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Subject: Ironclad Developer’s Diary #6 – Balancing difficulty rss

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Konstantinos Iovis
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It’s time for another update on Ironclad’s development and the progress we’ve made.

Beta V3.00 playtesting

We’ve received invaluable feedback from our playtesters. Based on their impressions and remarks of the game, we’ve proceeded and made several changes to the rules and gameplay, all the while making sure the game’s concept remains completely unaltered. Some of the changes we made are the following.

Space Combat

Space combat is pivotal for Ironclad. The consensus was that the combat system was very interesting and engaging, but would be more suitable for a more combat oriented board game or a Role Playing Game. The system proved too “heavy” compared to the rest of Ironclad’s gameplay. Thus, a decision was made and we had to sacrifice some realism by removing elements such as range modifiers and weapon speeds combined with a significant reduction of dice rolling in order to simplify combat enough to provide for a more fluid combat system.

Game Setup

Our playtesters pointed out another issue, which was also one of our concerns. Preparing the modular hexagonal board for a scenario proved very time consuming, sometimes taking more than 20 minutes to set up. An additional issue that came up was that the hexagon map would easily be messed up with a small bump on the table. Naturally we had to remedy these issues. The easiest solution solving both problems was to design combined pieces of 3 or 4 hexagons with various combinations of “Cosmic Conditions” (think of them as “terrain”). The result is a map comprised of 4 or 5 large pieces making the set up less time consuming and harder to mess up. In order to accomplish that, now the Sector tiles (hexagons) are revealed from the game setup. Players will know what lies ahead in respect to conditions, but they still won’t know what they will encounter. This also gives players the opportunity to plan ahead and to select their course of action.
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