The Hotness
Games|People|Company
The Hotness has gone cold...
Recommend
7 
 Thumb up
 Hide
9 Posts

Table Battles» Forums » General

Subject: Battle design across the first ten scenarios rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Oliver Hofmann
Australia
Melbourne
VIC
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
First six games of Table Battles (first two scenarios) and it's been incredibly interesting to see how complex battle are abstracted away with a minimal set of components and rules. Quite impressed!

That said, to me it feels like the first two scenarios at least are meant as a puzzle. They _feel_ stacked in favour of the historical winner, and we'd probably need half a dozen rounds for each to find some way to reverse the historical outcome. I assume this is by design (and not just us playing poorly).

If so I can appreciate the concept, but it might just not be for us. Are any of the latter scenarios more balanced (again, assuming my hunch is correct)?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom Russell
United States
Dearborn
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My intention is for each side to have different tools and liabilities at their disposal, and thus require a different approach or play-style within a given scenario. Taking the White Mountain scenario as an example, I've heard people say that it's impossible for the Imperials/Catholics to ever lose - that, as was the case historically, they're going to win in a walk - and I've heard people say that the Bohemians have a definitive advantage. Both are right in their way: the game is built so as to give the Imperials/Catholics more options - so they have two Wings and can use more dice, whereas the Bohemians are stuck with one Wing and fewer useful dice due to their squabbling, incompetent commanders. The game is also built to confer upon the Bohemians a terrain advantage - and so the Imperials/Catholics are stuck slowly socking away a die at a time on their main infantry formations, while if the Bohemians can roll four sixes in a single go, they can place them all on one card.

In some games and for some players, the Imperial/Catholic organizational and flexibility options will be decisive. In other games and for other players, the Bohemians will inflict massive casualties upon the enemy.

The game is built so that when one side breaks through the deadlock - that push-and-push-and-push of acting-and-reacting - that their side's natural advantages will carry the day. That is, the game is built to become lopsided at a moment's notice. (This is actually a tendency that I've taken care to further emphasize in the first expansion, which will give players far fewer morale cubes than in the base game's scenarios.)

In some scenarios, a given side's advantages/liabilities will require less finesse and less luck than others, and so it might be easier for one side to win consistently (depending of course on the other player). And certainly some sides in some battles are less forgiving of mistakes. There are more chances for comebacks, and a greater margin for error, in some of the larger battles, such as Malplaquet, Ivry, and the Dunes. So you might find them to be more "balanced", with the caveat that, like the others, they're constructed in such a way as to become lopsided in your favor as soon as you get the other guy to blink at the wrong time.

In that way, all of the battles are a puzzle, but a puzzle where the fuzziness of the dice and the nested decisions mean that the answer isn't always going to be the same.

(I should mention that regarding the second scenario, a lot of players do seem to find that Cromwell wins the day repeatedly and with ease - unlike White Mountain, where I hear from different folks who feel that one side or the other can't possibly lose, I don't hear a whole lot from folks who think the Royalists can pull off the upset. But I've seen it done: the Royalist position isn't hopeless, but it does require a great deal of care and precision.)
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dallas Tucker
Indonesia
Jakarta
flag msg tools
designer
(This space intentionally left blank.)
badge
What is the good life?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Your reply reminds me of this blog post: https://boardgamesthattellstories.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/m... and also point 4 of this blog post: http://johnbrieger.com/blog/?p=180

It is difficult as a designer of an asymmetric strategy game. Almost certainly a faction or a side will be easier to play. If people do not take time to learn the game well enough, that faction will feel OP. I played an online card game at a high rank, and sometimes the company would nerf cards that did not need nerfing simply because newer players thought they were too powerful.

I have not yet gotten Table Battles (I don't really have an opponent right now), but it looks fun and I probably will pick it up anyway.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom Russell
United States
Dearborn
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Interesting reads - thanks for the links.

Almost all of my games are ridiculously (purposely) fragile, prone to distortion and built to become imbalanced the second a player makes a mistake. This simultaneously makes my job easier and harder. It's easier because I don't have to spend time ensuring there are comeback mechanisms or that the game is "fair", as I've zero interest in things being "fair". It's harder though because one can fall into the trap of making excuses and overlooking true, unintentional, problematic imbalances - luckily, I have Mary and several playtesters to keep me honest.
6 
 Thumb up
6.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Carey
United States
West Coast
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Whoshim wrote:
(I don't really have an opponent right now)


Table Battles is actually a very good solitaire game - there is no hidden information, the randomness of the rolls contributes to managing both sides' dice pools, targets of attacks are often pre-set (not much maneuver occurred during these engagements), and the scenarios always tell a good narrative.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oh you seekers of the new who run terrified from history into the clutches of an eternal life where no electric shaver can be built to last.
United States
Riva
Maryland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
tomrussell wrote:
Interesting reads - thanks for the links.

Almost all of my games are ridiculously (purposely) fragile, prone to distortion and built to become imbalanced the second a player makes a mistake. This simultaneously makes my job easier and harder. It's easier because I don't have to spend time ensuring there are comeback mechanisms or that the game is "fair", as I've zero interest in things being "fair". It's harder though because one can fall into the trap of making excuses and overlooking true, unintentional, problematic imbalances - luckily, I have Mary and several playtesters to keep me honest.


