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Subject: Disciples of Platopus (ancient seers / owl faction) rss

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Martin M
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Once respected for their wisdom and their ability to read the stars, they had to see how the forest degenerated under the rule of the Eyrie and the Marquise. Now its time they would take action and lead their flock back to righteous ways.



Ok so this is scary, lots off effort in here, so i hope you guys like it.

Yes, all these names are terrible, but the idea is solid, been working on it for the last week. Please suggest new names

Exact numbers have not been set in stone yet, especially since is still need to design all the different cards (thats up to 52 if i do not cut some for balance reasons).

The basic concept is rather simple, in addition to the normal cards everyone has, this factions player holds 3 starmap cards in the beginning, playing one of them before the game begins on "Starmap Slot 1".

Every turn he draws a starmap card, and plays one starmap card in slot 2 (discard slot 1; move slot 2->1 and play in slot 2).
The starmap cards connect costs for actions in different ways to the right, where the actions are listed (view examples below).
So the player always has to place the card thats best not only for his current turn, but also for his next turn.

The way the cards are designed, you cant always perform every action, but in return you will be able to take lots of actions, given you can afford the costs, as you might notice there is a "draw 2" in the action pile, this is to balance things a bit and maybe allow for more actions; still a iffy decision; needs playtesting.

The base faction template looks like this for now:


Now lets assume this is turn one, so i placed my slot 1 card before the game began, and then i already placed another card in my turn; my board would for example look like this:

Now i can spent two rabbit cards to perform both yellow action in any order (being move and attack).

As you can see the faction also relies on one building and one token, each buffing their actions in their own way. The buildings (Quadrants) give VP on being build (like marquise), the tokens (Nocturnals) at the end of each round (like eyrie).

With their berry effect they have a lower chance of loosing warriors while defending but they also dont hit back, making it essential to either be preemtive in your turns or just bundle a big amount of dude on your important clearings.

Current idea is to have about 15 warrios maximum, so they have to be careful to build and protect their stuff, without overextending to much.


Aside from the fact that you start with 3 starmap cards in addition to your handcards, im not entierly sure how to create their setup, probably just take a free corner, with 3 units and a quadrant.

I've been working hard on the design so far, so please offer all feedback you can give me, i want it to be perfect in the end, so dont you hold back and be nice or something

Greetings
Stolen
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r d
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Re: Platopus and his flock / The Oracles / Deer Seers
I think the starmaps are a really interesting idea. A little confusing while looking at it, but I suppose you would get the hang of it after playing it for a bit. The defensive playstyle also seems pretty interesting.

My biggest concern is that there isn't exactly much interaction with other players. The playstyle is similar to cats and birds, who all want to sit around and do their own thing.

The cats and birds generally don't care about other players through their actions, but they take up so much space, so they get in other players' ways. They also want more space for buildings, so they invade other people

From my understanding, this faction takes up a minimal amount of space and just want to defend a small area on the board, while not really bothering anyone. You didn't put any limitations on building, so you could technically place all of the tokens in 2 clearings with all 4 of your buildings, then sit there with 7 warriors on each. Even if there were limitations on building, this would just basically be a faction that mimics the cats and birds, but just takes up less space, meaning reduced interaction. You'd essentially want to be playing by yourself in a corner, ignoring the other players, with little incentive
for anyone to attack you other than to slow you down, or even incentive for you attack others since you don't have many warriors

But none of that has to deal with the gameplay being bad, it's still very interesting

And you could probably name it 'Disciples of Platopus' if you wanted to keep using the pun lol
 
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James Huntrods
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Re: Platopus and his flock / The Oracles / Deer Seers
Wow I think this is cool. It's certainly original, although it will be interesting to playtest to see if that randomness is fun or frustrating. It seems like when things go your way they REALLY go your way and so you'd end up alternating between productive turns and unproductive turns. It is a little concerning considering how few moves some games of ROOT have (some people report games of 8-12 turns total) that if you had a few duds due to unworkable starmaps popping up you'd quickly find yourself behind.

Have you had a chance to playtest it? Has the above been an issue?

The only other thing I'd say is that most ROOT factions use combining the clearing you're currently in with a suit in the card hand. These guys only use the suits for actions unrelated to any clearing - it's almost like you could play this faction with a blank board. Maybe that's an area where you could add some further complexity/forward planning - some rules that give you actions based on the clearing you are in?

