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Subject: Some questions rss

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ghost whistler
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This looks very interesting, with some good ideas, but a little shallow.

I'm a little concerned that, with momentum being re calculated afresh each round, it defeats any long term strategic planning. So it seems you need to take down enemies in one round.

Also, how likely is it that the wound deck will ever expire, as the more wounded the players get the more likely they will draw them into hand quickly enough to give back to the Judge, replenishing his deck.

Are there more map tiles than are seen in the demo footage, or is that map the only map, presumably representing the entirety of the wood.
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Mike Selinker
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I'll give you my takes on these questions, though players not connected to the development team should weigh in.

ghost whistler wrote:
I'm a little concerned that, with momentum being re calculated afresh each round, it defeats any long term strategic planning. So it seems you need to take down enemies in one round.

There is much more strategic planning in Thornwatch than most other games of this type. You need to think out what types of strategies will work for multiple types of momentum layouts, because you may not get what you expect each time.

ghost whistler wrote:
Also, how likely is it that the wound deck will ever expire, as the more wounded the players get the more likely they will draw them into hand quickly enough to give back to the Judge, replenishing his deck.


It happens a lot, especially over multiple-scene games.

ghost whistler wrote:
Are there more map tiles than are seen in the demo footage, or is that map the only map, presumably representing the entirety of the wood.


There are 48 sides of map tiles over 24 actual tiles. Think of it as four complete maps that can be mixed and matched a number of ways.

Hope that helps!

Mike
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ghost whistler
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Thanks for the replies and good luck with the game, it does look interesting.

1. Momentum is an interesting idea, however because it's completely reshuffled I'm not sure what strategy can be used. Unless I'm mistaken it's conceivable to target one enemy such that he's pushed to the back of the queue but unless he's defeated before the cards are reshuffled, all that work is for...well, not very much. Perhaps instead of reshuffling everything, you leave the card in last place and reshuffle the rest?

2. So wounds carry over if you're playing the next story?

3. I would be interested in seeing what the other tiles looks like. Are there any major differences mechanically?
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Rodney Thompson
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Apologies for jumping in here, but I wanted to add a few thoughts...

I would say the game is, in general, more tactical than strategic. Each time momentum is shuffled, as a group your goal is to maximize your tactical play to deal with the current situation and defeat an enemy this round so that your efforts aren't, as you say, for naught.

The strategic element that comes into play is in deciding which action cards to prepare and which ones to use for fuel. In preparing actions, you are trying to set the entire team up for success, not necessarily on this round, but on future rounds. Due to the way momentum works, that may mean planning for future round contingencies and taking into consideration what cards your companions have prepared to make sure that, no matter how momentum shakes out, you have what you need to take an enemy out that round.

As to your question, wounds carry over from scene to scene; typically a play session is going to be 2+ scenes. We've seen the wound deck run out, usually when the Judge is distributing wounds among many characters (making the wounds less of a percentage of any one player's decks, making them less likely to come into hand) and also putting out a ton of damage. I like to think of the wound deck running out as sort of the equivalent of Pandemic's "you lose when the player card deck runs out" rule. It's not necessarily the primary way the Judge wins (that's usually governed by the scene goals), but it's more of a safety valve in case the game is going on too long and the players are turtling.

Map tiles themselves have few rules on them, but they do have symbols that govern which terrain cards can be placed on them; that's where you're going to see the most variety is in how the terrain cards modify the map spaces. We've aimed at trying to make things pretty modular there, so that even if you're playing on the same map you've used before the Judge's choice of terrain cards can completely alter the way the scene plays out.
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Brooks Child
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ghost whistler wrote:
This looks very interesting, with some good ideas, but a little shallow.


I played the Print and Play and that is exactly what I found. Very few decisions to make and often time the best course of action was to do nothing. Not what I am looking for in a dungeon crawler.


ghost whistler wrote:
I'm a little concerned that, with momentum being re calculated afresh each round, it defeats any long term strategic planning. So it seems you need to take down enemies in one round.


100% this. Unless the players can gang up on an enemy there is no reason to attack it. And since players can only move one space there is little opportunity to change targets. The players are very much at the mercy of the momentum track randomness. I delt our the track a few time only for the players to make comments along the lines of "Well this round is a bust" and "Yawn".


ghost whistler wrote:
Also, how likely is it that the wound deck will ever expire, as the more wounded the players get the more likely they will draw them into hand quickly enough to give back to the Judge, replenishing his deck.



We played the two scenarios that tie together in the PnP and got no where close to emptying it. I don't see this happening very often.
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Chris Currie
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ghost whistler wrote:
1. Momentum is an interesting idea, however because it's completely reshuffled I'm not sure what strategy can be used. Unless I'm mistaken it's conceivable to target one enemy such that he's pushed to the back of the queue but unless he's defeated before the cards are reshuffled, all that work is for...well, not very much. Perhaps instead of reshuffling everything, you leave the card in last place and reshuffle the rest?


I got to demo Thornwatch at GenCon, and I'm fairly certain that the PnP is really close to what I played. In short, I think the Momentum is a great way to introduce the uncertainty and unpredictability of battle.

Strategically, you work together as a team to position yourselves so that you can handle the Momentum as it changes. Without getting into the weeds on this point, we found ourselves having to consider where to have our character pawns stand with regard to the Gliders so that they would focus on us and not chase and kill/run off villages.

