Variant for Get the Goods/Reibach & Co.

A couple of years ago, my brother, my niece, and I gathered at my mom's house to help her celebrate her 70th birthday. Naturally, I brought along some games (hope springs eternal for the true gamer). To my delight, I found that my niece Nicole loves playing games. Naturally, I tried to introduce her to the wonders of German Gaming. She didn't think much of Lost Cities, but absolutely fell in love with Get the Goods. Thanks to her persistance, all four of us were soon playing numerous games of this Alan Moon classic, which suited me just fine, as it's probably my favorite middle weight game.
Like other gamers, we soon found some aspects of the design that needed a little tweaking. I started introducing variants I had read about one by one. Finally, we came up with a version we all liked. It's an amalgam of practically every GtG variant ever devised, but it works. If you have any attraction for GtG/Reibach, try this variant out. It takes care of all the balance/luck issues some have complained about. Specifically, I think the 2x cards are finally handicapped properly. The result is a truly great game--check it out!
Here are the additional procedures to add to the standard rules:
Begin by removing the 2x and Wild cards as well as the $ cards. Shuffle the remaining 90 cards and deal 4 to each player. Also give each player a 2x card. This card is placed face up in front of the player. The players own these cards, but they are not yet part of their hands.

Shuffle the $, Wild, and any remaining 2x cards back into the deck. Deal the first three cards face up, as with the standard game.
During the first round, players may get less than their usual three actions to compensate for the advantage of going earlier in the turn order. In a three player game, the first player only gets 1 action and the second player 2 actions. In a four player game, the first player gets 1 action and the second and third players each get 2 actions. In a five player game, the first and second player each get 1 action and the third player gets 2 actions. All other players get 3 actions and all players after the first round get their normal 3 actions.

As with the "official" variant, it costs 2 actions to pick up a Wild or 2x card from the display. It also costs 2 actions to pick up the 2x card that begins the game in front of you and place it in your hand. Moreover, it costs 2 actions to play a 2x card from your hand. The cost to play a Wild card is the usual 1 action.
The rest of the game uses the standard Get the Goods rules.
There are two additional optional rules which can be used. With 3 or 4 players, you can choose to discard the remaining 2x cards rather than shuffle them back into the deck. This means that each player will have exactly one 2x card, which may reduce some luck. But with the current rules, it's not at all clear that having a second 2x card is beneficial. After all, it takes 8 actions and a minimum of 4 turns to pick up and play both 2x cards.
Finally, the reduced actions in the first round do not totally equalize the different playing positions in the 4 and 5 player games. So if you wish, you can use the playing position to break any ties in the final scoring. In a 4 player game, the player in the third position wins all ties, followed by the fourth player, the first player, and the second player. In a 5 player game, the player in the second position wins all ties, followed by the fifth player, the third player, the first player, and the fourth player. (This is based on an analysis which shows that the actual advantage per position in a 4 player game is 3/4 of an action and in a 5 player game is 3/5 of an action. The advantage in a 3 player game is exactly 1 action per playing position, so the players can be properly handicapped and ties result in joint winners.)


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