All in all though, a nice original twist. I just worry how much you can strategise with them considering how much it relies on randomised hand drawing. But I'd be interested to hear how your playtesting went.
 
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Martin M
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Re: Platopus and his flock / The Oracles / Deer Seers
Them just sitting in a corner not doing much and now the using their clearing suits are valid concerns, and something of an oversight.
However they craft using their buildings, just like the birds.
I omitted the fact that I wanted them to be limited to one building and one token per clearing. So they have to at least take four clearings, enough to be annoying for birds and cats.

Although in not sure how to increase faction interactivity, limiting to either token or building per clearing would kill the faction in its current design.
Maybe there can't be more then one other nocturnal in adjacent clearings?

No playtest so far, im still writing a programm to sort out cards of my starmap deck to reduce it's size down to 20~ while keeping actions balanced.
 
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r d
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Re: Platopus and his flock / The Oracles / Deer Seers
Well, interaction isn't limited to how much space they take up on the board. For example, the Otters interact with other players through trading and trade posts, while the Vagabond's actions typically involve going around helping people.

This faction probably mimics mostly the Lizards, who generally own a smaller area (although not that small) and play a defensive game. Their interaction typically results from their conspiracies that hurt others to help themself, the outcast suit that can be altered through card discards, and that they typically skyrocket in points if left alone for too long.

To be honest, I don't exactly like the fact that Lizards have to be stopped since they generate points so fast, while attacking them actually helps them out and you need to work together on card discards to stop them. But I suppose it's still interaction

So it's totally a viable thing to give people a pretty good reason to stop you so that you don't just sit around alone in a corner. Also taking from the Lizards, your general actions could also influence others, either positively (Vagabond aid) or negatively (Lizard conspiracies). For example, maybe you can align the stars for another player, giving them +1 card draw. Or you could have the stars align badly for other players, making them take 1 hit per 2 quadrants per turn. Or both. I think you would find that you'd be able to use these as bargaining pieces to stop people from attacking you, or might give them incentive to attack you instead to persuade you to give you good effects or remove bad ones.

Idk if you would have space left on the board to add anything, though. Maybe there's something simpler, idk
 
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Martin M
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Re: Platopus and his flock / The Oracles / Deer Seers
Well in their base design i was hoping for a similar effect, that others will try to stop them.
But due to the recnets posts it occured to me that this will most likley just lead to other factions trying to stomp them early on so they no longer pose a thread, especially since this faction is bound to planing ahead for two turns.

I once thought about providing them the "nimble" ability the vagabond posses, and maybe a benefit for other factiosn to rule a clearing with a nocturnal/quadrant.

However i have absolutly no clue how to create a system thats proberly balanceable.


In the current design, the flock has a few decisive drawbacks:
-They dont know definitly what they can do next turn (most of the time) because they need to luckily draw the cards for the right actions. If they want to know for sure they would have to keep cards on hand, potentionally skipping actions in one turn, to definitly execute them next turn. Resulting in a 'dead' turn.

-They can only craft where they have quadrants + they need to activate the "craft" action, if they are even able to do so. This is a exclusive drawback for this faction, most others can craft semi-reliably without it taking up a limited resource pool (aside from craft "buildings" fe workshop)



Right now i have a gut feeling i need to play with the "rule" thematic a bit to make them balanced, i just dont know how.
Maybe building/move or attack should be in some what influenced with rule, or maybe there is a way to gain VP over rule.
A quick idea in brainstorming earlier was to have the faction gain VP in sunset if they share a clearing but dont rule, a definitve incentive to spread without being dominant. This would also play well with their berry ability.
However these are just ideas.

Something about the whole thing (aside from the exact vp/draw and move values) just doesnt seem finished yet.

Im currently gravitating about having a 6 card hand size limit and 2 draws at end of turn as base draw + extra draws. Alterativly (as hinted in another thread) i might just have them draw and discard in sunset instead of evening.
 
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Martin M
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Re: Platopus and his flock / The Oracles / Deer Seers
So did some further things to the faction.


A) Respected Flock
Turns out this ability is uterly usesless.
It might sound like an advantage, but in fact its almost certainly a disadvantage.
In a normal battle a attacker removes 2.125 pieces, and a defender 0.875 pieces. Giving the Attacker an average advantage of 1.25 pieces (i'm ignoring WA here).
All the berry does for this faction, is giving the attacker a average removal of 1.25 while not hitting back, therefore still the exact same average advantage but without the risk of losing warriors while attacking.

