Recommend
13 
 Thumb up
 Hide
21 Posts

Run Fight or Die: Reloaded» Forums » General

Subject: Notes from the Development Table rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Joshua Lobkowicz
United States
High Ridge
Missouri
flag msg tools
publisher
Quality games cleverly crafted.
badge
Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As the Kickstarter campaign for Run, Fight, or Die: Reloaded continues to gain support and build momentum, fans of the original Run, Fight, or Die have had a series of questions not only about what has changed but about why we changed the things we did. For those of you into the thought process behind game development, these notes should help give some understanding as to the motivations for the changes in gameplay.

Let me start by saying that RFD is a game that I have played and enjoyed many many times and that I have played with my nieces as young as 8 and parents as old as 60. The game has always been more engaging to me than what I consider its nearest counterpart (King of Tokyo). When we set out to improve upon this game we wanted very much to make sure we kept the things we loved about the game while removing or improving on the things which either led to confusion, slowed the game down, or left players feeling like their choices were too few. In other words, we wanted to create a version that was both more streamlined and more strategic. Now let’s talk about some of the major changes and the thought behind those changes.

Bye, Bye, Event Die
Getting rid of the event die was an easy decision for the development team. We watched again and again as players start their turn by rolling 6 dice, but then separate out one of them, go “what does this mean again?”, then reach for the reference and resolve the effect of that die for good or for ill. The problem there is two-fold.

Problem #1 is that players never seemed to internalize what that dice did. It was constantly creating a stopping point in otherwise fast gameplay as people figured out what the dang thing did. Furthermore, it sapped some of the excitement of your first roll. Players were so fixated on this separate resolution that it was always a matter of “resolve the event die…then see what I rolled.” We wanted to push some joy back into the opening roll by having players begin engaging the core of their turn ASAP. When you make your first roll now, you care immediately about your results and that simply feels better.

Problem #2 with the Event Die is that the players simply had no control over the outcome. Players would go on streaks rolling Ambush (Take a Wound) and Zombies Rise (Spawn Zombies) and have nothing they could do about it while other players would roll All Quiet (Add 3 fewer Zombies at the end of your Turn) and Nurse (Heal a Wound or Move back 2 Zombies) and it led to some real feel bad moments. So much of the game is predicated on rolling dice and hoping for the best but the core of the game gave you some control over what to keep, what to go for, what to reroll and this part just didn’t. It asked players to flip a coin at the start of every turn and be rewarded or punished accordingly. Removing it has led to players reporting that they feel like they have more agency and that their turns are generally more satisfying.

Follow Me...to Your Doom (A Guide to Recruiting and Exploring Cautiously)
In the original RFD, there was a big chunky player aid that walked you through what you could do with your dice. Bats, Guns, Runs, and Zombies were pretty clear. Search and Book results were much more opaque. With regard to these results, we wanted to remove some of the complexity in execution (by removing levels which offered wildly different results) and give players a simple metric to evaluate where they stood on any given roll. Search results now result in the acquisition of Loot or Followers. Book results have been replaced by Map results which always pertain to locations. And in both cases more is always better.

For Locations, this represents the amount of preparation you’ve put in to exploring a location. One thing that always drove me to madness in the original RFD was drawing the Graveyard. I mean, it’s the middle of the Zombie Apocalypse am I likely to just head on over to the Graveyard for funsies?! Not a chance! If I must go, I’m going to make dang sure I know where my exits are and what the best path through is. By giving each location a Bad Effect and a Good Effect we hope to have given players a sense that they can affect the outcome of their exploration. If you just run to whatever location is next on your way to the town line without thinking yes, something bad will happen to you. In the Police Station for example, some officer, scratched on his last ever call, will be waiting to take a bite out of you and deliver a surprise wound. If you give it a little thought, you should be able to extract whatever benefit there is to be had at that location (Shotgun anyone?) but still risk getting injured as you burst noisily into the station scanning the premises for available firearms. Plan carefully and you might just be able to get in and out with your loot and no Zeds being the wiser.

Mechanically, the deck of Locations is still random. The bad effects are degrees of bad. The good effects are degrees of good. And of course you’d still rather stumble upon the mall than the graveyard – but now you can decide what it’s worth to you. Did you roll 2 Maps out of the gate? Are you happy taking a risk and getting a reward or do you want to shoot for another one to get just the good stuff? Alternately, you might be afraid of hitting the town line without a big enough posse to survive out there. So, maybe you reroll both those Maps hoping to get something better. But be careful, if you end with 1 Map instead of 2 you may find yourself face to face with a Mutant Zombie and not have any new loot to fend him off!

