Sam London
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First off, a disclaimer: I have not played Exceed yet and have simply read the rules and cards present in the demo version. That being said I have played a ludicrous amount of Battlecon, which has been my #1 game for years in a collection of hundreds of games.

After reading the rules and cards I feel like I am excited about Exceed for poor reasons and disappointed for the right reasons.

The biggest issue I run into with my Battlecon addiction (not an issue I have with the game itself mind you) is getting people to play the game more than once. The characters are so varied that it is easy for new players to become overwhelmed by the combined burden of knowledge of who they are playing with and who they are fighting against. It is pretty obvious to me that Exceed succeeds in diminishing this learning curve a great deal. As such, I will likely back the kickstarter and purchase a number of sets because it will be easier to get my friends who aren't enamored with Battlecon to play it with its simpler rules and eventual licensed IPs.

That being said, and once again this is based on rules impressions only, I imagine I will always wish that I was playing Battlecon. What worries me is that every character is going to be summarized as 14 cards that get shuffled with normal moves to form a 30 card deck along with a double sided character card. The proposed standard release will be packs of four characters which neatly add up to 60 cards in a pack. This broadcasts to me one big thing loud and clear: no extra cards, counters, or tokens to allow for zany and interesting characters.

The extra cards and cardboard that are part of the various character kits in Battlecon are what allow the characters to feel so varied and unique. The style-base combinations also have a lot to do with that obviously, but the real creative design space lies in what else a kit is bringing to the table, literally and figuratively. If Exceed does not allow space in its design for this sort of variety I have serious doubts as to how unique the characters are going to be able to feel. This is especially true when I consider that the plan is to use multiple disparate licences to create characters.

I hope I am wrong about this, though I do not think that I am. There is no place in the rule book that mentions or accommodates extraneous game components associated with specific characters. I am about as big of a Level99 fanboy as you will find, so I have every bit of faith that the game will be good. I just can't help but feel disappointed with what I have seen as an evolution or derivation of the Battlcon system.
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Aaron White
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I had similar fears at first and felt like a big chunk of the game was stripped. But have a close look at the boost actions. There is a lot going on there, but I cannot work it out just by looking at the cards. Please be posted for next week when I have my PnP, once I get this to the table then I can advise how well it works.
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Alison Mandible
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Rook96 wrote:
I had similar fears at first and felt like a big chunk of the game was stripped. But have a close look at the boost actions. There is a lot going on there, but I cannot work it out just by looking at the cards.


I think this is exactly right. It's easy to imagine variants on BattleCON's token-based characters that would function in Exceed. Suppose Hikaru's specials had Boost effects that looked like this:

FIRE
Before:
Choose one: +3 Power, or keep this Boost in play after the Strike is over.

EARTH
Before:
Choose one: Armor 3, or keep this Boost in play after the Strike is over.

or if Aria had a boost that said "Put this Boost in a space on the board. Opponents who end a Strike adjacent to this card's space lose 1 life."

The freedom to leave cards in play to represent effects (instead of needing them to almost always go to Discard 1 to keep BattleCON's hand management dynamics in balance) actually opens up a ton of design space.
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grasa_total wrote:


I think this is exactly right. It's easy to imagine variants on BattleCON's token-based characters that would function in Exceed. Suppose Hikaru's specials had Boost effects that looked like this:

FIRE
Before: Choose one: +3 Power, or keep this Boost in play after the Strike is over.

EARTH
Before: Choose one: Armor 3, or keep this Boost in play after the Strike is over.

or if Aria had a boost that said "Put this Boost in a space on the board. Opponents who end a Strike adjacent to this card's space lose 1 life."

The freedom to leave cards in play to represent effects (instead of needing them to almost always go to Discard 1 to keep BattleCON's hand management dynamics in balance) actually opens up a ton of design space.


I had not considered this possibility. It would certainly help but I do not think it would overcome the problem. First off, the rules explicitly state that continuous boosts supplement the next strike and that they are removed from play after a strike. So the rules would have to be rewritten considerably to allow for continuous boosts to remain in play indefinitely, much less occupy specific locations on the board. Additionally, it would be very difficult to model UAs that do not revolve around taking boost actions or that involve token banks, stances, etc.
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Daniel DeMars
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As a member of the playtest forums, I've seen a number of unreleased character concepts (as has Mandible - provided he has checked recently) and I can confirm that EXCEED has a lot of design space, much of which is not possible in BattleCON (and, consequently, a lot of room to differentiate characters). As has been mentioned, part of this design space is how flexible boosts can be (by analogy, each boost can be anything between a micro-Style or a micro-UA). Another part of the design space is the options provided by having a deck, (secret) hand, and discard pile. I can't go into any detail, but there are a lot of neat ways to interact with these that don't require any additional components.

