Greg's Design Blog

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Pack Tactics

United Kingdom
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Context: Dauntless Hunters

I'm excited that the recent call for playtesters has got so much attention, if half of the groups that requested a download link write back to me I'll have a lot to go on. While I'm waiting I figured I'd work on improving the weakest aspect of the game: The 2 vs 1 rules.

The idea of two teams working together to bring down a really dangerous monster is great on paper. It lets two players play cooperatively rather than competitively if they like and gives a three player option for players who want it. However a second group of hunters is a huge advantage, just throwing some extra stats on top of the boss doesn't really seem to cut it.

So I've started experimenting with the idea that the big monster could have some sort of infinitely respawning minions that the players need to survive while bringing it down. If they ignore it then they'll get overwhelmed but if they put everything into fighting the minions the boss monster will run rampant. Again: Great on paper.

The first thing I notcied is just how much real estate the game starts to take up with two hunter groups, a monster and some minions. It seems just about managable at the moment, but it's something to keep any eye on as I expand the game further.

The first minion group I've written is a pack of wolves who've decided that the monster is their alpha. I wrote a neat seeming ability called "Pack Tactics". It works like this:

"When this minion hits a target (regardless of whether it wounds) move it one space closer to the monster and move the target into its space. If this places the target within an attack zone of the monster, the monster part with that attack is immediately activated."

The minions then got an attack that can kill weaker hunters, but on average will not penetrate armour of serious opponents. The theory being that the hunters might need to fight a dragon while wolves are running about hamstringing their support and dragging it to the dragon for suppertime.

On paper that's great, but in practice I'm not convinced. The game I played using them felt like it dragged on a bit - possibly the game is a good length and adding a second player and some extra opposition undermines that. Maybe the minions need to add more of a time limit: Something like 1 arrives on turn 1, 2 on turn 2 etc. so if the hunters take their time they're going to die.

The wolves pack tactics were cool when they worked, but there were too many weird interactions. What happens when the monster overruns them? Do they avoid the slime demons counters? What if a part isn't in rage but would be if it activated (e.g. it has charge)? What if it is in range but won't be if it activated (e.g. it has mandatory move)?

I think this is an idea with some potential, but there's going to be more to it than making a group of cool minions and calling it a day. Still, it's good to be wrestling the design forwards.
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