Sunday, May 1, 2011

Death Mesa: New "Patch" 1.01

On the day I released the POD version of Death Mesa, I mentioned I would be updating some of the rules. I wanted to get these updates in before the first 11 people got their copies of Death Mesa. These changes have come from playtesting it with friends. I am hoping as more people play Death Mesa that they will file some new complaints that I can try to address and tweek in the rules book. Just leave a comment or e-mail me to give your complaint. I will try to create a support forum for Death Mesa soon.

As for the changes to Death Mesa, some of them are optional. If you find that a certain rule is problematic for you, I encourage you to try the alternative and see if it improves thing. As the playtesting sorts things out, I will suggest a new general rule for that. Anyway, on with the "patch" (download the new Guidebook; NOTE: this link has the update up to Patch 1.03):
  1. Reintroducing Vulture Sam: I don't like removing characters from a game just so that an expansion can work. Vulture Sam originally had been removed so that when characters were eliminated they would retain "buried goods" that could be handed off to the living. I found a new solution to keep Vulture Sam in the game when Death Mesa is being used. Vulture Sam picks all of the cards from the eliminated player like usual, but then the eliminated player draws the same amount of cards from the draw pile as the amount of cards the Vulture Sam picked up to constitute his buried goods. Thus, if Vulture Sam picked up 3 cards from in play in front of the eliminated player and 2 cards from his hand, the eliminated player would draw 5 cards to add to his buried goods.

  2. 1-Team Dead Men's Deck Card Rules: Originally, the Death Mesa Guidebook claimed that:
    When there is only 1 dead player (or the dead players are all of 1 team, whether Outlaws or Deputies) then to play any Dead Man’s Deck card the played cards’ value must be equal to or greater than 11 (normal black jack scoring here, so only an Ace is worth 11 on its own).
    This has been adjusted to be as follows:

    When there is only 1 dead player (or the dead players are all of 1 team, whether Outlaws, Deputies, or just a Renegade), to play any Dead Man’s Deck card the played card must either (1) be an Ace, or (2) have another Dead Man’s deck card discarded with it.

    If this is seen to be too slow/difficult still, an optional rule is:

    When there is only 1 dead player (or the dead players are all of 1 team, whether Outlaws, Deputies, or just a Renegade), to play any Dead Man’s Deck card the played card must either (1) be royal (J, Q, K, or A), or (2) have another Dead Man’s deck card discarded with it.

    The ghost should never have to wait too long to play a card now, and it simplifies adding up the values at this point. The Guidebook also had an added stipulation for 4-player games, where when there was only 1 Team eliminated that they had to play cards, which had values adding up to 14. This stipulation has been completely removed. Playtesters complained that it made it too hard for that 1 team.

  3. Change to the Seance Card: The card seance originally was explained thus:
    Seance. Pick 2 cards at random from the hand of a living player to be shown to another living player of your choice. The cards are passed face down between the 1 player and the other. No other players are to see the cards but that player you chose.
    To fit more thematically, this card has been changed so that the dead player first gets to the look at the cards, and then he shows them to another living player. Now it is more like the dead speaking to (and thus revealing the cards) to the living. The explanation for Seance is now as follows:
    Seance. Pick 2 cards at random from the hand of a living player. Look at them and then show them to another living player of your choice. The cards are passed face down to that player. No other players are to see the cards but that player you chose.

  4. Optional: Remove BANG! Discard: If ghosts are perceived as being too weak, you may remove the rule from the game, which allows living players to discard 1 card on their turns from ghosts by playing a BANG! I would recommend keeping this rule in play for at least the 4-player games.

  5. Optional: Change Renegade Victory Conditions: One playtester thought that it was too hard for the Renegade to win with many ghosts working against him. He thought that it would be easy for Outlaw(s) to swoop in and steal the victory. He suggested the following change: If the dead Outlaw team kills the Sheriff, then the Renegade and the Outlaw team win collectively. However, if the Renegade kills the Sheriff alone, he achieves ultimate victory alone. If you had this problem, you can institute this law yourself.

  6. Various Fixes: Made changes to various typos and awkward phrases. Added new information on methods of production, and updated the info on Robbers' Roost.

Download the new Death Mesa Guidebook

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