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Subject: Dragon Ball Z retheme rss

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Mariusz Kosecki
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Hi!

Sorry for this long post. I just wanted to share my recent retheme of Love Letter with you. I'm a big fan of the game, I have two decks and a custom box created for it and I was also a huge fan of DBZ series. Hence my retheme. Instead of delivering your letter to the Princess, you need to be the strongest person if it comes to showdown and additionally, you need to protect Goku from being killed... Why, you say? Because at the time being when the game is played, he has already died on Earth and came back from Other World to help the others. Another kill in his condition means he is gone permanently...



I have prepared additional cards and have altered some powers to make the game more thematic and to fit it in the DBZ universe Tell me what you think about them:

1) Guard replaced by Piccolo with his Special Beam Cannon that can pierce anyone if they are hit directly. No changes here.
2) Priest replaced by
2a) Kami, who is the almighty god that looks upon us from the sky. No changes here.
2b) Raditz with Scouter, who can detect the Power Level from high distances, thus allowing the player to take a look at the discarded card or at another player's hand.
2c) Future Trunks, who is able to go back in time. Obviously, he can see what card the other player has. Additionally, if the other player holds Freeza, they are out of the round and in case of Cell, the player has to discard it and draw a replacement. So a huge change here.
3) Baron replaced by Cell in two distinct forms: Perfect + Imperfect. Basically, no changes here BUT, if a player has both Cells on their hand, the Perfect Cell gains Power Level equal to 6 instead of 3 for the comparison. The comparison is (thematically) called Cell Games
4) Handmaid replaced by
4a) Gohan which is very mad and keeps you protected from attacks until the next turn. Slight change here: player can be targetted, although without effect + Gohan beats Perfect Cell in Cell Games.
4b) Krillin with his Solar Flare attack, he blinds potential attackers and keeps the player away from trouble. No changes here.
5) Prince replaced by Freeza, who is obviously hunting Goku and tries to kill him with the Death Beam. If player holds another character in his hand, it means this character was hit by Death Beam and sacrificed himself to protect Goku. (too far-fetched?). No changes here.
6) King replaced by King Kai. I have chosen this character to fit the theme. You choose another player and King Kai causes your character to participate in a special training with that player's character, hence swapping your hands. No changes here.
7) Vegeta had to be the closest strong person to Goku. He is so proud that will not participate in King Kai's training, so he leaves when together with King Kai. His pride doesn't allow him to let Freeza kill Goku, so he delays Freeza's attack by being discarded when both of them are in hand. No changes here.
8) Goku obviously. You are out of the round if you discard him and he wins all the tests. No changes here.

I have also introduced two special cards: Dragon Balls and Shenron. They give the player ability to "resurrect" one of the characters, hence using the resurrected card's ability like it would have just been played. The card's Power Level is 0, so you lose all tests if compared. Although, they cannot be targeted by Piccolo (i.e. Guard), since it wouldn't make sense thematically.

Below are my personal opinions:
What I like about the retheme:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
1) Love Letter is so fast and gut-feeling driven that I didn't want to drastically balance my retheme. Although I don't think I made it more random than original.
2) The theme appeals to me (of course).
3) 24 cards give it so much replay value. You can make different sets with different card abilities that you prefer. Normally, a 2-4 players game should still be played with a set of 16 cards (alternatively 18, if played with zeroes).
4) I love how I could put Vegeta in the game as almost strongest character but at the same time as much useless because of his pride (which works thematically as well as mechanically).


What I dislike about my design:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
1) Too much text on the cards - I wanted to make the font legible and I tried to put as much thematic taste in the cards' explanations that I think I have overdone that part...
2) At first it's hard to remember all the card names (sometimes, even for me!), so there were couple occasions during the playtest when I said "you have five" or "you have handmaid!", but that's only matter of time to memorize that
3) Goku wins all the tests when compared in Cell Games (i.e. thanks to Baron) but has to be protected and is so "easy" to kill in my retheme. I didn't find any good, thematic explanation for that but I think that could be too much of nitpicking.


What are/were my thoughts:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Piccolo might seem to be underpowered with all the changes and additions but I think it is well balanced by introducing the *zero* cards (i.e. Shenron and Dragon Balls) that give you the ability to play Piccolo 7 times instead of usual 5 during a round.

