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Subject: [Warring Kingdom] Reviewers wanted! rss

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How The God
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Warring Kingdom's development has reached the second stage. Playtesters' opinions have been largely positive (thanks for all those contributed!!), and the game play and artwork are both finalized.

Between now and the kick off of Kickstarter, we are looking for reviewers! If you like games and want to talk about them, you qualify.

I have contacted all the usual suspects and people listed here: http://boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/Board_Game_Reviewers

but I would love to have even more reviews, especially from the everyday gamers. A print and play version of the game is on our site www.warringkingdom.com

Anyone interested?
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torontoraptors
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I opened the "Rules" section: "324 cards"...To much for me to PnP sorry.

PS: I downloaded the file, two times, and it gave an error both times.
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How The God
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torontoraptors wrote:


PS: I downloaded the file, two times, and it gave an error both times.


Thanks for the info! Just uploaded a newer version today, apparently the upload did not work correct. The download link should be fixed now.

If you want to play the two player version, you only need half that many cards. (184) Hope that helps!
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How The God
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Renewing effort; calling all reviewers!
 
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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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I'm a Golden Reviewer not on that list. I don't have means to do PnP though. Prototypes are okay.

Moshe
 
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Beau Bocephus Blasterfire
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If you send me a prototype, I'd be happy to play test it for you. I'm generally not much for PnP especially anything on a large scale.
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How The God
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I have a number of game crafter copies and can certainly make more. Thanks Moshe and Beau for your interest!

Can you take a look at the rules/cards online to guess if that's the type of games you'd be interested in? If so, please PM me your addresses and I'll see what I can do!
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secoAce -
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I'm a relative board gamer newbie (~1 year) but I'm willing to take a look at the game and help add the perspective of how approachable is the game. At the very least I can proofread the rulebook.

A first quick glance at the rules brings up 2 initial questions already:
1. How many players is the game designed for?
2. The rules say it comes with 12 dice. But for this PnP test, why type of dice do we need? All d6 or what?

Do you just want a review, or are you open to questions and tweaks? Your rulebook may need some revisions.
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How The God
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secoAce wrote:
I'm a relative board gamer newbie (~1 year) but I'm willing to take a look at the game and help add the perspective of how approachable is the game. At the very least I can proofread the rulebook.

A first quick glance at the rules brings up 2 initial questions already:
1. How many players is the game designed for?
2. The rules say it comes with 12 dice. But for this PnP test, why type of dice do we need? All d6 or what?

Do you just want a review, or are you open to questions and tweaks? Your rulebook may need some revisions.


Thank you for pointing these two things out! I'll update the rules right away. (2-4 players, 12 D6 will do. The customization is really to make it prettier...for now I'll take that out to avoid confusion)

I'm open to questions and (minor) tweaks. And I'm definitely open to clarifications. I agree; I can use a few extra pairs of eyes to perfect the rules. keep feedback coming.

Thank a bunch~

 
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We tried a 2-player game going over the rules several times. It seems like it could be a fun game with critical strategic resource management. It's a standard deck building game but you play competitive directly against your opponents. The game has potential, but there were a lot of questions, especially with combat and layout. We couldn't get through a whole game to the end because we had to guess on a lot of ambiguities and conflicting rules. Before writing up a full review, hopefully you can clear things up and maybe we can give the game another try.

Following are our major confusions and questions as well as some general notes, observations, and suggestions:

1. The first major area of confusion was the player board layout and combat. The 2 rows of 5 cards is easy to understand. But in the Combat section, is says you "rearrange his army into 5 fronts". First, this is the first time "army" and "front" appears in the rulebook. What do they mean? Previously in the rulebook, it defines a "unit" as a Soldier or Civilian. Does an "army" refer to only Soldiers?

What is the "front"? Later reading of the rulebook suggests that the "front" means column, but my friend and I debated back and forth between the Row 1 as the "Front" vs. actually moving 5 units into a new row called the "Front" which serves as the attacking row above Row 1.

