GeekGold Bonus for All Supporters at year's end: 1000!

7,830 Supporters

$15 min for supporter badge & GeekGold bonus
21 Days Left

Support:

Recommend
8 
 Thumb up
 Hide
37 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Works in Progress

Subject: [WIP] Hero Master- Critical Fails rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Jamie Noble
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer



Hi guys!

I'm starting a thread on here to track my progress with a game I've been working on, Hero Master-Critical Fails

Introduction

Like many fantasy tabletop games each player takes the role of a hero, desperate for treasure and a kick-ass reputation! So desperate in fact... that your party is a bungling mess. Your party are all in it together, but whether selfish or simply oblivious, their interest in their own gain is the cause of all manner of amusing Critical Fails.

Hero Master- Critical fails is a fairly light fantasy card game in a parody universe to the realms of dragons and treasure we know and love. It features bluffing, deck building, character advancement, card placement and revenge tactics! I am going to keep streamlining so it is light and fun to play, but maintains randomness and replayability by allowing players to create new combinations of cards that will continue to change the game each time you play.




Gameplay

Each player is assigned a character by randomly drawing a class and a race. Each class and each race has it's own mini-deck of cards. A class deck and race deck are combined to make a player's draw pile. This will make the dynamic in each game a little different depending on who you are and who else is in your party. Ever liked the idea of a halfling warrior?

Once each player has a hero, it's time to build the dungeon. In a basic game of Hero Master- Critical Fails, you will draw two location cards and a boss. Shuffle the two locations and place the boss at the bottom. Turn over the top location card, this will dictate the number and type of enemies present and may have a special rule (double treasure etc). Line the enemy cards horizontally in the order they were drawn. The enemy cards will denote a number of treasure cards to add to this location's treasure hoard. All of these but one are placed face down. Each turn, a new card from the hoard is revealed (as the heroes fight they do so with one eye snooping for the most prized piece!). Now the players are ready to go!

At the start of a turn, players will draw a hand from their deck. There are two types of cards in a player's deck: actions and events.

Players will add X number of cards to their hand (depending on their level) from a communal deck: the D20 deck.

Using their cards players will act as their hero, attempting to perform their actions on an array of foes they encounter in each level of the dungeon. Each with a value in reputation and helpful treasure and it's own unique rule. Slay the monsters and gain reputation to win the game!

Starting with the player with the least reputation (or random player at the start) a player will place a face up action card at an encounter from their hand. This wizard decides to play fireball...



Notice it has two rules: the main action and the critical fail (more on that later).


Each action must be accompanied by a face down event card, this might be a trait of the character, a special treasure ability or some other kind of influence that would change the state of play. For instance, the wizard plays 'Pompous' (he's so full of himself...)



Play continues until everyone has laid all the actions and events they would like. Players now place the final (third) card on each of their encounters face down; their chosen D20 card. Each action has a success chance stat. To succeed in an action, a player must have a D20 card that is equal or above their success chance.

Events however (when revealed), can influence the roll of the dice, and not just a players own success. With the 'Pompous' card, the wizard is so puffed up and annoying to fight alongside, he forces a player a have a -6 modifier on their success roll.

"Great!" thinks the wizard's player, "I've 'accidentally' foiled the attack of my fellow party member meaning I can get this kill for myself next turn and take all the lovely reputation that comes with it". But he might have spoken too soon...

Once all the D20 cards are assigned to the actions, the losing player selects an encounter to start and all the cards there are revealed. Based on the initiative (speed) of the action (also influenced by the newly revealed events), the actions are systematically played out.

So we arrive at the encounter where the wizard was so pompous he actually made it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand! The player was chuckling to himself happily until... The D20 card was turned over... It was a roll of a six! With the modifier from the wizard's Pompous event, it brings it down to a one... A CRITICAL FAIL! (Uh oh).



The wizard has made the hero fail so badly, that the second part of the affected hero plays out. Usually resulting in the poor pompous wizard taking some wound from a over-swung axe, or losing treasure from a misdirected teleport spell.

Wounds clog your hand and are only discarded when used in game as events alongside your actions. A broken finger might reduce the success of a wizard's 'Zzaapp' ability because he's struggling to point it at his target!

So you can see how important bluffing is to the game. If you draw your best attack card, you may decide not to use it for a straight up attack, but instead, use it to bait a critical fail on your allies.

As you progress through the dungeon earning treasure and gaining levels, you will increase your hand size and your deck with weird and wonderful items...

Like: 'The Moon Belt': Once forged by elves as a gift to the dwarves, but made ever so slightly too big, so when the wearer bends over those behind him witness a glorious full moon.

What stage are we at?

Very early! I'm just putting together the spreadsheet of all the actions, events, treasure, monsters, locations and wounds. The prototype cards need some work- I'd really like to work out some space for some flavour text on each (like the D20 card).

At this stage I'm looking to gauge some interest in a game and some feedback. I hope to get this battered into shape in the next few months to a play-test-able stage. At that point, it would be great to make a print and play for some people to test at home.

