Posted by: gschloesser | July 1, 1970

Serenissima

Optional rules for this wonderful game of Mediterranean trade and combat from EuroGames.

One of the complaints with Serenissima voiced over the internet was that during the last turn of the game, players would send their galleys and sailors off for suicidal, desperate attacks against other players’ ports with no regard to the fate of their possessions.  This was due to the fact that no victory points were earned for galleys and/or sailors at the end of the game.  Therefore, on the last turn, any risk with them was acceptable since they had no value for victory point purposes.

Doug Adams of Melbourne, Australia suggested adding the following victory points at game’s end:

  • 1 point for each galley owned
  • 1 point per 10 sailors owned
  • 1 point for each fort

This would give some value to maintaining galleys and sailors and not frivolously sending them to a watery grave.  It would force players to better assess the value of attacking foreign ports or galleys versus the possible loss of their own galleys and/or sailors.  Further, it would get more forts into the game, which were sorely under-utilized in many of our games prior to the addition of this suggested variant.

Our group tried this variant and found it worked quite well.  However, there was some concern that the variant made spending money for galleys, forts and sailors a ‘no-brainer’.  Since every 500 florins equaled a victory point, then spending for these items would also equal a victory point.  Therefore, we have been using a variant wherein victory points at game’s end were awarded as follows:

  • 1 point for every 2 galleys owned
  • 1 point for every 2 forts owned
  • 1 point per 10 sailors owned.

This works even better and we recommend its incorporation into the game.

Another suggestion offered by Paul Evans was to incorporate a variable game end.  He suggests that in a four player game, at the end of turn 8, roll one die.  On a roll of 5 or 6, the game ends.  If it continues, roll again after turn 9.  The game would end on a roll of 3 – 6.  The game definitely ends following turn 10 regardless. 

This suggested option would also prevent players from taking reckless actions against their opponents on turn 8, as the game may not end.  An interesting idea, but we have not yet played with this option.

Finally, another variant which has been suggested (although we have not yet tried it) is to forbid a player from trading at his own ports.  This would force a player to send his ships further abroad and encourage other players to come to his ports.  Of course, this would also raise the possibilities of more conflict and attacks.  Sounds interesting.

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