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Subject: Balanced Baronial Variant rss

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Alex Fiedler
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Colebee
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Here is my take on balancing the Baronial actions.
Firstly, huge props to NateStraight for his work found here: The skeleton of a variant to address game balance

1. Secret Liaison: costs 2 gold - normal rules apply.

2. Sabotage: roll 1 die for cost in ANY resources (can use any resources to pay, not just gold). then, allocate 1 troop/unit per player you wish to sabotage (these troops will need to roll for survival/death at the end; ie: did they get caught). each player chosen rolls the 2 die and looks up the coordinates. flip all tiles within 1 space (3x3 grid). those tiles are unavailble until repaired.
At the end of each building phase, players may repair any 1 building for free (just flip it right side up again)

3. Attack Player: normal rules

4. Private Wars: Knights count for +1 bonus VP, and losing Fiumaccio is -2VP (not -3)

Wars: Troops in wars/sabotage roll for survival as normal, but only a 1,2 or 3 kills, and 4+ survives.
You can also spend 1 wood + 1 metal to increase combat strength by +1 in any war, but you must do this before you roll.

Keep: Your keep has a defensive strength of 4.

Starting Units: Start with LVL-1 Tower and 2x Castle Guard (custom troop with strength of 2: stickers to follow shortly), or just use 2x Archers

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Alex Fiedler
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My thoughts are that the balance of Baronial actions was broken, well supported by Nate's findings (awesome work btw!)

Adding gold cost to Liaisons made them harder to do every turn, and gave us something real to spend gold on.

Sabotage was a big one, because the standard sabotage was horrible. It only hurt both players, leaving other players to benefit.
My belief is that any Baronial action should give the current player a net benefit of some kind. Simply destroying 1 player's building, including a cost to do so, does not gain you anything. Infact, you've lost ground (due to resources spent). So any new Sabotage had to either give you something (if it works), or impact multiple other players.
So I made Sabotage flexible in that you can send 1 troop to sabotage 1 player, or send 5 troops to sabotage all 5 other players (in a 6 player game). Keeping in mind, that each troop has to roll for survival, and the sabotage may not work.
The sabotage itself is not permanent either, as that can be very painful. Instead, tiles are flipped to disable them, and can be repaired at the players discretion (adding interesting choices as to which to repair first)

War casualties was another I felt needed tweaking, as troops dying 50% of the time was too much. Gathering troops takes a long time, and going to war once could kill them all with a few bad rolls. So I made it 1,2 or 3 for killing troops, which allows them to hang around just a little longer.

Much of the other War mods is based on Nate's great ideas.

The Keep having a base strength of 4 is to prevent losing your Tower being so catastrophic. Going from 6 defense to 0 is just too much. This way, losing your Tower is bad, but it's not the end of your game (especially early in the game from evil bandits!) and is inline with the growth of Towers to Forts, etc

Lastly, I've added 2x Castle Guards of 2 strength each.
This brings your starting defense to 10, which gives you a fighting chance against early Barbarians, and also a head start on your fighting armies. Note that these take up 1 slot, and do not count towards the Kings Tournaments, but do count in Kings Wars.

Any thoughts?

PS. forgot to mention my wife and I love this game!
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Lacombe
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ReqMan wrote:
Sabotage was a big one, because the standard sabotage was horrible. It only hurt both players, leaving other players to benefit.
My belief is that any Baronial action should give the current player a net benefit of some kind. Simply destroying 1 player's building, including a cost to do so, does not gain you anything. Infact, you've lost ground (due to resources spent). So any new Sabotage had to either give you something (if it works), or impact multiple other players.


Agree.

I think I might find your tweak on it a bit too strong for my taste, though.

Last game we played, we considered [under the other conditions of my prior variant] allowing the saboteur to actually steal and/or activate the sabotaged tile.

I think that could be interesting. Anything to make the action GOOD for the saboteur.

Quote:
War casualties was another I felt needed tweaking, as troops dying 50% of the time was too much. Gathering troops takes a long time, and going to war once could kill them all with a few bad rolls. So I made it 1,2 or 3 for killing troops, which allows them to hang around just a little longer.


I wonder if there's also a way to do it more cleanly, like a single roll to determine a total strength value of troops lost in the war.

I'm going to have to think on that one. Should losses just increase linearly, or should they scale up or down with increased army size?

Quote:
The Keep having a base strength of 4 is to prevent losing your Tower being so catastrophic. Going from 6 defense to 0 is just too much. This way, losing your Tower is bad, but it's not the end of your game (especially early in the game from evil bandits!) and is inline with the growth of Towers to Forts, etc.


I think I like this quite a bit.
 
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Alex Fiedler
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NateStraight wrote:

Agree.

I think I might find your tweak on it a bit too strong for my taste, though.

Last game we played, we considered [under the other conditions of my prior variant] allowing the saboteur to actually steal and/or activate the sabotaged tile.

I think that could be interesting. Anything to make the action GOOD for the saboteur.


Funny you should mention that as I was looking at a way to either "steal" a tile, or just be able to use any tile from another player.
I just couldn't find a way to make it work well.

Stealing a tile is very powerful and doesnt really sound like Sabotage. Plus, it punishes only one player, which is what attacks already do. This would also allow the leader to steal a tile from someone close behind, thus getting even further ahead (unlike attacks which is limited to those ahead of you).

Using another players tile doesnt work if you have to pay to use Sabotage, and it still doesnt match the meaning of sabotage. I was thinking of making this a new Baronial action though, just not sure what would be required to activate it.

Hitting all players with Sabotage is really just a single net gain for you. Of course, it assumes that they roll badly (and have no wizards) and more than 1 or 2 tiles are disabled. And those that are, are repaired fairly quickly and so might have no impact anyway. It's a risky move, which may not pay off. Still, not sure if it's overpowered or not.
Personally, I'm not a fan of any Sabotage mechanics in games, but I wanted to stick with the original intent of including such a mechanic.


I'm not sure on a cleaner way to do casualties. Given you could have 1 or 10 troops in a battle, there's no real way to roll just 1 die for it.

What would be REALLY cool, is if there was another War-Board, similar to each player's land, and you'd allocate your troops to certain spaces, and roll locations for casualties. anyway, silly brainstorming.
 
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Alex Fiedler
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Forgot to add the URL for the stickers that I have used so far...

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Alex Fiedler
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Another simple option for Sabotage, keep it the same as normal (except use any resource for payment), and before you destroy another players tile, you get to activate it first!
Of course, this almost becomes more powerful than an Attack.

I'm still of the mind to remove Sabotage as an option at all. Not a fan of negative actions, as they just bring a negative feel to the game.
 
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olivier andu
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not fan either of negative actions
but then, we could say that " sabotage "
is only allowed when you're 2 or 3 VPs behind ...
 
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