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Subject: New (unofficial) faction - Anatolian Sultanate rss

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Per Holmgren
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I could not help being inspired after seeing the 1920+ map on the Scythe homepage. The position of the Factory is rather close to the RL setting of the Crimean War, and as the Ottoman Empire also played a significant part in the Great War, I though it strange that they were left out! (Or to be precise, a faction inspired by them. I called mine the "Turkomans" at first, though it turns out some found that slightly triggering so I renamed them to "Anatolians")

They feel like they would fit rather well style-wise with the art of Jakub Rozalski, I even found a bunch of inspiring art made by another pole, Stanisław Chlebowski (though he has been dead for 134 years!)
Anyway, I would appreciate more feedback!

I tried to theme the abilities around different epochs of the empire, so of course something involving big cannons and sieges, something with piracy/corsairs and something about their... 'diversity' and interesting take on economics.
I wanted faction and mech abilities that synergies, and preferably something that increases player interaction.

The gameplay idea is that they make vassals of the peoples they conquer, and just in general mess up the economy of their neighbors.
Therefor I figured that as a faction ability, after they win a combat, they send the enemy combat units home, but the workers can stay. The winners still steal the resources from the hex of course, but as they can't occupy the same space as the enemy workers, they get to move to an adjacent valid and unoccupied hex. A "valid" hex is one that they could do a normal move to from the hex where the combat took place, though it cannot be used to instigate combat or drive workers home. (Can be used as a speed boost!) If they have their Riverwalk they can for example set up a piracy shop in a nearby lake, or pass a river to a forest.

They can also use workers (siege engineers) to gain additional power in combat, and they can instigate Trade Blocks, which makes it a bit costly to use resources in hexes with an adjacent Anatolian combat unit in it. Which should synergies well with their faction ability.
Do you attack to drive them away, or do you use move actions to move your workers out to a more distant spot, or can you afford the drain they put on you?

They start with Power 1 to represent their weak domestic industry, but 4 combat cards to represent mercenaries and irregulars that they heavily relied upon.

*small faq*
Vassalise only work after Combat, so if they go after undefended workers they drive them home like normal. Leaving enemy workers out on the board is generally better for the enemy, so the faction needed something to make that worthwhile.
Their Siegecraft ability initially had a resource cost, but was changed after a long weekend of playtesting to give a Power bonus if they have a friendly worker in the combat (like the Rusviets People's Army).
Trade Block essentially adds a red "pay coin" icon to the resources located on territories adjacent to the Anatolians. After a lot of playtesting, the coin was changed from being paid to the bank, to being paid to the player.

Faction mat can be found here.
Faction mat pdf (Old art)

Faction rule and backstory pdf can found here.

Automa rules pdf can found here.

File appropriate for cardboard mounting/printing found here.

(or the old art if you like that better.)

Also compiled the rules to an easy-to-print booklet. Just print double-sided and cut away the white edges.

File for making your own Power Dial.

If you feel like leading an Anatolian expedition north, trying to push through enemy territory to reach the Factory (explaining the random starting position), using meeples and models from any leftover faction is easy enough!
And if you decide to try them out, please feel free to report back!

Other than that, if you want to rip this apart be my guest, the backstory has not gone through any external review yet, so I would really appreciate any comments about that!
It is set before the events in RoF, and also before the Elder Scythe campaign found on this forum (and it includes a small tie-in to that campaign too).

*EDIT*
If someone want to buy a set of meeples, mechs, and a character just send me a PM.

Yay, finally had time to fix up my home-made meeples and see how the mechs, character and meeples look with some spray paint on. Looks pretty kewl I think.







*Edit*
So about four months after coming up with the initial version, playtesting seems to be kinda done. I wanna thank my irl friends for helping me out with playtesting and pointing out ambiguous wording and such, and also making the rules keep to the game vocabulary (the difference between "Retreat to an adjacent territory" and "Move to an adjacent territory" is huge!).
Especially Robert was really instrumental, who proposed an entirely revised Siegecraft ability, which after testing was found to be much more fun than my own idea.
Trade block went through an initial massive nerf, then tweaking, and it was a suggestion from FB that turned it into the final version which also ended up quite fun. The feedback given here in this thread by many of you was also invaluable!

