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Subject: Potential to be very very good, but thoughts on balance and theme rss

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Jake Fernandez
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I'm a sucker for variable player power games and games with seeming infinite replayability due to some form of random set-up or deck building. Some of my favorite games are Small World and Summoner Wars. Smash-up sounds like something right up my alley. Pairing up different fun personalities/races and trying to best use them is very similar to Small World (in terms of feel/concept but of course not in mechanics).

That being said, games like these have the tendency to create either wild imbalances due to some really powerful pairings. There are ways to work around this, Summoner Wars did it through rigorous playtesting and a game system that seems very easy to tweak and balance yet lends to factions that play differently. Small World implements a "pay-to-skip" mechanism in order to make weak pairings more lucrative, while more powerful pairings less viable the farther they are down the stack.

The thing with a balancing mechanism or any mechanism in particular is sometimes it can kill the theme. An example of such a game for me is Nightfall, an AEG release nonetheless. I cannot for the life of me get past the mechanics to see that I have a warring zombies, werewolves and humans. It just felt like chaining colors and disrupting chains. Smash-up sounds like the kind of game where it NEEDS the theme to shine through.

That being said, I'm hoping AEG was able to find the secret formula between a balancing mechanism and fun themey gameplay. I hope that the theme of playing dinosaurs or ninjas.. or DINO-NINJAS.. really do shine through rather than it feel like a mishmash of mechanics that feel pasted on.

Sorry just very excited about this game so I wanted to share my thoughts haha. Can't wait to learn more.
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Todd Rowland
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I'm excited that people are concerned already!

Well, with regards to theme, the theme is expressed most intensely through the mechanics. For instance, almost every zombie card deals with moving cards to or from the discard pile. Almost every dinosaur card has huge power, increases power, or punishes those of less power.

Now not EVERY card in any faction is always exactly that focus. THere are some zombie cards that do things other than affecting the discard pile, but we felt each faction needs to diverge on a few cards, to keep things interesting. I mean, if Ninja were the ONLY group that had any kill effects, that wouldn't be terribly exciting. Ninja may have more, but pirates have a decent number what with their cannons and swashbuckling, though their primary focus is on movement to and from bases (often in surprising ways for your opponent).

Is there a "plot"? Oh heck no. They're just all together to mess up some cities/bases. Believe me, any attempt to explain how pirates, zombies, aliens, gnomes, and dinosaurs with laser beams came together would be fraught with more nonsense than the concept itself has naturally!
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The Compulsive Completist
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So how many expansions are planned for this. Don't get me wrong, I love expansions, I am hoping for expansions, I buy games because they have expansions. So how many expansions are lined up?
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Vince Lupo
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Hockey Mask wrote:
So how many expansions are planned for this. Don't get me wrong, I love expansions, I am hoping for expansions, I buy games because they have expansions. So how many expansions are lined up?



I "agree". Looks to me like it would easily expand because of the modularity of the design.
 
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Todd Rowland
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It is indeed easy to expand, and one of the things we did for fun right when we started developing the game with Paul was to have every single employee at AEG create their own faction. Any theme, any mechanics. There were some that were... wacky. And there were some that were quite good and will probably appear in the future.

How many expansions? Honestly I don't have an answer there. We've got some interesting ideas, but we're mainly concerned with putting the best foot forward with the base game right now.
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The Compulsive Completist
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Put me down for a Cowboy faction.
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Todd Rowland
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Hockey Mask wrote:
Put me down for a Cowboy faction.


It has been discussed.
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Derek Graeff
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So, if the games for 4 players then that means there are 8 different factions in the base set? Zombies, Dinosaurs, Ninjas, Aliens, Wizards and Pirates would be 6 - what are the last 2? Is one of them Gnomes ? Or will we see some fun L5R peeps popping up fighting with some Thunderstone monsters?
 
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Edward Bolme
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I'd say you ought to look more closely at the cover.
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K.Y. Wong
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edbolme wrote:
I'd say you ought to look more closely at the cover.

Is that an imp or a goblin?
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Jake Fernandez
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AEGTodd wrote:
I'm excited that people are concerned already!

Well, with regards to theme, the theme is expressed most intensely through the mechanics. For instance, almost every zombie card deals with moving cards to or from the discard pile. Almost every dinosaur card has huge power, increases power, or punishes those of less power.

Now not EVERY card in any faction is always exactly that focus. THere are some zombie cards that do things other than affecting the discard pile, but we felt each faction needs to diverge on a few cards, to keep things interesting. I mean, if Ninja were the ONLY group that had any kill effects, that wouldn't be terribly exciting. Ninja may have more, but pirates have a decent number what with their cannons and swashbuckling, though their primary focus is on movement to and from bases (often in surprising ways for your opponent).

Is there a "plot"? Oh heck no. They're just all together to mess up some cities/bases. Believe me, any attempt to explain how pirates, zombies, aliens, gnomes, and dinosaurs with laser beams came together would be fraught with more nonsense than the concept itself has naturally!


