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Aaron Brock
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Hi there! Thanks for visiting our game page. Dynasty is an upcoming deck-builder for 2-4 players that we are planning to launch through Kickstarter in early 2017. (Check back here for announcements regarding our official Kickstarter. We should have more information soon.)

We've put a lot of work into designing and building Dynasty, and we're confident that you'll enjoy the game once it's in your hands. However, that doesn't mean that we're completely done with Dynasty. We're looking for your collective game expertise to help us fine tune Dynasty as we are finishing cards and game design elements.

If you've played a demo set of Dynasty at a convention or in a session with one of our developers, we'd be ever so grateful if you could post feedback here in the forums. We're focused on creating the best game possible - let us know how we can get closer to that goal.

If you're here because you're curious about the game and you have questions you'd like to ask the developers, post away! We'll try to answer everything that gets put here.

Thanks again and keep watching this space!

-Aaron Brock and Sebastian Passanisi
 
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Daniel O'Neil
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I have a few thoughts- but I would also like to note that I am pretty much a total newbe at tabletop gaming; this is only the 6th or 7th game I’ve learned. I would like to emphasize that these are in the context of having generally enjoyed the game, and looking forward to playing it again.

1) It’s hard to keep track of your stacks of discards and draw deck ect. I think there should be a strip, like the one you align the province cards with, for each individuals stacks of cards. Basically I think every stack of cards should have an assigned place by or on a cardboard strip, to clarify and standardize the playing setup.

2) I think the symbol system you’re using on the cards doesn’t work, in that the symbols aren’t intuitive: we needed to use the cheat sheet to look up the meaning of symbols constantly, and it killed the speed of play. I think a short text explanation would be much more effective.

3) The unification thing didn’t work. Admittedly, I am the one who repeatedly broke it, but it is a big advantage to the player who holds it, and it’s basically impossible to hold all the provinces with enough strength to defend them- so you have a strong motivation for other players to break the unification, and a very limited ability of the unification holder to defend it.
 
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John Dugan
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I wanted to say "thank you" for the demo on Sat at Gateway 2016.

Overall, I thought the game was very solid. The kinks that need to be worked out all fall into the "polish" category, while the game mechanics are very well done and fun.

I felt that the theme was very strong with Dynasty. I liked how each row represented a province of China, and really liked the unification mechanic. Choosing to either side with the player that unified China and gain cards, or to use military to disrupt and conquer made for some intriguing game play.

I also loved the tax mechanic. I felt that this gave the game an internal time clock mechanism. Players will collapse, that is inevitable, it is just a matter of when.

I did feel that the symbols where not intuitive at first, with having to check the cheat sheet a few times. This can change with multiple play throughs, but at first it is time consuming. I agree with my friend Kenneth, who was also in during the demo, that the rule book needs cleaning up and a few pieces may need to be balanced a bit more, but these are just polish items.

I really feel that the game is in a very good place, very playable, and fun. For a prototype, I thought the game is very close to completion, just needing the extra polish to really make it shine.

Nice job!
 
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Frank Zazanis
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I really enjoyed the game. It needs some polish and a playeraide (playmat?). Mechanically and player engagement wise, it is super solid. Great job.
 
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Kennith Grotjohn
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Kennith here. I've got a whole pile of more detailed feedback that I'm compiling to deliver all at once, but for now:

# The iconography needs a lot of work. Very few of the abilities on cards are clear from the icons.
# The rules need a lot of cleanup and rewording for clarity and ease-of-use.
# Art for the tax/collapse levels that show your capitol decaying would be fantastic. If possible, having a physical token that you tear pieces off of would be even more awesome.
# Printing the Dynasty cards on a different size card would make it obvious that they don't go in the main deck.
# Less sure about this one, as it's more of a theme issue and I don't really know anything about dynastic China, but: is it appropriate that all the other players just jump ship when one player attacks the Unifier, or should the other players be able to stay in the province if they would win (and end up with control of it)?

Overall, Dynasty is a fantastic game, and the mechanics-as-metaphor of both the collapse and the unification and eventual backstabbing is great.
 