We finally settled on the former interpretation after going through the Example, but the Combat rules seriously sounds like the later interpretation when it also says you can "choose to leave some units behind" when you rearrange your units to the "front". Player boards outlining the rows and identifying Row 1 as the attacking row would really help. I wouldn't mind a supply board or placemat too, but player boards seem really necessary.

At the very least, include a more descriptive diagram of what the attacker & defender boards look like lined up against each other. When they are aligned, it's easy to understand what I think the rulebook is saying about which "fronts" are attacking which column. But without being explicitly clear, it would be too easy to interpret the dice roll numbers for each column from the player's view. For example, the attacker's unit from Front 2 does not attack the defender's Front 2, but, if we're understanding how this works, the attacker's Front 2 attacks the defender's Front 4.

Player boards seem almost necessary for multiplayers. We played a 2-player game, so 2 players sitting opposite of each other naturally positions our player areas facing each other, so combat "fronts" or columns already line up to your opponent's "fronts". But I see this being very awkward with 3 or 4 players. Are the attacker and defender suppose to shift their cards to face each other during combat and then shift all the cards back after combat? If players had actual player boards or placemats, it would be easier to move your player board around to position your rows aligned with the player you want to attack sitting next to you.

2. Win condition: The game is suppose to be playable by 2-4 players, yet the game feels more like it was designed for 2 players. The player board positioning is one clear example of this. Another is the stated condition on how you win the game. Both the rulebook and the Castle card says you win if you defeat another player's Castle. So in a 4-player game, if player 1 defeats player 4's castle, then player 1 is clearly the winner per this win condition, and obviously player 4 loses. What about players 2 & 3? They didn't defeat the castle so they didn't win, but their castles still stand so technically they did not lose either. Do players 1,2,3 continue playing until there is only 1 Castle left standing?

3. Castle: The first paragragh in the Combat section says "the castle is always left behind" and the setup suggests the Castle remains in the 3rd row. The Winning section also says "It is not a unit, and can never be removed or moved." (Why is the Castle description at the end of the instructions??) But the rest of the Combat instructions say to move the Castle up a row when that slot is vacated. Which is it?

4. Castle: "...damages do not persist". What about the castle? 23 hit points is a lot to try and damage in a single attack turn and that's AFTER damaging whatever units stand in the front. That's why we didn't finish our game. We went maybe 10 rounds when after fiddling around with the rules we decided to gave up when considering how long it would take before you build up a large enough army to able to deal out 23+ HP.

5. Deploy phase and combat deploying: The ability to deploy 1 unit in a separate phase makes sense. But then why do both the attacker and defender have the ability to freely deploy during combat? That almost defeats the purpose of the 1-unit deployment limitation, plus it gives you a way to completely bypass that rule--wait until combat and you can deploy as you please.

6. Combat: "defend strength". I think this stat is mis-named because in other games, "defense" is a stat that tries to block (or subtracts from) the attack strength and that's what we kept wanting to do with this stat on the card. But according to the combat instructions, this is not what gamers have come to understand as a "defense" value, but it's really a counter-attack value. I suggest changing the term in the rulebook to "attack strength/counter-attack strength" to make it more intuitive. We don't see any actual way for defensive units to "defend" themselves from attacking damage.

7. Combat front advancement: When a unit leaves the first "front", do you have to move a unit from the 2nd front up, or is it optional? We both had archers in the 2nd row, but because its "counter-attack" strength is significantly higher than its "attack" strength, we wanted to keep the archers in the back.

8. Actually, the term "front" is very confusing. I'm not a wargamer, so it may be a familiar militery term, but I would interpret it as a front "line" as in first row of units. But the rest of the rulebook suggests a "front" is a column on your player board. I think you refer to "front" to mean different sides in a battle but I think that thematic analogy is lost when you are instructed to line up your units in 2 rows and 5 columns in your "city" as if the 10 units were a single force. Anyway, in our game, we changed the term to "column" to avoid confusion.

