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Zombicide: Black Plague» Forums » Rules

Subject: Why the Dark Ritual? rss

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Greg Tannahill
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Hi guys. Just wanted to see if anyone has any insight *why* the Dark Ritual rule exists in Z:BP for Necromancers.

(For reference, this is the rule that says if playing with multiple Necromancer models, Necromancers at range 0-1 from each other at the end of a turn escape the board.)

I've been turning it over in my head and I can't see why the designers chose to include it.

Factors:
1) If you spawned the additional Necromancer models *instead* of activating existing Necromancers, then it might compensate for the lack of additional activations caused by spawning new Necromancers. But page 29 of the rulebook confirms that you spawn a new Necromancer AND activate all the existing ones.
2) Because non-standard Necromancers come with additional rules, you have already increased the difficulty of the game just by adding them - did there need to be an additional penalty as well?
3) The possibility of dual Necromancer cards back to back creates the possibility that a Necromancer will spawn, then immediately spawn a second Necromancer from his own spawn and both will vanish in a Dark Ritual, which isn't really a fun or controllable situation for players.
4) The Dark Ritual reduces the average time a Necromancer will be on the board, which further reduces the use players will get out of their special Necromancers in terms of play time.

I often disagree with Zombicide design decisions but I can usually at least see what they were aiming for. Has anyone grokked the logic of this one?
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Emivaldo Sousa
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If your game (with expansions) provide multiples of something, logic demands that you should also provide rules to use, exchange or incorporate those extra bits.

I guess that's what they were aiming.

It started well with limiting the number of necros in a game, but then they got distracted with the money we give them and shoehorned the cabal rules and didn't even acknowledge that the multitude of abominations could also use some guidelines to be incorporated in the game.

What baffles me is not that the rule does not work - and it is not even logical or necessary. It is that they know that and did not change it in the Green Horde game.

And I know I am part of the problem, as I participated on that kickstarter... Oh, well
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Jorgen Peddersen
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My favourite part of the affair was when we noticed how broken it was (meaning you have unavoidable instant game over lurking inside the deck shuffle) and asked them about it to see if we had missed something. They responded that yes, we were correct, but it would rarely happen.

The math was runnable at that time with the situation we described happening in up to 50% of shuffles at the time, so the 'rare' comment clearly wasn't thought out.

Perhaps they are stuck with having to support the rule despite how stupid it is. Admitting you were wrong on some idea is something that can have a big backfire effect, unfortunately. I suppose we can still hope that perhaps somebody at CMON notices one of the threads where we discussed the stupidity of the Dark Ritual and they alter it before the release of Green Horde...
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QorDaq H'Nter
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I get that the point of the OP is to look for a logical rationale for the Dark Ritual rule, unfortunately, without CMoN going on record as to "Why" it's there, I do not believe we'll ever have a satisfactory explanation. Or if they have gone on record, I may have missed it.

Not a helpful response, I know.

That said, rules like these are why I actually dig Zcide, it's such a sandbox, that some elements can be ignored or modified without unbalancing the game. Dark Ritual is one of those, as, in my opinion, it adds nothing useful to the game and does not, again in my opinion, break anything if removed.

That said, for custom quests, I think that there is a place for things like Dark Rituals, where their inclusion might be the focus of a quest instead of a random and painful side effect of a poorly implemented idea.

Just my two Darseks.
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Ian Williams
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A wild guess as to 'why' would be it eliminates confusion about which necromancer goes to which escape point. I see that getting fiddly when they land on top of each other.

I never use this rule.
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Jorgen Peddersen
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celdom wrote:
A wild guess as to 'why' would be it eliminates confusion about which necromancer goes to which escape point. I see that getting fiddly when they land on top of each other.

I never use this rule.

I doubt that's it, as they coloured the Necromancer Spawn Tokens differently to properly support the pathing of the Necromancers.

I think the real issue is that they thought they needed to come up with a rule, made one up quickly and announced it during the Kickstarter without playtesting, and then they were somewhat stuck, having announced there would be a rule.