Who am I?

I'm a board game artist who plays too many board games. I love playing, painting and designing them. Although I have worked on a lot of board games http://thenobleartist.com this will the be first I have designed (that I haven't binned or placed in a hole for later).

I have some really cool people on my side, one who runs an all female games podcast, another who had a really successful Kickstarter game last month, plus the guys from the games I've worked on in the past to help. It's great as a foundation, but I want to see what you guys think.


To give you something to think about in reference:

If some of you have enjoyed Munchkin, you may well see a nod of the cap to fantasy humour, but this plays out entirely differently. If you have enjoyed Blood Bowl Team Manager, you'll understand the card assignment to encounters, but this has more in depth bluffing and risk.


The Hero Master realm

(Image of greetings cards)

You'll notice that some of the cards looks more like a greetings card than a playing card... It is. When creating the Hero Master realms, there were so many fun moments based on real-life RPG idiocy we experienced (or sometimes were the subject of) I decided to make a range of greetings cards for gamers who (like me) are sick of buying cheesey generic birthday cards for friends. It did really well and set a fun artstyle for the board game.

Due to it's tabletop affiliation we hope that some of the backers who enjoyed the cards will also be excited about the game. I'm excited to show it off in it's current state... So much work to do now!

Link here if interested: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1274349013/hero-master-...

Please subscribe to this thread to stay updated!


9 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ennio Spione
Spain
Sevilla
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I missed the greeting cards campaign but the jokes on those are spot on! While the art style is not really my cup of tea, I find that it nicely fits the mood you are trying to deliver there.
The double-effect with bluffing mechanics are something that I'm really curious to see how will turn out!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Noble
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Hi Ennio!

Thanks for being the first to comment! Thanks for the kind words about the jokes, I try to be funny and occasionally it works out!

On the art front, I do get that it's different to the usual stuff you'd see in a fantasy game, and it's very different to my normal style of stuff...


But I wanted to set this game apart so it looks and feels light and humorous, like you can't help but think the characters are a bunch of bungling dopes!

The bluffing should be a lot of fun, I need to make sure I get the balance right of people actually killing monsters and not tricking each other round in circles!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Don Lloyd
United States
Colorado Springs
CO
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am looking forward to following Jamie's progress on this one! His wonderful tongue-in-cheek sense of humor will really add to the enjoyment of a light card game of this sort.

Reading through the general ideas he has for the game, I think he is on track and it is just a matter of polishing the mechanism and gameplay. I definitely have his back on this one.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Noble
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Hey Don, thanks for popping in! That made me smile, cheers for the good karma!

Keep your eyes peeled (I'll probably be shoving stuff under your nose for you to look at...) but keep them peeled anyway!!!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ed Bupp
United States
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Sign me up. How much and where do I send it?

Ed
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Noble
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
buppers wrote:
Sign me up. How much and where do I send it?

Ed


Haha thanks Ed! I'm a way away from a complete game, or even one worth extensively play testing... But I'll continue to post progress on here. The plan is to launch a Kickstarter early next year.

Give this thread a subscribe, and you should stay up to date. Also I post about everything I do on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/jamienobleartist/ if you want to join me there too.

Cheers!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Arias
United States
Sanford
FLORIDA
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Subscribed! Poor Mimic...
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Darrin Bowers
United States
Kent
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Subscribed!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Noble
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Zeek Hotep wrote:
Subscribed!

Awesome! Thanks Darrin! Drop in and comment anytime!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Noble
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
crazybyzantine wrote:
Subscribed! Poor Mimic...


Thanks for joining in James! Feel free to feedback as we progress!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
tom mills
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Subbed to keep track of it,I loved the Hero Master cards, if this continues the humour of it, it should be a great fun game
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Noble
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Oriinal Timmy wrote:
Subbed to keep track of it,I loved the Hero Master cards, if this continues the humour of it, it should be a great fun game


Thanks man! I love the enthusiasm, good to see you here too!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Noble
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Hey guys I have been playing with location card ideas today. These won't mean ever so much but the idea is you draw location cards for each dungeon level you go through. The standard game is three, but I want to allow for people to play extended games if they want to and add more levels.



Originally I had decided that each monster would have a maximum number of 'engagement slots' so players were limited in how many actions the party could place there. However to add diversity to each game, monsters are placed in a line in front of the players and each corresponds to the number on the location tile depending on where it is in line.

The green dots under the monster number on the location card indicate how many 'engagement slots' there are, due to cavern room, obstacles etc. This means, you might face off with a goblin with 3 slots or a huge giant with only 2 slots and it randomises each game.

The other icons are placeholders for bonus treasure and reputation (victory points).



The red numbers are 'Boss' monsters that are drawn from a different smaller deck. They have special treasure and players will keep the card and use it as a one of their own deck if they kill them.