Enemies can reliably remove 1.25 pieces per attack while not being afraid of potential loss of own warriors. Considering all factions can and will attack multiple times on a defenseless faction, this is terrible.

Now, removing the "You dont deal hits part". Now we again take the lower dice, while the attacker still has to do maths.
So, now we are able to hit back.
We still have 1.25 pieces removed from the attacker side, and the standard .875 removed from the defenders side. Giving the attacker an advantage of merely .375 pieces more removed. Only slightly above 1 unit for 3 battles.
While we ofc keep your 1.25 advantage if we attack ourself.

So my current solution:
I remove the "you dont deal hits as defender" stuff.

If this turns out to harsh in playtesting, i will either downscale warrior amount or add a berry reading:

Reluctant:
In battle as defender you may only deal a maximum of 1 hits.

-> This would double the attacker advantage to 0.6875 pieces more removed then the defending flock. And its about half the original value.



B) New Starmapdesign
Given that manufacturers for custom card decks have quite a big amount of bleed zones, i either have to use big black borders (about the size of the arrow heads) or no arrow heads in my starmap design.
Therefore i opted to remove the border all together, as well as the arrow heads and simply have only the lines.
Also i tweaked the colors and opacities a bit for better visibility. The Slot 2 card shows the new design, please give me some feedback if you may.


C)Rewording / VP Tweaks

The second nocturnal wont increase the income per turn now.
Evening- Preperations Has been simpliefied becaues the instructions now are contained on the board.
Will of the stars got reworded so its clear that any action may be done in any order. Still not sure if its clear that you can do this as much as you want.

D)Drawing
You now draw 2 at the end of your turn, and discard down to 6.

For now, here are the new designs:


/edit: i adjusted the VP on nocturnals, as it states "for each". So now maximum is 3 VP per turn
 
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William Minsinger
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Re: Platopus and his flock / The Oracles / Deer Seers
So I like the concept, and I'd be interested in seeing another deck that has it's own deck ala the Vagabond. However, I'd be curious how well the faction performs given it's available actions are dictated by the starmap cards and those cards can't really be controlled. It seems like they are essentially programmed in advance but you don't know what the program is going to be, and that seems like a tough place to be in. I think they either need some way to adjust their starmap or at least get a sneak peek at what's coming. I'd consider some combination of the following:
1. You can discard either starmap card when placing the new starmap card
2. Some ability to see the top 2 or 3 starmap cards so you know what's coming up.
3. Draw two starmap cards and keep the one you like.

That would give the Oracles more control over their own available actions without giving them perfect control.


Edit: Nevermind, I missed that you have a hand of three starmaps to choose from when the game starts and you're adding/playing from this hand. That addresses the concerns that I had.

-Will
 
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r d
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Re: Platopus and his flock / The Oracles / Deer Seers
You have a hand of 3 starmaps whenever you're placing a new starma0, so you have a choice
 
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William Minsinger
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Re: Platopus and his flock / The Oracles / Deer Seers
Batofara wrote:
You have a hand of 3 starmaps whenever you're placing a new starma0, so you have a choice
Ahhhh, ok yes I see that you start the game with a hand of three, I had missed that initially. In that case that removes most of my concerns, since you have control over what happens with your action selection.

-Will
 
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Knosta Engel
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Re: Platopus and his flock / The Oracles / Deer Seers
Very interesting and I love the design of the starmaps meeple

Are the black and white symbols used in any way?
 
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Martin M
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Re: Platopus and his flock / The Oracles / Deer Seers
No, those white/black symbols are merely there for astethical purposes, nothing functional.

I finished my digital turn testing programm yesterday and currently are running different tests to see how many actions the faction could make, and how well planning ahead or working torwards specific actions works out, and there is many problems (which i was afraid of, hence the programm)

Trying different combinations of 1 card cost instead of 2, birds being worth 2 cards and different drawing techniques for starmap cards.

Currently 2 fox/mouse/rabbit for 2 actions and one bird for any 2 actions (of same color) + draw 2 starmaps, play one, discard one, seems a good way to go but i will run a few more tests to make sure.
(Also considering draw 2 vs draw 1 action)

Deck size is still at 50 for now, but should be easily downsizeable.
Especially for PNP 50 cards still seem a bit much work for others to do.