For Followers this new structure means that the more Search results you roll, the more Followers you can see, though you will only ever recruit 1. Thematically this represents you searching for the right person to help your crew survive, though you may find you are willing to take just another warm body as the Zombies will come for them as well as you. As you scan the horizon you may see a Politician (the kind of guy you want on your side when the world gets back to normal), a bleary eyed mechanic (who can help you keep distance from the zombies but seems somehow unreliable) and a Dog (loyal to the last, but not particularly helpful in elevating your position in the new world). If there is a mob of Zeds closing in, that snarling dog might be your best bet but if you have them under control maybe take that slimy politician and make sure he knows he owes you a favor.

Followers in Run, Fight, or Die, always gave you something to work with – a hindrance to overcome or a benefit to use to your advantage and they still do. We loved that part of the game and wanted them to be even more meaningful. So, now they have health. You might find that a hindrance is just too much and end up shoving that politician to the horde when he becomes unbearable. Alternately, you might be forced to sacrifice Fido when times are tough and it’s the difference between him and you. We wanted to open this space up for players to have more choice in managing their crew and we’ve tried to make those choices interesting. Some Followers have wound effects or death effects either encouraging you to keep them alive and healthy as long as possible or perhaps indulge your darker side and a “better them than me” mentality.

The changes in execution for both of these things has shown players making choices that seem both easier to parse at a glance (leading to faster turns) and provide meaningful choices in their execution. We see players with big strong crews try to hit locations fast and rush for the town line while barely managing their hindrances. We see players playing slow and steady acquiring low-point followers with skills that basically make them the Oceans 11 crew of zombie slayers, gliding effortlessly forward as others deal with unmanageable hordes – and they do it as a result of their choices which is fun to both see and execute.

C-C-C-COMBO TIME!
Characters were an important part of the original RFD – they gave you a specific ability which distinguished you from your opponents and they all had a combo that led to a powerful effect. This was awesome but…the combos very rarely got triggered. In the original RFD, each player had a combo which needed all 5 dice and 3 of the results had to be Zombies. What this meant was that often if you tried to get your combo, you’d miss and end up with a terrible roll and zombies bearing down on you signaling a slow, shambling doom.

In RFD: Reloaded, we’ve given each Character 3 potential combos with both increasing levels of difficulty to hit (3, 4, and 5 dice respectively) and increasing power levels making the Characters feel more distinct and more fun as you get to trigger your powers more often (and sometimes even multiple combos in a single turn!) We still kept the requirement of Zombie Dice in these combos because we have eliminated the Fleeing deck. Now instead of the choice to take a bad effect to reroll locked dice, locked dice should be seen as an opportunity to trigger your most powerful moves. We like to think of this as the response to great stress each character has. The bleaker their situation, the harder they fight! And yes, trying for your super combo and missing it can be brutal but with an extra action die (Yep, 6 action dice now – for every player every turn) a focus on managing the horde is possible at the temporary expense of Searching or Exploring and the super Combo for each player is so super that a miss one turn might just drive you to try for it again the next – as all it takes is one time to trigger it and you are right back in the game!

But Wait, There’s More…
The above noted changes are the most major but it cannot be stressed enough that there are tweaks and changes everywhere. Items have been revised, Followers have new effects and new ways to trigger them, Characters have not only more powers but more thematic flavor. The result of these changes is that our tests show games with less downtime, more moments of elation, and that creeping undead tension that made fans of the original fans to begin with.

I hope this gives you some insight not only into the changes that we have made in making Run, Fight, or Die: Reloaded but the motivations behind them and the outcomes those changes have had.

-Joshua Lobkowicz
Head of Game Development
Grey Fox Games
  • [+] Dice rolls
Greg West
msg tools
Joshua,
Thanks for sharing all this info!
Clearly the improvements are just that...well thought out mechanics that improve the game...
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daric Morris
United States
Tucker
Georgia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Sounds great! I'm assuming the followers VP value is still inversely related to their usefulness? That's my favorite part of the original.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joshua Lobkowicz
United States
High Ridge
Missouri
flag msg tools
publisher
Quality games cleverly crafted.
badge
Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
evilgit wrote:
Sounds great! I'm assuming the followers VP value is still inversely related to their usefulness? That's my favorite part of the original.

