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Subject: Design philosophy behind fewer rounds rss

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David Robert
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I have recently bought Cry Havoc, and haven't played it yet, but very much looking forward to it. The rules state that you have to stack an event token onto the next one when a player passes it on the score track. This mechanism effectively shortens the game, and I was wondering what the design philosophy behind this mechanism is.
The way I see it, this happens when someone scores a large amount of points, and probably is or becomes the leader. Doesn't this improve the chances of said player even more to become the winner? He's just scored a large amount of points, and everyone else has less time to catch up with him. It seems to entail a bit of a runaway leader problem to me. Of course, this the opinion of someone who hasn't actually played the game yet.
 
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Sebastian G.
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To me, it feels like the possibility of shorter games should somehow script the gameplay in a way that players try to prevent Trogs and Humans from accumulating too many points in the beginning (which you should do anyway).*

We've had a blast multiple times not shortening the game and I personally do not see any reason to include this rule. I think, playing 5 rounds is much easier to grasp for everyone but experts which offers equal chances for all factions when played by beginners and that is much more important to me and my groups.

*edit: You can obviously turn my point around and say: when someone gets his/her game starting so well, he deserves the win but I have yet to see a game that would have gone the full 5 rounds with this rule. Even though all factions have already won in our games
 
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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The way I see it, this rule means to say: "We've established certain score thresholds. If someone is past that threshold, then believe us, he's going to win. We're going to artificially shorten the game for you, so that it doesn't drag with the obvious result lingering in the background".

Whether they succeeded or not with that approach, is another thing. From what I could gather, gamers usually aren't exactly happy about the game being shorter for arbitrary reason.
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Fito R
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There are two factions who start the game very strongly (Trogs, Humans) and two factions that can build to a devastating final turn (Pilgrims, but more so Machines).

The turn shortening mechanic is effectively the Human and Trog victory conditions, since they aren't well equipped to deal with a round five, well -prepared Machine offensive.

Machines and Pilgrims want to extend the game so they can rack up points more effectively with their engines. Grant, the game's designer, has mentioned repeatedly that without the turn shortening mechanic the Machines would be hard to beat. I tend to agree.
 
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Grant Rodiek
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Fito has said many smart things I agree with.

Basically, the Humans and Trogs smash hard early if you leave them alone. But, they are bad at long term gains. They don't hold territory well. Their structures aren't very good.

The Pilgrims/Machines take a while to ramp up, but once they have a thing, boy do they have it. And, played well, they move in at the end to conquer a lot of territory. I refer to them as Inevitable.

That's the idea.

To peel back the curtain some (why are we peeling curtains?), this is an idea that came from the Portal side of the team. I THINK, but I'm not sure, it was a Michal Oracz idea? I'm really not sure. There was a period where the game had about 8 rounds, so shortening it some made sense. But, this was before the final development push where we completely changed how skills work, many of the structures, and more.

Eventually, the game was shortened to five brutal rounds.

Now, for the Aftermath expansion, the rule change (with content) to allow for a guaranteed five rounds...comes from the Portal side! (I've mostly focused on bad ideas, skill and structure content, and stupid ideas).

My $.02? When I'm playing with new players, I tend to play a guaranteed five rounds. If I'm playing with four people who really know the game? I tend to let the original rule stand, but I vary. I'm fine with both.

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Sebastian Zarzycki
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Thanks for the input, Grant.

I still think that if a game design balances the asymmetrical races game around the number of rounds vs their performance, then something's not quite right. I understand that in order to have different factions they DO HAVE TO differ in certain ways, which, eventually, can also mean that they have a different tempo. But I would much prefer if the game (plus players) would balance itself out in that regard in some other manner, than shortening the game. Some way of headwind mechanic, like upkeep costs to be paid, depending on your position on score track, would be my first (probably bad, as almost all first ideas) idea, but I'm sure you know what I mean.
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Grant Rodiek
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I'm sorry you find it's not quite right
 
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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Don't be sorry! Make it better in the expansion! :)
 
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Grant Rodiek
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Nah.
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David Robert
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Thanks for the reply, Grant. It's always interesting to hear from a designer himself and gain some insight into the decision making process behind a game.
I understand that this mechanic is in place to balance the ability of the machines and the pilgrim to score big points during the endgame, but isn't this inherently balanced by the fact that the other factions are able to do so in the early game? Some factions score heavily early on, others at a later stage in the game, so the winner should be decided by skill and good moves during the rest of the game. Right now, it appears to me that the machines and pilgrim have simply been given an extra win condition.
 
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Fito R
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Quote:
winner should be decided by skill and good moves during the rest of the game


I'm not sure why you consider turn shortening, or let's say turn management, to not be "skill". Why is it invalid as an additional layer of strategy in your eyes?

A five turn game is not an automatic win for Machines, same as a four turn game is not an automatic win for Trogs or Humans. These things form simply another layer to the already rather complex route to victory in this game.

Perhaps you should play the game several times before entirely writing off one of its mechanics. Theorycrafting can only get you so far.
 