9. In the middle of the 2nd Combat Resolve section, it says: "If the front is completely vacant, the strike damages the first row enemy on the nearest non-empty front." -- Which side: left or right? Or is it player choice?

10. The last sentence in the 2nd Combat Resolve section says: "The attacker may choose which enemy to strike in case of a tie." -- A tie in what? We couldn't figure out what his rule refers to.

11. At the end of the Example, it says that Jessie may choose to not kill a unit with a Critical Hit. The option is nice, but why would you want to allow the player to keep the unit? Wouldn't it be better to strip your opponent's cards, return them to the supply where you can have a chance at getting the card?

12. Cards acquired during Actions: When you buy a card, the rules clearly state the new card goes into your discard pile. What about cards "gained" from an Action? For example, the Beggar's action reads "...turn this beggar into a warrior." If I read that literally, since the Beggar is in my hand, if I turn it into a Warrior, the Warrior should also be in my hand. It doesn't say what happens to the Beggar card so we just returned it to the Beggar supply pile. Same goes for the Town Guard's two "gain" abilities. This makes a difference because if I can pull a Warrior into my hand, then I can place a Warrior into my city on Turn 1.

13. Another Beggar question: Action reads "Discard two income cards..." Is this to be taken literally (you learn to read card text literally from MtG) that you have to have 2 income *cards*? You can't use 2 income from your Castle?

14. I also learned from MtG that whoever strikes first and then strikes hard has the advantage, and in a game where it's race to take down your opponent's before he does yours, that was our focus. In the first few turns of our game, we were flipping Beggars into Warriors, Town Guards into more Beggars for Warriors and gaining other soldiers, line them up quickly.

Because the the Buy phase instructions says you chose only 1 Merchant and reveal the top 3 cards from which you may purchase, we were almost always flipping over the Mercenary deck to get as many soldiers deployed as possible to attack and defend. There was little incentive, at least in our single short-lived game attempt, to try opening up the other decks. The Civilian deck got chosen only once and the other 2 decks were untouched.

Note that we didn't read through the cards before playing. I'm sure the other cards are useful for the game as the rulebook Example reveals that weapons can add to the attack strength. But it seemed like putting up a strong defense before your opponent attacks was crucial and there might be more interest in other cards if the game was at a slower pace where maybe you can't attack the first few rounds to give you time to build your deck and city.

Also, forcing you to visit only 1 merchant might throw in some strategic planning to focus your choices, but if say 1 card from each merchant were revealed for purchase instead, it might draw more interest to at least take a look at what the other decks offered.

15. Setup; What is the purpose of removing 5 cards from each merchant deck? Is it to add variance to games? Losing another card just to identity the deck seems like another waste when a placard would work better or a full supply board.

16. Pay Upkeep phase: The instructions make it sound like an all-or-nothing deal--either you have enough total income to pay the upkeep or not. Do you have a choice of which card's upkeep you want to pay and which to discard?


Suggestions on how to improve on the rulebook:

* Explain all the in-game terms in the beginning and keep them consistent. For example, why call the "soldier" class deck "mercenaries"? When I first tried to play the Town Guard, I had to go back to the rules to find out which was that deck since the term doesn't appear on any card name or class type.

* The Castle card is so important, that it needs a more detailed description in the beginning than just a side note near the end of the rulebook.

* Move the Playing Area section before the game steps. The "Deploy" section says to the city, but at this point in the rules, it doesn't explain what is the "city".

* Add instructions for the first turn. Draw 5 cards for your hand is the last step in the turn order which means there needs to be special instructions to draw your first hand. The setup instructions stop at shuffling your initial player deck.

* The Attack section just stops after 1 sentence then moves to the next phase. It's fine the a more detailed Combat section appears after introducing all the phases, but then it needs a comment to refer to another Section instead of leaving you with nothing else and wondering how the Attack is suppose to work.

* The attack-or-buy restriction is important enough that it should be emphasized at the beginning of both sections. You never lose out if you say important concepts repeatedly.
 