They do also have a track record of making official rulings on the fly to make the rules sound cooler, regardless of whether said rules break the game or directly contradict the written rules. The rule for using Jump over Ramparts is a huge example of this.

I do really like the Black Plague rules and gameplay, but there are a few rules and rulings that you simply have to ignore due to poor forethought.
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Ignazio Corrao
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celdom wrote:
A wild guess as to 'why' would be it eliminates confusion about which necromancer goes to which escape point. I see that getting fiddly when they land on top of each other.

I also think that is the main reason. Zombicide is an extremely streamlined game, so they came up with this idea to avoid keeping track of which Necromancer is associated to a particular color Spawn token.
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Thilo M.
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Clipper wrote:


I think the real issue is that they thought they needed to come up with a rule, made one up quickly and announced it during the Kickstarter without playtesting, and then they were somewhat stuck, having announced there would be a rule.


I think there is hope as they revised a lot of the Massive Darkness rules even though then already had a rulebook published and they were not afraid to change a lot of things.

So there is still a lot of time to change that rule. And if they don't, everybody can just ignore it.

Maybe they will even come up with an "official" rule or suggestions on how to balance all the expansions. There a lot of good suggestions here on bgg about this, but I think it would be better to have these published by CMON.
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Emivaldo Sousa
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Chromit90 wrote:
celdom wrote:
A wild guess as to 'why' would be it eliminates confusion about which necromancer goes to which escape point. I see that getting fiddly when they land on top of each other.

I also think that is the main reason. Zombicide is an extremely streamlined game, so they came up with this idea to avoid keeping track of which Necromancer is associated to a particular color Spawn token.


I think the basic concept of the game is simple and it might have been streamlined at one point. Now it is not the case. It is still a simple game, but not very streamlined anymore.

The problem is that CMON still thinks the rules have to be supersimple, but with so many moving parts, rules that are not well thought out will make the game sink or simply be inconsequential or limited (like the abomination that is invulnerable in water).

I am also not sure they realize how much the game changes with zombies that deal that much dmg. Before, it was viable to jump into the fray - and very fun to mow down on melle tons of zombies. Now it is so much more risky that the games will be much more complex. Decisions will take longer and it might lose the gung-ho appeal of the title.

I am not saying it is not gonna be fun, but I think it will change the fundamentals of the game. Might be wrong if the power creep is strong in the powers and skill department, though.
 
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Emivaldo Sousa
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QorDaq wrote:


That said, rules like these are why I actually dig Zcide, it's such a sandbox, that some elements can be ignored or modified without unbalancing the game. Dark Ritual is one of those, as, in my opinion, it adds nothing useful to the game and does not, again in my opinion, break anything if removed.



I understand what you are saying, but I actually have a very different opinion. Rules like these make me consider not supporting them anymore. I think it is lazy and not very respectful to the consumer.

Sandbox is fine, but the game has to work to begin with. More than that, a franchise that successful, with that many resources and opportunities to test should have a bit more pride and care with their product.

On the kickstarter comments it is easy to see that members of the team are passionate about the minis, production values and the running of the kickstarter itself. They are by no means lazy in that department (they are actually very competent). Why they do not have the same passion for a clean, tested set o rules is beyond me.

It seems they run the zombicide franchise much more like a toy than a game. And maybe it is fine, but I am a gamer...
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QorDaq H'Nter
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zinho73 wrote:
...I understand what you are saying, but I actually have a very different opinion. Rules like these make me consider not supporting them anymore. I think it is lazy and not very respectful to the consumer...


It's a fair point that you make, and I think it drives to the heart of the situation in that each potential supporter (of the/ a game), will need to decide what value a given product provides and base their patronage accordingly.

For example; I also consider myself to be a gamer, my son (7) is becoming one as well, and he loves Zcide. So we play it when we get the chance.

With a game as big as Z:BP, I have to pick and choose what we include, and I discuss with him (my son) what we are changing and why, so that he knows what to expect and understands that we are playing a modified variant of the original game.

