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Heroes of Land, Air & Sea» Forums » General

Subject: Thoughts on Replayability rss

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Stan Sevcik
Germany
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So after reading the rule book and seeing a couple playthroughs I'm starting to get a good picture of the game.

Choices
It seems like you can take many different approaches with your faction:
- choose what to upgrade - there are not enough turns tu upgrade it all, you'll have to pick and choose just a couple of columns on your grid
- balancing your approach between building up your capital (stone), churning out armies (food) or magic (mana) - depending on the board situation different games will call for different approaches and you'll need to allocate your peons accordingly
- how will you conduct warfare - cover your choke points and turtle up? March your massive army slowly through an opponent? Spread yourself thin to cover the most regions? Use fast units for skirmishing?

If your approach didn't work well, you can learn to apply it better or try a different one next time.

And that's with the same faction. There are 4-8 other ones to try.

Potential
So the potential for replayability for this game looks fantastic! It will depend a lot on how well it is balanced though. If there's only one efficient way to VPs, all of the choices above will be meaningless.

Issues
At a first glance, I do see an imbalance in the system. Here's a short break down:
Area control
- build units (food)
- march them
- keep hold of the territory (risky)
- gives 1 VP per territory, collects resources

Warfare
- build units (food)
- march them
- win battle (risky)
- gives 3 VPs per victory

Magic
- research spells (no cost)
- cast spells (mana)
- gives 1 - 3 VPs and a positive effect

Buildings
- build peons (food)
- build buildings (stone/food/mana)
- gives 1-5 VPs and a positive effect

It seems like Magic is the best way to win by far and area control is the worse. Perhaps there is some more balancing needed...

Edit: Just to make it clear - the issue described is minor, maybe even non-existent (I haven't played the game) and the replayability potential is great
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v b
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Well I was ABOUT to say "finally a positive post!" but then read to the end of it.... close.
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I can't suss this analysis out of a rules book, nor do I have the experience to do so.

Are people thinking there is an imbalance on the paths to winning?

(I'm leaning toward backing it unless it becomes clearer the paths to victory aren't equal.)
 
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David desJardins
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It's like playtesting, but without the play or the testing!
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Stan Sevcik
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I might be wrong on that because I may have overlooked something. And even if I'm right, this is not the final version and this imbalance is easy to fix (reduce rewards for magic, increase for area control)
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Jason La Mar
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stenlis wrote:

Magic
- research spells (no cost)


As far as my knowledge this is not the case. I believe that it uses mana to research spells but Elves can do it for free with buildings.
 
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Jason Washburn
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I played on the live stream today and if you have thoughts on balance go watch that. We played the base factions and the balance was fair. As you build your empire and continue to expand there are good rewards that you can gain by playing towards your factions strengths. I think that is important. I like very much that each faction plays very differently. Then you get to add in the different paths to trigger the end game and this combined with using different Continents can offer plenty of replay value. not to mention it would take a two or three games with the same faction to get a full understanding of how each unit would do in different situations.

I liked that by putting the resources into my capital city that gave me some clear advantages over the other players in mountain areas and helped me to gain more mana which seemed harder for me to gain in the early game.

I felt that the combat was strong in a few ways. Spells if used right can do some very good things for you. Also the limitation of 5 units to an army helps to keep the battles tight and this creates some intensity. Sure there may be some battles from time to time that may be a bit insignificant, but overall you get VP for going into battle, and if done right you can cause your rival to spend some resources in order to defeat you. This is important. Resources drive the game, so making your rival spend them is a great tactic in certain situations.

This game is much more sandbox style right off the bat then other
"Dudes On A Map" games I have played. The follow action is a strong mechanic and can help you to sneak some extra action when you really need them. Likewise the Muster action can help just you and no one can piggy back on you. So you can gain a quick territory or cast a spell to assist you with a strong maneuver.

The other thing I really enjoyed about the game was being able to plan pretty well based on the resources I have and looking to what I would be able to gain in the next round. There is a real sense of planning and advancement.

There is a lot of game there in just the core and adding factions only increases the number of plays I will get in with very different outcomes each time.

If you like asymmetry in area control combat with minis then this is a game you will enjoy.
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Jason Washburn
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stenlis wrote:


It seems like Magic is the best way to win by far and area control is the worse. Perhaps there is some more balancing needed...


The balance in the game is good. Your "First Glance" is off. While you are looking at resources there in your breakdown you need to consider actions as well. You get 2 actions. To win you need to be efficient with your actions. While casting spells can gain you VP, there are other things that are far more efficient and will help you in your expansion and gathering.

Area control
- build units (food) WARRIOS, HEROES, BOATS, FLYERS GIVE VP
- march them
- keep hold of the territory (risky)
- gives 1 VP per territory, collects resources UPGRADING CAPITAL EARNS BONUS VP FOR AREA CONTROL

Warfare
- build units (food) WARRIOS, HEROES, BOATS, FLYERS GIVE VP
- march them
- win battle (risky)
- gives 3 VPs per victory You will not always get 3 VP for battle, you can gain from 1 to 4 based on the cards played.

and so on and so....

