It was a heavy weekend in my flat, with two full-on days of gaming! I rolled dice, played cards, laughed too loudly, and ate a potentially fatal amount of Frazzles.
So, on top of Battlestar Galactica, King of Tokyo, Fluxx, Gloom, and Ninja Burger, the real star of the weekend was a big game of Chaos in the Old World, which I absolutely love. I called dibs on Tzeentch (of course), while my three friends, all of whom were newcomers to the game, picked gods at random, and we proceeded to fuck up the Old World like it had insulted our mums. Hilarity was had as our Slaanesh player turned the Empire into a throbbing dongscape by the end of the second turn, I teleported everyone around the map, and the Khorne player did a spectacularly bad job as the god of battle by failing to kill anyone for three straight turns. As for Nurgle? Ah, Nurgle.
(A little pre-warning; if you’re not familiar with Fantasy Flight’s Chaos in the Old World game, you can probably glaze over and skip this post.)
If there’s one thing that can be decided on board game forums like Boardgame Geek and the FFG forums, it’s that Nurgle is a little bit rubbish in Chaos in the Old World compared to his brothers in darkness. The main problem lies in that Nurgle’s threat dial takes ten clicks for a victory (though it’s stated that Nurgle is best at winning via Victory Points rather than by dial advancement), it takes three clicks for his first upgrade card (all the other gods need only two clicks), and his other dial advancement rewards are unexciting; when our Nurgle player turned his dial for the second time and saw the words “Remove 1 Corruption”, he made a face like he’d walked in on his fiancee having sex with his dead dog.
The saving grace is that Nurgle’s upgrades are pretty good; his Morrslieb pack is especially good, as nearly everything deals with giving more corruption, and helps show that Nurgle’s ideal way to win is via ruination and Victory Points. But how to fix that very disappointing slow start for upgrades and unexciting dial advances? Well, I found a few suggestions and house rules on message boards that I’ve decided to use, and see how they work out.
The first is that Nurgle skips the “Remove 1 Corruption” second dial advancement and instead goes to the “Upgrade Card” third dial advacement. In effect, with this rule his dial advancement goes “Score 3 VP”, to “Upgrade Card”. This puts him on equal footing on with the other gods in terms of upgrades, and makes his dial 9 advancements for victory, rather than 10; still very hard, but not ridiculous.
The second, which is the real game changer, is that Nurgle replaces all instances of the word “remove” on his dial with “place”. This means any dial advancement that says “remove 2 corruption” now say “place 2 corruption”. I get the implied strategy of removing enemy’s corruption in a region so that Nurgle can place his own, and when the region is ruined, get a bigger Victory Point reward for having more corruption, but I feel that placing more corruption is more fitting for a god of decay and disease (plus as well the original “remove corruption” wording can lead to weird rules interactions if someone’s playing as the Horned Rat, whose followers count as corruption). Finally, if Nurgle places 2 corruption gained from a “place 2 corruption” dial advancement in a Populous region, this does *not* grant him a further dial advancement token. Be grateful for your free corruption!
So, with these two rules in effect, Nurgle now has a damn good-looking dial that looks like this;
Nurgle Start > Score 3 VP > Upgrade Card > Score 3 VP > Upgrade Card > Place 2 Corruption > Upgrade Card > Score 3 VP > Place 2 Corruption > Nurgle Victory!
I was also thinking today about an extra house rule that gives greater incentive to terrorise the unwashed masses; A player scores 1 VP whenever he/she claims a Peasant token. We’ll see how that works out; normally it’ll only result in a couple of extra VP per game, but in a game like Chaos in the Old World, even 1 Victory Point can be all the difference.