You betcha.
Though the guys who really bug you are pretty beefy so they can take some damage...but just...won't...die. devil
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roberto Lanza
United States
Connecticut
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Are there any new player interactions besides give two zombies to another player type of interaction?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Donald Rochette
Canada
Val Caron
Ontario
flag msg tools
Why does it have to be the next player when you push a zombie from zone 3 ?
Why can’t it be any player or the player with the most/least zombies ?
This could be an option decided at the beginning of the game (randomly or by the group).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pauly Paul
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you so much for this design diary. It's exactly what I was hoping to read. I find the thought process behind development to be really interesting.
1 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ville E
Finland
Oulu
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
@Joshua

Thanks for the DD. Having no experience with the game, at glance the rules changes seemed like making it more simple. After reading this, I'm sure you've put in a lot of thought and made things better! I really liked the idea of the fleeing deck though...

Anyways, I also have a question (even though I know it's a long shot): Do you have access to the old molds, or is there any way you can make the 1st ed zombies an alternative to the new ones? I like the art direction on the cards, but the models don't really do it for me.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Henrik Schmidt
Germany
Kiel
flag msg tools
Titans of Steel - www.titansofsteel.de
badge
Titans of Steel - www.titansofsteel.de
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Is this game still multiplayer solitaire (apart from pusing zombies from zone 3) ?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
A J
United States
Riverside
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This was nice to read! The original game has always felt sort of multiplayer solitaire. Is there more interaction now?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joshua Lobkowicz
United States
High Ridge
Missouri
flag msg tools
publisher
Quality games cleverly crafted.
badge
Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
turbocooler wrote:
Are there any new player interactions besides give two zombies to another player type of interaction?

Player interaction is subtle, even in this new version.
Run results do let you move zombies toward other players.
Good Location Effects sometimes let you push Zeds from you to another.
Some items have that potential too.

It's a game about surviving and finding the best crew... One with you actively trying to zombify each other is...

...well, a really neat idea for a sequel. devil

That type of interaction is not present here, though.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joshua Lobkowicz
United States
High Ridge
Missouri
flag msg tools
publisher
Quality games cleverly crafted.
badge
Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
donrok wrote:
Why does it have to be the next player when you push a zombie from zone 3 ?
Why can’t it be any player or the player with the most/least zombies ?
This could be an option decided at the beginning of the game (randomly or by the group).

Honestly, these suggestions are fine variants if your group enjoys targeted take that.
We often find in testing that indirect screwage "I do a thing that helps me and happens to hurt you" tens to lead to a lot fewer "feel bad" moments than targeted take that.

The rule as written allows you to outrun some Zeds who (thematically imo) move on to the next closest human. An alternative as suggested above allows for a kind of collusion (e.g "Let's all send our Zeds toward Josh, then he'll have to spend more dice managing the horde and have fewer chances to look for loot/followers/good locations" It also resonates as less thematic to me personally...as though the shambling undear are going to take direction from me whose brain to eat zombie
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joshua Lobkowicz
United States
High Ridge
Missouri
flag msg tools
publisher
Quality games cleverly crafted.
badge
Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
CthulhuStoleXmas wrote:
@Joshua

Thanks for the DD. Having no experience with the game, at glance the rules changes seemed like making it more simple. After reading this, I'm sure you've put in a lot of thought and made things better! I really liked the idea of the fleeing deck though...

Anyways, I also have a question (even though I know it's a long shot): Do you have access to the old molds, or is there any way you can make the 1st ed zombies an alternative to the new ones? I like the art direction on the cards, but the models don't really do it for me.

Simplification, streamlining, and more meaningful choices were definite goals so I am glad that seems to come through. Honestly the fleeing deck was something we considered keeping for some time. It was dice mitigation in addition to another moment of push your luck that sadly often felt predictable it necessary and didn't deliver the excitement we wanted in this version. The decision to roll over these aspects in to player combos gave us higher highs and lower lows where shooting for a super combo and missing feels bleak but not impossible and making it makes you feel like a Zombie God lol. Though it wasn't easy to party with it...I no longer miss it. I hope when you play the new edition you feel the same.

