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Subject: [WIP] - Crusaders (a little late, I know) rss

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Ryan Byrd
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So, about 4 1/2 years ago, I jumped the gun and made an entry for Crusaders. This was when I was not familiar with the way I should have done it (post a WIP, then create the entry). The game was totally playable when I posted it, but it has gone through many iterations since then. I feel it is pretty well finished, but I am always open to constructive feedback.

I am now posting this WIP on a recommendation by

Michael M.
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Check out his game Oathbound (previously Pocketstone): https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1455381/wip-pocketstone-car...

Remember, the files for Crusaders are on the entry page. This WIP is to get feedback. I have a wife, job, and 4 kids, so updates will be slow. However, I have steadily been working on this over the years.

Background/Inspiration/Overview

Crusaders came from my desire to make a fantasy adventure that tells a story like DnD, but without all the overhead of paperwork, and without a DM. I liked the way The Mystic Wood handled a random map, but I wanted more meat. Originally, I wanted a competitive game, but I also wanted a campaign mode. Originally, I hoped for a game that would take about 1 hour to play, but that is now about 3. Another self imposed constraint was to keep the parts simple. It is a little bigger than originally expected, but it is currently 108 poker cards, 54 larger cards, 6 player sheets, a custom die, and 48 tokens. I do not have artwork currently, but color and graphic layout for the icons is pretty solid.

I am not easily offended, so let those comments fly!
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Ryan Byrd
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Heroes

Each player gets a Hero Mat to track Health, XP, Skills, Equipment, Special Abilities, Stats, and their main Quest.





1.Name and Class – Each Hero has a unique identity.
2.Hit points (HP) – HP are tracked here. Each of the shapes surrounding a number indicates the maximum HP for each level. Each Hero starts the game by placing the number “1” HP/Level token (star shape up) on the number inside the star.
3.Experience points (XP) – Each Hero starts the game by placing an XP marker on the “0”. When a Hero gains XP, the XP markers are placed on the mat representing the total value of XP gained up to that point. Example: To show 14 XP, one marker is placed over the “1” on the left, another is placed over the “4” on the right.
4.Charm value (CH) – This value is used to try to avoid an Encounter, or to try to gain companions. A green cube is placed on the green number at the start of the game.
5.Skills by Level – This information describes the different skills gained at each experience level. The skills earned correspond to the shape and number indicated on the HP/Level token. For example, Level 3 allows the skills in the yellow star, green square, and the red triangle. Limitations the Hero may have are also shown in this box.
6.Pack – This is where Equipment not currently equipped or Item cards are placed that have carry limitation (type) icons.
7.Power value (P) – This value is used when attacking. A yellow cube is placed on the yellow number at the start of the game.
8.Treasure – Treasure or items gained without a carry limitation icon are placed here.
9.Equipment – This is where Equipment currently equipped are placed.
10.XP Chart – This shows how many XP are needed for the Hero to gain a level, depending on the number of players.
11.Quest Tracker – This is used as a reminder of the quest chosen. A black cube is placed on the corresponding number after a quest is claimed.
12.Defense value (D) – This value is used to block an attack. A purple cube is placed on the purple number at the start of the game.
13.Ability – A ring token is placed on the Ability chosen at the beginning of the game. This ring can also be used to track Ability uses.

When gear is equipped, it goes below the Skills box. The Power and Defense icons on the gear will add to the starting values (yellow circle and purple shield). Cubes are placed on these tracks to keep a running total of these stats (as well as the green Charm).
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Ryan Byrd
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Events/Day/Night

I added Events to enrich the story. There are currently 7 Event cards. 3 are day, 3 are night. Each of the 3 have a generally "good" event, a generally "neutral" event, and a generally "bad" event.



These Events add a surprising level of story to the game. With 42 possible events, many will not show up in any given game.

Events work as follows:

At the start of your turn (if moving outside the Castle), roll the die. The die will also show a "Sun" or "Moon" icon. Turn the Day/Night token to the corresponding side to remind you of the time of day for that turn. If a green "E" also shows, then draw an Event card. Now look at the Sun or Moon side of the Event card (based on the Day/Night token). Roll the die again to determine the Event. Put the Event card under the Event stack when completed.

There are 4 Sun sides and 2 Moon sides to the die. One Sun and one Moon have a green "E".

The Day/Night token will remind you of the time of day for the rest of that turn. Map tiles, Encounters, and Treasure may have Sun or Moon icons on them. Just follow the one corresponding to the Day/Night token.
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Ryan Byrd
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Map/Movement

The map is laid out with 48 cards (12 for the Castle, Forest, Ruins Level 1, and Ruins Level 2) in a grid. G is the Gate and is where the Heroes start the game.



