While working on a larger variant, I thought of a new board feature. Nothing about it is essential to the larger variant; I leave it to the reader to decide how to try this out. (Ideas include replacing Keeps, Cities, or both; adding them to blank spaces on tiles at random; or including them on custom new tiles.)
See the second post for playtesting data.
Castles are another type of fortified site, much like Keeps. Every castle contains a Grey or White Enemy (Countryside/Core) and an Enemy (or two) according to the castle's color. Assaulting a Castle incurs the same -1 Reputation penalty as Keeps and Mage Towers.
Each Castle has a reward when conquered and counts as a Keep for card draw and interaction. They also have an additional effect, usually in interaction.
Revealing a Castle: When revealing any Green Castle, add an Advanced Action to the Unit Offer. When revealing the first White Castle, add an Elite Unit to the Unit Offer.
Setting up the Unit Offer: Count Green Castles as Monasteries (add that many Advanced Actions to the Unit Offer). If there's at least one White Castle revealed, the first Unit is added from the Elite stack (even when no Core tiles have been explored).
Effect when conquered: Recruit a unit from the unit offer for free (remember that ! units can't be recruited for free). If you don't have an empty command token, you have to disband a unit first.
Interaction: All units can be recruited here (similar to White City)
Effect when conquered: Spell
Interaction: counts as a Mage Tower (Mage Tower units can be recruited here and Spells can be learned)
Effect when conquered: Artifact
Interaction: pay 12 Influence to gain an Artifact (same as Red City)
Enemies: 2 Green
Effect when conquered: Advanced Action, from either the unit offer or the Advanced Action offer
Interaction: counts as a Monastery (Monastery units can be recruited here, Healing can be purchased, and Advanced Actions in the unit offer can be bought).
Cannot be burned.
Effect when conquered: Skill from the Skill Pool. If you gain your own Skill, also gain a Crystal of one of your character's colors (at the bottom of your character card)
Special Effects: Apply Night rules at a Black Castle (the tokens can't be scouted. While there and during an assault, black mana can be used and gold mana cannot).
During interaction, Crystals and black mana tokens can be purchased for 3 Influence each.
Effect when conquered: extra Command Token (not from your level-up stack)
Special Effects: Apply Day rules at a Gold Castle (When a player is there, Ruins everywhere and adjacent fortified sites are revealed; during an assault and while there, gold mana can be used and black mana cannot). Counts as a Magical Glade (get a gold mana token when you start your turn there, throw away a Wound from hand or discard when you end your turn there), except that recruiting "Magical Glade" units requires interaction.
If a Gold Castle and a Black Castle are adjacent and the Gold Castle is occupied, the Black Castle is revealed if it's Day (or the player in the Gold Castle uses the Amulet of Dawn) but remains hidden if it's Night. (Their special effects cancel and the time of day applies its usual rule.)
Assaulting another player's Castle: The Castle is defended by a White enemy (whether it's on a Countryside or Core tile). The effect when conquered is not triggered again.
Castles count as 4 points for Greatest Conqueror and in Conquer and Hold.
Edited to reorganize
- Last edited Sun Sep 4, 2016 7:12 am (Total Number of Edits: 8)
- Posted Thu Sep 1, 2016 8:28 pm
Update: Just started playtesting a Scenario version of this where all Keeps (on non-city tiles) are Castles instead, of a random color, and cities are castles of their own color (and Volkare's Camp in place of a city has either a black or gold castle).
First concern: What if you take a black Castle before there are any Skills in the offer?
Answer I've just decided: Defer taking the combat reward until after the level up (similar to deferring a Ruin's "Unit" reward until after the "new Command token" level up). If there are still no Skill tokens in the Common Skills Pool, take the top one from your Skill deck.
As a scenario in playtesting, White enemies in every Castle is too difficult. I scaled it down to: Grey enemies (plus color) in Countryside tiles, White enemies (plus color) in Core tiles.
The following configuration worked well as a Solo scenario, where the goal is to conquer all Castles. In this run-through I used Lost Legion.
Round Limit: 6 Rounds
Countryside tiles: 7 (exclude only tiles without Keeps)
Core non-city tiles: 2 (both with Keeps)
Core city tiles: 1
If this were configured as Always the White City (since that tile has a Keep) this would achieve a good level of difficulty.
Without Lost Legion, there are 3 fewer Keeps. I'd recommend a Round Limit of 4 or 5, but I haven't playtested this.
I would estimate the following scaling for more players would be fair, but this has not been playtested yet. The numbers are based on other scenarios.
Countryside tiles: 8, 9, or 11 (with 2, 3, or 4 players)
Core non-city tiles: 3, 4, or 5 (remove only tiles without Keeps)
Core city tiles: 2, 3, or 4 (always the White city)
EDIT: I forgot to mention in this update that I modified the abilities slightly. I will update the first post with the updated rules. (Gold Castles no longer count as two Keeps, but count as Magical Glades, including the start and end of turn effects. Black Castles can't recruit "Magical Glade" units anymore. White Castles offer a chance at an Elite unit for free even when there aren't any in the offer.)
- Last edited Sun Sep 4, 2016 6:57 am (Total Number of Edits: 4)
- Posted Sat Sep 3, 2016 7:30 pm
I've playtested this 3 times solo, once in 1v1 conquer and hold, all with Lost Legion expansion but not Shades of Tezla.
In my opinion, this update with castles is amazing - yet slightly unbalanced. I suggest five rule changes:
Firstly, the blue castles giving free spells makes the amount of spells in play really high (as mage towers typically are present as well), giving an unfair advantage for more magical MKs. I suggest that the rewards for blue castles are crystals instead (two of your choice, three random crystals?). In conquer and hold, the blue castles should not trigger free mana (as mage towers does).
Secondly, rolling castles by dice can give drastic alternations to the game - imagine, e.g., that the first three castles have dragons. I've found a solid fix for this which i really recommend:
During preparations, put one white and one (or two) red crystals in a pile (castle pile). When you discover a new castle, roll a die:
- If the color rolled is present in the castle pile, remove that crystal and reroll.
- If the color rolled is not present in the castle pile, this is the color of the castle discovered: put one crystal on the map to mark it, and put a crystal of the same color in the castle pile (so that the chance of having identical castles is lowered).
Thirdly, in Conquer and Hold (and in any game?), attacking another players' castle will only trigger gray enemies (as if it was a normal keep) - if not, the keeps defend themselves too much, and conquer and hold is all about conquering.
Fourthly, to up the difficulty, only every other castles increase the card limit (controlling 1 or 2 castles gives +1 card, 3 or 4 gives +2 etc). If not, you'd easily push 12-15 cards a turn, which clearly makes the last rounds unbalanced.
Fifthly, because reputation goes south pretty early, I'd reccomend only lowering reputation when an assault is unsuccessful. Therefore, if you ambush a red keep and kill the dragon but not the gray enemy, you go -1 on rep, next turn you kill the gray one, but this does not alter the reputation (unless it's a hero or thug). I don't know if this should be applied to assulting mage towers.
- Last edited Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:44 pm (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:32 pm
While working on a larger variant, I thought of a new board feature.
Any news on the "larger variant"? I'm curious