I wrote the rules out fully today, which shows a few 'plot holes' which need tidying etc, but it's coming together nicely. I have begun to format cards for Tabletop Simulator so I can get some decent playtesting done. I would normally just go black and white but I have the tempates already, it kind of makes sense to see how cards stack etc.



If anyone owns Tabletop Simulator and wants to try out the playtest with me in the coming months I'd love to get your details!

All the best

Jamie
2 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Arias
United States
Sanford
FLORIDA
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Layout's looking good. What are the upper-right boxes for, health?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Noble
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
crazybyzantine wrote:
Layout's looking good. What are the upper-right boxes for, health?

Hey thanks James!

The Upper right boxes will be for:
1) Chance of success (your D20 'roll', which is actually a card with a D20 on it).
2) Attack (which is compared to a target's defence)
3) Initiative which dictates the order in which an encounter is resolved
4) Defence, what an attacker compares their damage to when attacking you.

All of the above are adjusted by the events cards you or other players play.

For instance, you need an attack of 3 to kill a monster, but your action only has an attack of 2. You play an event card which boosts your attack to 3, but maybe that particular also reduces your initiative (depending on it's modifiers).

This might mean another player might act ahead of you. Either killing the monster first... or they might play an event that reduces your "roll" meaning you don't even hit the monster.

If you were a dastardly dungeoneer, you might expect the player to thwart your attack, and lay a very low "roll card", if the player reduces your roll to a 1 or less. It's Critical Fail time! Which means pretty bad consequences for those around you...
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Noble
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Hi all,

We playtested on Tabletop Simulator for the first time on Wednesday, I've been messing with ideas in the write up since then, I hope you enjoy reading it. I've played out hands on my own before, but it's pretty tough with a bluffing game to bluff yourself! I had the help of Overseers https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gonab/overseers publisher Gonzalo to help me.

Most importantly, there were genuine moments of fun. However, it played out in a way I didn't expect, and it wasn't where I wanted it to go.
I'm going to keep posting progress here. I'd like to be honest throughout the whole process of playtesting for three reasons.

1. To help anyone else designing a game to learn from my mistakes.
2. To engage anyone interested in picking up the game to show we've thought through our problems.
3. For me to keep a record of the changes I've made and why.



So here are the problems I took from our playthrough:

1. For a game called "Critical Fails" it had a distinct lack of critical fails, the skinny: No bluffing

Why was this?

The hero cards aren't geared properly. The focus was on just killing the monster, and not screwing over your party. That meant there was no threat of screwing over your party. That meant there was no bluffing.

Also there were too many monsters available for a two player game, which meant there were very few contested encounters. This meant there wasn't enough player interaction.

Finally the D20 cards (dice roll cards) were not "extreme" enough. We had several middle roll tens and elevens, which meant there was no way of forcing a Crit Fail on them with the skills available.

What will I do?

I am going to adjust modifiers on cards to be more extreme, also add more cards in that influence other players as well as buff your stats. In tandem with making the D20 cards more extreme, there will be much more in the ways highs and lows. Kills and Crit Fails. In this way, if you had a low D20 card you could play it with an event that pushed your opponent to miss his attack allowing you to kill the target next turn when you have better cards. After a few times of that, he might call your bluff and place a low D20 card on a tempting action hoping for you give him a Crit Fail.

For the monster issue, I need to work on some kind of scaling mechanic that forces players to contest over targets.

At the moment, I think it will be based on exploring the dungeon. Last night, the dungeon tiles were removed each time we completed one. I think moving forward it would be great to see the dungeon forming in front of the players.

I am thinking of two options: I think it would be great to reduce the number of rooms/monsters on each, and reveal a new dungeon (location) card each turn.

That would work well for a two player game, but I think for more players you would have a higher number of starting dungeon cards out in play.

So two players- 1 card
3-4 players - 2 cards.

After that one is revealed each turn.

Or... If the number of monsters drops is half the number of players, a new card is drawn (in a three player game if there were two monsters, draw a new dungeon card). Thematically, it means that as there is less resistance from monsters the players can move further into the dungeon.

The issue here is card management. Currently, with one dungeon level shown monsters can be numbered 1-4 (or however many there are). But with multiple cards, that would end in confusion. I don't really want to start adding counters to the game as another fiddly management thing to work out during play. Maybe it's just a case of laying monsters in a way that indicated where they were, like this...



Laying the monster cards in alternate directions (up and down) from the dungeon cards will allow some space for players to place their actions. In the scenario pictured, there are far more active monsters than you should experience, which leads me to think that limiting monsters based on the number of players is the best way to work it.

With all this said, it means that players can move forward in a dungeon, seeing new monsters, while some may be still active from that start and can be picked off as and when. I like that.


2. We didn't have access to many good combos of cards. Our decks got a bit polluted (even with treasure), it meant a few times we couldn't actually play a turn

Why was this?