Thanks guys and gals!

Mechs can also be bought from Shapeways, but they are kinda expensive. The high detail option is pretty insanely detailed though!
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Ted Flaherty
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I can't speak to the game balance, but nice backstory and art. The Turks are certainly apt for a faction given the Factory's location. Also like the Lovecraftian nod to the "Arab Abd-al-Hazred."
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Erik Burigo
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Very interesting concept!
I also like the half-riverwalk/half-lakewalk ability.

Just some questions and comments:

- Where do they start? On the map, I mean. Do they get to put their "encampment" token on any unselected faction's when the game begins?

- What is the purpose of the token that has a 10$ coin on the back and the Vassal ability on the front? And why do it have a 4$ reminder on the front?

- From the faction mat's art alone, I initially thought Otto was the horse. In retrospect that would be great, considering the notorious horsemanship of the Ottoman empire, but it also would be confusing given the Crimean faction symbol.

 
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Henry Seymour
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Painkeeper wrote:
What is the purpose of the token that has a 10$ coin on the back and the Vassal ability on the front? And why do it have a 4$ reminder on the front?

You may not want the answer to that question if you haven't played Scythe: The Rise of Fenris.
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Per Holmgren
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Thanks for the replies!

I am making a backside to the background pdf, which will give the standard clarifications of faction ability, mech abilities and other stuff like starting position.

@Ted Flaherty. Thanks! As I said, at first I called them Turkomans (the file is still named that due to how facebook and google drive interact with updating files and thumbnails), but I later changed them to Anatolians.
It's less ethnically and even religiously charged, so I think it's probably a better choice.
And about the nod to Lovecraft. After reading Elder Scythe the connection between the Mythos and the 1920+ settings felt rather natural and pretty fun, and Lovecraft certainly had some Oriental themes in his stories, so I was inspired to tie it all together a bit.

@Erik Burigo. Thanks! Their starting position is determined randomly from among the unused factions. They can also of course either be placed thematically, so preferably on the Togawa or Crimea starting positions, or placed to give as even a spread of players on the board as possible.
This is what the larger faction marker in the bottom pdf is for, the one with a tent on the back. It should be the same diameter as the home space icons on the game board, and is simply placed on top.

Your two first questions comes from me forgetting that not everyone has the Rise of Fenris expansion...
*Tiny spoiler for Rise of Fenris*
Spoiler (click to reveal)
In the expansion, some faction starter markers are included. When you use them, you place them on top of a starting position. Exact rules are given in the expansion.
The other icon with a coin and faction ability on it is used with one of the modules in RoF. If a player does not own RoF, they have no use for the icon.


Initially when the theme was more 'Turkish' I wanted him to have a normal-sized wolf, though I realised that was a bit insensitive (grey wolves and so on).
Then I wanted a horse, but I really wanted the pet to be named Otto to tie in with the Ottomans, and Otto felt a bit unhorsy. Not to mention that the model I am making takes some inspiration from pirates, and that looked a bit odd on a horse.

Considering the Crimean backstory of the hero looking through the eyes of her hawk, I was considering a flying carpet (though perhaps a bit too Persian)!
But going that route felt a bit too 'high-magic'. I also found it somewhat funny, given the rather fantastical nature of the other heroes and pets, to have a plain old seadog for this guy.

Nothing fancy at all, to give him a more grounded theme. I also went with that theme in the backstory, having him as a pragmatic man of action, just trying to get things done, while his ruler and the world around him seem more locked up in the fantastical.
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Per Holmgren
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About the hero, at first I was simply planning on using the Gunther figure, remove his helmet and giving him a turban/fez. Quick, cheap, easy and gives a figure that matches the style of the others.

However, I later found this male pirate model that seems to have approximately the same anatomy, and so should fit well by removing the base. In this case I will model new headgear, a 1910 Ottoman navy jacket and give him a holstered pistol (like Gunther).
A bit more work but I hope he will look really characterful. Should not be too difficult to make a cast either if people want one.
However, selling when the base of the model is from someone else can lead to legal issues I suppose.


