Adam Blinkinsop
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I've got a design doc up on Google Docs that anyone should be able to comment on -- and at least read -- but the gist of it is as follows:

Players control an army of a King and three classes of pieces (A, B, and C). Each turn, players take a single action, dictated by card (CC:E order style). First to 15 VPs wins, with an alternate win condition of holding all the strategic locations at once.

The twist is that your units may be upgraded, an entire class at a time. Upgrades include the basics (increased attack, defense, movement, or range) as well as special abilities (chain lightning, flight, burst of speed, etc.). In playtesting, it's felt like looking for a broken combo in Glory to Rome, which is loads of fun, imho.

These upgrades are on the action cards, as well as die rolls (for combat). Both research and combat involve card draw (basically, draw a bunch and choose one, but keep the rest), so players are incentivized to upgrade and attack, but even defending units allow for card cycling.

Turns are short, with a shared deck and the ability to plan while the round plays out.

Questions:
* Do you think the combat mechanic sounds interesting?
* Do the upgrades push the envelope enough?
* What's a better theme than "Mechwarrior"?
* Do the rules generally make sense as written, even without all the cards available?
* Are there any immediately-visible degenerate strategies?

I've playtested several times, but it needs more testing. Good things have come from the testing (how to restrict actions each turn, how to restrict upgrades, how to make upgrades interesting late-game, etc.), but I've been testing with a limited group.

If you'd be interested in print-and-play for play testing this, please ping me. Unfortunately, we're talking about 13 double-sided counters per-player (2 to 4), 72 custom cards, and a hex map (I've been using wet-erase markers on a combat map), so it's not exactly a small time investment to build.

Many thanks for your time!
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Nate K
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blinks wrote:


Questions:
* Do you think the combat mechanic sounds interesting?


Maybe. What sort of A and D cards are there? It sounds from the rules like combat is really going to hinge on them. We'd need to see some example of them to really get an idea of what combat will be like.

Quote:
* Do the upgrades push the envelope enough?


I don't think there's any way to know at this point.

Quote:
* What's a better theme than "Mechwarrior"?


Depends on your definition of "better." If better simply means "cooler," then no, nothing is cooler than MechWarrior.

But judging by your mechanics, you seem to be going for a kind of transformation theme--all the units doing battle will be switching back and form between two different forms, white and black. This lends itself to a biological evolution theme. The units could be biological entities that can transform from one state to another depending on the situation. A heavily-armored centipede transforms into a lightly-armored scorpion--one form is good for covering distance safely, the other is for hunting and fighting. That sort of thing.

Quote:
* Do the rules generally make sense as written, even without all the cards available?


I think so. But being able to see some cards would really help.

Quote:
* Are there any immediately-visible degenerate strategies?

[/q]

How many strategic points are there, typically, in a game? I didn't see that spelled out anywhere, but it seems like a rush strategy of grabbing a bunch of strategic points early on has the potential to be devastating if the opponent is sitting back and building a strong army.
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Adam Blinkinsop
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kurthl33t wrote:
blinks wrote:
Questions:
* Do you think the combat mechanic sounds interesting?

Maybe. What sort of A and D cards are there? It sounds from the rules like combat is really going to hinge on them. We'd need to see some example of them to really get an idea of what combat will be like.

The design doc linked to another document with cards, but it wasn't written very well. I added a card manifest to the end.

kurthl33t wrote:
Quote:
* What's a better theme than "Mechwarrior"?

Depends on your definition of "better." If better simply means "cooler," then no, nothing is cooler than MechWarrior.

But judging by your mechanics, you seem to be going for a kind of transformation theme--all the units doing battle will be switching back and form between two different forms, white and black. This lends itself to a biological evolution theme. The units could be biological entities that can transform from one state to another depending on the situation. A heavily-armored centipede transforms into a lightly-armored scorpion--one form is good for covering distance safely, the other is for hunting and fighting. That sort of thing.


Ooh, very cool. The other idea I had after reading your post: viruses on a computer network. Then movement would be restricted to one subnet (color of wires on the board) per activation, and attack likewise.

kurthl33t wrote:
Quote:
* Are there any immediately-visible degenerate strategies?

How many strategic points are there, typically, in a game? I didn't see that spelled out anywhere, but it seems like a rush strategy of grabbing a bunch of strategic points early on has the potential to be devastating if the opponent is sitting back and building a strong army.


In playtesting sessions, I've used three strategic points for two and three players. This seems to work pretty well (as each player can make a strategic point grab, but then nobody's in the lead) and concentrates the battle at particular locations. One playtester upgraded for defense (that was switched on with a transform) and rushed for a strategic location, which grabbed an early lead, but the other players picked up range and attack, and managed to keep the first player from winning right off the bat.

I generally play economically, going for resources and a huge army before taking over the board, but the rush strategy is 50/50 with my long game strategy. As we get better, I'm sure we'll find an edge on one side or the other.
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Nate K
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Three strategic points sounds like it would be pretty balanced in a two-player game. More than that would tip the scale towards the player with faster units or a better position. Fewer would have the same effect--one player grabs the single strategic point and is able to get way ahead on points.

I'll have to take a closer look at the document with the cards.
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Adam Blinkinsop
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Many thanks.
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Nate K
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Some random thoughts:

--You might not want to have "proximity mines" and "mines" in the same game. Sentences like this become problematic: "Mines automatically attack units that move into their space, after the mine laying unit has moved away." OR "Take RPs equal to 1 + the number of mines you currently control." Perhaps proximity mines could be "drones" or "sentries."

--"Cards for this class are +1 power." Are classes mentioned anywhere else? What is meant by "class?"

--I think it's a little problematic that you have keyword mechanics (flying, regenerate) defined in the rules, but not on the cards. If/When you actually mock up the cards, I would explain how those mechanics work right on the card.

--You may want to explain acronyms like "VP" or "RP" at some point in the rules. Not everyone will be familiar with those terms.
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Adam Blinkinsop
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kurthl33t wrote:
Some random thoughts:

--You might not want to have "proximity mines" and "mines" in the same game. Sentences like this become problematic: "Mines automatically attack units that move into their space, after the mine laying unit has moved away." OR "Take RPs equal to 1 + the number of mines you currently control." Perhaps proximity mines could be "drones" or "sentries."


Will do. In the case of a theme change (from Mech -> Evolution or Virus), it'd need to change anyway. Drone for now.

kurthl33t wrote:
--"Cards for this class are +1 power." Are classes mentioned anywhere else? What is meant by "class?"


They're mentioned elsewhere, but never explained, as far as I can tell. Basically, you have three classes of units: A-class, B-class, and C-class. Changed the upgrade to be a bit more understandable.

kurthl33t wrote:
--I think it's a little problematic that you have keyword mechanics (flying, regenerate) defined in the rules, but not on the cards. If/When you actually mock up the cards, I would explain how those mechanics work right on the card.


On the prototype, they're fully described, no keywords. I just used the keywords to make the manifest shorter. I can definitely expand them out now that I have a table. Will do (later today).

kurthl33t wrote:
--You may want to explain acronyms like "VP" or "RP" at some point in the rules. Not everyone will be familiar with those terms.


Highly agreed, many thanks.
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blinks wrote:
Questions:
* Do you think the combat mechanic sounds interesting?
* Do the upgrades push the envelope enough?
* What's a better theme than "Mechwarrior"?
* Do the rules generally make sense as written, even without all the cards available?
* Are there any immediately-visible degenerate strategies?


Mechanic: It sounds like it could work, but needs a little more elaboration. When I read in the attack mechanic that "A cards" and "D cards" were drawn, I expected two decks separate from the core actions to be on the sidelines. If the units are all white and black sided no matter what their allegiance, what distinguishes from player to player, or even other units?

Upgrades: I'm not entirely sure what an upgrade does for a given unit (type?).