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DG G
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Totally enjoyed this game! The gameplay is great. Dynasty takes the general genre of "deck-building" and makes it truly a multi-player game (rather than a more solo-type game like many other deck-builders). Actions taken/choices made by one player have repercussions on other players beyond just limiting their choice of cards to "purchase".

I really like the multiplicity of choices each turn provides. The game is designed so that a player has to carefully weigh options - the "tax" has to be paid each turn, which requires a player to keep/obtain cards that appear pretty weak just to pay this cost, but military might is what gains a player provincial control which is needed to, ultimately, gain victory points. The balancing act of making good strategic choices keeps you engaged at all steps along the way.

I would agree with others here that the icons need some work. Some of the icons apply to so few cards that it would be best just to add a short text and drop the icon.

Also, flipping the banner for unification is clunky and easy to forget. Consider something that just is permanently on one side - perhaps a simple "+1 when unified" added to the bottom of the banner would do nicely.

I know the demo copy was early art version - but I really LIKE the simple art on the backs of the player's cards! It seemed to fit nicely with the theme and was refreshing compared to the busier art I usually see.

Great job!
 
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Kennith Grotjohn
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Alright, I've finished going through the rules and adding a bunch of feedback there. The best way I could think of for doing this was the comments feature of a google doc, so I've done so here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1N_NIIuiAqUaBGSRBo-jYp7RR...

One idea I had while doing this that I think deserves special mention:
# Instead of calling it a "tax cost", say that you're raising taxes to cover expenses. Much more clear, and more thematically appropriate (it would be odd for a levee to impose a tax on a ruler)

EDIT: I'm not sure if you can actually see the comments if you aren't logged in to google... let me know if they aren't visible and I'll do something else.
 
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Kennith Grotjohn
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Rules clarification question:
If China is Unified, and there is a province that contains cards from both the unifier (we'll call them player A) and another player (player B), and some third player (player C) attacks that province, do player B's cards in that province go to his active or tax discard?
The special rules for attacks that break unification only say what happens to the cards in the other provinces, not the one that is initially attacked.
 
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Kennith Grotjohn
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I've redone the rules in a way that I think makes more sense; tell me what you think of them.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dcTS2MfbZRCen74iY8wuQ0Fv...
2 
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Kennith Grotjohn
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Fiddling with card layout ideas. I thought it would be neat to have the Chinese text of the card's name on the side, and the English text on top. See my attached Chu-Ko-Nu mockup (sorry about the size and terrible stickman).

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Aaron Brock
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I have only had a few minutes to look these over, but I'm already impressed with your edits (including the iconography ideas). I will give this a more thorough read over the weekend when I have more time and brainpower. Thanks for taking the time to go over the rules so carefully.

If anybody else wants to take a look at the rules edit, I would love to hear some additional feedback about clarity and completeness.
 
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Aaron Brock
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Rahler wrote:
Rules clarification question:
If China is Unified, and there is a province that contains cards from both the unifier (we'll call them player A) and another player (player B), and some third player (player C) attacks that province, do player B's cards in that province go to his active or tax discard?
The special rules for attacks that break unification only say what happens to the cards in the other provinces, not the one that is initially attacked.


Player B's cards go into tax pile. Any successful attack sends defenders to their tax discards, regardless of unification.

With respect to art and card layout, I will check in with my artist to see what she has so far so that it can be posted to this site and everybody can weigh in about the ideas as they stand.
 
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Jay V
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I generally liked the game. The mechanics are clean and straightforward, and the turns have interesting decisions.
The main thing I would change is the game length. I played a 2-player game and I don't think it should take longer than an hour. Instead of collapsing 4 times to end the game, maybe just 3 or even 2. As the game went on, my deck was bigger, but I didn't feel like the game was really much different. I wasn't significantly more powerful, and the decisions I was making each turn were basically the same ones as on the first few turns. If the game were only 20 or 30 minutes, I'd be excited to play 2 games in a row, rather than 1 game for an hour.
One small thing: why are the green squares called "efficiency" points? Efficiency as a concept didn't seem quite right; how about "government" points, or "bureaucracy" points?
The cards look great! I really like the art style, and the iconography is pretty good. I didn't mind needing to look them up on the player aide, and after a few times I had them memorized. Where did you get the cards printed?
I look forward to playing again some time.
 
