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Subject: Pre-Beta Rules Discussion rss

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Hi folks. Since this game will be having a beta stage where backers will help define the rules of the game, I thought I'd start a discussion of some early thoughts, based on the prototype ruleset so far (available here).


Partial Damage Scale

I was thinking about the limited number of units in this game and the many failed rolls in various videos of GA being played. In particular, I thought about golems with a low chance to hit, but which can do high amounts of damage.

Such units have an "all or nothing" nature right now: they sometimes do a ton of damage, but often do no damage at all. The issue with this reality is that it causes frustration most of the time. If this unit has good rolls, it vastly outperforms its point cost and the opponent is frustrated. If it rolls poorly, it accomplishes absolutely nothing and its owner gets frustrated.

One solution would be to have a Partial Damage Scale. Let me explain it with an example. Let's say Golem A needs a 60 to hit Golem B and do 40 points of damage. Currently, Golem A either does the full 40, or nothing at all.

My suggestion would be for Golem A to do full damage on a roll of 60+; half damage on a roll of 40-59; a quarter damage on a roll of 20-39; and no damage with a lower roll.

So that scale works out to:
[to-hit value or above] = full damage;
[to-hit - 20] = half damage;
[to-hit - 40] = quarter damage.

This could be further enhanced by saying that a roll of 0-10 always misses, and a roll of 90+ always does bonus damage (150%).

NOTE: This system would probably replace the current "Doubles result in a critical or a lucky hit" approach.



Such a modification to the system would lead to a lot less frustration and dependence on luck, and an increased ability to depend on your units (especially those which were reasonably accurate to begin with). That means your tactics can shine brighter than your dice rolls.
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Junior Chuang
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For me personally, I would really like to see an emphasis on faction play to really distinguish the different factions.

I am really tired of games where there's just a pool of units. The meta takes over and you get the same variation of two different armies in the gaming group.
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Aaron M.
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A thought I've had on the possibility of adding "mercenary" units to the game. One way to ensure an increased point cost to use such mercenary units (if included in your army build cost rather than being extra units on the field you can capture/control) is that they must be piloted by a named knight, and it has to be a Golem/Blood Knight from a specific "Mercenary" list, or faction. The "Vitta the Greedy" Blood Knight is an example. Maybe even make these knights a little more expensive than knights tied to a specific faction.

This is only if mercenaries are included in your own army build, of course. Although to keep things interesting, I'd also like to see an option where mercenaries are on the map, either as an AI army or as "bonus units" you can take control of during the game.
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JuniorC wrote:
For me personally, I would really like to see an emphasis on faction play to really distinguish the different factions.

I am really tired of games where there's just a pool of units. The meta takes over and you get the same variation of two different armies in the gaming group.
Agreed! I really hope that HBS has the app limit your choices based on the faction you chose. The Codex/Faction separation that they have already leads to more flexibility (and repetition); hopefully everything else is completely faction specific (Knights, Ancient Ones, and Elite Units).


zesu_shadaban wrote:
A thought I've had on the possibility of adding "mercenary" units to the game... I'd also like to see an option where mercenaries are on the map, either as an AI army or as "bonus units" you can take control of during the game.
Some really great ideas, Zesu. Mercenaries could be really cool, but might get into a bit of the meta gaming issue that Junior mentioned (unless each mercenary can only go with certain factions, so they can be tested and seen as not overpowered with those factions).

Now, having controllable assets on the board could be REALLY fantastic. That includes units, objective points (which I'm sure they're already planning on doing), resource locations (not sure how they'd be used, maybe in conjunction with controllable units), etc.

Lots of great options there.


Are you guys planning on getting into the beta testing? I'm pretty excited about it — should be fun!
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Aaron M.
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Gnolithic Studio wrote:
Mercenaries could be really cool, but might get into a bit of the meta gaming issue that Junior mentioned (unless each mercenary can only go with certain factions, so they can be tested and seen as not overpowered with those factions).
Well, there's already one Blood Knight planned with no faction, whose background is mercenary. Not sure what plans HBS has for him, but that's pretty much my inspiration for having mercenaries. Perhaps if there's some sort of limits on what golems a mercenary can use, or other penalties on mercenaries in general...even a limit, like only one mercenary golem allowed in a standard game.

Personally, I think we should have both "faction" and "meta" options available, maybe having the "meta" as part of a sandbox mode where we might have the option to input basic "house rule" info, too. I plan to play most of my games faction-only, and for any official games like tournaments and such that would be best, but there can't be any harm in a game between friends having mixed factions.

I'm sure this is all stuff we'll be able to hammer out during the beta testing though. I'm going to be in the beta testing, so I'll be sure to participate in whatever discussions, debates, etc. come up regarding these issues.
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I definitely see lots of potential for the mercenaries idea. And as long as they don't unbalance the game, I'm all for it. I just think that it may be easier to balance them if certain mercenaries can only go with certain factions.

