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BattleCON: Trials of Indines» Forums » General

Subject: KS Update on Trials and my thoughts rss

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Altropos
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Level99 posted a detailed update on Kickstarter that covers what is changing in Battlecon and what changes were rolled back. For convenience I'll quote the KS update and then add my thoughts.

Quote:
Updated in Trials


Quote:
Character Guide changed to a Mini-Artbook - In Fate and War Remastered, we introduced two rulebooks, one with the game basics, and one with the characters and play modes. This worked well, but many people still mentioned that they wanted more information on the setting and story. In Trials, we have taken special modes out of the character guide, and replaced them with extended backstories, additional pages of full art, and the running story of the series. With one of our upcoming Stretch Goals, we'll also add more pages of art/lore, and a poster to the game box. As for the special variants, we'll keep them relegated to the white-box expansions like Armory and Light & Shadow in the future.


While I like reading about the characters and their play styles, I've never really hungered for further information on the world. I don't mind it being in there but I'd sad to see the variants go. I'd hate for a new player to get the game and wonder after a few plays (assuming they don't get instantly hooked like a lot of us did) if that was all there was to the game. Hopefully L99 will include a link to an online variant pdf for people who want to mix things up.

A side note, if you've never played a 2v2 match with 4 players you're missing out.

I was wondering about Light and Shadow for the new characters, and I understand not wanting to add to card count. But, if they were included at the $40 level it would add value for the veterans and might drive traffic to the variant pdf and to the Light and Shadow set to get those EX and Almighty bases. Still, not a big thing, just a thought.

Similarly, adding the missing Strikers (especially for Baenvier and Iri) for those fighters that don't have them yet would be another value add to the $40 pledge level and give new players a taste for more strikers.


Quote:
Dash Base changed and updated with new effects - We've known about problems with Dash in high-level play since shortly after the release of War, but we only discovered a good replacement after a lot of testing this year. From Trials and going forward, Dash will be replaced with an updated base, Dodge, which will be the new tournament standard. Dodge is identical to Dash, except characters move during the Start of Beat Phase, and the base has a Priority of 3, making it counterable by clashing, and reducing its synergy with other movement-based styles. This minor change should greatly increase the risk of a very safe move at high level, while leaving it relatively unchanged for casual play.


This is a fantastic, elegant change, I know there are a few outstanding issues like Cesar stun dodging and such, but those can be fixed with minor errata if needed.

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Every Character comes with their own Base Set - Working on a small budget with the early BattleCON games, we reduced costs by including only 4 sets of Base cards, and telling players to swap them between games. This worked fine, but it contributed a bit to the setup time of the game. With a smaller box like Trials, and with the quantity of games that we produce in a print run now, there's no reason we can't print all the cards that every character needs and improve the game's setup time and ease of play even further.


Reduce setup time by a bit? I understand that by giving each character a box they want to have each character self-contained, but adding bases to a character is such a non-issue. When I'm teaching new palyers I always start with the bases and how they interact and then I spring the styles on them. I don't know, I'm ambivalent. I see why, but I wish the money I am spending on these would go to more content. That being said at least we can play 2v2 out of the box, assuming there is a link to the 2v2 rules.

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Tuckboxes instead of Envelopes to store individual characters - We had long searched for a way to store the characters conveniently. It became clear that envelopes were not convenient when characters had extra cards or tokens, and it was difficult to make a nice presentation. This time, due to making a smaller box, we are able to create tuckboxes for each character and their base sets. I think they'll be very popular going forward!


I think these Tuckboxes could be great. I was designing my own to hold my collection awhile back but cutting and folding them was going to be a lot of work. My design had more info and less art on the box, but I'm sure they're putting a lot of thought into teh design and if I need to I'll print some stickers to add the info I want. But, until we have boxes for all the fighters it will feel incomplete.

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Force Gauge Updated and converted to Counters/Tokens, plus Force Cards - Force Gauge as it appeared in Fate worked fairly well, but there were a few changes that we wanted to make to improve it further. We removed the Soak and Pulse options from the Gauge, and moved the Options from one large card onto three smaller cards intended to be used during the ante step. This move makes Force more present for the players, and also easier to keep tabs on when it is used.