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DG G
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Overall, Kennith's rules are nice and clean. Good job!

I've been playing the game with some folks the last couple of days and we had some questions that might best be dealt with in the rules themselves:
1. It is not clear whether taxes/upkeep can be paid with a combination of methods, or if a player chooses one method and pays the entire cost that way. We have been playing that your pay what you can with any combination of methods that work. It seems most logical to pay with the money, then cards from hand, then from deck. It might be clearer just to say that is the way to pay, rather than saying you can pay with any of the ways.
2. There needs to be some clarification as to which types of cards can be played as part of a province and which cannot. One of our players thought he could add the mine to his province to gain its effect each turn. A mighty argument ensued and he (rightly) pointed out that there is nothing saying he couldn't play the card there.
3. It is unclear as to whether a player must play a card from his/her hand if it is playable. Can a player just choose not to develop their province if they don't want to? In other words, is it legal to just discard cards from your hand into your active discard pile?

4. Unification is a tricky, but critical, piece of the game. The description needs some work. Consider adding a brief statement under Province Phase, but before "develop" that says something like: "Any player can help strengthen a unified China by adding Military and Governmental strength to the provinces"
5. In the same vein, it would clarify the situation immensely to change the statement at the beginning of the second paragraph under attack so that it references the event in a way that helps. Something like: "Once China's unification has been successfully broken by an attack in one province, players other than the unifier and the attacker must remove all their cards from all provinces and place them in the players' active discard pile."
5. Small formatting thought: It seems clunky to have the "Game End" section before the Unification section.

Well, that's it for now! We are truly enjoying the game!

Diane
 
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DG G
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OK, more questions and thoughts:

We need some card clarification for: Mercenary: The card says "You may assign this card the base strength value of any unclaimed Military card." How long does the Mercenary maintain the strength? As long as it's in a province? Until the player's next turn? Does the strength change as the cards in the Empire change? So - I play Mercenary and there is a 4 strength Military card in the Empire, so I attack with the Mercenary at 4. But then I claim the 4 strength card, leaving the Empire with no military card with a strength over 2. Did my mercenary just lose 2 strength or is he a 4 strength until attacked? And any thoughts about how to identify what the strength is?

Very strong request from my "crew": The game really needs a playmat or board. If you had either it could do away with the need for a scoring banner as a separate piece, the Empire and Province cards could be clearly identified as being Empire and Province, and you would be able to at least consider doing away with the tax cards and just make a scale on the playmat that players put a marker on to identify their tax level. The mat or board could have a banner over the Empire cards that shows the VP points for each column and then says "+1 when unified". If the mat/board had both the banner and the tax counter it would remove the need for the extra pieces and, generally, clean it up.

OK, really done now. Sleep is a requirement sometimes (what a waste! lol )
 
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Kennith Grotjohn
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I've updated my "New Rules" to implement your suggestions for #2, #4, and #5(the first).

for #3; the rules state that you "can take as many actions as the cards in your hand will allow" (emphasis mine), not that you must take them. You are free to choose not to take actions during the province phase. The rules are unclear as to whether you must gain/score in the empire phase though; I've assumed you don't have to (and my version of the rules explicitly says so).

Regarding #5 (the second): In my version of the rules, the Unification section is on the last page (along with the iconography cheat sheet) so that you can leave it back-side up as a reference if needed.
 
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DG G
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Aaron - Quick feedback from my group re: Kennith's edited rules:
We played the game again late last night. Kennith's "new rules" made things MUCH smoother! Some of the challenges we were having were cleared up with his version. With 20-20 hindsight, some of the things we were not doing right (and was causing the game to not work well) really were actually spelled out in the original rules, but we misunderstood them and so played wrong. Kennith's version made those items perfectly clear - and easy to find!

