Variants of Clans of Caledonia
In addition to the variants mentioned in the rulebook, you can try the following variants:
Balanced Scoring of Import Goods per Player
If you dislike both the standard scoring of the Import goods and the simplified version where all import goods score 4 VP each, then you can try this variant:
At the end of the game, every player receives 5 VP for each unit of the import good the respective player has imported the least, 3 VP each for the import good that the respective player has imported the most and 4 VP each for the third import good. Please note that each player only looks at the amounts she/he imported individually. Thus, you do not track the amount of import goods on the export board.
Advantage: This scoring is less swingy than the standard scoring but offers a bit more depth than the simplified scoring.
Disadvantage: This scoring removes uncertainty which can also help players who are behind and it reduces the interaction.
Three Future Export Contracts Face-Up
The draw of new export contracts at the beginning of a round is pretty much the only random element in this game. If you dislike even the slightiest element of chance in strategy games then you might want to consider doing the following:
After having refilled the export board with contracts at the beginning of a round, draw three further export contracts from the the top of the draw pile and put them face-up next to the export board. Next round you will first use these face-up contracts to refill the export board. These three contracts are not available yet for the action “Take export contracts”. However, this allows you to look into the future and thus reduces the uncertainty. So let’s call these three contracts “future export contracts”
When you do receive the building bonus, you choose one of the future export contracts next to the player board and remove the remaining two from the game. Then, draw another three contracts from the draw pile and put them face-up next to the export board again.
Clan Buchanan, building bonus: You would draw three additional export contracts from the draw pile and put them face-up next to the three future export contracts. You can then choose 1-2 export contracts from the six future export contracts. If you also choose “Take export contracts” as your main action, you could choose to take 1-2 export contracts from either/or or both the export board and the six face-up future export contracts. The future export contracts that were not chosen would then be removed from the game and three new future export contracts would be drawn and put face-up next to the export board.
Advantage: Less uncertainty, more strategy
Disadvantage: Fiddlier, higher risk for analysis paralysis
Most Glory Scoring
If you wish the glory scoring were a bit more important, grant the player with most glory (not VP) at the end of the game, an additional 6 glory. In case of a tie, share points the same way as in the other scorings.
Advantage: more important round scorings, more interaction
Disadvantage: slightly more complex scoring at the end
More simplifying variants
You can leave out all or any number of the following elements:
- scoring tiles
- most export contracts scoring
- settlement scoring
The 1 coin bonus for passing the import good icons on the export track can also be left out, especially if you do not have any problem remembering to move the import goods tokens (unless you play the respective simplified variant, then you do not track import goods anyway).
Clan Distribution by Player Experience
While I am convinced that all clans grant a fair fighting chance to experienced players, some clans are certainly more newbie friendly than others.
If some in your playgroup are just learning the game or are less experienced with strategy games, you might want to consider to give the more straightforward clans to the less experienced players and the more challenging clans to the experienced players.
Newbie friendly clans: Cunningham, Fergusson, Campbell
More challenging clans: Buchanan, MacEwen, MacDonald
Advantage: more even chances for less experienced players and more challenging for experienced players
Do you have more ideas for a good variant? Or do you have any feedback for these variants? Feel free to email me!