I also found this alchemist model!

For a while I wanted to use the model as a springboard to making a totally different backstory for Murad. However, after thinking about it, the model doesn't really look in any way like a 1920+ Ottoman. The style is also a bit too cartoony.

I am thinking about buying the model anyway because it's a cool model, and making a tie-in campaign with Elder Scythe where he represent Abd-al-Hazred, and tries to use the Sultanate to either save or destroy the Factory in preparation for the "Imminent doom" hinted at in the backstory (what he does would depend on the players choices).

But first things first, will see how the hero and mechs turn out to begin with.
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Thomas Gade
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This is pretty darn cool!
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Scott Mains
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This looks like it would be a pretty cool faction, but I am a little unclear about the vassal ability. Would the Anatolian Sultanate have any control over the workers that were left after the battle? Would they need to pay tribute somehow? Maybe if the owning faction produces they would need to pay the Anatolian Sultanate one good as tribute until either their leader or a mech came back to the territory to release them?
 
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Henry Seymour
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krystoff wrote:
This looks like it would be a pretty cool faction, but I am a little unclear about the vassal ability. Would the Anatolian Sultanate have any control over the workers that were left after the battle? Would they need to pay tribute somehow? Maybe if the owning faction produces they would need to pay the Anatolian Sultanate one good as tribute until either their leader or a mech came back to the territory to release them?

I think you may need to reread it, the ability allows for stealing resources and then retreating. Nothing happens to the workers.
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Per Holmgren
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First off, I added a page with in-depth rules explanations for the faction and mech abilities (like you get in Invaders from Afar).

Here is a linky too.

@Scott. They would not have control over the workers.

The thinking goes like this.
By itself Vassals essentially allows the Anatolians to steal resources from a territory twice, while only suffering the popularity loss once. It can also be used even more offensively as a speed boost, potentially taking them 3 hexes in one round (move, move+attack an enemy territory with mechs and workers, win and retreat to the hex behind the enemy, and of course more with Factory card and certain Airships).
Using it defensively will probably not happen as often, but if an enemy attacks you while carrying workers, and you win, you can allow the workers to take your territory, and you can move all your stuff and resources one space, which can be pretty useful.

So it has some uses by itself.

However, Vassals really comes into its own when they also have Trade Block unlocked (and preferable Siegecraft and Corsairs).

You can then set up a Trade Block next to a critical resource for the enemy, or with a bit of luck, adjacent to more than one important resource for the enemy. They can leave you there, but they will need to pay $1 every time they do a bottom action using a resource from an adjacent territory. Or they can try to work around that by spending actions to move the resources away from you before they spend it. Or they can attack you and try to drive you away, which you can of course use to your advantage. With some good playing, you could potentially set an enemy back about $5 over a game, and the really thematic mechanism is that it rewards you massively if you manage to set up shop between two players, hopefully Trade Blocking both players.

Vassals and Trade Block means you can attack workers sent out far away from the home base, and they were probably sent out there because the resource they are supposed to produce is vital for the player to get his or her engine going.
If the Anatolians force the guarding mechs home, but leave the workers while taking all their resources, and also move his stuff to an adjacent space, the enemy player needs to take a bunch of decisions.

Depending on the pairing of top- and bottom-row actions, the workers can produce and use their resources in a turn, but then it costs $1. Or they can produce but keep the resources on the territory, which leaves them open to be stolen. And if they are not stolen, they need to spend a move action to move them away from the Anatolians if they don't want to suffer the Trade Block cost.
Or they can send their mechs out again, trying to drive the Anatolians away by force, which of course costs actions, Power and Combat Cards.

I was trying to make a faction that rewards player interaction, and are a bit annoying.

I also think the lakes are not used enough, so I wanted a faction that could use the lakes, preferably for something other than just movement. In this case, they can sit in them and debuff nearby enemies, or retreat into them while carrying loot (very piratey!).
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Alan Castree
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Dracore wrote:
krystoff wrote:
This looks like it would be a pretty cool faction, but I am a little unclear about the vassal ability. Would the Anatolian Sultanate have any control over the workers that were left after the battle? Would they need to pay tribute somehow? Maybe if the owning faction produces they would need to pay the Anatolian Sultanate one good as tribute until either their leader or a mech came back to the territory to release them?