Sadly, regarding the molds, I don't think access to the old ones is possible though we did request some higher quality images of the sculpts we have for this campaign . I hope improved detail in the images might get you more excited for the new ones.

And regardless, thanks for reading.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joshua Lobkowicz
United States
High Ridge
Missouri
flag msg tools
publisher
Quality games cleverly crafted.
badge
Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
LarkinVB wrote:
Is this game still multiplayer solitaire (apart from pusing zombies from zone 3) ?

I don't really think of it that way.
I care quite a bit about what my opponent is doing.
If they are in danger I might shoot for runs to try and overwhelm them with Zeds.
If they are ahead and digging through locations looking for the town line I might shoot for followers to edge out their score before they get there.
If they are light on loot I might draw locations even with the bad effect to spawn the Mutant knowing that will be harder on them than me.

But all of that is pretty indirect. Personally I find it meaningful but it isn't direct interaction in most cases.

What I can say with certainty is that streamlined turns have greatly reduced downtime between turns so I never really feel like I'm simply waiting for me to do my own thing in a bubble. I watch what others are doing and try to respond when the action comes pretty quickly back to me.

I hope that helps answer your question.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joshua Lobkowicz
United States
High Ridge
Missouri
flag msg tools
publisher
Quality games cleverly crafted.
badge
Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks to all of you who read this post, commented, backed, or otherwise took interest in the game.

I hope I was able to give you some good info and will now be entering the maddness of Gen Con where hopefully we can get even more poeple excited about the current campaign. Please be patient with slow response times until we make it to the other side of the convention.

Thanks again!

Joshua Lobkowicz
Grey Fox Games
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Henrik Schmidt
Germany
Kiel
flag msg tools
Titans of Steel - www.titansofsteel.de
badge
Titans of Steel - www.titansofsteel.de
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. I really appreciate when devs interact here at BGG.

I had hoped for more player interaction so I'm still on the fence.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
A J
United States
Riverside
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
LarkinVB wrote:
Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. I really appreciate when devs interact here at BGG.

I had hoped for more player interaction so I'm still on the fence.

I'm in the same boat. I like everything else in the game!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Torn
Germany
Bonn
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you for pointing out the changes and the reasons for the changes. Great insights into game design. Funny enough I already pointed out some of those issues when demoing the game @GreyFox 3 years ago at the dice tower con.

In our game groups we found some of the addressed issues as well, but did not care about some others.

We came up with some very simple house rules to address some of our issues.

Event die: we basically love unforeseen events, but had the described issues with it, plus we wished for more exciting/diverse/iteractive events. We replaced this die with a deck of round events. The first player draws a new round event card every turn and each player has to follow that same event at the beginning of his own turn. We solved all three issues this way but kept the excitement of a (now fair) random event plus the undisturbed first die roll.

We came up with better loot and search player aids.

We gave every follower a health point. So you could sacrifice them to counter a wound. This helped especially in speeding up collecting followers. Without an accessible way to get rid of bad followers, nobody took the risk to just randomly pick one - making build up incredibly slow. In addition it was a bit against the theme to rather avoid followers in the beginning.

Loved the wound deck but made it a bit more interesting.

Had an issue with the special character ability never triggering and like your approach.

Since we like the modified original now a lot and since we already have the expansions, the only thing that feels missing are the new characters. Would be awesome for fans of the original, if a character pack or download with the new characters would be available for some dollars...

Good luck with the new edition!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Torn
Germany
Bonn
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I do not care too much about missing player interaction in this game. Turn events, events (missing in this new version?), luck of dice rolling and follower gathering, randomness of items and locations always felt like providing enough entertainment, even if it is not your turn (especially when playing 2-3 players). The only thing that really felt out of place was, that it was too risky to get a very bad follower in the beginning of the game. For that reason everybody waited for opportunities to always have the choice of two (which you usually cannot go for in the beginning of the game, since you are busy surviving). But having an option to let your bad followers die will speed up this game ending criteria (having 5 followers) quite a bit. It will not be devastating anymore to draw the wrong guy, so you can go for followers much earlier in the game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John B
United States
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for this post!
I logged on to investigate if this Reload was going to be different from the Rhado demo video. And it sounds like it will be different, in the right direction.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John D
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Any chance there will be an upgrade pack for those of us with the original game?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls