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Legends of Andor» Forums » Variants

Subject: Special Combat Ability for Rietburg Castle rss

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J A
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This minor house rule proposes a special ability for Rietburg Castle. It is inspired by the Tower card from Legend 5, and can be included as part of any Legend. The intention is to make Rietburg more interesting by turning it into somewhat of a strategic defensible position (which is thematically meaningful and appealing).
It is arguably a nice complement to the core mechanism of the advancing Creatures converging upon the Castle.

A hero occupying the Castle (Space 0) and using a bow, whether the Archer or any other hero wielding a bow receives +2 Strength Points in combat against a Creature in any space adjacent to the Castle. The Wizard in possession of the 3 Runestones and wielding a bow can roll the Black die from the Castle and benefit from the bonus.

Unlike the Tower, more than one hero at a time can fight Creatures in adjacent spaces from the battlements of the Castle; they can fight different targets or fight the same target in grouped combat.
Example: the Archer and the Wizard occupy the Castle and use ranged attack against an adjacent Creature; they receive a combined bonus of +4 Strength.

Heroes attacking adjacent Creatures from the Castle with ranged weapons may fight in group combat with other heroes positioned outside the Castle and occupying the same space as the attacked Creature.



Would this rule make defending the Castle too easy and rob the game of some of its tension?
Not necessarily so. Optimizing the bonus gained from the Castle would require spending precious gold on buying bows rather than other essential equipment, and much precious time repositioning in the castle to benefit from the bonus. And in the case of chains of Creatures on the doorstep of the Castle and the danger of monsters leap-frogging in, a strategy based on attack from the Castle would be ineffective.

I would welcome any comments or opinions about this idea for a house rule.
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Wolfram Troeder
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Interesting variant. Thematic immersed.
Not sure about the +2, but that can be tried and adapted as needed.

Best castle variant if have seen so far!

Tell us about your experiences with it.
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Wolfram Troeder
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Caylusboy wrote:

A hero occupying the Castle (Space 0) and using a bow, whether the Archer or any other hero wielding a bow receives +2 Strength Points in combat against a Creature in any space adjacent to the Castle. The Wizard in possession of the 3 Runestones and wielding a bow can roll the Black die from the Castle and benefit from the bonus.



I would cap it at +2 in general, otherwise esp. with 4-6 heroes this would be imba IMO.
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Wolfram Troeder
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Link posted at the German Andor forum.
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Matthias Mahr
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I also like the idea thematically, and it might work out. One caveat, I have is, that I assume the different characters are pretty much balanced, the way they were designed. This variant imho weakens the dwarf, since (s)he can get +2 strength on any space, not just the castle, for 2 gold, if possible to visit the mine, while it makes the archer probably overpowered, since (s)he get an extra skill for free. So maybe the dwarf should get an extra discount on bows at the mine, while the archer no discount for the witch brew? But this is of course just a guess.
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Mark Yang
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Neat idea! Thanks for sharing!

I think this would change the whole game for players, and here's why:

1. One player can potentially be locked down for the whole game.
"Everyone vote on whether the archer player should stay and defend the castle. 3 to 1, sorry Kelly, it looks like you have all your turns planned out for you for the rest of the game."

2. It adds another "objective" to the players' list of things to do, making decisions more difficult, particularly for newer players. Rather than exploring or racing to the other objectives across the board (no spoilers), players have the looming option of "ummm, maybe I should just get a bow and stay in the castle?"

3. It gives too much focus on defending the castle rather than going out there and playing the actual game. It can potentially become somewhat like Castle Panic, but this game wasn't designed to be such a game.

4. Mr. Menzel already addressed castle defence by implementing farmers and gold shields. Adding another defence mechanism is too much focus on the castle.

Overall yes I agree that it is thematic, and it's a really neat idea. but I also feel it would more hinder the game than improve it. I have not tried this variant so this is all just speculation. How many games have you played using this house rule and how has it changed your game?
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J A
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Thank you for your great responses!