Again - love the game. I will be taking it to Monstore's game day next Saturday. See how it goes there.

Diane
 
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Aaron Brock
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Wonderful! Thanks again Kennith for clarifying what the prototype rules left murky.

I am working on some edits to the game (specific cards and general play) at this moment. All of the feedback from you and other players has been really helpful, and I think the next iteration will be more dynamic and easier to manage.

My goal is to have the new ideas up and printable within the week (job permitting), and I will email everybody with a test set as soon as I have completed the relevant documents.

Thank you all again for your thoughtful comments. Keep them coming, and you will hear from me soon about the edits.
 
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DG G
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Revising the request for a play mat - the more I talk to folks about it, the more I question its value. A nice diagram in the rules would do the trick, I think.
 
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Jim McCollum
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Played one game at Locally Grown Games in Berkeley with Deborah (who was super awesome and creamed me by 80 points.) I thought the Civics cards felt generally stronger than the military cards. Ok, so I only played once, so obviously take my impressions with a grain of salt, but since I may never get to play again, here's my feedback

In our 2 play game, Deborah scored nearly 200 points from the structures. There was a turn early on, maybe turn 3 or 4 where she scored 30 points by buying a set of 3 temples plus one duplicate. Because she went first, it also raised the cost of all the Civics structures.

One problem with deckbuilders is the issue of first player advantage. The cost of the temples increasing after each purchase compounds this problem. I wonder, in fact, if it would be a dominant strategy for the first player to focus heavily on Civics cards, getting both the first crack at buying and depriving other players.

Another issue with the Civics cards is that the structures are totally safe investments. The military cards generate points by scoring, but you really need to invest in getting strength on particular provinces in order to get an efficient trade of your claim for VPs. This means exposing yourself to higher empire maintenance costs, enemy attacks, etc. Civics cards on the other hand, let you buy structures immediately, allowing you to over-extend and get a ton of structures in a burst, even if it forces collapse next round. Another strategy I would try would be to buy 0 commerce cards, only civics cards and try to collapse as soon as possible, ending the game with just enough structures to win. The power of the Civics cards is that they can enable both fast, burst strategies *and* are the best long-term pay-offs.

Another issue with the game was that variance can be super harsh. Not drawing the right combo of commerce and military/civics cards can be really bad. I thought the upkeep/payment part of the game was an interesting idea, but the weakest element in the game currently. I think the idea adds something, but the execution has a few problems. First, the costs are super high, and missing by even 1 money can be bad, meaning drawing stuff in the right order is really important. The difference between drawing a mine or other cost reducer and drawing a rice field is huge. Personally, I think the level of swingy-ness from variance is a bit too high. I could have basically the right ratios of things in my deck, but if I say, draw all my mines in my opening hand, I could basically be screwed for that round.

Second, it was a chore to count up the costs each round, and with so many cards on the table, different costs for the empire from advisors going away, etc., seems like an error prone process. I wonder if there would be an easier way to track things.

Third, I think the issue I mentioned above about high variance in drawing the commerce cards is made worse by a couple of other things. The way we played, if you had a draw deck, i.e., cards were in your deck and not your inactive/active discard, you could pay maintenance costs at 2 cards = $1. It feels super bad to just draw stuff in the wrong order when the opponent misses with a full deck. I don't really understand why you can't take random cards from bother the draw deck or active discard to pay costs.

Second, having to discard from the draw deck to inactive discard randomly at the 2:$1 rate feels super bad. I wonder if the 1:$1 rate would be fine. Having to discard randomly is already pretty punishing. As a player, I didn't feel like I could mitigate missing the cost all that much. Sure, I could buy more commerce cards, but even with roughly half my deck commerce cards, I still had a really bad turn in the third round where I just didn't draw any.

In essence, I think the main problem with payment now is that it is a mostly random process that punishes players too harshly when it fails.

Just a note, I came back and edited this post pretty substantially as I thought more about the game. Shaping up to be an awesome game, great work!


Minor note:
I think the wording on the +1 claim or score civics card is confusing. It really only adds +1 claim, as I understood it, so it seems that would be clearer.
 
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