at the same time with the same box. Sit either side of the table, with the locations in the middle and a location deck for each group on either side. You'd have to proxy the villain (and sometimes a henchman), but it's easy to do, you just leave the real villain on the table so you can read the text, then shuffle in any villains you like as place markers. Only thing you might run out of is blessings in the box building two 30-card decks, but you could for instance build two 20 card decks then when you run out re-use 10 cards from the other deck's discard pile.
I'm about to start a game that will have 7 players. I was wondering if you had any more feedback for me about playing with more than 6. I'm tempted to just add the extra location and see how it goes but I thought I'd ask first. (It's everyone's first time and 4+3 isn't going to go over well I think, plus then I'll have two games to manage also.)
Well, my twin, I'll offer my experience with the game I have with six players, two of whom are relatively new.
With six players, everyone gets only five turns. Those of us who've played other adventure paths in a group of four and even five, feel it dragging (not every character is designed to help others, so those characters, off-turn, frequently have nothing to do). Newer players will take extra time to complete their turns -- after all everything takes some time, even reading and digesting whatever card just came up. Gameplay goes a lot faster with familiarity.
My advice? Play with the six newbies as a starter game, and don't take a character yourself. Let them go at it, and you can manage the game from "afar". That way if someone decides they really don't want to take on a second scenario, you don't have the seven-player problem, and you can jump back in easily. If not, then you can become the seventh player and implement any house rules you need to make that work, and everyone's going in aware of what the pace of the game will be like.
Also, the starter game will give everyone the chance to "try on" a character. If anyone wants to switch, or if you discover your selection of characters is massively unbalanced ("Wait, none of us is Arcane?"), there'll be the perfect opportunity to make changes, and with a scenario they've already seen and played.
We ran a couple of games with 7 players and with the standard number of locations and blessing deck it was okay. Our only concern was it caused players to have very limited turns. When we played it on a lower level the game was screeching to a halt and was rather boring for everyone. At higher levels it was a lot better because of the number of powers.
We tried playing it with additional locations and 5 additional blessings, the additional locations we added was a homebrew "Generic Dungeon", which had 1 Weapon, 1 Blessing, 1 Armor, 1 Item, 1 Spell, 1 Ally, 1 Barrier, 2 Monsters, 1 Henchman/Villain which had the closing condition of "Draw a random monster from the box and defeat it".