I think you may need to reread it, the ability allows for stealing resources and then retreating. Nothing happens to the workers.

Also, I'm happy that it's only after combat. So lone workers would cause a popularity loss.

Also, there could be a situation where retreating would cause you to an adjacent space might initiate combat again...
 
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Per Holmgren
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ACGalaga wrote:
Also, I'm happy that it's only after combat. So lone workers would cause a popularity loss.

Also, there could be a situation where retreating would cause you to an adjacent space might initiate combat again...

One of the reasons for Vassals only working after combat is that otherwise it would be much to powerful. Not only would the Anatolians be able to steal resources without incurring any popularity loss at all, they would also be much faster than other factions by hopping over enemy workers and not even having to pay Power/Cards/risk of being defeated.

Now it is after all only something that triggers after winning, and as they start with Power 1, that is no guarantee.

And about retreat into combat, that has already been answered by Jamey here
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1465166/retreating-and-seaw...

Essentially, Vassals is a combination of Camaraderie and Seaworthy, and my intent is that any errata and FAQ answers that apply to them apply equally to Vassals.
Vassals basically only trigger when you could have triggered Camaraderie (and also by RAW you can use it if attacked by an enemy mech carrying workers and you win).
The rules for retreating to an adjacent space work exactly as retreating to an adjacent lake using Seaworthy, including rules for splitting up and/or carrying workers, though with the addition that you can carry resources as for normal movement (since you won the combat).
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Thomas Gade
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Im definately trying this faction.
I asked one of the guys in the scythe facebook page to try and make a character and mechs for the faction.

What entry point would fit the faction the most?

The Crimean? and what color would you have them in? Brown?
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Alan Castree
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Yeah, I'm getting into this. Just printed out your faction and going to mount it on a board. Would love to find a set of mechs and a character to complete the new faction feel!!

Edit: depending on my play group, really easy to import the faction mat into the tabletop simulator DLC. Might give that a go too!
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Thomas Gade
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How do you get the thickness to match the other faction mats?
 
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Omalley69 wrote:
How do you get the thickness to match the other faction mats?

Well, I think it will be noticeably different from the other factions for sure, so no random mat pick (maybe cards would be better for random factions). But I have some card stock that's pretty thick. It's like a thick board that people write messages on to give as a gift. Was going to use that to get something close to the thickness of the other boards.
 
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Per Holmgren
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Omalley69 wrote:
Im definately trying this faction.
I asked one of the guys in the scythe facebook page to try and make a character and mechs for the faction.

What entry point would fit the faction the most?

The Crimean? and what color would you have them in? Brown?

I am working on models, also 3D-printable files for the mechs, but I am actually defending my doctoral thesis Friday next week so am a little short on spare time! The Mech files are almost done at least, but I think modelling the character on computer is a bit beyond my ability currently.

I also quite enjoy sculpting and casting, and have done a lot of such stuff (and sold some). (For example I made a Cthulhu years ago, and some Beasts of Nurgle that I cast and sold a few of just for fun.

I actually ordered a set of Nordic mechs and Crimean meeples from Stegmaier to modify, and will give an easy-to-follow guide how to do that when I get the bits.
A good thing about that approach is that it's silly cheap. Since you will want one extra airship anyway, you might as well order some meeples and mechs while you are at it!

The character is the challenge though, and I will make my version and see how to proceed from there. I have a bunch of casting stuff, so making a mold is rather easy.

At first I was going for dark red or brown, but it didn't look very good on the table. I instead used a cold green, as seen in the files. It's easy to separate from the other greenish factions, and stands out on the table too.

Thematically, starting on either Togawa or Crimea is the most fitting, but if both of their stating locations are taken they can start anywhere. The least fun place for them to start at is probably the Nordics, since they will have some difficulty getting to a village using Corsairs, and will also have a hard time reaching food.

However, with airships it should be alright, and even without them you could have a mine up in turn 2-3, allowing your workers to move out to the mine-village rather quickly anyway.