A few times I've added odd rules while designing concepts for games, it sometimes sounds good, but in practice doesn't work. For one, the rule that wounds and treasure were placed on top of your deck meant your hand became unplayable at times. I thought the wounds clogging your hand up is a good rule (it is) but this needs revising in this game. For instance, if you won a battle, took 2 treasure cards but took 2 wounds, that would fill your next hand with no way of healing wounds, and you could only discard once per round.


Also as events can only be played on actions, if you have a hand of events, you're basically hamstrung. To compound this, in my rules I had stated, that you couldn't discard more than one card per turn, in an effort to get players to think tactically about their hand. It just doesn't make for a fun situation when you're stuck.

The deck which started at 15 cards, also began to grow into a monster deck quickly. My thoughts of players having to tactically rest (as your turn's action) to get cards back (by shuffle all your cards together) was never going to happen, and actually, would be boring. Skipping a whole go unless something drastic happens is a pretty sucky and frustrating way to play out a game.

What will I do?

Character cards

We decided during play we'd steal the basic action out of our deck and use it as a "Character card". We made it always available as an attack, so if your hand full events became valid again for at least one action per turn.

It drew me onto thinking that having a selection of permanent cards you could use what not only help the interaction in the game it would stop the frustration of being hamstrung too. Now what if those permanent cards were treasure items that were your weapons and armour? They would be swapped in and out with any treasure you might find.

That means that your deck could comprise of the traits and skills that your character possessed, and any fancy bits of treasure you picked up (potions, scrolls, rings etc). These would in the most part influence your actions as events and have the odd action thrown in to suprise other players with. The one starting action in your deck would be your characters signature move. For instance, the wizard's fireball.

I have decided that a character would have 5 cards laid in front of them that were issued as part of their class. Then they would have 5 cards from their class for their deck, and 5 cards from their race for their deck. So 5 permanents and 10 draw cards for your deck. Permanents are actions or passive buffs, and your deck are the events that fuel them.

The 5 permanents would be:

Your main actions:
Left hand (weapon)
Right hand (weapon)

Buffs that affect all actions you play. Must be powered by a high enough D20 card to work, basically a utility card that costs you per turn.
Armour
Auxiliary (Helmet, hat, boots)-


Character card- which is a healing/signature move card.
This is double sided. You can lay wounds on it and heal, meaning you can't use your signature move, or vice versa. Wounds can be healed on your card at one per level of your hero. Using the character card as your healing card is a non-encounter action, meaning you won't risk taking more wounds performing it. You may still place wound cards on an action as the event there, but it means if you don't have a high defence or kill the monster there fast, you'll likely end up taking a wound again. So it would be quite counter-productive.

We've just been playing the wizard and barbarian so far, their signature moves would be: Fireball and Wild Swings.
Fireball has the chance of hitting multiple targets in a room, and wild swings is a heavy and easy attack to perform but leaves you open to wounds.







Wounds and Healing/Resting

The convoluted way I had thought about wounds was just too confusing and frustrating. Wounds will still become part of your deck like Mage Knight and other similar games. However you'll be able to discard everything each turn, for a new hand, it just means each hand you draw with wounds leaves you with less choices of events.

I've decided that to vary tactics and eliminate downtime, each turn your hero deck is shuffled with your discard and your new hand is drawn. This means there is no resting needed, which before meant you sat out for a turn and shuffled your deck together. It was too arbitrary.


Deck and hand.

As mentioned, your hero deck will be only events and will be shuffled each turn. It will begin at ten cards and your starting hand size will be four cards. Each turn your will draw three D20 (roll) cards to decide success or failure of your cards.

Your deck will increase when you take wounds. Keeping the deck smaller means wounds have a greater impact. One issue we had before was too much treasure building your deck, it almost became a bit "meh" when you got more treasure, and your deck was just brimming with random stuff. Now I want to keep this a little more controlled. Your deck will be increased (apart from wounds) by gaining one use treasure such as scrolls and potions and unlimited use items like rings, and trinkets also from the treasure hoard. These will all be events that influence your actions. Your actions can be upgraded by taking new weapons and armour and replacing your old ones from the treasure hoard.

Treasure

I'm not sure why I had only one treasure card on show at a time when I thought through the rules, I think it was so the rogue could meddle with it as he sneaked from chest to chest cherry-picking stuff. It makes for a deck building game, which is too restricted though. So I am making the following changes to the treasure hoard.

Treasure is dictated by rooms only, not monsters (Unless, it is a monster like the goblin thief that steals treasure and places it under its card) and no longer reward reputation. Monsters now only reward reputation and no longer treasure. This means there is far less treasure flying around making it meaning less, and players now can be discerning about where they want to act to get the best rewards, or take low hanging fruit while everyone else is busy fighting over the big haul.

The treasure hoard is fully displayed on the table. Each time a dungeon level is revealed you'd add the appropriate number of treasure cards to the hoard. This means players will race to get hold of the best treasure, rather than just randomly pick up stuff and be disappointed. The rogue may still be able to hide treasure (flip the card face down) for a turn.



3. Events got a little confusing when they work working on initiative, the laying of cards needs to be revised

Why was this?