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How The God
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Thank you for trying it out! I apologize for the rule confusions; not being a native English speaker, sometimes it's hard to balance flavor, clarity, and brevity. I will update the rulebook to clarify the points you have asked.

In the meantime, here are answers to your questions, hopefully this will clear things up!

1) A unit is a soldier or civilian, an army is simply a collection of units. The only difference between units of different classes/subclasses is around equipment restrictions.

A "front" is a column, (idea from Roman Cohorts). That's why a player has 5 fronts. There are only four rows between two players in combat(if you count the row the defender's castle is on, 5) The There is no "new row" called the "front". "Leaving units behind" refers the fact the attacker does not have to attack with all he cards he has in hand/board; some of them can "stay behind" so they will never take part in the combat the attacker is initiating. This can be a good option if the attacker does not want to bring defenseless civilians to fight.

And yes, attacker's 2nd front attacks opponent's 4th. Everything is left to right from your (the controlling player's) perspective.

I will reconsider player mats. I had it for the initial design, but there were feedback they were not needed after the first game, and does increase the production cost significantly. Your castle visually and functionally demonstrates where all of your units are (e.g, a unit directly in front of the castle is on the 3rd column, 2nd row)

2) The game was not designed for 2 players, and initial design, playtesting and balance all resolved around 3-4 players. I find player elimination to be of poor taste. So if Player 1 destroys player 2's castle, player 1 wins, and everyone else loses. Why do you they Player 2 and 3 do not "technically lose"? Of course, there may be the psychological arguments that they are"losing less", but that's like any other game. Consider, for example, Hearts (simple card games always serve as best examples ) One person will reach 100 points and "really lose" the game, while the person with the least number of points win. the other two, while not losing as much psychologically, lost the game anyway. If you don't win a game, and the game ends, then you lose.

3) "Always left behind," in the context you you named, is referring to the fact when a player attacks another player, the attacker does not "bring" his castle with him. The castle is "left behind". The castle never moves, but for the purpose of calculating proximity during combat, you can think of the castle as something that "moves up" when the space before it is vacant. I hope that makes sense!

4) Damages do not persist. 23 HP in a single attack is not as difficult as it sounds; if you have a couple of warriors (the cheapest melee soldier) next to each other, for example, they would each do 6 damage per strike. If one of them had a decent weapon, say, spear, he would do 13 damage per strike. If he's on the center column/front, and the defender's center is vacant, a pair of 3s will finish the game. I understand you probably haven't got to the high-end units, but a catapult (cost 11) deals 21 damage per strike, and can strike the 2nd row (ie, your center catapult can strike the castle even when there's still a defender left in the middle). You can see why that would end the game rather abruptly.

5) You can't deploy "all" of your units when attacking; only the units in your hand, which generally means 5 cards, at most. As a result, to muster a big army (anyone scared of 10 well-equipped soldiers?), you'd have to deploy them. Further, drawing cards is a rather unreliable way to defend, you never know when you'll have a handful of income cards. Standing army would therefore be quite useful. I really do not wish to get into a discussion about strategy here, just rule clarification, so let me just say that the rule is as-intended; during combat both defender and attacker can deploy any number of cards from their hands.

6) Interesting. I understand "defense" is not the most ideal word, that's why I try to say "defend strength" as much as I can to try to avoid the keyword. That said, I'm open to changing it. Counter-attack sounds to me like the amount of damage you do when a unit is striking you, which is not what I want neither. Do you have any other suggestions on what to call it? "Defend strength" really means "the amount of damage a defending player's unit does, per strike, to enemy units he is facing".
It is possible to increase "defense" as you understand it, that is, to reduce the amount of damage received per strike. Some cards (mostly armors, which I hope makes intuitive sense) specifically say "reduce the amount of damage received by X if Y". You'll know it when you see it!

