K
United States
Oakland
California
flag msg tools
badge
...I paid 100 GeekGold for THIS?
Avatar
mbmbmb


No one likes this card. It costs 1/3 of Tzeentch's power points, which goes against his primary game plan of "stall until others have committed." It does nothing to advance his game state, not even having a magic symbol to help out with DACs or with its own effect, and it usually just looks bad next to a fistful of cheaper cards with more useful effects and magic symbols on them.

So, I always discard it. After 22 plays as Morrsleib Tzeentch, I never found it playable even one time. But this was a weird game.

It was a 3 player affair with Nurgle, Tzeentch (me), and the Horned Rat. Last time I played this combo, it came down to a dial victory for Nurgle (with Horned Rat one tick away), so I was definitely interested in a possible dial victory when the very first card was Warpstone Discovery, and I was left with a bunch of cheap magic symbols in my opening hand (After discarding a Bolt of Change)

But two Skavens started next to each other. It would be hard to out dial the Rat, so I used Warp Portal to teleport him to Norsca, the opposite side of where he wanted to be. He used Grey Seer to get back to the west side of the map and reclaim his Skaven, so I pouted, and waited.

Nurgle went for 2 DAC, Rat went for 3(!) (he Empty the Warrens in Norsca, where I teleported him). I stalled and went out last, and also went for 3, but I also removed one of the Rat's by tying him for domination in the Skaven'd Border Princes, where he 2 cultists and a one cost card. Wasn't cheap!

But so worth it. I double dialed first round, and got my first upgrade. I decided to try Lord of Change upgrade this game (when you summon a Lord of Change, you may add a warpstone to the board). This is a pretty unusual upgrade -- I've actually never chosen it, but this is what I like about 3 player Morrslieb games, new situations happen all the time (if you're used to 4 or 5 player affairs).

I picked Lord of Change because I had already discarded two Bolt of Change, reducing the benefit of Horrors upgrade slightly, but also because I was holding on to a pocket Convocation (allowing me to teleport 3 of my units anywhere on the map), which would combo nicely. Because summon = move, I would be able to get a Lord of Change + two warpstones + a 3-follower teleportation and a magic symbol for 4 power. I figured adding warpstones would help with my dial victory.

To my delight, I drew even more Convocations, and even another Warp Portal. So the next two turns were.. fun. I only ticked once on Round 2, but Round 3 added even MORE warpstones to board through the old world deck (was this real life?!), and between round 2 and 3, I put so many warpstones on the map that we almost ran out (only 1 Warpstone left in stockpile at end of round 3), I think there were like 14 warpstones on board or something like that. My double dial at end of Round 3 got me Mystical Disregard. Round 3 double dial was insane, Nurgle got 4 DAC in an effort to tie me, and I had to beat him with 5.

Amid all this, because I was trying to win by dial, I had to spread out a lot to make sure I didn't help to ruin regions and give the others points. My Convocation squad, the Lord of Change + two cultists, helped secure me a double dial nearly every turn, because I could use it to kill off rats when they tried to tie me in DACs.

Unfortunately, the VP-leading Horned Rat player was starting to look scary, and my Warpstones started to come back to bite me as multiple regions looked to ruin in round 4 -- the most threatening being the Empire, where Rat, after stalling (using Warpstone caches he had saved) moved to steal an upcoming ruination from Nurgle. I did the math, and realized if Empire ruined, Rat would win the game in Round 4, before my dial win could kick in in Round 5.

The problem is, after ensuring I would double dial for the round, I only had 2 power left, and both card slots in the Empire were taken. Luckily, my Lord of Change shenanigans meant there were 3(!) Warpstones there, and Nurgle had also contributed a Magic Symbol with Filth. I used Mystical Disregard on a card in the Empire to play Transmorgify, the worst card in the game. With Transmorgify I rolled 4 dice, needing 3 hits to kill enough Nurgle Lepers to stop the Empire from ruining, and I got exactly those 3 hits!

At end of round 4, Rat had 47 VP, so just shy of victory. I double dialed again, bringing my total ticks up to 7 of the 8 needed, and Round 5 I proved I had a Havoc (all 3 actually) to stop battles and win the game uncontested, so my opponents conceded.

It was a joy to see the ONLY card in the Morrslieb set that I have literally never played finally get some use, and not only that -- it was actually the best line of play I had and directly won me the game!
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Tzeentch was especially difficult to design for since he sits somewhere between Khorne's dial rush and Nurgle's point potential.