Originally, I had planned that all events would take place at the same time as the action that they were coupled with. So players would get their bonuses in turn. However, some of the event cards had bonus initiative as one of their perks, so it was useless as it wouldn't add til your turn which by then was too late. We ended up with stat increases on events being added at the start of the encounter and the rules text playing when it was your turn in the initiative. It got pretty messy.


What will I do?

Sticking with the original rule that events took place regardless of your action's success: I now want all events to play at the start of the round, the only thing that happens in initiative order is the action itself.
This won't be too crazy, as there will usually be between 2-4 events playing per encounter so it shouldn't get too micro-managey.
At the start of the encounter, all events are revealed. If they apply to all players leave them in the centre, if they apply to one player, place it with the players action.

Then actions are played out in order of initiative, turning over each D20 card as you go. If the monster is killed, remove all the cards and collect rewards. Like players do not have to show their D20 cards if they lost.

So at a round will go:

Stage 1:

Draw hero cards up to your hand limit, and D20 cards up to "Luck" limit. At the start of the game this will be 4:3.

Stage 2:

Take it in turns to play your stack: on the top, an action card face up, hidden underneath your event, then a D20 card face down. This means everyone can see your intended action, they will soon see your event at the start of the encounter, and the D20 card is still concealed when the event is extracted.

Keep taking turns clockwise, the starting player is to the left of the previous starting player (lets call them the LEADER) on the following turn. For those of you who have played poker you will recognise that being in the early stages of play makes it tough as you won't know where everyone else is planning to play, and this will influence tactics. Maybe go safe in the first play, then on the second action you place you can be a little more risky?

The laying of cards ends when all players cannot or do not want to place any more stacks.

Stage 3:

The player with the lowest reputation chooses an encounter to resolve. This is important as some cards at an encounter to influence other encounters. For example the fireball can kill more than one monster, so it is in the interest for the wizard to resolve that encounter before the other monster in the room dies.

In the event of a draw on lowest reputation, the player closest left to the Leader goes first.

Go through each encounter playing all events first, then each action in order of inititative, by turning over the D20 card and checking for success or failure... or Critical Failure!

Reward where necessary at the end of each encounter, clear all cards from the play area that are not marked "Leave in play".

Stage 4:

Clear all cards belonging to players from the play area ready for next turn. D20 cards are all placed in the discard pile, shuffle the discard pile with the deck ready for next turn. Each player shuffles their hand, any used cards and their deck ready for next turn, leaving their permanents out on the table.


That about wraps it up for now, with these changes made, I've revisited the hero cards, I also need to revisit the treasure cards too. Hopefully I'll get a playtest with my buddy Tim in this weekend.

Thanks for reading!

Jamie
3 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Noble
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Hi again everyone,

I've had another series of Game-tests. With Gonzalo and also another play tester. We're still testing the game as a two player set-up only at the moment (while considering the effects of more players), it makes sense to ensure the fundamentals of the game work, before introducing loads more factors. These notes are the summary of multiple play-tests that had a series of minor adjustments throughout. So hopefully it makes sense to interested readers.

Before I continue I'll add a quick summary of gameplay so this log of changes/experiences makes sense. All play-tests done on Tabletop Simulator.

Hero Master

Dungeon crawler with bluffing and screwing over of your opponents

Monsters are laid in dungeon rooms that yield treasure and reputation (victory points), players can choose where to direct their attacks. If they choose to attack a monster it is known as an encounter.

Players have actions (attacks) they lay face-up on a monster along with a D20 card face-down (a dice between 1-20) and an event card face-down, which influences the action card or the D20 dice.

If their modified D20 surpasses their dice, they get a hit on the monster, their strength is compared to the defence of the monster. If their D20 is reduced to a score of one or less they crit fail and the second part of their card procs. The crit fail is usually something detrimental to other players. The idea is you would encourage players to reduce your D20 to stop your chance of success, knowing that you had a low D20 card and lure them into making you Crit fail and therefore hindering them.

If you kill a monster you are rewarded. If you take wounds you are penalised at the end of the game.

Jumping ahead a little, here's a cheat sheet I issued Jamie Burland (Poker pro and helpful playtest friend..) I didn't make this cheat sheet til the last playthrough I have written about in this post, so there might be changes in it that I mention in the write up.



I put all the features into practice from last write up:

Crit fails on cards: Introduced more exciting Crit-fails on action cards to encourage players to consider fumbling in a big way, rather than going for kills only. I also removed Crit-fails from all other cards that weren't actions. Although it was fun writing calamity flavour text, the amount of information needed to process one crit fail, with 3 possible outcomes was just nuts... Too much board-game-brain-drain (you know what I'm talking about if you've played Mage Knight late at night).

