(This is a repost from this article back in my WIP thread on April 16, for the sake of accessibility.)
Earlier on this year, I sent out prototypes for reviewers to check out. I've since received some excellent feedback, and they've helped to identify certain areas that could use improvement. As such, after plenty of playtesting, I've introduced changes to certain rules.
However, this also means that some of the previews as seen on the current Kickstarter are of the older version of the game. So after watching those previews, please check out the following for the most recent rule updates (as of 8th August 2018):
1. Less starting cards, but more options
Before: Before the game starts, all players draw 5 cards from the Realm of Knowledge which they use to customize their characters with.
Now: Players will now draw 4 cards instead, but can choose to discard any number of cards and draw new ones of the same amount. Players can do this only once per game. When the game starts, all discards are shuffled back into the Realm of Knowledge deck.
Why the change: The problem with the previous 5 card rule was the occasional high variance in starting player strength. On rare occasions, players who draw 5 great cards (Skills or high energy Artifacts) get a very strong start that they can snowball with, while players that draw 5 terrible ones (no skills, all artifacts) are at a significant disadvantage, especially when they have little to no skills to equip during the customization phase.
Reducing the number of cards drawn to 4, and adding a mulligan rule that gives players access to up to 8 total cards fixes this issue in a few ways:
- Players who draw great cards at the start have lesser resources to start with, so their ability to snowball is limited.
- Players who have initial bad draws can replace undesired cards, allowing them to improve their starting situation.
- On the overall, the start of the game becomes a bit more gradual, and players are better equipped to react to each other's actions.
2. Countering starting advantage
New: Right after all players have finished customization of their characters, and a player is chosen to start first, the players that will go last and 2nd last within the round will receive the following bonus:
2nd last player : Draw an extra Realm of Knowledge card.
Last player : Gain an extra Shard.
Why the change? It's been known that starting early within the round gives a bit of advantage to players, but this advantage only becomes more apparent when players are more experienced in the game. To balance this out, the last 2 players of the round receive a minor bonus. The result of this so far has been that the win rates are more equal on the overall.
3. Scaling death penalties
Before: As a player, dying causes you to skip your next action phase, and you'll only be revived on the turn after.
New: The penalty of dying now depends on how many Prisms you hold.
No Prisms : You discard a Realm of Knowldge card from hand, but you no longer skip your next action phase and will revive on your upcoming turn.
1 Prism : You skip your next action phase instead of discarding a card. (Same as before)
2 Prisms : You skip your next action phase, and you discard a Realm of Knowledge card from hand.
The bounty for a player killing another player is still 1 Shard — this hasn't changed.
Why the change: A concern about the game was that it sometimes becomes too one-sided, especially when there's an obvious disparity between how experienced the players are.
Given that Endogenesis is designed to be heavily skill-based, it's intended that more experienced players will have an obvious edge over others. However, a downside of this was that weaker players would sometimes feel "hopeless" over the state of the game. As such, I wanted to find a middle ground and give them opportunities to catch up.
With the new changes, players lagging behind can be more fearless in finding opportunities to take down their stronger opponents. The added incentive of stronger opponents getting higher penalties also ensures that weaker players don't keep targeting one another. Stronger players on the other hand must now be more careful in how they acquire power, and invest in defence as they get closer to victory.
Playtesting also revealed an unintended benefit of this new change: the game at the start would move a lot faster now, given that death is less of an issue until Legendary monsters (the ones that award Prisms) appear from the Realm of Chaos.
4. Soft cap to upgrading health
Before: The cost of upgrading one's max health is 1 Shard each.
New: Upgrading your max health up to 10 consumes 1 Shard each as per normal. Upgrading beyond 10 will now cost 2 Shards per max health instead of one.
Why the change: When a player dies, they revive with full health on their next turn, or their turn after if they have Prisms. (e.g. Dying at 6 max health restores you to 6 health on when you revive, while dying at 12 max health restores you to 12.) Because of this, the benefit to upgrading one's health becomes amplified at higher amounts. This soft cap is meant to match the cost of upgrading one's health at high amounts to its benefit, and to slow down the rate in which stronger players can snowball.