Time to buy everything this designer publishes. This is how games should work.
7 
 Thumb up
1.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom Russell
United States
Dearborn
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sagrilarus wrote:
tomrussell wrote:
Interesting reads - thanks for the links.

Almost all of my games are ridiculously (purposely) fragile, prone to distortion and built to become imbalanced the second a player makes a mistake. This simultaneously makes my job easier and harder. It's easier because I don't have to spend time ensuring there are comeback mechanisms or that the game is "fair", as I've zero interest in things being "fair". It's harder though because one can fall into the trap of making excuses and overlooking true, unintentional, problematic imbalances - luckily, I have Mary and several playtesters to keep me honest.


Time to buy everything this designer publishes. This is how games should work.


I mean, I wouldn't be opposed to you doing that. :-)

What you said was very kind! Which reminds me: this isn't the first time you did me a kindness.

Three or so years back, you wrote (I wanna say on the Fortress Ameritrash forums?) a negative but fair post of a magazine that I edited. More than anything else, that pushed me to do more with the next issue, and the issues that followed. It also pushed me to fight for more creative control and autonomy over the magazine and its direction, sometimes successfully and sometimes much less so. Ultimately this led to the realization that I could only do my best work if I had complete control (tempered by Mary's finely-tuned judgement and business sense), and that I needed to do more ambitious, unusual, and idiosyncratic work instead of trying to follow someone else's template or aim for the nebulous middle.

There are many threads in my life and work that led me to making a living publishing board games, and that led me to design something like Table Battles. One of those threads can be traced back to you, and your review of that magazine, and for that, I just wanted to say thanks.
15 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oh you seekers of the new who run terrified from history into the clutches of an eternal life where no electric shaver can be built to last.
United States
Riva
Maryland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
tomrussell wrote:
Sagrilarus wrote:
tomrussell wrote:
Interesting reads - thanks for the links.

Almost all of my games are ridiculously (purposely) fragile, prone to distortion and built to become imbalanced the second a player makes a mistake. This simultaneously makes my job easier and harder. It's easier because I don't have to spend time ensuring there are comeback mechanisms or that the game is "fair", as I've zero interest in things being "fair". It's harder though because one can fall into the trap of making excuses and overlooking true, unintentional, problematic imbalances - luckily, I have Mary and several playtesters to keep me honest.


Time to buy everything this designer publishes. This is how games should work.


I mean, I wouldn't be opposed to you doing that. :-)

What you said was very kind! Which reminds me: this isn't the first time you did me a kindness.

Three or so years back, you wrote (I wanna say on the Fortress Ameritrash forums?) a negative but fair post of a magazine that I edited. More than anything else, that pushed me to do more with the next issue, and the issues that followed. It also pushed me to fight for more creative control and autonomy over the magazine and its direction, sometimes successfully and sometimes much less so. Ultimately this led to the realization that I could only do my best work if I had complete control (tempered by Mary's finely-tuned judgement and business sense), and that I needed to do more ambitious, unusual, and idiosyncratic work instead of trying to follow someone else's template or aim for the nebulous middle.

There are many threads in my life and work that led me to making a living publishing board games, and that led me to design something like Table Battles. One of those threads can be traced back to you, and your review of that magazine, and for that, I just wanted to say thanks.


Well shit, I just sang your praises on F:At. You're not going to start half assing your games now are you?

Anyone who plays better when they're challenged has a seat at my table waiting for them.
7 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oliver Hofmann
Australia
Melbourne
VIC
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
First, thanks so much for all the responses. Certainly did not expect this in-depth feedback, very much appreciated!

I'd read the design diaries for Table Battles and had a rough idea of the underlying concepts before playing. At least in the first two battles the deadlocks are absolutely apparent - it can be a long back and forth before either side makes a mistake and the game state starts changing. Absolutely love this, along with the fact that mistakes are usually quite readily apparent and I can point to a decision or string of decisions that led to the outcome. In one battle of the White Mountain I managed to recover as the Catholic player, but that seems rare, and rightly so.

I think we both could see ways how the Bohemians might win in the first scenario. In our three plays -- each played with us alternating sides as part of a play -- what ultimately sunk the Bohemians was the inevitable streak of bad die rolls, i.e., two or three rounds of 3-4 die only showing 1-3s.

What triggered my post here though was, indeed, Cromwell and the Battle of Marston Moor. To us it seemed like there was no way to take out Cromwell: only Byron can chip away at Cromwell's strength and would need four attacks (eight pairs) to do so which felt all but impossible because he also has to screen Cromwell and Crawford, resulting in a loss of the required pairs. That turned the game into a race; stall Cromwell and Fairfax as long as possible while trying to rout the other wing -- something we did not manage to achieve in our three plays (six individual battles of Marston Moor).

I absolutely understand that this might be a case of 'play better', as described in the Steel Police example of Neuroshima Hex linked above. It's just a case where _we_ personally feel like we'd rather tackle such challenges in a coop game such as Freedom: The Underground Railroad or Ghost Stories where it feels like we're trying to crack the puzzle together. Solo runs of Table Battles could also work, but in the first instance we'll give the scenarios you listed, Tom, a try to see if we feel more at home with those.

Thanks again!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.