I wanted to introduce some things that weren't just re-hashes of core game cards. The goal was to create a means for Tzeentch to meddle in spaces where he didn't have units, potentially denying Corruption tokens or DACs from other players.

Playtesting seemed to suggest I was on the right track, but assigning costs to game effects is really tough, especially with such a low scale of 0 to 3 power points. Would it be too powerful for 2 points + a magic symbol? Or would that be a 3 point effect? Does the magnitude of this effect change based on the number of players in the game? Or which gods are playing?

Once the expansion was released, the game was being played far more times and the sample size for results increased greatly -- so I started to see interactions and combinations playtesting hadn't brought up. Looking back over game reports and talking about the game with some really passionate players, I realized I mis-calculated the impact / value of this card effect. Transmogrify is one of 3 or 4 cards in the expansion I wish I could go back and tweak -- nothing major, just little nudges.

That said, it's refreshing to see this card being pivotal in a game. That's why I still enjoy playing CitOW -- no matter how many times I play, every game I see something new or unexpected.
23 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ymrde Buno
Czech Republic
Prague
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
ynnen wrote:
Transmogrify is one of 3 or 4 cards in the expansion I wish I could go back and tweak -- nothing major, just little nudges.


I am really curious about which card you talk about.

Transmogrify, Choking Stench ? , .... , ... ?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I've already said too much!

Let's just say there are a few official-unofficial house rules I play with when using the Horned Rat expansion.

Eric Lang designed a masterpiece. Chaos in the Old World is such a deceptively straightforward game with simple mechanics, but there are layers and layers of nuance. I was fortunate to sit next to him while he was working on it -- I learned a lot about game design by asking him questions about why he chose this mechanic over that, or why he worded something a particular way, etc.

I originally thought Khorne was going to be the easiest to design for -- be ultra aggro, push the dial -- but it was easier said than done.

Of the four original powers, I think Slaanesh came together the earliest. Tzeentch and Nurgle took the longest -- even longer than the Horned Rat as an entirely new faction. I had a clear plan for them based on the available design space and settled on effects that felt skitterish, stealthy, and mobile like the Skaven themselves.

But none of them were easy. Only a handful of cards from my very first prototype made it all the way through the process, and even those needed cleaner language and fine tuning.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
K
United States
Oakland
California
flag msg tools
badge
...I paid 100 GeekGold for THIS?
Avatar
mbmbmb
ynnen wrote:
I wanted to introduce some things that weren't just re-hashes of core game cards. The goal was to create a means for Tzeentch to meddle in spaces where he didn't have units, potentially denying Corruption tokens or DACs from other players.


Love it. I think it makes sense to have included "lesser" options in each deck to give the gods a little more flexibility and resilience to unusual situatioins. I think the problem with Transmorgify, along with Tzeentch's other "alternate" gameplans in the upgrade deck, isn't so much that they're incredibly weak, but that his "normal" gameplan is a little oppressive, which doesn't leave much room for experimenting with his weird stuff when you can just score a gazillion points with the other stuff more easily

I'm glad you didn't simply re-hash, because now I feel like we have two great distinct games to play (base and exp)

ynnen wrote:
Once the expansion was released, the game was being played far more times and the sample size for results increased greatly -- so I started to see interactions and combinations playtesting hadn't brought up. Looking back over game reports and talking about the game with some really passionate players, I realized I mis-calculated the impact / value of this card effect. Transmogrify is one of 3 or 4 cards in the expansion I wish I could go back and tweak -- nothing major, just little nudges.


Based on my experience gaming, this is par for the course. It's very commendable for you to try and take responsibility for flaws, but by doing so you're already being more forthcoming than 99% of designers

Especially in games like these, I think a lot of balancing rests on the designers and playtesters, and you deserve full credit for that, but the process is completed by the players themselves, once it hits the wild, through figuring out how to use things or counter things in ways the designer never even envisioned (and couldn't, with limited player feedback).

As much as it's hard for people to admit, I think what's often respected as "great balance!" is often sort of by accident, just as much as poor balance more obviously is. That's not to say that design doesn't matter, but I've never played a game where it seemed obvious to me that the designer fully envisioned exactly how players would end up playing the game completely once their play gets super efficient and refined. (Well, maybe some meticulously-designed eurogames without crazy effects, but those aren't my cup of tea -- I like it wet and wild).

ynnen wrote:
That said, it's refreshing to see this card being pivotal in a game. That's why I still enjoy playing CitOW -- no matter how many times I play, every game I see something new or unexpected.


Exactly! When I first played I never could have imagined the level of variability that organically springs up play to play.
3 
 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.