Of course, you could also price them (points-wise) according to the best possible fit, which would mean that they would be overpriced elsewhere, but that would defeat the purpose I think.

Have you ever played Mordheim. It's actually a pretty cool skirmish game, with small warbands that gain experience over time (more on that in a sec). Anyway, Mordheim has mercenaries (they call them Dramatis Personae, special characters, essentially), which are costly, but can add some great abilities to your warband.

However, not every type of warband can hire every mercenary, so I think something like that works well. It allows the developers to block some really overpowered combinations. For instance, a cheap, effective long-range golem might be really nasty when combined with Durani, but in a Urugal army without any other shooting, that might be far less of an issue, especially if this golem is somewhat fragile. So ban it from factions that can use Durani.



As for meta gaming, there's definitely some of that already, in that codices apply to multiple factions. Plus some of the digital characters, and potentially mercenaries as we're saying, could apply to multiple armies as well.

Having said that, I don't mind a fully open, "house rules" mode either. I just think that the default should be more restrictive, and the sandbox mode should be used ONLY if all players agree. That I'm all for, personally.


Campaigns / Experience

Another feature that I really, REALLY hope makes it into the app, at least eventually, is a comprehensive campaign and experience system. This game is so perfectly suited for such a system, it would be practically criminal to not implemented.

Imagine this: you and a bunch of friends have your starting armies, and you get together to play your games, as normal. You play through a scenario, but at the end of it, your warriors gain experience and other rewards (including equipment and magic artifacts).

Over time your guys tend to get better and better, but occasionally they also become injured/damaged, which might have permanent effects on their abilities. You can decide to scrap some of the really damaged golems, replacing them with rookie ones, or stick it out with the old ones, taking their shortcomings with their improvements.

A whole narrative is created to your group's campaign this way. "Remember that time when John's Valkali became such a BEAST in close combat, but got a damaged leg and was sooooo slow? He'd run her around all game trying to engage, and everyone would just stay the heck away from her? Good times..."

That sort of thing cool

An app could keep track of such permanent information so much more easily than people. Where the post-game in Mordheim might take 15 minutes, with an app it could take 3 minutes.

Then you also have the prospect of further combining this campaign approach with the Living Fiction feature, and your campaigns suddenly have IMMENSE narrative immersion! Does this sound as awesome to others as it does to me?!?
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Aaron M.
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I could see the partial damage working, as long as it's applied to all golems and not just certain ones with high damage/low attack. My only concern with having bonus damage for the really high rolls is that if a real person is rolling, and not the app, there's an unusually higher chance of those dice giving you high results. I know a guy (and we've checked his dice) that, when he rolls percentages, almost always gets 80-99. If someone else rolls, they act normal. This guy's dice seriously LOVE him...and that would really kill anyone he went up against.
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Agreed, it would have to apply to all golems.

And the only reason I put the bonus damage (on rolls of 90+) is because they currently have critical hits in the game (on doubles that hit). But I suggested making it 150% instead of the full 200% damage.
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Junior Chuang
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Gonna be in Beta testing. Excited!
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James Monson
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Gnolithic Studio wrote:

Campaigns / Experience

Another feature that I really, REALLY hope makes it into the app, at least eventually, is a comprehensive campaign and experience system. This game is so perfectly suited for such a system, it would be practically criminal to not implemented.

Imagine this: you and a bunch of friends have your starting armies, and you get together to play your games, as normal. You play through a scenario, but at the end of it, your warriors gain experience and other rewards (including equipment and magic artifacts).

Over time your guys tend to get better and better, but occasionally they also become injured/damaged, which might have permanent effects on their abilities. You can decide to scrap some of the really damaged golems, replacing them with rookie ones, or stick it out with the old ones, taking their shortcomings with their improvements.

A whole narrative is created to your group's campaign this way. "Remember that time when John's Valkali became such a BEAST in close combat, but got a damaged leg and was sooooo slow? He'd run her around all game trying to engage, and everyone would just stay the heck away from her? Good times..."

That sort of thing cool

An app could keep track of such permanent information so much more easily than people. Where the post-game in Mordheim might take 15 minutes, with an app it could take 3 minutes.

Then you also have the prospect of further combining this campaign approach with the Living Fiction feature, and your campaigns suddenly have IMMENSE narrative immersion! Does this sound as awesome to others as it does to me?!?
I like this idea. I always try and do this in the games I play and having the app take care of things like that for you would be a really neat feature. I find I always play slightly differently when it's a character that I brought up.
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Jcmonson wrote:
I find I always play slightly differently when it's a character that I brought up.
Yeah, exactly! You develop an attachment to that character. I think that's pretty fun and should give the game some really nice longevity, especially when paired with Living World Fiction.
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Travis Bryant
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I like that Partial Damage Scale, since it's math-y stuff that is easily offloaded to the app. Plus it reminds me of the 13th Age RPG's "even a little damage on a miss" feature.
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I haven't played 13th Age, but that's the exact idea: to make your actions a bit more reliable by doing at least a little damage on most misses.