Excellent reply Todd! I did feel that factions will be represent a certain mechanic, which IS a staple in variable faction games.

Yeah agree that a plot is not as important. Rather it's just the feel that you really have warring dinos, ninjas, pirates, etc.

Can't you release this game already? Haha. Good luck! Hope it's another smashing success!
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Anthony Martins
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AEGTodd wrote:
Hockey Mask wrote:
Put me down for a Cowboy faction.


It has been discussed.


Goth Kids

Lawyers

Grannies (I want to see Grannies fighting Dinosaurs. We'll see who's more ancient, now!)

Kung Fu Champions


The potential is really endless, here.

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Jeff Quick

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AEGTodd wrote:
It is indeed easy to expand, and one of the things we did for fun right when we started developing the game with Paul was to have every single employee at AEG create their own faction. Any theme, any mechanics. There were some that were... wacky. And there were some that were quite good and will probably appear in the future.


One of my contributions was Suffragettes -- a faction that demanded that you put things to a vote. Not clear whether Todd thought of that one as wacky or quite good.
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Erik Rodriguez
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Dragkin wrote:
So, if the games for 4 players then that means there are 8 different factions in the base set? Zombies, Dinosaurs, Ninjas, Aliens, Wizards and Pirates would be 6 - what are the last 2? Is one of them Gnomes ? Or will we see some fun L5R peeps popping up fighting with some Thunderstone monsters?


You forgot Robots!
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Kali Fitzgerald
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Jefftyjeffjeff wrote:
AEGTodd wrote:
It is indeed easy to expand, and one of the things we did for fun right when we started developing the game with Paul was to have every single employee at AEG create their own faction. Any theme, any mechanics. There were some that were... wacky. And there were some that were quite good and will probably appear in the future.


One of my contributions was Suffragettes -- a faction that demanded that you put things to a vote. Not clear whether Todd thought of that one as wacky or quite good.


That could be a slippery slope. Next there will be politicians whose main purpose is to sway votes (or worse).
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César Martín
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Jefftyjeffjeff wrote:
AEGTodd wrote:
It is indeed easy to expand, and one of the things we did for fun right when we started developing the game with Paul was to have every single employee at AEG create their own faction. Any theme, any mechanics. There were some that were... wacky. And there were some that were quite good and will probably appear in the future.


One of my contributions was Suffragettes -- a faction that demanded that you put things to a vote. Not clear whether Todd thought of that one as wacky or quite good.


Will its base be a Sufragette city?
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Jaime Lawrence
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So... Rokugan is a base, right? Cause I'm totally ready to unload on lazersauruses with my Crabzerkers and Tattoed Monks.
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Abdul Rahman Ibrahim
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Must... have... this...
 
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Tater Salad
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sjlykowski wrote:
dyeyk2000 wrote:
I'm a sucker for variable player power games and games with seeming infinite replayability...


Me too! I don't know if you're a sci-fi nut like myself, but if you like replayability you should check out my game Nova Cry--it's gonna be on kickstarter in just a few weeks!

At the beginning of the game, each player chooses 1 captain (from 15), 1 ship (from 15), 3 crew members (from 12), and 1 personal weapon (from 7), so there's tons of customization right from the get-go!

So...yeah...you can definitely play this game more than twice!


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thiago maia
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beautiful artwork, I was thinking to buy the call of cthulhu LCG, but now I will wait for this game to see if is good and balance.
 
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Lloyd Krassner
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i see area control listed as a mechanism... Maps and figs would add extra awesomeness to a great idea.
 
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Todd Rowland
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Warpspawngames wrote:
i see area control listed as a mechanism... Maps and figs would add extra awesomeness to a great idea.


It's area control in an odd way. Controlling the bases.
 
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Ken B.
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sjlykowski wrote:
dyeyk2000 wrote:
I'm a sucker for variable player power games and games with seeming infinite replayability...


Me too! I don't know if you're a sci-fi nut like myself, but if you like replayability you should check out my game Nova Cry--it's gonna be on kickstarter in just a few weeks!

At the beginning of the game, each player chooses 1 captain (from 15), 1 ship (from 15), 3 crew members (from 12), and 1 personal weapon (from 7), so there's tons of customization right from the get-go!

So...yeah...you can definitely play this game more than twice!



...are there commercial breaks in the middle of unrelated game threads now? Can I DVR this shit and fast forward later?
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jimmycrackcorn anidontcare
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I count at least 9 different factions on the box cover, more if the man in the black cloak/hat with the staff/book isn't a wizard or zombie.
1. Robot (2 showing)
2. Dinosaurs (T-rex and Trogs in the air)
3. Wizard (1 maybe 2)
4. Bat-winged gremlin thingie (between pirate and large robot)
5. Pirate
6. Ninja
7. Gnome (or Dwarf?)
8. Big bald-headed wrestler dude (zombie?)
9. Alien
10. ?? Depends on that the character about to strike the pirate is.

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Todd Rowland
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There are only 8 factions. Some do have more than 1 rep on the cover.

For instance the gnome and the gremlin both come from the same faction.
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