Wolfram wrote:
Caylusboy wrote:

A hero occupying the Castle (Space 0) and using a bow, whether the Archer or any other hero wielding a bow receives +2 Strength Points in combat against a Creature in any space adjacent to the Castle. The Wizard in possession of the 3 Runestones and wielding a bow can roll the Black die from the Castle and benefit from the bonus.



I would cap it at +2 in general, otherwise esp. with 4-6 heroes this would be imba IMO.


Let's imagine 4 heroes (in the base game) using bows in combined combat from the battlements of the Castle; that would be a +8 Strength bonus: seems very powerful. As you suggest, Wolfram, a cap, or only +1 per bowman, may be a good idea.

Best thing to do is to play test the variant (I will keep you posted)!



Susumu wrote:
I also like the idea thematically, and it might work out. One caveat, I have is, that I assume the different characters are pretty much balanced, the way they were designed. This variant imho weakens the dwarf, since (s)he can get +2 strength on any space, not just the castle, for 2 gold, if possible to visit the mine, while it makes the archer probably overpowered, since (s)he get an extra skill for free. So maybe the dwarf should get an extra discount on bows at the mine, while the archer no discount for the witch brew? But this is of course just a guess.


Agreed, this variant does give the Archer an edge in that s(he) already owns a bow. But this doesn't bother me. IMHO, the Archer is arguably the weakest character of the 4 (in the base game), at least in terms of fighting ability: although (s)he has ranged attack and a discount when buying the Witch's Brew, that seems relatively weaker than the Warrior's huge dice pool, the Dwarf's ability to level up easily in Strength, and the Wizard's Black Die. As such, I'm not bothered by the little advantage this variant would give the Archer.
Do you still feel this would make the Archer overpowered, Susumu?
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deadeyedshooter8 wrote:
1. One player can potentially be locked down for the whole game.

Could any heroes ever afford to be locked down in Rietburg for the whole game and hope to succeed? Not sure that would be a viable tactic.


deadeyedshooter8 wrote:


2. It adds another "objective" to the players' list of things to do, making decisions more difficult


More choices? er, I like more choices! devil


deadeyedshooter8 wrote:


3. It gives too much focus on defending the castle rather than going out there and playing the actual game. It can potentially become somewhat like Castle Panic, but this game wasn't designed to be such a game.

With or without the variant, defending the Castle is a core objective of the game. The intention is to make the castle (and castle defence) more interesting but I don't see how it would detract from the other victory objectives of the game.


deadeyedshooter8 wrote:


4. Mr. Menzel already addressed castle defence by implementing farmers and gold shields.


Good point. This ties in to my initial question: would the variant make castle defence too easy? Only play testing can tell!
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Matthias Mahr
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Caylusboy wrote:
Agreed, this variant does give the Archer an edge in that s(he) already owns a bow. But this doesn't bother me. IMHO, the Archer is arguably the weakest character of the 4 (in the base game), at least in terms of fighting ability: although (s)he has ranged attack and a discount when buying the Witch's Brew, that seems relatively weaker than the Warrior's huge dice pool, the Dwarf's ability to level up easily in Strength, and the Wizard's Black Die. As such, I'm not bothered by the little advantage this variant would give the Archer.
Do you still feel this would make the Archer overpowered, Susumu?
First of all, a little imbalance wouldn't bother me for our games as well. Since I don't own the "New Heroes", and we always play with 4, all heroes are into play anyway. But I do think, that the free bow is a big advantage of the Archer, because it saves a lot of time in combat, and time is very precious in this game. A water bottle is 2 hours for 2 gold and still often a worthwhile purchase. Also the Archer has the biggest dice pool, so this compensates to a degree the "press your luck" mechanic of the ranged attack. I think, all characters have their advantage, if they are picked in a 2 or 3 player game. I do not have the experience, as we always pick all of them, but none of them "feels" true weaker to me right now.
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Wolfram Troeder
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Susumu wrote:
Caylusboy wrote:
Agreed, this variant does give the Archer an edge in that s(he) already owns a bow. But this doesn't bother me. IMHO, the Archer is arguably the weakest character of the 4 (in the base game), at least in terms of fighting ability: although (s)he has ranged attack and a discount when buying the Witch's Brew, that seems relatively weaker than the Warrior's huge dice pool, the Dwarf's ability to level up easily in Strength, and the Wizard's Black Die. As such, I'm not bothered by the little advantage this variant would give the Archer.
Do you still feel this would make the Archer overpowered, Susumu?
First of all, a little imbalance wouldn't bother me for our games as well. Since I don't own the "New Heroes", and we always play with 4, all heroes are into play anyway. But I do think, that the free bow is a big advantage of the Archer, because it saves a lot of time in combat, and time is very precious in this game. A water bottle is 2 hours for 2 gold and still often a worthwhile purchase. Also the Archer has the biggest dice pool, so this compensates to a degree the "press your luck" mechanic of the ranged attack. I think, all characters have their advantage, if they are picked in a 2 or 3 player game. I do not have the experience, as we always pick all of them, but none of them "feels" true weaker to me right now.

