Tuesday, 20 December 2011

How did 2.03 work?

As I'm sure your used to me saying - not as well as I'd like.  One big problem was that it was a 4 player game in which one player got removed pretty early on.  A result of him a) getting picked on and b) deciding that he might as well burn out and painting a target on his head.  That said the mere act of being in the lead should not damn you quite as hard as it seemed to this time......

The movement of 1 still slows the game down - in particular in this game in the last few turns everybody was very limited in there interactions - I often felt there was nothing I could do because everybody was in "the wrong place".  So quicker movement of some sort - either back to two spaces or more movement cards is rather needed.

There was no resource crunch at all in what turned into a 3 player game - people were drawing 5 or 6 cards all the way to the end.  Which seems way way to many.  Also the whole "each different resource" was annoying and fiddly.

Raiding - seemed not to happen - and the more I think about it the less I'm convinced me need a special mechanic. Given the current rules players will have an option of making a single attack on a "winning enemy" to gain renown and that would simply the game a lot. The renown mechanics however are solid and reward attacking - the villages mean sitting and doing nothing is not that strong a tactic - so I want both of those to stay.  

I'm thinking I might need another fairly big revamp......

Monday, 12 December 2011

Version 2.03 and links

So after a burst of creativity I've got version 2.03 ready to play test.

The changes seem pretty sensible - certainly not a giant leap anywhere....

I've increased the number of resources Icons on the board (basically doubled them) which won't increase the number of cards in peoples hands (I hope) but should mean that the resource crash is moved to later in the game. 

I've also changed the raid rules such that a) every card now has a raid value (so you can flip a card from the deck if you want) but also so that people in defensive squares are harder to kill with raids.

Both seem sensible but I've said that before......

A good quick write up of the basics of good game design here..... 


I especially liked the part about needing to make decision making.  I also need to reintroduce "return from the grave rules" to GSH because there right - being wiped out is bad.  The trouble is I don't see much way to deal with returning without introducing a large element of king making (or I may not be able to win but I determine who does....).

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Version 2.02

So the first thing was that playing by myself made it really clear that - yes - it broadly worked but suggested one minor change for public consumption. So I then took 2.02 went for a spin around magic nerd club (my last magic nerd club in fact).  Where it turned out to be actually playable - and quite fun.  Which was a relief after version 2.01 was a giant step backwards...  This was a 3 player game - and they have often been the oddest ones.

So what changed?

Well the major change was to introduce "villages" that are built on food - these acted as a limit on the total number of warriors you could have (so 3 warriors for every village), and also as what brought your warriors into the game (1 warrior at each village).  As expected this meant people had an incentive to use there men a lot more because if they were at there maximum number of men they'd not get any more the next turn. 

Secondly I tweaked the raid rules so the attacker only ever needed a single warrior to raid - no matter how many were in the receiving hex - and gave a reason to raid the person with the most VP's.  Introducing a churn of warriors for renown.

Thirdly I removed one entire deck of cards - the one that allows you to build stone heads and moved that to an "at any time" list.  Which in turn meant changing the resource set up heavily as now one entire set of resources was no longer needed.......

Fourthly - movement was reduced to a single hex - mainly because I was worried about villages being vulnerable to sneak attacks.

Fithly introduced a special hex "basalt stone quarry" which meant any GSH you built that turn generated more victory points.

So how did it work - and what did not work - because clearly not everything worked.....

While the villages limited the men correctly and drove people into conflict - however I think the pool might be a little to small.

Having to have renown to build stone heads - also drove conflict.

And losing the project cards to an "at any time" list worked really well.  While the reduced cost of stone heads combined with the build once and cover - meant that we soon ended up with the board covered in stone heads. 

The slower movement seemed good - it became less of a knock about game - and you needed to think a bit more.....   Downside giant stone heads tended to get built in "safe" locations - and so seldom got kicked over.  However a few more swift movement cards would have gone down a treat.....

So what did not work?

Well with a single resource the board soon got covered and we saw a resources crash far far to early- and with the slow movement people tended to just fight over what was near them - rather the seek out ones that they "needed".

RongaRonga cards - formally known as "epic poems" - cards designed to reward attacking seemed to have become very seldom played from really rather key.  If you were going to give up something - you gave up them.....  So they need - reviewing/rebalancing.  It's possible there no longer needed - since they were introduced to reward conflict and the renown seems to do a better job of that.  Actually one of the Ronga Ronga cards turned out to be utterly pointless......  So that needs to go.....

Raids need to a) have a slightly more random way of deciding who won and b) it needs to be the case that defensive locations do something to help against raids - otherwise you just get raided out of them far to easily.  But that's a balance issue - the idea seems sound. 

The key seems to be sorting out the resource generation - we need something that a) offers players a little bit of choice in what to attack (so one hex can be worth more to one player then another), b) has more spaces to build on such that "resource collapse" happens later in the game.

So the question is - am I at the "change one thing and one thing only" stage of tweaking - not just yet I think.  As somebody said last night "you've changed a lot!" and there right.  A hell of a lot of stuff changed - so I really am back at the early stages where major design shifts are still a decent idea...... 

Oh and a random conversation gave me an idea for a rather nice game mechanic for a totally different game.... So I'll file that one away in the "ideas" holder and come back to it another day.....



Sunday, 4 December 2011

I Aten't Dead

It's taken over a month - but I've finally got the notes I scrawled down on a train into a play testable version - I've got to do a solo play before I will let anybody else near it but that's a job for tonight and I'm hoping to talk Magic nerd club into playing it on Monday night.  So expect a report soon.

On the one hand this feels like it's taken forever to make any progress - however it took most of Saturday and a bit of Sunday to write out the rules and do another total update of the physical components - and two episodes of castle to sort out the printing problems and cut out it all out.  That's a lot of time to set aside.

The real problem is that I've learned I need to set aside a big chunk of time otherwise I get nowhere - I don't seem to be able to focus well enough to add up the odd day here and there - and finding that much spare time in one go is not currently easy......

Lets see how this has worked......