7) Yes, you have to. As the rule says, it is "automatic", meaning you don't have a choice. I am confused at what you mean in your example though. "Attack strength" refers to the amount of damage the attacking player's units do, per strike; whereas "defend strength" is the amount of damage defending player's units do. An archer on the attacking player's side will do 2 damage per strike whether he is standing on the first row or second; likewise a defending player's archer will do 7 damage whether he is on the first row or second. The only difference between placing an archer on the first row Vs the second row is how vulnerable he is to enemy strikes. (If you put an archer behind a beggar, the beggar provides excellent human shield for the archer, since enemy would have to get rid of that beggar before striking the archer).

8) I'll try to clarify the use of the word front. A front is a column.

9 and 10) They are related. 10) answers the question you are posing in 9). In other words, when two enemy units are equally close, the striking player decides which unit (left or right) he wants to strike.

11) Clarification: you HAVE TO use a critical hit (a roll of 6) if you can. In the example Jessie did not roll a 6. Instead, she cleverly reordered her strikes so that a units would be wounded by a warrior without axe, avoiding killing the opponent's unit. She did not "choose not to kill a unit with a critical hit".

As to "why on earth would anyone do that", again, I try not to mention strategy, so players can play and break the game. What I can say is that I have seen players deliberately choose not to kill opponent's lesser units so they go back to opponent's deck, making the deck fatter, hence making the player weaker on the whole. This is similar to giving an opponent an estate or copper in Dominion.

12) All gained cards go to discard pile.

13) Yes, please take this "literally". Income cards, not coins. Copper, silver, and gold are all examples of income cards, while coins refer to invisible currency in the game. Beggar's card does not say "-2 coins to turn..." but "discard two income cards to turn...".

14) I'm gladly players can relate to other games, but my suggestion is, like any other game, do not try to just copy-paste strategy from an existing game. In fact, I tried very, very hard to make sure strategies are difficult to migrate, forcing the players to think and play Warring Kingdom, not MtG or Dominion in disguise. Feel free to play in any style you wish, but I do believe attacking first does NOT necessarily give you an advantage, nor do you need to rush to amass army right away, because what you pointed out earlier: castle is hard to kill. Among other things, remember that the attacker CANNOT buy anything new, that low level cards (town guards, warriors, archers etc) have much higher defense strength than attack strength, and that the defender gets to deploy from hand AFTER attacker's formation is fully settled.

15) Removing 5 cards is a fairly new addition to the setup in order to lessen the effect of card counting. There are 6 copies of each non-standard supply cards, so if a traveling merchant deck is almost empty, a player could potentially know exactly what's left without visiting the traveling merchant. Removing 5 cards get rid of that. I have no strong feeling towards this setup rule; feel free not to burn 5 cards from each deck, and not to flip over a card at the beginning to help denote which deck is which.

16) Pay attention to the red note in the middle of page 3, which tells you that a player can discard any/all cards on his board at any point during his turn. Effectively, what that means is that right before the pay phase, you can discard any units that you don't want to pay upkeep to. As such, it is not all-or-nothing. A player can choose as pay phase starts (or at any point in his turn for that matter) pick-and-choose what cards he wants to get rid of.

And finally, those are some good questions accompanied by a great list of suggestions; many of those (glossary, for example) are already underway! I'll update the rules based on feedback, and please let me know if I can help clarify anything else. I hope and wholeheartedly believe it's a game you'd love.

Happy gaming, and thanks a bunch!!! Keep the suggestions coming!

Edit: I have updated the rules online; I will do more as time permits. So far, I have incorporated many of your suggestions, included a class chart and glossary, and cleaned up ambiguous words.
 
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Thank you for taking the time to seriously consider our questions and comments.

6. I read the updated rulebook and the stat changes on the card layout are a good idea. Aligning the offensive and defensive strengths vertically makes much more sense showing them as 2 different attack strengths. Having them horizontally divided by a slash would to be easily interpreted as an attack/toughness stat which is not what that second number is suppose to represent. Maybe a little more explicit clarification can help remove any mistake of interpreting the defensive strength as a blocking strength by calling the stats "offensive attack strength" and "defensive attack strength". The descriptions are used only in the rulebook so the length of the description doesn't affect the cards.