And don't forget the free oval space, a bow notwithstanding.
I still think the disadvantage of not being able to use the discount for the witch' brew while staying at the castle to defend it, what at least one of the heroes must do anyway, is enough. And it counters in a way the saving of hours by the archer. In our game the archer mostly fights from behind the creatures to save time. If he now has the opp to fight better from the castle he uses time to move from behind the creatures to the castle, that's two extra hours. A bit less for other heroes but they need an extra bow for it.

All in all a variant that should warrant at least a serious playtesting.
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J A
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Again, thank you all for your very interesting comments!

I don’t own the New Heroes either and play only with the base game (thus far!). All good points about the Archer (saves precious hours) and that the abilities of the characters in the game are well balanced, Susumu.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Archer! But barring boosts such as herbs and brews that cost gold, I do think that the Warrior equipped with a Helm and rolling 4 dice, especially when combined with the Wizard’s special ability, is an awesome fighting force.

So I like the idea that under this variant the Archer’s slight advantage would make this character even more interesting to play.

In my experience, few (if any) characters actually buy a bow in a regular game of Andor (we’ve played L1 through L3 to date, and L3 x3 times).

The variant would present players with a new dilemma, because buying extra bows would imply a major trade off: spending precious money on bows instead of Strength and other invaluable equipment (telescope, falcon, shields etc), and occupying the large Objects slot in the payers’ inventory, as Wolfram points out.

So I don’t expect that the variant would radically change gameplay: players probably wouldn’t invest in 3 extra bows (6 gold!) and all convert into bowmen. I do expect that the variant’s effect on the game would be to make the Archer somewhat more attractive/interesting to play, and that (s)he would become the obvious pick to take advantage of the castle bonus when fighting Creatures in the immediate vicinity of Rietburg.

Perhaps one of the heroes might be tempted to invest in a 2nd bow, so perhaps the variant would offer the heroes a +2-4 Strength bonus at most in an average game. If they invested too heavily in the bow/castle defence strategy, I think the trade-offs would seriously hamper the players’ chances of victory: the heroes need a Warrior or a Dwarf rolling multiple dice with a helm, they need characters carrying a Falcon or a Shield…

But as you say Wolfram, all this is only speculation. What this needs is some play testing!
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Matthias Mahr
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Yes, I agree, we normally also never buy bows. Spoiler regarding Legend 4:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
There's a special need for extra bows, but the cards expicitely will tell you, and I think, you even get all you need as bonus starting items. Plus, there is no defending of the castle in this legend anyway, as it plays on the other side of the board.
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Wolfram Troeder
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Susumu wrote:
Yes, I agree, we normally also never buy bows. Spoiler regarding Legend 4:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
There's a special need for extra bows, but the cards expicitely will tell you, and I think, you even get all you need as bonus starting items. Plus, there is no defending of the castle in this legend anyway, as it plays on the other side of the board.