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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Joou wrote:

I'm not sure why you consider turn shortening, or let's say turn management, to not be "skill". Why is it invalid as an additional layer of strategy in your eyes?


I agree that it is a skill, but there's a certain negative psychological effect here, when you shorten an already short game from 5 rounds to 4, or even, in rare cases, to 3. It would be ok if the game lasted 20 rounds and you could shorten it to 18 by playing smartly. But here it certainly "feels" far more influential.
 
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Jon Snow
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arrrh The shortening rule seems very unpopular with posters so far. I assume this is why they are providing an option in the upcoming expansion to do away with it, as Grant notes above (without giving the details). Supposedly they are adding new scoring options with a constant five turns, which I guess will help balance it out in another way.
 
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Fito R
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I agree that there is a certain psychological effect to losing, yes.

I still don't see your point.
 
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Grant Rodiek
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Prosperoo wrote:
Thanks for the reply, Grant. It's always interesting to hear from a designer himself and gain some insight into the decision making process behind a game.
I understand that this mechanic is in place to balance the ability of the machines and the pilgrim to score big points during the endgame, but isn't this inherently balanced by the fact that the other factions are able to do so in the early game? Some factions score heavily early on, others at a later stage in the game, so the winner should be decided by skill and good moves during the rest of the game. Right now, it appears to me that the machines and pilgrim have simply been given an extra win condition.


Well according to this forum the Machines and pilgrims can't win, so great! A new win condition!
 
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David Robert
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Joou wrote:
Quote:
winner should be decided by skill and good moves during the rest of the game


I'm not sure why you consider turn shortening, or let's say turn management, to not be "skill". Why is it invalid as an additional layer of strategy in your eyes?

A five turn game is not an automatic win for Machines, same as a four turn game is not an automatic win for Trogs or Humans. These things form simply another layer to the already rather complex route to victory in this game.

Perhaps you should play the game several times before entirely writing off one of its mechanics. Theorycrafting can only get you so far.


I think I clearly stated the caveat that my opinion is one of someone who hasn't played the game yet. I'm not writing off anything. I am simply trying to understand why the mechanic is in place.

And I love theorycrafting
 
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HerrohGrant wrote:
Prosperoo wrote:
Thanks for the reply, Grant. It's always interesting to hear from a designer himself and gain some insight into the decision making process behind a game.
I understand that this mechanic is in place to balance the ability of the machines and the pilgrim to score big points during the endgame, but isn't this inherently balanced by the fact that the other factions are able to do so in the early game? Some factions score heavily early on, others at a later stage in the game, so the winner should be decided by skill and good moves during the rest of the game. Right now, it appears to me that the machines and pilgrim have simply been given an extra win condition.


Well according to this forum the Machines and pilgrims can't win, so great! A new win condition!


I've read a few of your posts on the forum, and you come off as being smug especially to those that have some kind of critique towards balance issues. Maybe you should be thankful that people are interested in your game when there are many better options out there, and actually listen to what they have to say instead of thinking that they don't know what they're talking about.
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Grant Rodiek
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Wolf_Dude80 wrote:
HerrohGrant wrote:
Prosperoo wrote:
Thanks for the reply, Grant. It's always interesting to hear from a designer himself and gain some insight into the decision making process behind a game.
I understand that this mechanic is in place to balance the ability of the machines and the pilgrim to score big points during the endgame, but isn't this inherently balanced by the fact that the other factions are able to do so in the early game? Some factions score heavily early on, others at a later stage in the game, so the winner should be decided by skill and good moves during the rest of the game. Right now, it appears to me that the machines and pilgrim have simply been given an extra win condition.


Well according to this forum the Machines and pilgrims can't win, so great! A new win condition!


I've read a few of your posts on the forum, and you come off as being smug especially to those that have some kind of critique towards balance issues. Maybe you should be thankful that people are interested in your game when there are many better options out there, and actually listen to what they have to say instead of thinking that they don't know what they're talking about.


Sure! Fair! I'm on this forum every day answering questions from nice people, jerks, informed gamers, and uniformed gamers. I tend to be a silly person, and I use humor both as a way to amuse myself and as a defense mechanism (step aside Freud?).

Here, in this case, you just said: "You should be thankful that people are interested in your game when there are many better options out there."

So...yeah? Sorry I try to lighten the mood?
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Jon Snow
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whistle You can't please all of the people all of the time.
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Wolf Dude
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HerrohGrant wrote:
Wolf_Dude80 wrote:
HerrohGrant wrote:
Prosperoo wrote:
Thanks for the reply, Grant. It's always interesting to hear from a designer himself and gain some insight into the decision making process behind a game.
I understand that this mechanic is in place to balance the ability of the machines and the pilgrim to score big points during the endgame, but isn't this inherently balanced by the fact that the other factions are able to do so in the early game? Some factions score heavily early on, others at a later stage in the game, so the winner should be decided by skill and good moves during the rest of the game. Right now, it appears to me that the machines and pilgrim have simply been given an extra win condition.