Turned out the biggest balance factor are the cards themself, as seen in the bottom card in the example, they are quite strong as they have two arrows connecting from the left to the right while still giving the top card a extra action (resulting in two turns with more actions)
So those will be the next step of balancing, by downsizing the deck, after i narrow down the exact draw mechanics.

I'll keep you guys posted

/edit: Obviously VP balance and which actions get exactly which buffs (from buildings) can only be done once everything else works already, and will require a few real playtests, but thats the last step as far as i can tell right now.



edit-edit making decent progress on physical components:
 
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Arod
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I like it.
These starmaps remind me of the game Tsuro in wich you lay tiles with lines. Maybe you could make the maps rotatable, so a player has more options in which orientation you use the card. (and maybe even make them square, and ad a third line)
 
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Knosta Engel
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St0l3n_ID wrote:
No, those white/black symbols are merely there for astethical purposes, nothing functional.
My advise would be to cut those out, since the game it self is very complex already. Having 'dead' icons there will confuse players.
 
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Jack Fowler
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St0l3n_ID wrote:
Wow, this is a really neat idea. Do you have printable versions of these cards yet?

Happy Crafting!
 
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Martin M
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Hey sorry for the late reply. There is no pnp version yet.
Unfortunately the core group I usually play with is currently not available so I did not have the chance to test the faction yet.

However I had a friend of mine draw a owl for the faction board, so after finalizing the card designs I will trace it into a vector graphic and add it to the player board.



In theory the deck is good by now, o just want to mix a few connections up.

I will post (hopefully) in a few days, cc can't say if I create a printer friendly version though (I will have mine printed in a shop).

Edit: let me know what format would suit you best. Single images for each card or arranged on a page fe.

Edit 2: while I tested the faction with my "simulation" I am quite sure they have barley enough "reliable" actions with the current design, maybe replacing "draw" with "any other action" might work.
 
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Dan Leonard
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Really original idea! Complex and innovative.

This is probably answered somewhere here, but I can't find it: do the star paths wrap around from the top of card 1 to tge bottom of card 2?
 
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Martin M
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Yes, there is always a connection to the left lower corner, and one from the right lower corner.

The top corners can loop back up to the other card, or cross and go to different connections.
The "U" you can see in the example is possible, however its not possibe to have a "n" on the bottom (so there wont be a situation you get a "O").

Right now only about a third of the cards have this "loop" on top, these cards are actually a balance concnern (they are quite powerful in comparision to the "normal cards")

The first version of the full set can be seen two posts above this one, while its only a small preview you can see how there is a lot of criss crossing.
 
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William Minsinger
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Going over this faction again, I really like the concept and where it's headed. The only thing that strikes me as 'off' is the building and scoring; what ARE the Quadrants and Nocturnals, and why are they worth points? That part could maybe be tightened up thematically.

As an off the wall idea, but maybe instead of getting points for building things, the Seers get points for making 'predictions' and having them come 'true'. Inspired by the Bene Gesserit faction in the Dune game, though less extreme; stuff like predicting which faction will lead in points, who will trail, etc And the skeptics will point that the Seers are taking actions to make sure their predictions come true, but of course not, it's all written in the stars.... ;)

-Will
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Caine Jones
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No joke, you should upload this to TTS. People would go nuts over this.
 
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Laura Creighton
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Was buying other things at spielmaterial.de and see that they have a selection of wooden owls. https://www.spielematerial.de/en/owl.html
 
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Martin M
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@wminsing:
I see where you are comming from, and i like that idea, as stated above i was not able to test the faction so far, because of life complicaitons in my "constant group of players". If the faction turns out to be "not working" i will certainly consider chaning the core mechanics around (while keeping the starmap-deck idea of course) and maybe going into a prediction model.

@SnakeFace: I do not own Tabletop simulator, and i can only see any worht in the investment if there is an active root community supporting the game variants that are on there.
Is this the case?

@lacreighton: Thank you for the hint, but i will get my laser-cut acrylic owls soon


edit: Update... im still waiting on my shipment of cards and meeples.... sry for the inconvinience
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I really like this Faction. Shame to see it inactive. Are you still working on it?

The Discord is still active. Here's a link to it in case you lost it.

https://discord.gg/QrHPhf
 
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Martin M
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I'm currently quite busy (new job and stuff) and the whole "barley get anyone to play" situation really hasn't changed either.
But i will definitly continue to work on this, just takes longer then expected.

Also there was some problems with the webpage i ordered my stuff from so i gotta wait for a new set to arrive. surprise
 
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