Trunks seems to be overpowered with his ability to knock out the opponent but I don't think it is too much of a problem. First of all, he knocks out only Freeza, which of course is the main opponent in this game. Trunks also forces Cell to be discarded - meaning that the player who played Trunks didn't take any advantage of seeing the opponent's hand... Again, if your opponent didn't discard their card, it means they do not hold Cell nor Freeza but that is information available to all the other players, so I think this is at least mitigated slightly.
I see Trunks as a good addition to 3-6 player games, maybe 4-6 and Raditz as a very good tactical choice for 2-3 players.

IMO everyone I know is angry when ending up with 2 Barons in hand (that's not true in 4p games when still nobody is knocked out) so I tried to make it up for that situation in my retheme, hence the boost from 3 to 6 when a player holds two Cells (i.e. Barons). Of course, there are some occasions when player with Baron and e.g. Priest plays Baron to knock out an opponent with Guard (I even made that several times and even in 2p games) but that is left to player's choice and double Baron on the other hand is forcing the player to play the Baron (there's no choice), which is bad IMO.

Similarly as above, I made Gohan (i.e. Handmaid) to be able to be targeted but without effect, to make it up for the situation when the other player holds Prince and Princess and has to play the Prince on themselves. I don't see that as something bad (in the terms of mechanics; in fact, I like this slight amount of aggressiveness coming from Handmaid) so that's an option: Gohan can be targeted (similarly to Seiji Kanai's Priestess) while Krillin can not (similarly to AEG's Handmaid). Players choose which version they want to play.

I didn't want to limit the "zero" cards (I saw some propositions of Jester as a new character copying another ability) because I think those should be as flexible as they can, their Power Level = 0 is already a huge limitation.

Another thing: some cards have red-colored background for the text and others are blue-colored. I thought about a variant where player that wins the round gains a point if they hold a blue-colored card and two points if it is a red-colored card. I think that could be a neat idea and I need to test it sometime. First of all, the red-colored cards are low: 0, 2, 3 and 5. Second of all, while 0 is often immediately played and 3 is often discarded by Trunks character + 5 is sometimes outed by the same character, it becomes dangerous to hold on to 5. That's why I considered this (score 2 points for winning with red-colored card in hand) as a fine addition.


We have played a 4p game several days ago and it was a blast! Trunks didn't make the game bad - the card added a lot of interaction, Shenron and Dragon Balls were a nice addition and eventually, when my opponent played Imperfect Cell and compared his Perfect Cell with my Gohan card, I felt so much satisfaction that I almost never did when playing vanilla Love Letter

If nobody has any objections and there is any interest in it, I'm willing to upload the cards to bgg. At this time, I only have the Polish version of the cards but I don't see any problem with doing a translation in some spare time.

A photo of a one round playtest (player on the left lost the round due to Trunks being played on Freeza):


I would be grateful for any feedback!

I didn't use some of the well-known characters from the anime (e.g. Boo, Ginyu Force, Broly, Cooler) but they are all available in my another DBZ retheme, this time for BraveRats
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Eric Engstrom
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Heya. I really like your retheme (with alternating powers on same numbered cards) and would love to try it out sometime. The only card I don't like is Future Trunks. I think it's probably awesome enough without him. But it looks like you've played it out and it all came out well.
 
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Mariusz Kosecki
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bungeeboy wrote:
Heya. I really like your retheme (with alternating powers on same numbered cards) and would love to try it out sometime. The only card I don't like is Future Trunks. I think it's probably awesome enough without him. But it looks like you've played it out and it all came out well.

Thanks!

I know Trunks may seem overpowered or too complex character but we didn't find any issue when playing. It changes your strategy a lot. But it brings more decision making for the player in comparison to vanilla Priest which was very bland like Baron (hence, I also introduced Cell to make it more attractive).

I may prepare an English version of the cards some day if there's interest in that. Not sure if I can post my cards on bgg though. On one hand, they are very different than AEG version and I won't make any profit on them, on the other hand, it's still Love Letter retheme...

Do you have any other ideas for abilities? Or any idea what could replace Future Trunks' ability?
 
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Francisco Andrade
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Hi There, did you made the english translation?
I can translate to english if you share the cards without texts.
 
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Mariusz Kosecki
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chicoandrade wrote:
Hi There, did you made the english translation?
I can translate to english if you share the cards without texts.

Hello!

I think I have some cards with English texts. I'm not sure if they are up-to-date, I will check that in a few days.
Otherwise, do you know how to use Gimp? I have all the cards with textboxes in an *.xcf file.
 
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