Game Design Notes (and other random thoughts)

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The Coldest War, Just in Time and a New Design

David Gregg
United States
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The Coldest War

The rulebook for Nightfall: The Coldest War is now online both on the official site as well as here on the geek.

Some big changes:
● There are now effects that take place during the combat phase, usually by simply discarding the card you want to activate.
● There are a couple of actions that attach to a minion and stay in play until that minion leaves play.
● There is an official constructed deck format in which you get to design the makeup of your private archives.
● There is a new moon phase mechanic which can be added for some extra global effects on the game.

Also, since several cards are shown in the rulebook, I've added all of the ones shown to the official FAQ.

Just in Time

Got in a playtest session last night and was able to play a full game with 3 players using all of the new tweaks and updated files. Both of the other players were also new to the game for a fresh perspective.

Couple issues still linger and there are some new ones:
● The new job cards aren't quite balanced yet. Since your player color is already being collected for "prestige" points, I want to remove all player colors from the job cards. Another issue is that the jobs really aren't that secret as it becomes obvious pretty quickly as to what your specific job color is. I think for the next test I'll have all 3 non-player colors on each job, with them being work 1,2,3 points, ordered differently depending on what job card you get. That way all players will be going after those 3 colors to some extent, but it won't be obvious which are your high scoring and which your low scoring. Of course this also means that I need to increase the value of your prestige to match, probably either 3 points or even 5.
● Some of the locations are able to sabotage other places. I'm not quite happy with how these work just yet. I think I'm going to change them to completely remove all discs from the sabotaged building instead of just one. The sabotage buildings also currently match the type of building they are able to sabotage, but I don't like this at all since it allows a player to build it, use the action for free to sabotage it, then build it again for easy discs.
● We started playing with 15 tasks per player, but it was going to cause the game to run pretty long, so we dropped it to 10 tasks mid game. The game took 90 minutes to play including the time needed to setup and explain the game (which took a long time due to my wifey chatting up one of the players...).
● The end game isn't right yet. Currently it's triggered when the bag of tasks runs out, at which point there are 3 more rounds of fairly easy play while the last remaining tasks work their way off the timeline. It felt really anticlimactic, so something needs to be changed, but not sure yet how I want to go about it.
● The penalties on the top left side of the board didn't really add anything to the game. We experienced the first 3 and they really weren't an issue. I don't want to increase the penalties as you won't be scoring a ton of points, so even removing a couple is a big deal. Really the only one that we dreaded was the 4th (pass job to left) as it would have drastically changed the final scores. I'm thinking that instead of removing stuff from the players, that I should instead be doing more with the board such as adding more tasks, further shifting the timeline, destroying an additional building, that sort of thing.

New Design

Recently on a trip the thought crossed my mind that it'd be nice to have an ultra-portable game that required zero table space. So over the past couple of days I've been brainstorming ideas and have so far come up with what I'm calling Wizard's Duel.

Essentially you'll be quickly constructing a hand of cards that represent your wizard, then alternating phases of preprogramming the order and power level in which you cast your spells, followed by actually resolving the spells 1 at a time simultaneously with your opponent. The spells use a rock-paper-scissors mechanic to counter and downgrade opposing spells and you'll even be able to steel an opponent's spells for your own use if you can time it right.

As the game is entirely made from cards I should be able to have a prototype up pretty quickly, perhaps even for the weekend meeple


Just a quick mention that I've gotten in some more games of Eminent Domain and am continuing to enjoy the combos that you can pull off in the game. Still haven't gotten to try out Dungeon Run or Troyes, perhaps I'll be able to try them out this weekend.

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