Finally, in response to your concern:

AnotherHorrorFan wrote:
First off, the rules explicitly state that continuous boosts supplement the next strike and that they are removed from play after a strike. So the rules would have to be rewritten considerably to allow for continuous boosts to remain in play indefinitely, much less occupy specific locations on the board. Additionally, it would be very difficult to model UAs that do not revolve around taking boost actions or that involve token banks, stances, etc.


It's pretty standard card game practice to have text on cards overrule general rules (look at Currents or Conditions in Android: Netrunner, for example). I don't think this would require anything more than text on cards.



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Okay, but the point is not actually to implement BattleCON under Exceed rules. The point is that there's relatively little design space you can only access with tokens.

If that doesn't help, think of *your hand* as your token pool. Suppose Hikaru had a boost saying just "+3 Power". Now he can apply it to an attack or keep it for later, as he pleases. His opponent doesn't always know he has it, but that's fitting for Exceed.

Quote:
Additionally, it would be very difficult to model UAs that do not revolve around taking boost actions


Why? I mean, sure, boosts seem central to the game, but styles are central to BattleCON and that's worked out okay.

I'm also not sure why there couldn't be extra cards. As you pointed out, 4 characters is 60 cards. Then there's 9 cards for the board, rules reminder cards, and 32 normal attacks in every pack regardless of how many characters are there. That's... 103 cards? 105? I don't know what the packaging will be like, but it's as easy to publish a 120-card package as a 105-card one, isn't it?

(I know that the size of printer card sheets (etc.) can be a factor but, obviously, card games of all sizes do get printed. Perhaps I'm being naive.)
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Okay. Like I said I will very likely back the kickstarter and hopefully that page will give me some specific examples of the sort of possibilities you are referring to. Have you played the game? If so, I would very interested to hear what your thoughts are on the limitations that Exceed does have relative to Battlecon. I am assuming there are some, or there would be no reason to continue development of Battlecon in parallel.

LeinadColtrane wrote:
It's pretty standard card game practice to have text on cards overrule general rules (look at Currents or Conditions in Android: Netrunner, for example). I don't think this would require anything more than text on cards.


I am no stranger to the Golden Rule, but as it was not printed in the rule book, nor were there any instances of "unless otherwise stated", I do not assume it.
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grasa_total wrote:

I'm also not sure why there couldn't be extra cards. As you pointed out, 4 characters is 60 cards. Then there's 9 cards for the board, rules reminder cards, and 32 normal attacks in every pack regardless of how many characters are there. That's... 103 cards? 105? I don't know what the packaging will be like, but it's as easy to publish a 120-card package as a 105-card one, isn't it?

(I know that the size of printer card sheets (etc.) can be a factor but, obviously, card games of all sizes do get printed. Perhaps I'm being naive.)


I may be unclear on how the game will be packaged. It sounded to me like there will be a base set for each season that comes with everything you need to play and then monthly packs that are just the four additional characters. If this is the case I would assume those packs will be very standardized. Is this not accurate?
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Daniel DeMars
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AnotherHorrorFan wrote:

LeinadColtrane wrote:
It's pretty standard card game practice to have text on cards overrule general rules (look at Currents or Conditions in Android: Netrunner, for example). I don't think this would require anything more than text on cards.


I am no stranger to the Golden Rule, but as it was not printed in the rule book, nor were there any instances of "unless otherwise stated", I do not assume it.


I think I can confirm, without breach of NDA, that the Golden Rule definitely applies in EXCEED (at least for several of the character concepts I've seen - which are all, of course, subject to change).

Once I actually get a chance to play the game (I don't have access to a printer at the moment), I'll post some reactions/reflections. I have a variety of guesses as to the differences, but I want to confirm those before writing them down in any detail.
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I have no honest idea on this, but Force looks to be a great catch all cost mechanic. I understand you are talking about grand sweeping UAs that affect the entire game rather than just before each strike. I am not sure if I have any answers that help with your worries, but I would have faith that we are going to see things never before possible in Exceed. So while you might not get a Welsie version in Exceed, we might just get new crazy characters that have us referring to them in the same light.

Aargh, my PnP copy could not be ready sooner! robot
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took me about an hour, including printing time, to make the PNP copy. I already had two decks of sleeved playing cards, so I didn't need to print the card backs (except for the characters, reference, and wakeup card).