Well according to this forum the Machines and pilgrims can't win, so great! A new win condition!


I've read a few of your posts on the forum, and you come off as being smug especially to those that have some kind of critique towards balance issues. Maybe you should be thankful that people are interested in your game when there are many better options out there, and actually listen to what they have to say instead of thinking that they don't know what they're talking about.


Sure! Fair! I'm on this forum every day answering questions from nice people, jerks, informed gamers, and uniformed gamers. I tend to be a silly person, and I use humor both as a way to amuse myself and as a defense mechanism (step aside Freud?).

Here, in this case, you just said: "You should be thankful that people are interested in your game when there are many better options out there."

So...yeah? Sorry I try to lighten the mood?


Yes, what exactly are you sarcastically pointing out? There are thousands of boardgames out there, if you're so closed off to listening to people's opinions who actually test and play your game (apparently more so than your team seemed to) and dismiss them instead, then why would they buy your next game when there are 100s of hot games out there. Granted not every person will have a good point, but others do have some valid input.
 
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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He has a point, you know. That response to my post was... let's say, uncalled for.
 
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Grant Rodiek
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Okay.

Sorry guys.

I think this is a classic case of miscommunication and comments via text being misread. Text is a terrible platform for sarcasm and jokes and jest, which I know, but alas, I'm my own worst enemy.

I'll leave out all color moving forward. It is not my intent, nor has it ever been, to make you feel bad. I'm sorry if you feel that way.

Moving forward, I'm going to stick to rules questions and avoid philosophical discussions as well to avoid any hint of argument or disagreement coming from me.

Thankfully, there are a handful of people who have the rules down pat and answer things faster than I do, so I'll take a step back and let them handle it.

You can always Geekmail me on BGG or email me at grant@hyperbolegames.com. I continue to subscribe to Cry Havoc so that I'll see everything as needed as well.

I'm sorry I offended you, I'm sorry Cry Havoc didn't work out for you, and hopefully you find a game that suits you better this holiday season.

Thanks for your feedback and input and have a great weekend.

Thanks all,
grant
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Cry havoc is a great game. I'm having a blast playing it, thanks for this great game Grant.

In addition also thanks for helping people in the forums with rules explanations and strategy guides.

Its a "hard to master" game i think. So people may have balance issues after first time playing it (i don't think the game has balance issues at all).

This game requiers some commitment into it, not everyones cup of tea i get it. But for me, the more i play it, the more i find new tactics and strategy to implement, so the game keeps itself fresh and so much fun.

Cheers
 
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Iain Brown
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HerrohGrant wrote:
Okay.

Sorry guys.

I think this is a classic case of miscommunication and comments via text being misread. Text is a terrible platform for sarcasm and jokes and jest, which I know, but alas, I'm my own worst enemy.

I'll leave out all color moving forward. It is not my intent, nor has it ever been, to make you feel bad. I'm sorry if you feel that way.

Moving forward, I'm going to stick to rules questions and avoid philosophical discussions as well to avoid any hint of argument or disagreement coming from me.

Thankfully, there are a handful of people who have the rules down pat and answer things faster than I do, so I'll take a step back and let them handle it.

You can always Geekmail me on BGG or email me at grant@hyperbolegames.com. I continue to subscribe to Cry Havoc so that I'll see everything as needed as well.

I'm sorry I offended you, I'm sorry Cry Havoc didn't work out for you, and hopefully you find a game that suits you better this holiday season.

Thanks for your feedback and input and have a great weekend.

Thanks all,
grant


That's a real crying shame. I really appreciated your humour and will miss it. The main reason I've kept subscribed to this forum is that you were so involved and you let your personality shins through. You weren't just a corporate robot, we could see your passion for this game.

I realise this is a lose, lose situation for you, but you made at least one sale by you being you.
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Jeremy Rivea
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HerrohGrant wrote:
Okay.

Sorry guys.

I think this is a classic case of miscommunication and comments via text being misread. Text is a terrible platform for sarcasm and jokes and jest, which I know, but alas, I'm my own worst enemy.

I'll leave out all color moving forward. It is not my intent, nor has it ever been, to make you feel bad. I'm sorry if you feel that way.

Moving forward, I'm going to stick to rules questions and avoid philosophical discussions as well to avoid any hint of argument or disagreement coming from me.

Thankfully, there are a handful of people who have the rules down pat and answer things faster than I do, so I'll take a step back and let them handle it.

You can always Geekmail me on BGG or email me at grant@hyperbolegames.com. I continue to subscribe to Cry Havoc so that I'll see everything as needed as well.

I'm sorry I offended you, I'm sorry Cry Havoc didn't work out for you, and hopefully you find a game that suits you better this holiday season.

Thanks for your feedback and input and have a great weekend.

Thanks all,
grant



God damn it people, this is why we can't have nice things. You have a developer of the game actually participating and y'all gotta mess it up for us. Grant, seriously hope you don't stay away for ever, it's been really awesome to see your input here.
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