Yes, I agree, we normally also seldom buy bows. Spoiler regarding Legend 5:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
There's a special need for extra bows, but the cards expicitely will tell you. Plus, there is no defending of the castle in this legend in the beginning, au contraire!
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Oh no, spoilers! Must resist the temptation to click...

I think the operative word in your messages is "normally"; now I'm really worried about the perils that await in Legends 4 & 5, lol!
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I was wondering about the effects that the variant would have on gameplay. Might it cause players to rely too heavily upon a strategy of positioning bowmen (the Archer and other heroes using bows) in the Castle and waiting for Creatures to enter an adjacent space before attacking them?

I was looking at Wolfram’s awesome Andor "Map with equidistances and ridge lines" (in the image gallery) and made the following interesting observations.

My impression is that a strategy of locking down in Rietburg with bowmen in order to take advantage of the bonus of the variant would not always be effective, in particular in stopping leap-frogging into the Castle in the case of an incoming wave of Creatures. In other words, while in some cases the variant might help Castle defence, in others it would be ineffective; heroes would feel the need to attack some Creatures out in the open (in the vicinity of the Castle) to prevent them from leap-frogging in.

Firstly, we can see that there are a total of 7 Spaces that are adjacent to the Castle (7, 11, 6, 2, 1, 4, 5)

In the event of a lone Creature in an adjacent space, or a chain of like creatures (say, Gors), it would make sense to attack from the Castle. However, leap-frogging into the Castle can occur from spots beyond the ring of adjacent castle spaces. For example:

- 2 creatures in spaces 8, 9, or 15
- 2 creatures in spaces 13 and 17
- 1 creature in space 3 and 2 creatures in spaces 10, 19, or 20

If we take order of Creature movement at Sunrise into consideration, there are even more possibilities of leap-frogging from spots beyond the adjacent castle spaces (a Gor in Space 24 could hop over a Skral in 21 into space 4, the Skral in turn would hop over the Gor in 4 into Rietburg). Wardraks, which move twice at Sunrise, complicate matters even further.

In such cases, fighting creatures in adjacent spaces from the Castle would be ineffective. There are times, therefore, when heroes will find it necessary to attack monsters outside the Castle and forfeit the castle bonus to stop them from getting in.

If the variant made fighting outside the Castle pointless, then it would be too game-changing. But as the above seems to suggest, the variant would not necessarily make attack from the castle the best or only choice every time (which is a good thing!)
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Edit: if +2 Strength per bowman seems too overpowered, the following alternative for the Castle bonus might be worth considering:

+2 Strength for any hero who has a missile weapon as their primary weapon.

Base game: Chada/Pasco

New Heroes: Rhega/Bragor, Talvora/Arbon
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Wolfram Troeder
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Caylusboy wrote:
Edit: if +2 Strength per bowman seems too overpowered, the following alternative for the Castle bonus might be worth considering:

+2 Strength for any hero who has a missile weapon as their primary weapon.

Base game: Chada/Pasco

New Heroes: Rhega/Bragor, Talvora/Arbon


That's to rigid for my liking. Too scripted for me.

Counter suggestion:
Make it a just a bigger permanent watch tower and allow only one hero to benefit from the +2.
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Wolfram wrote:
Counter suggestion:
Make it a just a bigger permanent watch tower and allow only one hero to benefit from the +2.


Attractive idea! No doubt an adjustment worth considering!
But capping the bonus at +2, while solving the overpowering issue, seems a little arbitrary? At least the idea of the bonus for heroes who have an innate missile combat ability is grounded in the characters' attributes, don't you think?
 
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Wolfram Troeder
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Caylusboy wrote:
Wolfram wrote:
Counter suggestion:
Make it a just a bigger permanent watch tower and allow only one hero to benefit from the +2.


Attractive idea! No doubt an adjustment worth considering!
But capping the bonus at +2, while solving the overpowering issue, seems a little arbitrary? At least the idea of the bonus for heroes who have an innate missile combat ability is grounded in the characters' attributes, don't you think?