The card class chart at the end is also a nice touch.

There were still some questions.

Combat
7. Combat is still very confusing. You said that being "left behind" means that you can choose to not attack with some of your cards. So you move your units up to the first row and these are your attackers, and units "left behind" in the 2nd row are not attacking, correct?

But then the rulebook (last paragraph on page 4) says that whenever there is an empty front, then you move the unit from the 2nd row up to the first, and you replied there is no choice here. That would mean even if you wanted to leave behind a unit in the 2nd row, it could still possibly end up in combat. Or does the moving up front apply to only the defender, and the attacker does not move his units up?

The defender can't rearrange his units, but he still has to move units up to the 1st row if it's empty. So is this row advancement not considered "rearranging", or do you mean you can't rearrange your cards during the combat setup?

If the moving up front applies to only the Defender, then as the attacker, do you have to have all 5 fronts occupied? Say you have only 3 soldiers and 4 civilians and you want to attack with only your soldiers. Do I have to put 2 Civilians in the first row to attack?

Regarding my questioning before about the unlimited deployment during Combat, I see now that not drawing enough income to pay for deployed units keeps the number of units deployed on your board. So giving you the ability to deploy more when you need them during combat helps to off-balance that.

Castle
3.
harrytgao wrote:
The castle never moves, but for the purpose of calculating proximity during combat, you can think of the castle as something that "moves up" when the space before it is vacant. I hope that makes sense!

Either it moves up or it doesn't.

It almost sounds like you are saying that the castle doesn't move so it physically stays in the 3rd column, but during combat if the 2 rows in front of the castle are empty, the castle is vulnerable to direct attack damage "as if it's in the 1st row. Is that what you are saying?

But the rulebook example describes Harry moving his Castle to the 2nd row. Or do you mean the Castle does move during Combat, but when combat ends and you survive, the Castle returns to the 3rd row? This isn't described anywhere in the rulebook, but it's the only rationale I can think of to make sense of your statement. Either that of the virtual Castle movement.

Removing cards from merchant decks
15. I like your attempt to try minimizing the possibility of card counting so as to keep the game fair and add a little unknown element to the game. Some people may not like any kind of randomness, but not knowing exactly what will come up actually requires strategy to think on the spot during the game. The only thing is this works only the first time you go through a deck. After the first time and reshuffling it, the number of cards available has been revealed and you can still end up counting cards.

Since you're not sure if you want to include this rule, either put it in as an option for variance. Or another thought is to continue to remove 5 or so cards from the deck each time it gets reshuffled and that will keep the counting more difficult each time.

Number of cards in the game
The other thing, per the PnP instructions, I printed out only half the number of total cards for a 2-player game. Is this 2-player setup going to be in the rulebook, or is a 2-player game expected to use the total number of cards? This could make a difference because with half the number of cards, after dealing out the initial player decks, it leaves only 2 copies each of the Copper, Beggar, and Town Guard available in the Supply.

Game length

How long is a game suppose to run? Granted our first game took up a lot of time trying to sort out the rules for the first time, but it went an hour and we didn't even finish the game.
 
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Thank you again for asking for more quesitons, and choosing to do so on a forum where others can benefit from the same questions. I find your questions this time around to be very, very informed, and I will likely take in just about every suggestion you made here on rule clarificaiton. I'm very glad you like the rule changes, layout changes and the class chart.

To further answer your questions:

Combat:
7) Let's talk about the attacker and defender separately. For the defender, you cannot "leave anything behind". Enemy is at your gate, and everyone is potentially vunerable. For the attacker, leaving behind is not the same as being on the second row; the attacker's army consists of 10 slots, 5 on the first row, 5 on the second, so any civilian on the second row would in fact be "Brought along" to the fight, and is potentially vunerable, especially if the front row dies.