Huh, interesting. Are the small cards mentioned here the only small cards in the game now or are they being changed back to tokens too? I imagine part of the motivation is to remove the arena sized reference card from the box since no arenas are being included(). Removing Soak and Pulse, it's an interesting choice. I think I get where they're coming from but I'd love to hear more about why they were removed. I'm guessing that getting any shot up to SG 4 Soak 1 might have something to do with it. Why did pulse get the ax? Was it too odd or did it prove too easy to use to get out of trouble or set up a finisher?

Quote:
Force Gauge integrated with Match Timer - Match time was always hard to keep up with in BattleCON, as was remembering to update your Force Counter. We've changed the match timer rules to integrate with the Force Gauge. At the start of the game, a pool of Force Counters are set up, and these act as a match timer, triggering a timeout when they run out. This lets the time limit of a match fluctuate slightly to mirror the pace that players are playing. It's got a lot of small nuances to it, but it's a change that our testers in-house have appreciated, and we think you will too!


This is intriguing, I'd love to hear more details about this too. How many counters are in the pool at the start of the match? At first it seemed like a departure from the fighting game nature of the beat clock. But it might work as a deeper abstraction of clock management. If both fighters are at max Force does the clock stop advancing? What is the minimum beat count of a match and the max beat count possible? What is the average beat count when the pool runs dry?

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Life Dials replaced with a Board Counter - While the life dials were nice, they caused more replacement parts and shipping damage issues than any game part we've ever produced. We decided to get rid of these dials and plastic spinners, and integrate the life tracker back into the board itself, further reinforcing the position of the board within the game.


Man, I feel for L99 on this one. I know those dials caused a lot of headaches for them and I can't really fault them for this. I think the peg design on the dials was the main issue. Fantasy Flight has some great dials and their design allows them to be pulled apart. I also remember how excited L99 was to get the dials into Devastation so I know this back-step isn't ideal for them. This I imagine is another casualty to the cost of all those extra base cards. With Force being made into counters they don't have to deal with double dials anymore and hopefully they can return to redesigned life dials in the future. I'll be using my Dev dials for sure. Then again, perhaps it is easier to see the opponent's life total from across the table. I hope they go to a single token 20 to 0 bar rather than the 10s and 1s token tracks of the first gen mats.

Quote:

Not Changed

We had a lot of exciting ideas for what we wanted to do in Trials, and we tried many of these out. However, they didn't pan out quite how we hoped. You may have heard some rumors of changes, but here are the things that didn't make the cut.


Quote:
Updated Card Design and Base Art - After working on BattleCON Online, we considered updating the style and base art to be more unified between the systems. After a lot of consideration and consulting with fans, we decided that it would be good to stick with the existing look, and keep BattleCON Online visually distinct from the base game. The Styles and Bases that come in Trials will be identical to the ones you recognize from Fate. (Because we haven't had time to refinish Trials in the original BattleCON style yet, you may still see a few of these cards crop up in previews and graphics, but they are not representative of the final product, and we are replacing them as quickly as we can).


Yay! I'm so happy they decided to keep Battlecon distinct from BCO and EXCEED. Since I'm only keeping 4 sets of bases in my game I could get by without having to use these, but now I'll have dodges in the classic style to use.

Quote:
Tokens, Counters, and Markers changed to cards - We tried transforming all of the Tokens, Markers, and Counters in the game into mini-cards for ease of storage and setup. However, we found that changing the size and shape of the parts didn't really improve these aspects much, and could lead to things being even harder to find during setup in some cases (cards can be slippery, after all). It was a nice experiment, but in the end, we decided that keeping the punchboard pieces also helped to make BattleCON a board game, not just a card game.


This was welcome news (I was not looking forward to trying to bodge homebrew counters together) and I'm sure the game will be better for it. Thanks for this. When Devastation Remastered comes back around I'm sure L99 will tweak the cardboard there to make it the same size as the War Remastered counters. (The large pentagons can be tough to store)

Quote:
New wording to change 'Move' to 'Shift' - We considered changing the word "Move" to "Shift", because there was a degree of player confusion between 'Move X spaces' and 'when a player moves' (the first being a specific kind of movement effect, and the latter applying to any kind of movement effect). The word 'move' is overloaded badly in BattleCON. However, with 3 games and 5 expansions already in the wild, we decided that such a change to wording would be difficult for veterans to adjust to. We'll tackle this problem from the other direction by adding better definitions of 'movement effects' and wording the effects that care about movement more carefully in Trials and in future editions of the existing games.