But Nordics without a worker-carrying airship is the most challenging starting position, and I would advice against it unless you are feeling confident. They do benefit from deploying mechs far forward later on, so all in all it's not a huge issue. It's just that many players seem to prefer to produce all 8 workers as fast as possible, and adapting to a different playstyle can be tricky.

Also note that with their starting power of 1, they actually benefit from being in the hands of a player who doesn't just spam workers immediately, as that approach can quickly grind to a halt.
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Per Holmgren
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ACGalaga wrote:
Yeah, I'm getting into this. Just printed out your faction and going to mount it on a board. Would love to find a set of mechs and a character to complete the new faction feel!!

Edit: depending on my play group, really easy to import the faction mat into the tabletop simulator DLC. Might give that a go too!

If you can do that it would be great! I would love to get some more playtesting statistics!

The most difficult thing with playtesting is that different groups play rather differently, and I only have access to one group of people.
My group tends to be super-aggressive, with many players instigating more than two attacks per game player mats permitting. I am a bit worried about the impact of the Anatolians in a much more timid group... perhaps it will encourage them to take up their swords and defend themselves?!

For example, one of my favorite tactics using the Nordics is to attack enemies next to lakes, trigger Artillery and play a power 2 card. If the enemy does not want to be driven back, they need to spend either 3 Power or a power 3+ combat card. Lets say they play 3 power, and also lose 2 power from artillery, that will have set them back 5 power, while only costing me 1 power and a crappy 2 power card that I get to redraw. And sure, I lost, but I can just retreat to the nearby lake, meaning I didn't even lose a territory in the attack.

Or, in short, in my group getting 16 Power is difficult. But I have seen that it's pretty common in other groups though.
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Per Holmgren
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ACGalaga wrote:
Omalley69 wrote:
How do you get the thickness to match the other faction mats?

Well, I think it will be noticeably different from the other factions for sure, so no random mat pick (maybe cards would be better for random factions). But I have some card stock that's pretty thick. It's like a thick board that people write messages on to give as a gift. Was going to use that to get something close to the thickness of the other boards.

My group uses the cards found in this file
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1zAuWdbIL9MvJQNprbuuIjOqh9I...

To randomize factions. It contains spoilers for Rise of Fenris though, so beware. It also does not contain a card for the Anatolians, as I have not had time to do more art.

A dice also works.

*EDIT*

Made a card for the Anatolians too. I'm not entirely happy with the art though, will probably try to make him look grumpier.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1d7tfYZOgHauTukw5GjTU-hXhNH...
 
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Thomas Gade
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totgeboren wrote:
...
I actually ordered a set of Nordic mechs and Crimean meeples from Stegmaier to modify, and will give an easy-to-follow guide how to do that when I get the bits.
A good thing about that approach is that it's silly cheap. Since you will want one extra airship anyway, you might as well order some meeples and mechs while you are at it!
...

How did you order that and can you choose the colors they are printed in?

Edit: Found it.
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Per Holmgren
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I just sent them an email and asked if I could buy a 4 Nordic mechs, a full set of Crimean meeples and an airship.
I didn't ask about getting a specific color, as I don't think that's economically feasible.
Their supplier in Europe simply seem to have a warehouse full of extra replacement pieces for the game, but that means they are already cast and/or painted.

As I'm painting my mechs anyway, the base colour doesn't really matter, but I will modify (giving them fezes) and then just spray the meeples.

Anyway, about ordering. Jamey essentially replied "Sure thing", and asked for my address and a that I send a few bucks to their paypal account.
 
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Thomas Gade
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Right. Thought you were able to get them printed in new colors.
 
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Per Holmgren
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Yay, got the mechs and meeples, so will soon be able to post a guide how to make the models quick and cheap. Stuff I need for the character is still in the mail though, so he will appear last sadly.

Anyway, I made a compiled faction pdf with a nice front, new art and more background, a little preview of the mechs and hero and visual explanations to how the faction abilities function.

The new pdf looks like this, let me know what you think!
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Antonio Sousa
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With the +1 Speed it means you can potentially move up to 4 hexes! However you need the +1 Speed to go with the Expansionist Ottoman theme.