Combat outcome: I boosted and nerfed dice rolls so there was no middle ground. This meant there was more chance of getting an attack off, or going for broke on a crit fail. Not just having useless "nothing cards".
This seemed like a good idea, we played with it a few times, then realised it hadn't really helped much. Now far too many attacks were just succeeding, and it just became a game of who got the luckiest cards quickest. So I went back and messed around with the action stats. Rather than having their success criteria all really high, I made some less powerful, but easier to use. I then reintroduced the mid-range D20s and it felt like there was more choice for players, which in turn meant more scope for tactics.

Frustrating gameplay and adding permanent action cards:

I have now added a completely different system in which you deal with your cards. We were having to luck out on a hand of good combos, as you always needed a combination of an action, an event and a D20 card to perform an encounter. I decided to add a permanent action card "your signature move" to always allow at least one action. This card would sit out in front of you, and be available every turn. This was a step in the right direction, but still there were times were luck just stumped you and the other player cleaned up by having the right cards and fighting monsters uncontested.

I took some time out between playtests to redevelop these hand mechanics. This time, your deck would comprise solely of events, you'd draw your D20 cards as normal, but... You'd have a weapon, your signature action and a piece of armour that required D20 cards to activate. You also didn't HAVE to lay an event card.

FYI: Actions and weapons function the same and are often referred to as 'actions'. The only difference is, your 'action' is your signature move and cannot be swapped, however your weapons can be swapped with new treasure throughout the game.

Now you started with 3 permanent cards (two of which are your actions). I also wanted you to be able to add to this, by gaining treasure. I have trialed a five permanent card max: 2 weapons, your signature, a piece of armour and an auxiliary piece of gear (hats, gloves, cloaks). This meant you could play multiple encounters every turn because you always had the actions to do so. If you gained another weapon you had 3 actions, meaning you had an advantage over other players. However three was the maximum.



[Sidenote] I might toy with the idea of scrolls (found in treasure)... one use actions that can be used on top of your weapons. So on one turn you might have more than your max 3 actions. These would likely only be useful in the later game though as at level 1 you are limited to 3 D20 cards per round, which you need to perform your actions.

Wounds and adding to your deck: We tested again and the deck and hand management needed more tweaking. We tried originally with the ability to keep hold of cards between turns and new cards you picked up were added to the top of your deck. This was so that you could take time out to "rest" your character to redraw cards etc. Like a few games I've designed now, this pause seems like a great idea til I playtest it, then I realise how boring it is to miss a turn. Gathering wounds and even treasure hamstrung you regularly so you would have to rest, so you either struggle to play a hand, or you took a turn out... BORING. Wounds in a hand were meant to hinder you, but not make the game so frustrating it was not fun. I have now decided to remove wound cards, and instead use wound tokens. These count against your final reputation (people want to know if you got a few beat downs when you're bragging about your monster kills). I still like wound cards in hands (Mage Knight etc) but in this faster paced game it wasn't working. You are now penalised at the end of the game (in points) for wounds, or to heal you have to spend money, select potions from the treasure hoard (which means you don't get the fancy axe you were after) or use your action card...

Your action card: I have mentioned the signature action card already. It is a powerful action you can place at an encounter that really summarises your character's skillset. A rogue has Backstab, a wizard has Fireball, A barbarian has WILD SWINGS! You'll likely want to use these on every turn, but if you're banged up... You'll need to flip the card over and use the other side to heal yourself. This is the new feature to penalise players without completely stopping gameplay. You now choose when to sacrifice the use of your best card to heal up, rather than just choking with a hand full of unplayable cards.

This all worked much better! Gonzalo and I had a game that flowed pretty well, not lots of stopping and starting. It felt like a real win, I think with that in mind, I lost sight of the mechanic I'd set out to achieve, the bluffing and critical fail aspects.

A new test with a Poker Pro.


Feeling pretty confident, I took the game proudly to another game tester, new to the game and completely fresh. Jamie Burland part owner of Bearhug Poker http://www.bearhugpoker.com/ is a friend and genuine Poker pro. I thought his expertise would be beneficial to my game in which I really wanted to establish bluffing. A few plays in I realised that although we could lay cards and the game progressed, we still struggled to have exciting "OOOOH!" moments. We did have one, which Jamie really got one over on me and we loved it. It was exactly what I wanted to achieve and it was satisfying to see it come to fruition.

Jamie (I know... confusing seeing as I am called Jamie too) and I were squabbling over low reputation point monsters. We were tit for tat getting kills. Then the Ogre card came down. This guy was worth a whopping 4 rep, and for me as the Wizard was perfectly situated in a room with another monster. My plan was to use my Fireball which had enough strength to blast the Ogre, and the splash effect meant I'd sneakily get another kill from the monster in the same room.

Jamie had other plans...