You don't have to cut perfectly since the playing card back covers up the back side of the pnp paper card. Planning to give it a try with my wife tonight.
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Brian
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I just printed it via the Game Crafter. It was $13 to have 78 cards printed out. I figured since the game isn't probably coming out for a while... having something that'll last a while and saves me labor was worth it.
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Played the PNP demo last night with my wife, who did not like it at all. She's a Battlecon fan, though, and I think part of the problem was she was wanting it to play like Battlecon.

Also, it was a learning game, with me trying to teach her the rules as we played, and she didn't have much of an understanding about how the two characters played (Alice seems to want to move around a lot and stay at a distance to get that +2 power bonus, Reese seems to want to get in close, strike, and take the wakeup card to get another turn).

The cards as a board was somewhat fiddly, with regular maintenance required to keep it straight as we moved our characters. The Wakeup card was another sometimes forgotten thing Since an attack doesn't happen every turn like in Battlecon, we would sometimes forget to give the Wakeup card to the defender. Perhaps moving the Wakeup title to the top of the card, and printing text on the bottom that states something to the effect of "Give this card to the defender when declaring a Strike" would help.

There was also a little confusion regarding Force and Gauge, but that was resolved fairly quickly.

My thoughts are that it's not bad, but it seems more complicated than Battlecon rather than less complicated. Yes, there are a few more steps per attack in Battlecon than in Exceed, but that's all you have to worry about in Battlecon. As long as you can put a red card and a blue card out on the table, technically you can play Battlecon.

I think that the flow of Exceed may be more familiar to the MTG or other card game crowd, but it also seems to play a little slower than I'd expect for a fighting game. You can spend multiple turns in a row in Exceed just boosting, drawing cards, etc. With the exception of the Continuous Boosts, I don't think it really builds up to that exciting moment when the next strike is declared.

I think the system is solid, but not yet awe-inspiring. I might need to see some of the other characters planned for the game to see how the design space is used and hopefully stretched.

I would also like to see an alphabetical glossary of terms all in one place for easier reference.
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Exceed has a place alongside BattleCON in the company's repertoire. It doesn't take away from BattleCON in any way, which is going to receive continued support, so you need not fear if it turns out you dislike this game. In fact, I could see Exceed bringing in more BattleCON players in the long run since it is a more approachable system.

I too have friends who can't get into BattleCON because they find it overwhelming. They are more used to traditional head-to-head card games like Yu-Gi-Oh! and MTG, which have a draw deck, hidden hands, and some level of randomness, so I think Exceed will be easier to grasp and more fun for them to play...and may someday get them to give BattleCON another shot since it has some mechanical and graphical similarities.
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Got a chance to play the PNP yesterday with my wife. She said she liked it more than BattleCON, and I can understand why. The lack of a guessing game every turn is definitely more friendly to new players, while the system as it is still generates a ton of tension.

Its interesting to have the first couple turns where you're just drawing cards and setting up Boosts. But at the same time, its a game of chicken, because if you set up too many boosts, and then your opponent attacks when you don't have a good card to defend with, you just blew a bunch of cards. And with the distinctly low amount of Guard on cards, you really have to be careful not to blow your shot. Like, I wasted one of my Ults because I got stunned due to it not having any guard, and me not having any +Speed Boosts in play before I used it.

Its an interesting situation where you're looking at a Speed 4 card, and you have to decide between trying to draw for a Speed 5 or 6 before your opponent, or hoping they're in the same position and maybe just going for it so that you win the tie as Attacker.

Definitely plays a whole lot different than BattleCON, as its a game with a lot of standing around.. but despite how bad that sounds, it actually creates a whole lot more tension. The game feels like a sword fight, like Game of Thrones or Empire Strikes Back, compared to BattleCONs conjuring the image of anime confrontations with constant blows firing back and forth.

I was just really surprised at how completely different the game managed to feel despite using such similar mechanics.

Haven't played it enough to say whether or not I'd put it above BattleCON, but I definitely enjoyed it, and I can absolutely see it getting more play with people I know.
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Thanks for the first impressions guys.

From what I am hearing it sounds like I will have a problem with the "standing around." If I am playing a fighting game I like to be jumping all over the place trying to pull off cool moves. It sounds like it would be incredibly frustrating trying to build up one or two boosts to pull off a great move just to fall flat on your face. Of course that happens in Battlecon too, but with those characters you usually know what you're getting into and your'e not waiting through opponent's turns as well to get there.
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AnotherHorrorFan wrote:
I may be unclear on how the game will be packaged. It sounded to me like there will be a base set for each season that comes with everything you need to play and then monthly packs that are just the four additional characters. If this is the case I would assume those packs will be very standardized.


Oh, maybe! I do not know. I had assumed otherwise-- that if it was being broken up into lots of smaller products, each one was going to be playable on its own (and therefore include the basic cards).

I think it is too early to make assumptions about the packaging, because I doubt the details are even final yet. Level 99 likes putting more stuff in boxes than normal game companies would. If they want to do that with Exceed, I am positive they will find a way.
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AnotherHorrorFan wrote:
Have you played the game? If so, I would very interested to hear what your thoughts are on the limitations that Exceed does have relative to Battlecon. I am assuming there are some, or there would be no reason to continue development of Battlecon in parallel.


I've only played once or twice as a playtester; I haven't read all the characters, so if I wave my hands some in this answer, it's as much from lack of knowledge as from wanting to respect the playtest NDA. (But I will also respect the NDA and restrict my comments to information I believe to be public.) (Also note, this is just my opinion and observation about some stuff! I've played Exceed 1/100 as much as BattleCON. Don't listen to me TOO much.)

One huge limitation is that you don't have perfect control over what's in your hand. In BattleCON, characters can have crazy powerful abilities as long as every other character has some response/counter/mitigation for it. Maybe you only have one card that really helps you deal with Alexian's Steeled Divider, but, well, if that card isn't in your hand right now, it's because you chose to play it (or chose to start with it in your discards), so it's not unfair that Alexian can drop a Steeled Divider on you.

In Exceed, an attack that will ruin your opponent's day unless they have a Dive in hand is an attack that WILL ruin most opponents' days, and thus is harder to justify printing.

Another closely-related limitation is that you don't know what your opponent is holding. So if you try to play cautiously, you will sometimes be playing around phantoms, which can feel like a waste of time. (It opens possibilities for bluffing that BattleCON doesn't have, but I don't love bluffing games.)

A third limitation is that every character can pay for arbitrary movement. BattleCON can have characters who are super-effective at close range but who struggle to get the range they want, as well as characters who are best at close range and good at forcing that range, but who don't hit very hard and thus need to keep constant pressure. This is interesting, and it's not clear to me if Exceed supports the distinction between those archetypes. But maybe it does?

But I don't think any of those are a big deal. The first two are pretty clearly essential to making Exceed different from BattleCON-- not better or worse, just different. And the third, like I said, might not be a real thing.

The limitation that I think actually matters? The size of the UA text box.

Conceptually, there's nothing limiting Exceed to be simple. You can put weird permanent stuff on Boosts, or give a character extra cards, or change the rules for how they declare strikes; you can do anything, just like in most open-ended games. But Exceed UAs have to be simple to fit in the text box. I think that fact is going to be the biggest difference between the two games, no joke.

Well, okay, the one-card-per-attack thing also reduces some of the creativity in play. With BattleCON, you have to decide whether to make both halves of your attack pair count, or whether to play one side for its effect and the other mostly to keep good cards in your hand. (Obvious example: Often you pair your worst style with Dash because you just wanna Dash. But that dynamic happens all over the place, at least for some characters.) I'd have to play a lot more Exceed to see how much of a difference that makes, though. (And some Boosts include a strike as part of their effect, which makes them kinda like playing a Style in an attack pair.)
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grasa_total wrote:
AnotherHorrorFan wrote:
Have you played the game? If so, I would very interested to hear what your thoughts are on the limitations that Exceed does have relative to Battlecon. I am assuming there are some, or there would be no reason to continue development of Battlecon in parallel.


I've only played once or twice as a playtester; I haven't read all the characters, so if I wave my hands some in this answer, it's as much from lack of knowledge as from wanting to respect the playtest NDA. (But I will also respect the NDA and restrict my comments to information I believe to be public.) (Also note, this is just my opinion and observation about some stuff! I've played Exceed 1/100 as much as BattleCON. Don't listen to me TOO much.)

One huge limitation is that you don't have perfect control over what's in your hand. In BattleCON, characters can have crazy powerful abilities as long as every other character has some response/counter/mitigation for it. Maybe you only have one card that really helps you deal with Alexian's Steeled Divider, but, well, if that card isn't in your hand right now, it's because you chose to play it (or chose to start with it in your discards), so it's not unfair that Alexian can drop a Steeled Divider on you.

In Exceed, an attack that will ruin your opponent's day unless they have a Dive in hand is an attack that WILL ruin most opponents' days, and thus is harder to justify printing.