Moving consists of turning over an adjacent card and moving the Hero figure onto it. If there is an Event, that will happen first. If a dead end is shown, that Map Tile is left face down and another path is taken.



1.Arrow - Each Map Tile has either 3 or 4 entrances. If a Map Tile has only 3 entrances, there will be an arrow in the upper left corner. This arrow must point “North” when this Map tile is uncovered. North is considered pointing up when the Castle is on the left.
2.Map Tiles may have text preceded by a Sun or Moon icon, or by no icon. If no icon is present, the text applies for any player landing on that space. If the Sun or Moon icon is present, the player must also apply the text corresponding to the icon on the Sun/Moon token (based on the roll at the beginning of their turn).
3.When an entrance says “Wood Door” or “Metal Door”, place a door on that text, blocking the path. If a Hero is trying to enter a Map Tile, but the side being approached has a dead end, or a door, the Hero may not enter (unless an item or skill allows).
4.Moon Icon and text.
5.Each Map Tile has a unique identifier on the top right. This is used mainly for the Scenario and Campaign modes of play. However, if this identifier has a red background, then Heroes must stop on that tile. This means that if the tile is already uncovered, and a Hero wants to pass over it on the way to the next tile, they may not. They must end their turn on that tile and take any actions indicated on the tile. If the tile identifier has a yellow background, then the Hero may, or may not, need to stop. Follow the text on the tile to determine if the Hero needs to stop.
6.Some Map Tiles have a round symbol below the identifier: water, gloom, magic, darkness. These symbols are used for various Encounter or Item interactions.

If a tile is already face up, then it remains that way. A Hero may zip straight through a straight line of already revealed tiles if nothing requires a roll of the die on any tile in that line. Also, a Hero cannot go from the Forest into the Ruins unless entering the door, etc.



Castle tiles have no dead ends. These tiles are where the Heroes go first. The Castle is where different people are met. The Heroes choose a quest from among these people and are given their starting equipment and money. There are also some surprises to find there.



The quest chosen is tracked on the Hero Mat and can only be used by one player per game.
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Ryan Byrd
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Combat

I want combat to be quick and simple. I won't bore you with the old iterations as they were pretty bad. As it stands now, each combat lasts about 2 rounds. To attack, roll the die and add your total Power value. If the total is greater than the enemy's Defense value, you hit for the damage indicated on the equipped weapon (or spell). Then it is time for the enemy to do the same.

If you have a companion, they would attack before the enemy. The Enemy will roll to see who it attacks.

Sometimes, the Encounter will have special rules determining the type of attack listed on their card.
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Gear/Treasure

Gear is broken into 3 decks to limit overpowered equipment from being purchased early on. These decks are not randomized.



1.Name – The name of the item. If it is a ranged weapon, a “(R)” will be shown.
2.Power Value – Add this value to the Hero’s Power value when attacking (if equipped).
3.Type Icon – This icon shows how the Gear can be equipped, or carried.
4.Damage – The amount of HP this item removes from a victim on a successful attack.
5.Rust Icon – The presence of this icon means that the Gear can rust. If no icon is present, then the item cannot rust.
6.Defense Value – Add this value to the Hero’s Defense value when being attacked (if equipped).
7.Notes – If the item has any special powers, limits, or effects, they are described here.
8.Trade Value – The amount of gold that this item gives if sold back to the Merchant.
9.Hero Codes – These codes show which Heroes may equip this item (F – Fighter, M – Mage, D – Dwarf, C – Cleric, E – Elf, T – Thief). However, any Gear item may be carried by any Hero.
10.Cost – The amount of gold required to purchase this item.

Gear cards with a Power or Defense value should be in the Equipment area on the Hero Mat (when equipped). Any items that are not equipped can be placed in the Pack.


Treasure is earned when defeating an Encounter with the Treasure icon. Other Treasure may have magical abilities that need to be rolled to determine. Some treasure is affected by the time of day. Other treasure may interact with different Encounter types or map tile icons.



1.Name – What the Treasure is called.
2.Sun/Moon icon. If these icons are shown, rotate the card to match the icon on the Day/Night token.
3.Type Icon – This icon shows how the Gear can be equipped, or carried. No icon means that the Treasure does not count towards the item carry limit.
4.Notes – If the Treasure has any special powers or information, it will be described here. Any special power need not be activated at the time of receiving the Treasure, unless noted.
Value – If the Treasure has a monetary value, it is indicated here.

For Treasure with a monetary value, place the card on the Treasure section of the Hero Mat. There is no need to take GP tokens. When using the Treasure to make a purchase, use the Value as the currency. Discard the card when spent. Change may be given with GP tokens.

Some Treasure comes in the form of Gear. In that case, the card is formatted as Gear above.

Some Treasure may be trapped. Follow the text on the card to determine the outcome.