Oh, and zesu, this idea should actually be great AGAINST people who roll well: while they'll almost always hit anyway, this evens the odds a bit by helping you deal some damage on your (more frequent) misses.
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Daniel Cassidy
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I must say im all for the partial damage and this is the true potential of the app doing all the work for use. your system works well with current games but the app can run algorithims to really establish the break done of roll to damage ratios down to 1 point of damage. I think 125% is plenty for extra damage but then again the app come in because obviously if you only need a 25 to hit and you roll like 98 then 125% of the damage just isnt going to cut the chedder more like 200% would deff be more applicable there. and then theres these area effect attacks they surely would have a higher ratio to do at least some damage even if the "Area" attack missed them.
As for campagin/experience well i think if we dont see it here i would be highly disappointed as i really want to make a faction my own and have a knight represent me in my story senario games that gets better as he fights and that there would be a retreat/surrender button cos i would certainly rather retreat that loss mini me in battle unless it was the ultimate battle to end the story event and then i would die honourably in the heat of glorious battle.
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Yes, very good point on the retreat/surrender bit, Daniel. That would definitely have to be an option with the campaign setting.

And yes, I would also be happy with a more complex system that gives my partial damage idea some more granularity. As long as it keeps to that goal of making your actions more reliable (especially when we have so few golems on the board), I'm all for it.
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Daniel Cassidy
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I posted this on eretsu.net but there doesnt seem to be much action over there. battle tech had locational damage and the location of the damage would affect the mech in the game hitting gyros prevented torso turning engines slowed movement lossing heat sinks reduced the number of heat u could safely build up in a turn obviously your weapons could be damage to the point of being useless and a cockpit hit could be very bad but all these things were managed with a pen and paper i really think if HBS doesnt introduce a level of this to GA its missing out on the potential of using an app at all.

I didnt see the twitch video but one of the things im realy worried about is are golems gonna take melee hits without actively engaging in the melee attack or is it going to be i hit u on my turn taking into account your dodge stat and other modifiers and on your turn you hit me etc igougo and no interactivity outside of that. sorry the reason i was even thinking about was your partial damage and my locational damage working together i fail to roll the full value to hit your golem with my golems sword attack but with partial damage i should do enough damage to some part of u be that your shoulder or arm/bracer or the weapon u used to parry/block the sword attack. I worked out a system to do this for games with 40 mm models of humans it was a bit complex but that was the point of the game to have two skirmish units with about 5 to 7 per side and really focus on the detail. And with an app that level of detail has to be possible and if its not they might as well not be doing it.
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Here's another idea I posted on the KS page, but want to discuss some more:


Favors of the Gods

Allow players to buy Favors of the Gods, as part of their army building before the game. Each Favor of the Gods allows a player to turn a miss into a hit (regular hit, not a critical). They would be a bit pricey, so that taking too many of them is a sub-optimal. But having a few of them to use at a make-or-break point in the game could be the difference between winning or losing.

An interesting variant of this idea (and perhaps an even better version) would be to give every Ancient One the ability to use Mana to turn a miss into a hit. That would probably have to have a very expensive casting cost (and might make more sense to use BEFORE the attack to guarantee a hit), but it would give a player who is down a model an interesting way to catch up.

Mind you, the first version is nice in that it gives more layers: you could use your Mana normally if you're behind, AND make strategic use of your Favors.
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Aaron M.
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I can't decide which variant of "Favors of the Gods" I like better...having it separate from the Ancient Ones seems like a logical idea, although then it would mean introducing a completely new element into the game to deal with the "favors", and the question would be "is this going to use my mana, or will we be earning a completely separate set of favor points to use for this?"

As I think through it, maybe I like the idea of having Ancient Ones grant this ability better. But it could be taken a step further. Rather than give all Ancient Ones this same ability, maybe have only some of them provide it (at least one or two of the Ancient Ones included with the base game), and maybe give variations of the ability. For example, a Durani Ancient One might instead grant a "favor" where a hit is turned into a miss, instead. Or a crit only does normal damage. Maybe an Ancient One could, instead of making a miss a hit, turn a hit into a crit (at a much higher cost).
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Daniel Cassidy
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i just want to say im a greedy person and i want it all favours, partial damage, dynamic locational damage, gaining experience and the knight being responsible for the performance of the golem
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There are MANY possibilities there, for sure. I just hope they give everyone a chance to have luck-mitigating options.

That's what I liked about the idea of making it part of the army building process (using army points to pay for them). Everyone can use it, and it's a pre-game, strategic decision (do I want more/better guys, or more luck mitigation?).

I love pre-game strategic choices like that; they are what makes army building fun!
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