Thursday, 18 December 2014

Playtest 2 - Version 0.03

So last weekend I headed over to Manchester to play test version 2.  Slightly odd thing as we were a couple of people lower then intended s we ended up doing one overlord and 3 minions test which did not work very well but then it was missing any sort of opposition which is pretty key.

But it was still enough to show up a bunch of things.  The combat system mainly worked but I don't think is correct for this game.  It might well work if you had a semi-cooperative board game with one overlord and there minions....

I also got to be an overlord and I realised there was a bit of game play I really wanted – the minions bidding up what they were offering to the overlord to try and take control of the important army.  That was sort of there but the location set up and the complexity of the resources people were either offering very little or everything under the sun.  Also since all of the information was available to the minions it was both overwhelming and anything one could offer all of the rest could offer as well.

Over coffee before hand people had been talking about software design methodology (it's how we roll). And we'd talked over the concepts of horizontal slice and vertical slice. Horizontal being where you give the barest bones version of everything you want the final version to have as opposed to vertical where you give a complete version of a single part of it.

Chatting in the car on the way back it was clear that I’d been very much trying to do a vertical slice of the minion game but I probably needed to do a horizontal slice to check out the really core game play mechanics. The drive back gave us a long time to talk and so was born an almost total reworking of the game.

It’s important to note that you are seeing the basic structure but each individual part might get replaced by a more detailed component once we've got our heads around the idea. For example players will get a random set of tokens to play the master mind game with rather then it being tied into the result of what the minions do. Why? Because it lets me see how that works with some made up numbers and then once we've seen that then we tie the two systems together.

Upon A Throne of Bone version 0.03 – the simplification.

Set up

4 overlord teams, each consisting of one overlord and 3 minions. The overlord wishes to be the best overlord and wants Terror. The Minions wants to be the most loved minion of their overlord and so they want Favour. The general currency of the game is Fear that the minions get from locations and give to the overlord.  I should say all names open to change.

The overlord will have 3 legions consisting of 7, 5, and 3 1 strength orcs.

There will be three races – human, dwarf and elf – each race made up of 3 locations that hold 4, 3, 2 loot cards.  For play testing the number of cards at locations can easily be reduced which is good as it lets you check how it plays with less people.

Loot cards will yield between 1 and 7 fear – with 4 fear being the most common result.

 There will be five dark gods/demons – each of which will be dealt 3 face up terror cards of value 1 to 5 with 3 being the most common value.

Each minion will be given a human scout token, a dwarf scout token, a elf scout token and three wild scout tokens. They will also be given a 1 strength minion token.

The minion turn 

The minion turn has the following phases.

Scouting – look at loot cards on locations. Each card looked at costs one scout token which is left on the card to indicate it has been looked at.

Bidding – the minions will make increasing bids as to how much fear they will bring back this turn to the overlord if given control of the 1st legion (the biggest). The biggest bid is given the legion and that number is there ‘expectation’. There is then a set of bidding for the 2nd legion. The remaining minion states how many Fear they will be bringing back.

Deployment – the minions place their forces at the location they choose and once placed they cannot be picked back up. Forces are placed into a box/bowl so what is there is unclear.

Any minion who does not wish to use counters may tick off one box from their whimsy seat for each strength that is not used at a location. See later for more details on costs and benefits.

Resolution – each location resolves. With the person with the most strength at a location takes the top prize, in the event of a draw the strongest minion present breaks ties, if still no resolution then both players get the next level of reward down. No single player may take more than one loot card from a location – however multiple minions from a single overlord can each take one loot card. A minion may claim multiple loot cards from multiple locations.

Return – each minion brings their Fear back to the table and compares it with the expectation. The overlord can issue rewards and punishments if the conditions are met and they wish to. See later for more details.

The overlord turn

The overlord has the following phases.

Dark blessing phase use fear generated in previous turn to pay for the offerings you made last turn.  They have to pay the highest bids first – if a bid is not completely paid then the fear is still paid but the bid is discarded.  Take a reward in terms of terror.  In case of draw both get the next level down.  If a dark god is not given at least one fear then the overlord lose one terror.

Bid Phase – the overlord keeps track of the deals made, records the expectations, and takes as many offering counters as the total expectation of all the minions.

Deployment - the overlord places their offerings at the Altar.  They do not need to use all of their expectation – but any unused expectation is lost.  They can not bid more then the expectation they have been given.

Alignment – The overlords take 6 random colour cards and plays mastermind against a set of 4 mastermind games simultaneously.

 Report back – the overlord gets the fear generated, and delivers rewards/punishments to there minions.

Rewards and punishment.

If a minion delivers exactly what they promised then they automatically gain one favour.

In addition the overlord can give out certain rewards and punishments if certain conditions are met – however it is always the overlord choice if they choose to administer the punishment or reward even if the conditions are met.

Each punishment or reward can be administered only once per turn no matter how many minions meet that condition – but a minion can have receive multiple punishments and/or rewards in a turn.


Name: You failed me
Condition: Deliver less fear then promised
Effect: -1 favour

Name:  My trusted right hand
Condition: The controller of the 1st legion delivers less fear then promised
Effect: -1 Favour

Name: Nothing!
Condition: You deliver no fear at all
Effect: -1 Favour

Name: You promised much......
Condition:  You deliver 3 less fear then promised
Effect: -2 Favour

Name: The lash....
Condition: Because the overlord wants to
Effect: -1 Favour

Name: Under promising is under performing
Condition:  Deliver 3 more fear then promised
Effect: -1 Favour


Name: Less is more
Condition: Deliver more fear then a stronger legion
Effect: +1 Favour

Name: Nothing succeeds like success
Condition: Deliver the most fear
Effect: +1 Favour

Name: Over achiever
Condition:  Deliver more then fear then expected
Effect: +1 Favour

Name: You have pleased me
Condition:  Because the overlord wants to
Effect: +1 Favour

Whimsy Sheet

Each minion will have a whimsy sheet.  Instead of using there strength in locations they may tick off one box for each strength not used in a turn.  When the cost is fully paid then the minion receives the listed advantage.

Bonus Favour

1 Strength  = 1 favour

2 Strength = 1 favour

3 Strength = 1 favour

4 Strength = 1 favour

5 Strength = 1 favour

Spy Network

1 Strength = choose one human/elf/dwarf spy

2 Strength = choose one human/elf/dwarf spy

3 Strength = choose one human/elf/dwarf spy

4 Strength = choose one human/elf/dwarf spy

2 Strength = one wild spy

3 Strength = one wild spy

4 Strength = one wild spy

Minion Token

3 Strength = minion token is 2 strength

4 Strength = minion token is 3 strength

5 Strength = minion token is 4 strength

6 Strength = minion token is 5 strength

Thus endeth version 0.03 - which I think is a full version.  Not the intentions, not the direction of travel - but the everything you'd need to play test it written down.....  Which is nice.  I'll do my best to get this done and taken to Stabcon where we can do a micro test if nothing else.

While working on this I had a few ideas of things that might work - and rather then add them in - I've just written them down here so I don't forget them.

  •  Overlords can go into debt with the dark gods, paying more fear then they have.  Best pay that back before the end of the game....
  • In addition to claiming fear - minions also claim victories (high results).  Minions bid so much fear and so many victories.  Very perudo but hey - I like perudo.   

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