After we had laid our cards, Jamie bizarrely didn't choose the Ogre encounter to start. I thought he'd try and push his initiative higher than mine to get the kill, so I'd gone all in on initiative to try and beat him to the punch. Jamie chose the other encounter in the room. I thought he'd conceded the ogre to me and was just trying to limit my rampage. So even if I did take out the Ogre, I wouldn't get my bonus splash kill.... The uncontested other encounter, was where he'd placed his strongest attack, 'The Bragging Blade' a weapon he'd picked up from the treasure hoard earlier in the game. I chuckled, thinking "he should have used that on the Ogre". Then he flipped his event card... 'Oi Come 'ere!' His barbarian taunted the Ogre from my encounter and swapped it with the insignificant weeny he'd started with at the encounter. In one move he'd stripped me of my big kill, and a double kill and take make things worse, his weapon gave him bonus rep for kills. It was a real "Woah!" moment and it made the game for me. I lost, but I was happy about it.


It was great, but it only established that, in a game there weren't enough of these moments. For me it was back to the drawing board, and I had a new playtest booked in with another tester later that week.



Things that Jamie brought up that needed changing:

Although placeholder, the cards' interface weren't intuitive enough to make the game run smoothly. Need to be more clear.
Sometimes it felt like a case of just flipping cards and seeing who won.
There wasn't really enough contested monsters still.
There wasn't enough crit fails.
It was hard to remember what you'd laid and what to do to influence it enough to win.

Things I want to achieve in the next playtest:

Do proper card templates so it's easy to read what's going on.
Tweak the laying of hands so you didn't forget everything you'd laid.
Increase the excitement aspect of the big reveal.

Summary

I'll get back to you all with more on the next write up. It's progressing in the right direction and it's great to have a foundation to build on. The fact that you can play a game through and enjoy it has filled me with confidence. It now feels like I need to maximise fun, and reduce confusion before finally playtesting it to death to balance everything.

Thanks for reading!
2 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Noble
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Hi again Adventurers…

We play-tested again and I’m pleased to say this was one huge leap in the right direction.

My new play tester- Tim, a web designer and gamer (good at processes which was helpful) was impressed by stable gameplay at this stage which was a real confidence builder. I changed the events sequence a lot before we played and also added a currency (gold) to the cards. Won by defeating monsters, this gold could be spent at another new addition- NPCs. That could buff your heroes, heal you or sell you treasure. It could also be stockpiled to turn into reputation points at the end of the game. So now final reputation scores came from:

Monster kill reputation + X Gold then subtract the number of wounds you’re left with.

I also spent ages going through and changing the card layout and icons to be both more systematic when resolving encounters and clear as to what they did. Unfortunately Tim bore the brunt of this by having to play with the dog as I made last minute (last hour more like) finishes to the cards before we played.



We played through a couple of map tiles, and again the game went fairly smoothly particularly with the new systematically laid out cards. However, it still felt clumsy when resolving combat and it still didn’t have that excitement factor I was craving. I ended up stopping play after those first maps.
I explained to Tim what I was hoping to achieve and as predicted, Tim went into process mode. It was amazing, we just essentially played the next 3 encounters in different ways to try and get to the bottom of what was confusing and what was fun. It was the standout best thing we could have done.

You may remember from the last post, I felt there was a lack of WOW! Moments and sometimes the cards just felt like they were flipped and the outcome was just a bit of a lucky draw. So we began the play-through using similar rules defined by the last write up apart from this major change:

When you it was your turn, you only played an action (weapon) card at an encounter. This for me was like your statement of intent in a tabletop RPG, “I want to hit the orc with my axe”.

After everyone has laid their actions at their chosen encounters, player one chooses an encounter to resolve. Players at the encounter take it in turns to lay event cards down from their hand. To recap, event cards affect the stats on your action and the chance of your success. By deciding whether to bluff by laying their best cards down and trying to ‘milk’ the best cards out of the other player, it might help that player out on later encounters when their opponent has run out of their best cards. OR simply use their best cards to get the kill they want to. Players proceed through their hand of event cards until one of them decides to end the event stage by laying a face-down D20 card. To recap, a D20 card represents the success dice roll of a D20 and has a number between 1 and 20. This forces players to stop laying events and must instead lay their D20 cards face down.



When ready, everyone flips their D20 cards. Checks the modifiers at the top of each of the cards at the encounter (represented by D20 icons) to see whether they hit or missed… Or Critically Failed!
Plain misses are essentially completely disregarded. Unlucky, you failed to make any sort of meaningful impact on the encounter with your half-baked action. Remove your cards from the encounter. Your events no longer affect anything moving forward beyond the “to hit” stage.



If you critically fail, immediately resolve the critical fail text on the bottom of your action card. Whoah! You managed to encourage someone to make your character catastrophically fail causing a domino effect on all heroes at the encounter. That could be wounds to other players as you swing your axe like a lunatic, or you clumsily let the creature scamper off into the darkness ending the encounter for everyone, even those who would have scored a killing blow!



If nobody critically fails, and some players hit, you then systematically work through the card. This was the key part, as it meant you were only dealing with one row of stats at a time.
D20 score is above required success score.

Check any hitting player’s initiative, apply modifiers from any events still in play (not failed action events). The highest player has the first chance to kill the monster.