Thank goodness! I can explain move without using the word 'shift', but I can't explain shift without using the word 'move'. Still hope Close makes it in though. It's a great shorthand that doesn't invoke specific imagery, and that's no leap.


It's always great to get a look under the hood of games you love and the decisions that drive the design. I wish L99 best of luck with this KS and I look forward to seeing what they've done with the community characters in Wanderers.
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Joshua Van Laningham
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To further elaborate on the new match timer with a comment of Brad's from the KS comments:

"It's basically a pool of 40 counters. Players take their initial 4, and then 1 per turn (unless they get more by using the Force Special Action or by being at 7 or lower life). When the last counter is taken (extra counters come from the box if necessary for the final pull), it means that the next beat will be the final beat."
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Aaron White
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I love that! Force Gauge is really coming into its own.
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Yannick Carriere
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As a long time customer of Level99 and fan of the BattleCon line, I especially like the change to Dodge and refining the Force Gauge (I didn't like its first iteration). I like the variable clock time too. The rest I don't care about.

I won't pledge to the Kickstarter for an entirely different reason: no PnP option. All my copies of BattleCon are in PnP. It's cheaper that way since I get printing for free. Costs me sleeves only and a token amount for the PnP files. Buying a retail copy plus shipping, plus sleeves (I know, I know, they are optional but it's my consumption habit) puts the game out of my budget.

I wish Level99 Games all the best.
 
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Eric Randolph
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I'll read a bit more later, but the extra variants rarely get touched. I've played a million and a half times.
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Lari Rissanen
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Does anyone know if there were any changes to the Force system otherwise? Are the three cards +2 Stun Guard, +2 Priority and +1 Damage? No other things? And what about Pulse? Are the cards played face down or face up? Is the Force a blind bid now (probably not)?

I'd like make these things for myself before Trials hits and try out the new systems before I can get my hands on that.
 
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Altropos
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It's still not clear whether they are cards or tokens. Ante would be face up. Soak 1 and Pulse are currently removed as options
 
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Lari Rissanen
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Altropos wrote:
It's still not clear whether they are cards or tokens. Ante would be face up. Soak 1 and Pulse are currently removed as options



Thanks for the info!

And... Oh, Pulse isn't reworked but removed completely? That's an interesting change. Soak 1 as Force option was a bit silly as it worked to counter Damage +1 almost every time. I appreciate it being done away with and making Damage +1 a more enticing option (a very enticing option).
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Bryan Rosander
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I'm hoping the pulse change has something to do with the Dash -> Dodge change.
 
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Wouldn't getting rid of gauges and having more counters make the game more fiddly? I guess I've always seen BattleCon as a card game, not a board game.
 
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Bryan Rosander
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Its fine with me. We usually didn't play with round counter at all, so this is hard to compare but overall an improvement.

As for life, we have plenty of life dials already, so we'll figure that out after it arrives.
 
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Derry Salewski
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Did anything ever come of the storage boxes for old sets?
 
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Lari Rissanen
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I've been playing using the new Force pool mechanism and it works really well. I always forgot to add to the beat tracker before but now it's integrated into the Force system so it flows very nicely and you can stall the clock by staying at 10 force if you want.

I'm just using a notebook for tracking how much of the pool has been depleted and the Force dials from Fate to track how much force each player has. I didn't make any tokens for the pool but I did cut the force reference cards up and make tokens for +1 Power, Stun Guard 2 and +2 Priority. Having the Force ante tokens is good visual reminder for what you've anted.

The only thing that puzzles me at the moment is if Pulse was actually removed because it is very useful in some matchups.

Can any tester confirm that Pulse no longer is part of the Force system?
 
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Altropos
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Pulse has been removed as of the last information I have, however, it was clarified that you can't stall the clock by sitting on force. You still remove force from the pool each beat, but it is discarded.
 
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Lari Rissanen
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Ooh, okay. Thank you for the information. :-)
 
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Tristan Crouch
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Quote:
Did anything ever come of the storage boxes for old sets?


In one of his Kickstarter Live videos, Brad mentioned that they may be doing a standalone KIckstarter for the storage box, and it will include a few promo characters - he wants every Battle:CON product to add playable value to the game, but didn't clarify whether all the promos available for the Trials KIckstarter would be an option.

At the very least, however, he hopes to include Merjoram, Andrus, and Rheye in the storage KS, but maaaan I hope the 11 past promos get in there as well!
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