Instead, besides placing it on the "front row" or the "second row", the attacker has a 3rd option; keep all civilians (or in general, any card that the attacker does not wish to use to fight) near the castle (or turn it side ways, or put it aside for now; or put it in the same row as castle, or flip it over...). Basically, use any strategy to mark the units you are not bringing. They are not on the front or second row of the combat; they are not in combat at all. I hope that makes sense! (I will pick one of the above mechanisms as the "official" one and put it in the rules; which one you like best? I have personally being turning things sideways, like "Tapping" in MtG)

I believe you fully understand the rest of the combat. Defender can't rearrange during combat set up. All "movements" during combat, for both sides, are automatic. The only rule for movement is that all cards remain in the same column, while trying to move as close to the first row as possible.

Attackers can have as many empty columns/fronts as they want; that said, say your 1st front is empty, and you rolled five 1's, tough luck; you don't attack. If the enemy rolled five 5s (so would be striking your 1st front, which is empty), their attacks are not wasted, since they can hit the nearest enemy (which would be attacker's 2nd front in this example). In other words, you can leave it blank; but being out numbered is not good.

Castle:
3. You are absolutely correct, that the castle rules are not well written. I will fix it. What I do is
"the Castle does move during Combat, but when combat ends and you survive, the Castle returns to the 3rd row",
but if it makes more sense for you to
"move so it physically stays in the 3rd column, but during combat if the 2 rows in front of the castle are empty, the castle is vulnerable to direct attack damage"as if it's in the 1st row."
The result would be EXACTLY the same. These two scenarios have no gameplay differences at all; it's purely semantics/how you want to think of it.

Removing cards
I have only heard of one game where one traveling merchant was reshuffled, then all the cards were used again. Given how rarely this occurs, I don't see a need to complicate the rules further by adding a rule around reshuffling cards back in.

A 2 player game with half-cards feel very similar to a 4 player game; you would have one copy of copper, beggar, and town guard per player. It is as intended. On the flip side, if you have a full game, that works well with 2 players too; strategy will have to adjust based on the scarecity of the game, but overall feel and balance are both maintained. I actually personally like with half cards for 2 players, otherwise there are virtually unlimited supply of everything, which makes the game a little easier by removing resource competition.

However, as I said earlier, the removing cards mechanism was introduced recently, as a result, taking 5 cards out from a half-deck is not what I imagined. This is a mistake on my part; please ONLY REMOVE two cards from each traveling merchant when you have a half deck. I will extract 2-player variant rule from the main set of rules later.

Game Length
2 player games between seasoned players tend to last 30-40 min. I generally expect games to last around 60 min for evenly matched newer players. I rarely see a 2 player game last more than 90 min, even as the very first game.

Again, appreciate your questions, and I find them to be very helpful. I will continue to work on the rules!
 
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Combat
harrytgao wrote:
Instead, besides placing it on the "front row" or the "second row", the attacker has a 3rd option; keep all civilians (or in general, any card that the attacker does not wish to use to fight) near the castle (or turn it side ways, or put it aside for now; or put it in the same row as castle, or flip it over...). Basically, use any strategy to mark the units you are not bringing. They are not on the front or second row of the combat; they are not in combat at all. I hope that makes sense! (I will pick one of the above mechanisms as the "official" one and put it in the rules; which one you like best? I have personally being turning things sideways, like "Tapping" in MtG)

You're going to have really go into detail to explain this in the rulebook because I no clue that being "left behind" means actually removing the cards from "The City" as you call the player board area. The board layout picture in the rulebook is what was understood where all the cards are placed. Remember that the included rulebook will be the only source of instructions many gamers will have on how to play the game so it has to explain everything.

Since you asked, how about this...The first 2 rows are your lines of troops used in combat. Castle remains in the 3rd row. Your board layout already suggests putting your deck and discard piles on the 3rd row on either side of the Castle, so there's little room on the 3rd row. Prior to the attack, all your units exist only in the first 2 rows. In setting up your attack, whatever units you don't want involved in combat are moved down to a temporary 4th row beneath the Castle. Flavorwise, think of it as your non-combat units retreating to the safety and shelter behind your Castle walls. That eliminates a need for markers and you can keep the cards upright. It might also be important to keep individual cards face up so everyone is reminded what you still have available.