Treasure is broken into 3 decks to correspond with the Forest, Ruins Level 1, and Ruins Level 2.
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Encounters

An Encounter is drawn based on the Map tile text. If a card is drawn, then another is not drawn on that same Map tile later. Encounters come in 3 decks, one for each of the Forest, Ruins Level 1, and Ruins Level 2.



1.Name – The identity of the Encounter. If the name is highlighted in a color, this indicates a special type of Encounter (Yellow – Undead, Green – Elemental, Purple – Magical).
2.Charm value (CH) – This indicates how easy it is for the Encounter to be ignored, or persuaded to join the Hero. No Charm value means the Encounter cannot be charmed.
3.XP – The amount of Experience Points gained by a Hero when the Encounter is successfully defeated.
4.Defense value (D) – This is used to block an attack.
5.Reward – If an Encounter offers a specific reward for defeating it, the item will be shown here. Rotate this card and place it in your inventory.
6.Power value (P) – This is used when attacking.
7.Abilities/Notes – Some Encounters have special abilities or actions as noted in this section.
8.Damage (Dam) – The amount of HP this Encounter removes from a Hero on a successful attack.
9.Treasure – The number of icons here indicates how many Treasure cards to draw from the same Map Area Treasure deck.
10.Hit points (HP) – The total number of points of damage the Encounter can take until it is defeated.

The Encounter Stat card contains charts for tracking HP on two Encounters simultaneously. At the beginning of a battle, place one HP marker on the number that matches the HP value on the Encounter card. As the Encounter loses HP, move the counter down accordingly.
 
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Spells

Spells are for the Elf or Mage. The number of spells increases for the Mage as their level increases. The power of a spell increases when a Hero levels up as well. The Level token is used as a reminder of the level of the Hero and spells, as well as gained skills.

Spells show the effect at each level. Since the Elf can only go to level 4, the level 5 effect for spells is only for the Mage (sometimes this does not matter).



When a Mage gets new spells, those spells automatically start at the level of the Mage.
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Other (Doors, Curses, Blessings, Poisons, Side Quests, Secret Rooms)

Some dead ends are actually doors as listed on the Map tile. There are 2 types of doors (wood and metal). When a door is listed on a map tile, it tells the type. A door token is placed (in a stand) on the spot.



The ways to open doors:

The right key
Particular skills
Particular weapons (for wood)
Magic
Maybe already unlocked

When opening a door, turn the standup sideways. After passing through a door a player may choose to close it again (unless it is destroyed). To close it, just turn it to block the path. If two tiles show doors back to back, then both need to be opened (simulates a bit of a hallway). If a door is found to be locked, the Hero may move a different direction, use a skill or item, or use magic to go through. If a skill or item fails to open the door, the turn is over due to taking too much time.

Should failing to open a locked door end a turn?


Poisons, Blessings, and Curses are tokens that are randomly gained by things like Events, attacks, traps, etc. When an effect says "Cursed' (for example), a player takes a random Cursed token and flips it over. This tells the type of curse and keeps the token until the curse is removed.

Side Quests are designed to increase player interaction. On the map tiles, there are some people that offer Side Quests. If accepted, the player takes a random card and keeps it until the quest is complete or it is replaced with a different quest. These side quests offer a reward when completed and are completely optional.



Secret rooms are harder to find and offer a good reward. Usually, the Hero must have the right item and/or be at the right place at the right time to find the room.



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Campaign Mode

When I found the game was going to last longer than an hour, I decided to create shorter pre-made quests with the parts available. This led me to streamline the game in this mode (no XP or leveling up). It also lent itself to cooperative mode. As I made up about 9 scenarios, I realized I could make 4 of them link together to make a small campaign. This meant I had to scale the difficulty of each scenario to a certain number of Heroes at specific levels (each Hero levels up after each Scenario). This also led me to put identifiers on some parts (Map tiles, Event cards). It also means I had to rearrange some things to work in the basic game mode as well. I also had the freedom to equip Encounters with weapons in the same way Heroes can equip, thus adding to the variety.

Each Scenario uses about 12 of the 48 map tiles in a predetermined layout. It also tells where to place certain items and Encounters, along with how those Encounters are equipped. The goal is spelled out with the number of Heroes and their level. Any special rules are also outlined.

As an example:
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Michael M.
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I've had all the files printed out ans sitting on my desk for a week. Been really excited to play, but just haven't had time to sit and cut everything out. I may do that today though!
 
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Michael M.
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One of the things that I think would be helpful for any PNP is a cutting guide, something that demonstrates exactly how to cut out all the pieces. Right now I'm just worried about cutting things out wrong, so an explanation would be really appreciated. Just something to consider adding!
 
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Ryan Byrd
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Good point. These cards are 4 to a page, with the back and front of each card side by side. This makes it so there is a fold along one long edge of each card.
 
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