Naa, restricting it to the LR heroes would put a big pressure on them to stay in the castle instead of the heroes discussing freely who should stay; esp. in L3 I see problems arising.

Corncerning the castle, contrary to the watch tower heroes need a bow to fight.

I could go up to +3 for one hero who needs a LR weapon, due to the better battlements of the castle.
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Wolfram wrote:
Naa, restricting it to the LR heroes would put a big pressure on them to stay in the castle instead of the heroes discussing freely who should stay; esp. in L3 I see problems arising.

Corncerning the castle, contrary to the watch tower heroes need a bow to fight.


Excellent points!

Wolfram wrote:
I could go up to +3 for one hero who needs a LR weapon, due to the better battlements of the castle.


Cool idea! My reservations with the +2 cap was that thematically, how can we limit the bonus to 1 hero? I can imagine several people up there at a time on the majestic battlements of the Castle. But +3 would be a nice solution, thus differentiating between the small watchtower and the grand Rietburg...


I think I understand what you meant: the bonus should be tied to the Castle, and not to specific characters, not directly at least. If it was tied specifically to Chada, Bragor, Arbon etc., it would be too scripted in that sense...

Also a good point!
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Wolfram Troeder
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Would you mind asking the German forum for an opinion? Perchance someone might make it a nice card...
 
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Great idea! A fan-made variant card sounds nice!

Wolfram, do you mean something like:


We would like to submit to the Tavern community the following idea for a variant for the base game. We would be very grateful if someone would be willing to create a fan-made variant card, which we could then post on the website :


A hero occupying the Castle (Space 0) and using a bow (or other weapon allowing attack from an adjacent space) receives + 3 Strength Points in combat against a Creature in any space adjacent to the Castle.
The bonus can only be applied once to the heroes’ battle value in any given combat round, regardless of the number of heroes attacking from the Castle.
Heroes can fight different targets or fight the same target in a collective battle.

Example 1: the Archer and the Wizard occupy the Castle and use ranged attack in a collective battle against an adjacent Creature. The bonus for ranged attack to the collective battle value is +3 Strength

Example 2: the Archer and Wizard occupy the Castle and use ranged attack against different targets. The bonus to the Archer’s battle value is +3 Strength. The bonus to the Wizard’s battle value is +3 Strength.

Heroes attacking adjacent Creatures from the Castle with ranged weapons may fight in group combat with other heroes positioned outside the Castle and occupying the same space as the attacked Creature.


Thank you for your participation!

Yours,

Wolfram and Caylusboy
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Dmitriy Razumov
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I can try make it tomorrow! But I am afraid that this is more of the text that can be placed on card.

Also what the title on the front of the card will you prefer?
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Wolfram Troeder
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Yes
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something along these lines...


One hero in the Castle (Space 0) and using a ranged weapon receives + 3 Strength Points in combat against a Creature in any adjacent space.
The bonus can only be applied to one hero in any combat round regardless of the number of heroes attacking from the Castle.
Heroes can fight different targets or fight the same target in a collective battle.

Example 1: Chada and Eara occupy the Castle and use ranged attack in a collective battle against an adjacent Creature. The bonus for ranged attack to the collective battle value is +3 Strength

Example 2: the Archer and Wizard occupy the Castle and use ranged attack against different targets. The bonus to the Archer’s battle value is +3 Strength. The bonus to the Wizard’s battle value is +3 Strength. Not needed, different battles

Heroes attacking adjacent Creatures from the Castle with ranged weapons may fight in group combat with other heroes positioned outside the Castle and occupying the same space as the attacked Creature. Again not needed as this remains unchanged from SOP


What does the English text for the watch tower state?
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Wolfram Troeder
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Uncivil wrote:
I can try make it tomorrow! But I am afraid that this is more of the text that can be placed on card.

Also what the title on the front of the card will you prefer?


That would be splendid. I tried to shorten the text abit. Would this work? Is there some text space for the other examples by J A?


"The Rietburg ramparts" ?
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