Odds & Ends

House Rules 1.0

House Rules 1.0

by Emma Hubley


Have you ever played a game and felt as if one simple rule change could make it a little more enjoyable? Or maybe you’ve read through pages and pages of set up and thought one simple tweak could eliminate the painful headaches of sorting cards or figuring out which pieces are from 1-20? Here are some House Rules that I love to implement when playing games that I hope you'll want to try.

Subjective Guess Who

Starting off with a classic, Guess Who is a deduction game of “guessing who” your opponent is by asking yes or no questions about their appearance. Instead of questions about how they look, try asking subjective questions. Asking if a person sings Nickelback in the shower is way more fun than asking if they are wearing glasses! Of course it’s way harder to win at this version of Guess Who, but it’s super fun to discuss why you thought that Person A is way more likely than Person B to bring store bought casserole to a potluck claiming that it's homemade.  


(Photo credit: Generation Bass)


Machi Koro

If you like Catan you should definitely give Machi Koro a try. It’s an awesome game that quenches your thirst for dice rolling and resource production, but eliminates the player-to-player trading so you don’t have to worry about someone hogging all the sheep.

In Machi Koro, each player assumes the role of the Mayor of Machi Koro, trying to build their four landmarks the fastest. On their turn, the player rolls a die (or dice) to produce money. With that money, they can then buy a card of their choice from the supply, adding it to their city. The thing is, all fifteen types of cards are available at once and so need to be sorted into fifteen different piles at the beginning of the game, which is tedious. Instead, try introducing a Market Style rule. Shuffle all of the cards together and flip the top ten cards to create a market place that players can buy from. When a player buys a card, replace it with the next card in the draw deck. This rule saves time on set up (especially if you’ve played the game a few times and the cards are already mixed) and also makes for a different game every time you play.


(Photo Credit: www.morethanagamecafe.com)


Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at House on the Hill is one of my favourite games. It is a great semi-cooperative-maybe-there’s-a-traitor game that is both super easy to learn and fun to play multiple times because of the different haunt scenarios. One issue with the game, however, is that the haunt can begin super early, which can greatly affect the game and make it less enjoyable. In Betrayal, 6 dice are rolled after each omen card is drawn. If the result is lower than the amount of omen cards in play, the haunt begins. This means that the haunt could potentially start on the first turn of the game!

The D&D version of the game, Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate, introduces a new haunt rule; instead of always rolling six dice, players roll one die for each omen drawn. If the result is higher than 6, the haunt starts. I prefer the Baldur's Gate method, even when playing original Betrayal, because it’s impossible to start the haunt until the third haunt roll. This hopefully gives everyone a fighting chance when playing.

(Photo credit: R.Age)


Whether or not you play with these House Rules, always make sure you are having fun first! That’s why they are called games, right?  

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