Strategically, you evaluate the Momentum and determine who is 'easy pickings' (if there are any) and you use character abilities to adjust player order in the Momentum so that you can enable yourself or your partners to take more and more actions each round. Some of the creatures are single-card, and every time you bounce them off the end of the Momentum, that kills one of the pack of creatures. Some of the creatures have multiple cards on the Momentum, allowing the single creature to take multiple actions during the round. So you do have to work together to develop a strategy that works for your group composition to reliably handle the Momentum, no matter how it shakes out.

Tactically, during the individual Rounds of the Momentum, you'll see opportunities to use player abilities to exploit the way the Momentum lays out. But, the Judge has finite ways to move the enemies around on the Momentum, too. There is some strategy to leading the Judge out so that he/she consumes all of their Ebb tokens, thereby enabling your team to basically go ape on the enemies through comboing.
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ghost whistler
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RodneyThompson wrote:
Apologies for jumping in here, but I wanted to add a few thoughts...

I would say the game is, in general, more tactical than strategic. Each time momentum is shuffled, as a group your goal is to maximize your tactical play to deal with the current situation and defeat an enemy this round so that your efforts aren't, as you say, for naught.

The strategic element that comes into play is in deciding which action cards to prepare and which ones to use for fuel. In preparing actions, you are trying to set the entire team up for success, not necessarily on this round, but on future rounds. Due to the way momentum works, that may mean planning for future round contingencies and taking into consideration what cards your companions have prepared to make sure that, no matter how momentum shakes out, you have what you need to take an enemy out that round.

As to your question, wounds carry over from scene to scene; typically a play session is going to be 2+ scenes. We've seen the wound deck run out, usually when the Judge is distributing wounds among many characters (making the wounds less of a percentage of any one player's decks, making them less likely to come into hand) and also putting out a ton of damage. I like to think of the wound deck running out as sort of the equivalent of Pandemic's "you lose when the player card deck runs out" rule. It's not necessarily the primary way the Judge wins (that's usually governed by the scene goals), but it's more of a safety valve in case the game is going on too long and the players are turtling.

Map tiles themselves have few rules on them, but they do have symbols that govern which terrain cards can be placed on them; that's where you're going to see the most variety is in how the terrain cards modify the map spaces. We've aimed at trying to make things pretty modular there, so that even if you're playing on the same map you've used before the Judge's choice of terrain cards can completely alter the way the scene plays out.


I don't think that's enough of a strategic element. You have no control over what you draw, you only draw X cards, and thus have to play with that. Not only that but there isn't really any depth in the cards; most of them are resources which only exist to power up the action cards which when you draw them you will play because why wouldn't you.

Since movement is abstracted it is ultimately kinda meaningless, especially against monsters like the big turtle thing that takes up two spaces.

I just don't see any real depth here I'm afraid.

The momentum idea is interesting but again too shallow: as well as resetting monsters each turn, which means that the one you nearly killed last turn but couldn't finish off could now fully heal.

This also means that tougher monsters are always faster. That's a real lack of depth and granularity for the sake of simplicity and randomness. What was wrong with a simple i go u go system?

I'm afraid this is a pass for me.
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Brooks Child
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ghost whistler wrote:
I don't think that's enough of a strategic element. You have no control over what you draw, you only draw X cards, and thus have to play with that. Not only that but there isn't really any depth in the cards; most of them are resources which only exist to power up the action cards which when you draw them you will play because why wouldn't you.


This was our experience too. No real decisions to be made. Four action card slots on the playmat is too many given the ratio of action cars to resources in the decks. Never did player ditch what they had on their board for what they had in their hands.

When reading the rules I was excited by the idea that action cards could also be used a resources but again due to the ration this is never really necessary. I wish every card was an action card that doubled as a resource. Then there would be some real decisions to make since every card can and will need to be used in multiple ways. I don't think it would really slow the game down either since players get new hands at the end of their turn they can be reading during the other player(s) turn(s).

ghost whistler wrote:
Since movement is abstracted it is ultimately kinda meaningless, especially against monsters like the big turtle thing that takes up two spaces.


The opposite is also true, the judge should usually keep monsters on opposite sides of the map. Opposite corners are even better. It is impossible for a Thornwatch member set up to attack a monster in one corner only to see that it is too hight on the momentum track this turn and instead attack the monster in the other corner. Corners are 4 spaces away. A ranged attack and a move of one only covers 3 of those 4 spaces.

ghost whistler wrote:
I just don't see any real depth here I'm afraid.


Me neither. Which kinda boggles my mind given the talent involved and the length of time the game was in one stage of development or the other.

ghost whistler wrote:
The momentum idea is interesting but again too shallow: as well as resetting monsters each turn, which means that the one you nearly killed last turn but couldn't finish off could now fully heal.


This frustrated the hell out of my players. If the monsters were randomly dealt to the front of the track (or were moved). They knew this round was a wash for them unless they were all in position to attack the right monster. Phones would come out of pockets and attention/interest would wane considerably.
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ghost whistler
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That the game gives the Judge modifiers to apply for each monster each round (and the players can do likewise with certain abilities) kinda shows this is a flawed system. If you have to apply these modifiers then also it's not the efficient system you think it is IMHO.

 
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Alessio Massuoli
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Did you post a playtest report? These comments can be useful.
 
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ghost whistler
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I haven't played it.

 
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