Mechwarrior: This feels more like Robotech than Battletech (although they are closely related), but I personally enjoy this theme (especially since I have my own game with a mech theme)

Rules: At the beginning, the "terms to know" list two things. I felt a lot of terms were used before they were defined, which was a bit disorienting.

Strategies: No comment available at this time.
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Adam Blinkinsop
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PhantasyIV wrote:
Mechanic: It sounds like it could work, but needs a little more elaboration. When I read in the attack mechanic that "A cards" and "D cards" were drawn, I expected two decks separate from the core actions to be on the sidelines. If the units are all white and black sided no matter what their allegiance, what distinguishes from player to player, or even other units?


After re-reading, I don't think I was very clear, so I clarified in the doc. The basic idea is that there's a single deck of cards for the entire game -- these cards have upgrades, actions, and a power number on them. In combat, both players draw cards from the shared deck, and then choose any card in their hand for the power number. Highest power number wins, attackers win ties.

In this way, it's bad to gang up on one player in a round, because they'll have a bunch of cards in their hand from previously defending (that is, if they've got more than 1 Defense). Also, you're incentivized to attack (for card filtering), and later attacks on your turn are better (as long as you have more than 1 Defense). This avoids being broken because you need to discard down to 3 at the end of your turn. It also means that units with 0 Attack/Defense can still be used in combat, it just costs you a card.

As for the units, they have a player-colored background (I'm currently using poker chips) and details written on them -- both sides have the letter for the unit (A-class units have an "A", etc.). One side has the letter in white (the White side), the other in black (the Black side).

PhantasyIV wrote:
Upgrades: I'm not entirely sure what an upgrade does for a given unit (type?).


When you upgrade a unit, the card stacks in that unit's place in front of you. For example, you want to upgrade all your B units with "Attack +1". You play an R&D action, pay for the upgrade, place it in the B unit slot in front of you, and now all your B units have "Attack +1".

Does that help?

PhantasyIV wrote:
Mechwarrior: This feels more like Robotech than Battletech (although they are closely related), but I personally enjoy this theme (especially since I have [url=http://boardgamegeek.com/article/8195368]my own game[url] with a mech theme)


Sweet. I just don't want to pick something that's horribly over-used, and I didn't think Mech fit into that category.

PhantasyIV wrote:
Rules: At the beginning, the "terms to know" list two things. I felt a lot of terms were used before they were defined, which was a bit disorienting.


Agreed, that's the problem with writing rules -- I did too much explaining verbally before actually writing them down, so I'm sure I'm missing a bunch. Do you remember any terms in particular that weren't easy to understand? I rearranged the doc to be better about that, but I'm sure I've missed things still.

PhantasyIV wrote:
Strategies: No comment available at this time.


Hard to comment when it's hard to understand how to play, agreed.
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blinks wrote:
Ooh, very cool. The other idea I had after reading your post: viruses on a computer network. Then movement would be restricted to one subnet (color of wires on the board) per activation, and attack likewise.


I think this theme is the way to go. There's very few ways you can logically explain that troops in the field, cut off from direct contact and supply lines, suddenly all gain powerful upgrades.

A computer virus is a perfect explanation. Hacker vs sysop. If the hacker can gain access to the security nodes, he can disable the security for the system and have free run.
The sysop needs to secure the nodes, so he can activate the emergency firewall which will forcibly lock the hacker out

(In both case, control the objective locations)
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Adam Blinkinsop
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palmerkun wrote:
blinks wrote:
Ooh, very cool. The other idea I had after reading your post: viruses on a computer network. Then movement would be restricted to one subnet (color of wires on the board) per activation, and attack likewise.


I think this theme is the way to go. There's very few ways you can logically explain that troops in the field, cut off from direct contact and supply lines, suddenly all gain powerful upgrades.

A computer virus is a perfect explanation. Hacker vs sysop. If the hacker can gain access to the security nodes, he can disable the security for the system and have free run.
The sysop needs to secure the nodes, so he can activate the emergency firewall which will forcibly lock the hacker out

(In both case, control the objective locations)


Sweet, this gives me a bunch more ideas for abilities, too!
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