To get a spell out it is two actions thought. One to research and one to cast. If you have no Peons in your capital to follow or muster, that is your whole round. Plus to cast you need mana. So your going to have to spend a round or two moving guys out and gaining resources. Oh wait you will have to spend actions to get guys before you can send them out.

Your not going to sit there and just cast spells over and over. That would be wasting your actions and someone will come along and stomp your face. It is a conflict game. Be logical and realistic.

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Stan Sevcik
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Jason,

Thanks for the reply. Understand that I'm a backer and a fan of the game and I'm just trying to help. You raised some valid points:
- WARRIOS, HEROES, BOATS, FLYERS GIVE VP - very true, though you don't need to go to war to get the VP. In fact, you may lose it if you fight...
- UPGRADING CAPITAL EARNS BONUS VP FOR AREA CONTROL - Yes, that makes it a bit better, though the bonus applies only for specific tiles (like forest for elves)

jason2043 wrote:

The balance in the game is good. Your "First Glance" is off. While you are looking at resources there in your breakdown you need to consider actions as well. You get 2 actions. To win you need to be efficient with your actions. While casting spells can gain you VP, there are other things that are far more efficient and will help you in your expansion and gathering.


Yes, that's exactly what I was looking at. That's why I listed the actions necessary for the goal.


jason2043 wrote:
To get a spell out it is two actions thought. One to research and one to cast. If you have no Peons in your capital to follow or muster, that is your whole round.


Right. That's still not more than what you need for war or area control - build units and march. True, you can march again with units you've already built but you also can research multiple spells when you upgrade and then keep casting them.

jason2043 wrote:
Plus to cast you need mana.


And to build units you need food and to build buildings you need stone (and sometimes other resources).

jason2043 wrote:
Your not going to sit there and just cast spells over and over. That would be wasting your actions and someone will come along and stomp your face. It is a conflict game. Be logical and realistic.


Look, you are talking to an old MtG player here - the game that's arguably ABOUT finding imbalances in the system. Logic tells me that casting spells is the single most efficient way to get VPs. It's got no risk - in war you can lose, in area control you never know whether you get to keep the tile until the game is over, with casting you just get the VPs that can never be taken away from you (in addition to the positive effect of the spell).

Please, when you play next time, try the "Hogwarts" approach. Of course you can't just play spells from turn 1. You'll need to get resources and build up defenses. But you can avoid doing the "risky" stuff.

Take the Elves faction. Beyound the early game where you get your resource engine running concentrate on:
- static defenses - keep your force compact, get the slow&strong hero, get towers
- build up capital to level 3 gradually (lots of VPs, more spells)
- cast spells like there's no tomorrow

Don't do risky stuff:
- no attacking (just defense)
- don't spread yourself thin
- don't "waste" actions exploring

I know. That's a very boring strategy. But that's the point - try it out and if it works extremely well, you'll need to reduce the VPs for spells.
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Eirik Johnsbr├ąten
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My concerns with replayability with this game actually comes from my sceptisism towards Tiny Epic Kingdoms. In that game each race basically had one way to play them. Granted, in that game each race's "tech tree" is linear, so it's basically a choice of how much, not what. But I do get a little of the same feeling when looking at the races in HLAS too. If you're the elves, go grab the forests and cast lots of spells. That's your strength, and if you don't do that, you don't really get any bonuses over the other players. And ditto with the other races we've seen so far.

I'm pretty sure reality is more complex than this. You have several different buildings to choose from, different heroes that can shift the focus of what you're doing, and the balance of using your peons to gather resources or do extra actions. Still, I'm afraid that each race could be "solved", that you can find an optimal strategy, and if you don't follow that, you'll have a smaller chance of winning.
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Jason Washburn
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Thx Stan!

Eirik,

In my play through I unlocked a level three capital and I bought every building. Now I was the only player to do this. But it gave me 15 VP just for the level three and 5 buildings.

Each building gives you three upgrades based on your Capital. Each building produces a unit that nets you VP if bought. I would say as I played the Drawves mountain regions best suited me, however I did not focus on that through out the game. I build buildings and had all three Heroes out also the only player to do so. I liked that I could produce buildings for one less ore then the other players. But remember they also had advantages I did not.

Overall I think it would be tough to nail down a direct route to smoking a faction. You could attempt to deny them something but if this was on there home continent it would be tough to make that stick.

There is lots to like and lots to do in the game. I am a heavy gamer for sure and this hits it for me in the 4X world. The minis are great and there is lots there.

I would also say that they may make one or two tweeks to the rules before the game is published. But in the current build it is super solid and a great game to get to the table. Not to mention it is expandable to 6 which other games in the 4X world are not. Folks that love these types of games should be very excited to play this puppy!

I have played at 4 and at 6 and really loved both plays. I am a game designer and a game publisher. I am a backer of this game, because the game is that good.

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