Another closely-related limitation is that you don't know what your opponent is holding. So if you try to play cautiously, you will sometimes be playing around phantoms, which can feel like a waste of time. (It opens possibilities for bluffing that BattleCON doesn't have, but I don't love bluffing games.)

A third limitation is that every character can pay for arbitrary movement. BattleCON can have characters who are super-effective at close range but who struggle to get the range they want, as well as characters who are best at close range and good at forcing that range, but who don't hit very hard and thus need to keep constant pressure. This is interesting, and it's not clear to me if Exceed supports the distinction between those archetypes. But maybe it does?

But I don't think any of those are a big deal. The first two are pretty clearly essential to making Exceed different from BattleCON-- not better or worse, just different. And the third, like I said, might not be a real thing.

The limitation that I think actually matters? The size of the UA text box.

Conceptually, there's nothing limiting Exceed to be simple. You can put weird permanent stuff on Boosts, or give a character extra cards, or change the rules for how they declare strikes; you can do anything, just like in most open-ended games. But Exceed UAs have to be simple to fit in the text box. I think that fact is going to be the biggest difference between the two games, no joke.

Well, okay, the one-card-per-attack thing also reduces some of the creativity in play. With BattleCON, you have to decide whether to make both halves of your attack pair count, or whether to play one side for its effect and the other mostly to keep good cards in your hand. (Obvious example: Often you pair your worst style with Dash because you just wanna Dash. But that dynamic happens all over the place, at least for some characters.) I'd have to play a lot more Exceed to see how much of a difference that makes, though. (And some Boosts include a strike as part of their effect, which makes them kinda like playing a Style in an attack pair.)


A well thought out and insightful response. Thanks for taking the time to write it up. I think at its core my greatest anticipated gameplay issue will be the inherent randomness of the deck of cards. This was a problem I had with Yomi. Honestly I hadn't even really thought about until you mentioned it. I am definitely excited to hear more information as it becomes available though.
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I can give you a few of the other Unique Abilities to consider. See what you think:

EVA: After: You may return up to one of your in-play Continuous Boosts to your hand.

Kaden: Whenever Kaden uses an EX attack, he draws 2 cards, and adds the EX copy to his Gauge instead of his discard.

Miska: As an action, you may place a Bear Marker in any space on the board (or move it to any space if it is there already). When you place a Normal Attack to Strike, you may pay 2 Force to calculate its range from Bear’s position.

Baelkhor: Whenever Baelkhor hits an opponent, he may pay 2 life to seal the opponent’s attack after the Strike (it is removed from the game and doesn’t go to the opponent’s gauge).
Baelkhor Exceed: Each of Baelkhor’s attacks has
+3 Power and +1 Speed if another attack with that name has been sealed.

Morathi: When you declare a Wild Swing, look at the top card of your deck, you may draw it or put it back, then perform the Wild Swing.

Ulrik: As an action, Ulrik may close or retreat 1 space, then Strike.

Zoey: After: If your attack hit, you may add the top card of your discard pile to your Gauge and return your attack to your hand.

Part of the design goal of Exceed is to make interesting gameplay decisions arise from simple character abilities, and to influence the style of the player through the ability. Each of these abilities makes for interesting choices and play decisions without forcing the player or his opponent to understand or track too many things.

Ulrik always wants to attack, so he gets free movement. Zoey wants to figure out which attack her opponent can't beat and spam it until she's forced to stop. Baelkhor wants to build up his pile of sealed cards, and slow the opponent, then unleash his full power in the later game. EVA just wants to build and build until her opponent forces her to make an attack. The abilities have a strong influence on play, even though they don't represent complete subsystems.

Having very intricate character abilities will remain a core feature of BattleCON, and we don't want to step into that space too much with the new game.
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Kyokai wrote:
Bear Marker

That's all I needed to hear. Looking forward to this.
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adamxpaul wrote:
Kyokai wrote:
Bear Marker

That's all I needed to hear. Looking forward to this.


FYI, Bear is the dog.
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Kyokai wrote:
adamxpaul wrote:
Kyokai wrote:
Bear Marker

That's all I needed to hear. Looking forward to this.


FYI, Bear is the dog.


I think he was referring to the fact that there were tokens involved rather than the best part.
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Haha, no, I was definitely excited for there to be a bear. And now I'm not backing.

Okay, just kidding on the second part, of course. Played my first demo game last night, and I really enjoyed this.

But dog or bear, yea, tokens would be nice. I'll give this dog a chance.
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I'll probably post some pictures later tonight of what a game setup looks like with the PNP stuff I have. We need to start generating hype
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