Currently, he is very excited about Z:GH, but dubious about how much damage Orcz will do and how many special rules will be added to the game--I fully expect a range of things that will be as crazy as the Dark Ritual rule. However, his uncertainty is somewhat mitigated by the fact that he knows we'll figure out what's fun to play with.

In this sense, while CMoN's overall approach may be suspect, the fact that the game is as modular as it is, means that it will be simple to adjust to taste.

For myself, that provides value enough to be worth my investment, but that may not be the case for everyone--which I respect.

In many ways I see Z:GH as, and to borrow from your verbiage, a big toy box to add to the collection. Kind of a large expansion rather than being a unique game. Should CMoN be proud of that? I don't know, but I'm none-the-less looking forward to checking it all out.

Speaking towards your other point--to another poster--about power creep in Z:GH possibly counter-acting the more powerful enemy units; CMoN mentioned in their presentation during the 2017 Expo, that equipment and skills were not going to power creep, and that the changes to Z:GH were intended to add new challenges and force players to develop new strategies. How that will translate in the final analysis remains to be seen--particularly in the context of equipment like the Magic 8-ball or the Holy Hand-grenade of Antioch...*Chuckle*... But I do look forward to finding out.

Okay, wall of text there, but bottom line is; you are absolutely correct to suggest that a company as successful as CMoN has the resources to better test their products than they do, and I agree that they really should. So as a consumer I have to decide if what they do right provides enough value to outweigh that known flaw. So far, and speaking only for myself, I feel that-that value is there...but hey, even as a gamer I like my toys.

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Emivaldo Sousa
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QorDaq wrote:

well spoken response


I never underestimate the power of the toy factor. In the end it will doom us all. Or at least our wallets.
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Chuck Hurd
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GregT314 wrote:
Hi guys. Just wanted to see if anyone has any insight *why* the Dark Ritual rule exists in Z:BP for Necromancers.

Pretty sure someone at CMON or GG came up with it on the fly. Something like "Hey, since we can now have multiple necros in a game wouldn't it be cool if like something bad happened if they met? Yeah, that would be cool, let's through it into the rulebook.". Every indication says it was never play tested. The response that it would be "rare" cements the fact.
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Jan Smuts
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Stupidest. Rule. Evah.

Don't use it. Evah.
 
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Calvin Tang
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It must be CMON's version of the Kobayashi Maru Hmmm, I suppose that makes Kirk out of those of you who don't use it... And I see that Jan is quite advanced in his Kirk speak

Edit: added a link for Kobayashi Maru, as I'm sure Star Trek means nothing to some folks out there.
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Greg Tannahill
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Thanks for the thought everyone.

After the discussion, I'm going to put my money on the idea that multiple Necromancers was a design addition relatively late in the day (maybe even after the Kickstarter was live) that only happened once they realised the cool factor / potential profit of selling multiple variant Necromancers, and so the multiple Necromancer rules were rushed off without the playtesting that they really deserved.

Re: the pathing comments, I always understood Necromancer pathing to be dynamic - i.e. the Necromancer determines the closest non-personal spawn point each time it activates, rather than choosing when it spawns, so you shouldn't need to remember where it's going, just what colour it's associated with?
 
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Ignazio Corrao
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GregT314 wrote:
Re: the pathing comments, I always understood Necromancer pathing to be dynamic - i.e. the Necromancer determines the closest non-personal spawn point each time it activates, rather than choosing when it spawns, so you shouldn't need to remember where it's going, just what colour it's associated with?

Whitout the Cabal rule you need some way of keeping track of which color is associated to each necromancer. Particularly difficult if you're using the two identical base box necromancers.

I still think that they added the Cabal rule to avoid some book keeping.
 
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Chuck Hurd
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Chromit90 wrote:
I still think that they added the Cabal rule to avoid some book keeping.

Given the poor integrity of the rule there is no evidence they thought that far ahead on it. It has all the markings of being someone's throw-in fancy.

Not including the color bases in the base game was just another oversight, IMO.
 
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