So the non-combat cards are actually not "left behind" because it is your combat units that are the ones staying in the first 2 rows. Instead, non-combat units "retreat" or "pull back" from the combat rows to be protected behind your Castle.
Yes, this is a matter of semantics, but a rulebook is suppose to outline all the necessary instructions on how to mechanically play the game. Flavor is fine, but it comes second after clarity.

The next question that comes out of this is what happens to the non-combat units after combat? If they are to be returned to the first 2 rows, are there any rules governing how and where you place them back?

As for the rationale of leaving empty columns to attack, as you stated in your first reply, these would a strategic decision you make. The difference is the rules need to be clear about what you are allowed to do. I read the rules as if you have to fill up all 5 columns, so if that is the case, then I can't even attack with 4 columns even if I wanted to. So be sure the rules indicate it's up to the player to decide how many columns he wants to fill up for the attack.

Castle
It's more than semantics because you want to be absolutely clear what are the rules and not leave people guessing or misinterpretting what you mean, and in this case, the rules are very confusing. The combat setup rules explicitly say to move the Castle up--that's a literal movement. But there is nothing in the rulebook that says to return the Castle back to the 3rd row after combat, so we initially played it by leaving the Castle on the first row after combat.

Since it doesn't seem to matter to you whether you physically move up the Castle or not as long as it's in the 3rd row after combat, I'd suggest not moving the Castle at all. It's easily understood that a unit attacking a column will attack the next available unit/building in that column no matter which row it's in. (That calls into question if you even need to move units up a row at all, but that doesn't affect game play.)

The rulebook already states in a couple of places that the Castle does not move (buildings don't move anyway), so take out the text about it moving during combat to keep it simple.

Removing cards
As long as the setup is how you intended it to be, that's fine. I was just doing a little brainstorming with some ideas since you were still working through that.


Thanks for sorting out the rules and I don't mean to come across to critical but hopefully a perspective from a complete new player to the game can help you flesh out your rulebook. Remember to write the rules for people who've never seen your game before or may not even be very familiar with games. You have to explain every step expected to be made, everything you are required to do, what you're not allowed to do if there's any ambiguity about that, and don't use jargon and flavor text if it obscures the clarity of the rules.
 
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Great suggestions! I'll rewrite the castle-movement concept for sure, as well as make attacking more clear. I know the combat section of the rule is the most confusing, but as the creator it is hard to clarify some of the things...after all, everything is clear to me! That's why I really appreciate your inputs.

I do believe you have a quick question in your suggestions--what to do with non-attacking units after combat. Remember that you can rearrange your cards at any point during your turn, and it is obviously during your turn, or you won't be able to attack someone. So, long story short, you have to put all your cards in your playing space (the two rows of five) after combat. You rearrange and discard any/all units that were pulled back or fight in combat. At the end of the turn, just be sure you only have cards in your 2 rows of 5, and that your castle is where it belongs--in the middle, behind the 2nd row.

I like the 4th row idea, or at least spell it out as the "official rule", whereas I can see more seasoned player may not want to fiddle with half of their board every time they attack, would much rather just turn them sideways or something. But hey, that's cool too; you are right, I have to write the rules to be clear to people who wish to have strict guildlines, and if players want their own house rule or what not, good for them!

Let me know if you think of anything else, or have any other questions. I hope you'll have a few fun and epic games!
 
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Warring Kingdom is now live on Kickstarter! However, we are still looking for last-minute reviewers if anyone can turn it around quickly. We have done some extensive rewriting of the rules, and have already heard good things from reviewers...so I expect new reviewers' experience to be very smooth!
 
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James Mathe
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I have updated my Game Reviewers page and it now contains 84 reviewers and a summary table right on the page you can sort. You can still download the full spreedsheet too.

http://www.jamesmathe.com/o-reviewer-reviewer-wherefore-art-...
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