Biblios is a card drafting and hand management game by Iello Games. Originally developed for two to four players, each gamer takes the role of an abbot in a monastery, trying to build the best library of books. Whilst this background story might sound dry, and certainly not as exciting as zapping aliens on a spaceship in a far-flung galaxy, this game provides decisions and choices every turn. It is a good game, typically taking 25-30 minutes. The components are excellent and the artwork clear. Biblios often makes it to the game table because it is a quick, filler game.
However, despite the many qualities of this game, there are two two main issues that a family might have; the limitations of player count and the final scoring system. Using the current scoring rules, as player count increases to four, so the likelihood of a draw increases. This article makes suggestions of how to correct both of these problems. It provides advice on how to increase the player count of Biblios up to six gamers. It also proposes an alternative final scoring system that rewards the players who have the best collections of cards, yet does not penalise those who hold a wide variety of card types.
Increasing the player count
Biblios has two phases; drafting and auction. During the drafting phase the cards are divided equally between each player and a similar number of cards form an auction deck. The full game of Biblios contains 87 cards. For speed and ease of hand management Iello Games suggest removing a number of gold and standard cards so that every player has a similar number of cards at the start of the auction phase. For a five or six-player game the total number of cards should be 84. The Iello rule book is very clear and concise. It suggests the number of cards to be removed at the beginning to reduce the pack size. For all player counts (up to six) the table below lists the cards to be removed before the game commences.
|Player number||Gold cards to be removed||Additional (random) cards to be removed||Total number of cards in play||Final number of cards in the auction deck|
Improving the scoring
In the standard Biblios game, the player who has the highest total of a particular component type (quills, scrolls, books etc) wins that die. The overall winner is the one with the largest total score of all their dice. This means that players might score zero despite having an excellent set of cards or only claim one die if they were to go “all-out” for one component. With increasing player count it is possible for a number of gamers to claim one die each and all have the same final score. Any change to the scoring system needs to reward getting the highest value of cards but also getting a spread of cards. This will reduce the chance of a tied score.
The alternative scoring is made easier with a score sheet. At the end of the game all the player’s cards are laid out. Beginning with quills, the player with the highest total of quill cards would claim first place for quills. They will score points by multiplying their total quill card points by the dice value. For example, Matthew might have a total of 10 quill points (the most) and the quill die might be “5”. This gives Matthew a total of 50 points. Another player (Mark) may have collected 7 quill points and be in second place.
His total quill points will be “7” multiplied by one less than the quill die value (Mark scores 7 x 4 = 28 points). Finally, another player, Luke may have only 4 quill points and is in third place. They would score points with two less than the die value. (Luke scores 4 x 3 =12). With each rank so the dice multiplier reduces by one point until zero is multiplied and no score is made. (If the final dice score is “2” then only players in the first and second positions would score points.
Players in third place or lower for that component will have their card values multiplied by zero and score nothing) For each component the scores are calculated and the final point tally is made and added to the total value of gold remaining in each player’s hand.
In this way players are rewarded for having the most valuable set of components, for having a wide spread of cards, enhancing dice values and by keeping some gold in reserve.
The player with the highest total points (including gold) is the winner.
Summary of Game Changes for Biblios
- Increases in player count
- Reduces the chance of a tie for final score
- New scoring system rewards high values and diversity of cards
- Score card provided to assist scoring system