So I would like to offer you two suggestions:

1. Set the Trade Block as the faction ability, and the other one as a Mech upgrade.

2. Change it slightly to:

a) after combat, you may retreat to a SPECIFIC tile (e.g. lakes), rather than to any valid adjacent hex.

b) after combat 'may retreat to any hex from which the attack commenced'. You get what I mean, but needs to be worded better.

Either way you get the nice bonus which is less likely to be abused.

Edit: Of course, setting trade block as the faction ability would mean it would apply to any territory controlled by the Sultanate. So the strategy would change from mechs and character to structures. This would encourage the Sultanate to expand and build structures further away from their base.

Edit 2: added alternative.
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Per Holmgren
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Thanks for the feedback!

First off, how would you move 4 spaces? Are you thinking of using a Factory card (2 spaces) and Speed (+1 space) to attack someone 3 spaces away, then using Vassals to retreat one extra space?

About the suggestions.

1.) I have gone back and forth with which one should be what.
In general a Faction ability should be something that is useful even with no mechs, and I actually started play-testing with Trade Block as the faction ability.

However, thematically it felt a bit odd on the table, that you could block enemy production by sending out your workers here and there.
One sort of needs to enforce a trade block by might, and it therefor made more sense to tie it to combat units. It felt more intuitive for the opponent if it was bad to have an enemy mech hanging over their heads rather than just a worker.
Only having it tied to buildings doesn't really work as to many player mats and starting positions would make it too difficult to use. It should have some use even without any buildings.

Especially Invaders from Afar have faction abilities that are directly linked to their character model, and if they unlock mechs, those also gain some benefit.
Using that general formula, and giving the character Trade Block sort of works, but to be honest it was unfun.
Having it available straight away could be an issue if you get a really good first encounter that enables your character to quickly move to a mine next to an enemy base. Especially Crimea and Nordics could get put in a really unfun spot, where they haven't built up enough coins to be able to handle the trade block, and also not being able to drive the trade blocker away.
It was better if Trade Block only became an factor a bit later in the game, which it is now due to being locked away under a mech.

Secondly, it's not all that fun to have as your "thing" something that is a bit passive and also does not benefit you. It's better if the Faction ability is something that rewards you for planning and/or being active.

2a/b.) The Retreat was initially back to the space you launched your attack from, but then you don't even need to play-test to realize how pointless the entire thing becomes. It is then a significantly weaker version of Camaraderie, and that mech ability seldom has a large effect on games.
Using Vassals as it currently is means it is quite difficult to abuse, as you need to win combats to trigger it.
Normally people partake in about 1-2 combats per game, and they don't win all combats, so the ability needs to give enough of a benefit to be comparable to other faction abilities even when only triggering once or twice per game.

Having the retreat be to Lakes means Lake-walk needs to be part of the ability (makes little sense thematically), and then they need a full Riverwalk instead (which would make them clearly better than now!).

What Vassals does allow for now is to launch attacks quite early on in the game that does not totally mess up the economy of other players (attacking mechs and workers sent out towards the center of the board).

You can drive the enemy mech home, but spare the workers while stealing their stuff, and then you can retreat to a territory that you would otherwise not reach. This has most often been used to steal encounters away from enemies.
Design-wise it felt fun that you are presented with a choice after winning a combat involving workers.

1. You can ruin the enemy engine as normal, which does cost you popularity, but the total coin loss for the opponent is likely higher due to lacking the resource that territory provided (the workers were there for a reason!).

2. Or you can leave the workers intact, which is great news for your opponent, but then you need some benefit to hopefully make it worthwhile for you to spare them.
Getting to not lose the popularity isn't enough of a trade for leaving the enemy production engine intact, so you need to get something quite useful in addition to that. Being sent one step back is not really a reward at all.
But a one hex move in (almost) any direction is quite useful, and also fun for the player. (One can see it as them taking all the local supplies of food and fuel but leaving the infrastructure intact.)

But yeah, I have only had time to play half a dozen games with this iteration of their rules, so I may well have missed a few things and you may well be right in some of your critique.

I have gotten an entirely external group to try them out at a gaming convention, so am looking forward to hearing their thoughts.
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