The fastest player compares their Strength (modified by active event cards) against the monster’s Defence. If it beats the defence, the monster is dead. The player receives the reward and the encounter is over.

If the player failed to wound the monster, the player with the next highest initiative goes and so on. If at any point the monster’s initiative is the highest, the monster attacks ALL heroes at the encounter. It’s Strength is compared to your Defence if it surpasses it you take a wound… Easy!

NB: Events can affect your and your opponent’s action and D20 result both positively and negatively.

This sequence was a much more polished version of the encounters. It felt much smoother and now felt much more tactical. Do you attempt to draw cards out of a player? Or just get yours down and not risk not being able to lay it?

The only thing I’d like to tinker with in this sequence is if a player has stockpiled their cards to use when another player has blown theirs, how to deal with that benefit. Do you penalise players who didn’t commit and lay, by saying a D20 card halts all events, or do you allow players to continue to lay after the D20 goes down? Thematically it feels like you would only be able to lay at max one more event than other players as that is the “time” spent at the encounter. At an encounter where you are the sole hero, you would “make your own time” and lay as many events as you choose (it’s open season at that encounter).
If a player has no events or decides not to lay one, I would suggest that players may lay at least one event at an encounter if they have one and choose to.

There were a few more changes we made during the game play:

On the previous play-tests when we had added armour and gear in, it had a success score like a piece of weaponry/action. By placing a D20 card that succeeded the requirement, it meant you were buffed on all your encounters. It sounds great! But it got forgotten every single encounter, and also you rarely used it as you wanted to use your D20 cards for actions. Also having a D20 score on the card added confusion, more than one game-tester tried to play the armour or gear cards as an attack at an event.

NB: Armour and Gear are two types of permanent cards that lay in front of you like Weapons/Actions. They can be added to or changed by swapping out more Armour or Gear.

So as Tim and I played, we rehashed it so that armour or gear was played on one encounter when you played your action card without having a separate D20 cost. It meant you had a from buff at your chosen encounter before people began laying events and could also be used as a red herring. “I’m going to place my armour here and hope my opponent thinks this is where I’m going to go big”.

Playing this way added more strategy and felt like armour and gear had more relevance and was worth picking up as a reward.
Currently I limited the permanent cards to one piece of armour and a piece of gear. I am now thinking of increasing gear slots to three- head, hands and boots.

Gold and NPCs



One thing that showed its infancy was gold, it was added in and felt irrelevant. To be fair, an NPC only showed up right at the end of the game (they are drawn from the monster deck into the slots on the board). I think that gold will be a fun addition to the game, you’re currently collecting reputation (victory points) and treasure. I wanted something that you could actually manage, have a choice over saving or spending for greater gain.
Another issue was that to interact, I’d decided you had to use the flip-side of your Signature Action card like when you heal. Your action is just too good to waste, so I would suggest that interacting is a free action at the start of the turn. You would just place cash on a NPC to show you’re using it.
Gold will give you points at the end of the game, we had said 5 gold = 1 victory point. I want to make it worth having at the end, but more exciting to spend, so a list of expenditures is below.

NPCs I am currently testing:

Ogre Merchant- adds a separate line of 3 treasure cards that can be bought from at a fixed price, I may go and add individual prices to treasure cards. I would also encourage players to trade with one another and giving them a basis for pricing makes sense.

Mystic healer- Players can double the amount of healing they do when they play their healing card by paying the healer.

Goblin Fortune Teller- You may pay to receive more event cards here.
Roaming Skald- You may pay for additional reputation for kills.

Dwarven Smith- You may draw a special upgrade card to add to your armour or weapons these add permanent buffs. I may add sockets to weapons for upgrades, so some may be upgraded more than others.

Elven enchantress- You may draw a special upgrade card to add text effects to your permanent cards. Such as healing etc.

Wounds
Finally I think in the next iteration of the rules, wounds would penalise you in your hand size over time. I want to get players wound conscious and not just take them through the game.

That’s it for now, this has been the most clear series of changes that has really shaped the game. I was so please I did mocked up some cards properly and did a new piece of art, the Orc Chief! I added a few more maps, loads of icons for the cards.





Cheers!
Jamie
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Noble
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer

I had some time yesterday to get some monster artwork done I hope you guys like them so far. Please ignore the body text it's just filler right now.





3 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Arias
United States
Sanford
FLORIDA
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
That all looks great!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Noble
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Thanks James,

The wording on the cards is all a bit out at the moment, it's all going to be rewritten once we slow down making constant fiddly changes to everything.

I really hope I can get enough artwork done to get a prototype ready for December, I've got a booth at a board game and RPG convention to show the greetings cards, but it would be great to show the game off too!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Noble
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Some of the cards for the warrior class! Text is temporary but gives you an idea. I want to keep the game light hearted with flavour text but I might make it smaller so it doesn't look so much like the bold game text. Any thoughts?





3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
tom mills
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Its coming along great
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Noble
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Thanks Tom, back from my NYC trip so hoping to get some more art done in the next few days!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.