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Subject: Action playmat: An idea rss

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Mark Perry
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Hi Chris,

I just sat down to read through the rules of this game. I haven't read too far, so this idea might not work, but I was thinking: Do the action cards need to be cards? Based on my quick scan of the rules, it appears that the purpose of the action cards are to choose what actions you will play during your turn, and then after that round, you put those cards back and pull from the six again for the next turn.

If this is the case, I wonder if an action playmat (a la Takenoko) would be easier to play with than cards. I don't know how Spearshike works, but if he picks the cards you don't, this has the benefit of being able to easily see which 3 those are (the ones without a marker).

Just a thought...

Mark

PS, one more thing: I remember reading in your WIP thread that you thought that the name Spearshike came from Shakespeare (and it may well), but I was wondering if it could also have come from the primary antagonist of Titus Groan: Steerpike?

Best, Mark
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Chris Alton
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Ahh yes, from Gormenghast. Yes, it's possible

Thanks for downloading, Mark - I don't see why your idea wouldn't work. I was trying to keep the footprint of the game down to a minimum.
The action cards also keep a track of the skills you have used during each day - this is only really needed if you are using the 'decaying skills' optional rule.

I hope you have fun with it!
 
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Mark Perry
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Hi Chris,

I played several games of the"tutorial" to learn the game. At first I couldn't figure out how to do things because it seemed impossible to achieve above a level 2 skill. Then I realized I was playing the game incorrectly regarding when you level up, etc. Once I knew what I was doing, I found that it was pretty easy to get two of the skills to level 4 and to make it to reputation level 5.

Some questions about the general game:

1) Is it possible to upgrade basic components? Like if I only craft a gem and it's basic, could I work on the to become advanced? I didn't see this in the rules, but thought it might make for an alternative when the dice seem to hate you...

2) If I craft a commission in a day of highest quality does it have to be crafted on days 1 or 2 only to make it to level 6?

3) I noticed that the color bands are for reputation levels 0-2, 3-4, and 5-6, but the rules reference 0-1, 2-3, and 4-5. Why the disparity? Printing error, or have I misunderstood something more?

Thanks!
Mark
 
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Chris Alton
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Hi Mark,

1. It's not possible with the current rules, but it's a great idea and (if you don't mind) may be something I can incorporate in the future.

2. Yes, correct. Once your reputation hits 4, any further increases can only be achieved by fulfilling a commission at high quality before it reaches day 3.

3. No, it's correct. The rules are written as they are to emphasise the fact that you need to meet more conditions in order to move your repution INTO the next colour band.
While your reputation is 0 or 1, your reputation increases any time you fulfill a commission. The quality or speed at which you fulfil does not matter.
Once your reputation reaches 2, you will be parked just before the next colour band on the reputation track. In order to move into that band and reach a rep of 3 you need to fulfill a commission and also satisfy at least one of the two conditions: Either fulfil while the commission is at Day 1 or Day 2 OR fulfill at high quality. This same restriction applies when trying to raise rep from 3 to 4.
To move to the next colour band and gain a rep of 5 (and also from 5 to 6) you need to fulfil a commission and satisfy BOTH those conditions (i.e. fulfil at high quality AND while the commission is at Day 1 or Day 2.)
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Mark Perry
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On the first point, go ahead. I had initially thought I should be able to buy basic goods and work on my craft some more to make them "advanced" when my skill is only 2, but that wasn't in the rules so I tried other ideas.

On the third point: So I guess the tutorial game ends when the last card reaches day 3?

One thing I noticed: It seemed pretty impossible to craft one of the initial commissions in the game. In fact to get my skill up, but not to waste my resources, a lot of my initial rounds were practicing to make easy basic components which I could sell at a profit of 1, so that I would have capital for when my skill was higher without taking a loan.

I was thinking that if you make more cards for this game as you intimated in the WIP thread, you might consider creating different tiers of cards: i.e., basic commissions for a first act of the game, medium level commissions for a second act of the game, and high level commissions for the third act of the game. In fact, maybe the royal commission that is suggested in the intro paragraph, but never appears in the game could be a part of that third act. Putting the game into a 3-act structure would remove some of the tactical nature of the game at present, but It might also make it a little fairer in the beginning. It might also mean that those initial commissions don't get wasted. In my games, I typically only took on a commission if I could fulfill it that turn. Subsequently several commissions were wasted, but since I only needed 6 I didn't feel bothered at the time by letting some go. In retrospect, though, I wonder if the randomness of the deck could mean that you can only get to rep 6 on certain games when the order of the cards is right, and on others it's not possible to achieve a 6 for the same reason...

But I do like the intro game as a nice puzzle. I will try the advanced rules soon.
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Chris Alton
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Yes you really need to work on improving your skills in the early part of the game and ignore some of the more difficult commissions.

I can see in the tutorial version of the game that this seems a little 'off', but in the full version you have to balance it against Shearspike who will be taking some of those commissions if you don't. I'd be interested to hear your opinions after you've played against the AI.

It's intentionally very difficult to achieve a rep of 5 or 6. If you manage it, it's pretty much a guaranteed win, although Shearspike's mood matrix makes him become more disruptive and spiteful when your rep is at those levels. I would have liked time to balance this more, but had to draw a line under it to enter into the contest. Now that voting is done, I can start work again and refine the game.

Plans for development are:
- introduction of random event cards which mix up play a little, and prevent the game becoming 'more of the same'.
- introduction of achievements, similar to Hostage Negotiator. Things such as 'Beat Shearspike with a rep of 2 or less', 'Beat Shearspike with all skills at level 4', 'Fulfill every smithing based commission' etc etc
- Add more commissions for greater varietey, and have the player randomly select 12 to start each game.

These are just ideas for now and will need developing.
 
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