Paul-Jan Pauptit
Netherlands
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We are working hard to develop a new platform for playing board games online, called Board Game Machine.

Our current focus is actually on turning Richard III into a full-fledged online game. However, it turns out that due to its similar but slightly less complex (to automate) rule structure, Hammer of the Scots is already quite playable in the current version of the software...

What we really need right now, is people to try it out, and let us know what they think. Questions? Suggestions? Technical problems? Stumbling blocks in the interface? We want to know about it!

Please keep in mind the software is still very much in development. The interface is very rough around the edges, and there will be bugs.

Links:
- Download it here! (Windows only, for now)
- Post your feedback right here on BoardGameGeek, on our forum, Twitter, Facebook... anywhere is ok!

Features include:
- Rich lobby featuring basic account management, game table setup, favorite games, friends, chat, etc
- Rule-compliant gameplay
- Full 3D playing environment
- Slightly playable (far from complete) Richard III
- Fully playable Hammer of the Scots
- Play against human opponents or AI
- Auto-check for new updates of the software




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Kent Reuber
United States
San Mateo
California
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Sounds like an excellent idea! Let us know when other platforms are supported.
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Paul D
Australia
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Victoria
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Some instructions or a key guide would go a long way. (I looked but couldn't find one.)

I was able to fumble my way through 1 turn, but then couldn't figure out how to play a card from my hand again! (Or it froze...)
 
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Leonardo Martino
Italy
Milano
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you mean I can play a block wargame against AI???

Wooow!

What's the plan for the release??
 
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Tim Schwarz
United States
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Georgia
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In a test HoTS game, I as England played Herald and Scot-AI played Pillage. The year did not end - the interface asked me what card I wanted to play next.

Also - a little documentation please. For others, I think that: Esc is undo, right click is pass (i.e. don't regroup additional units after a battle)
 
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Robert Schwieger
United States
Eugene
Oregon
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This looks great. I'll post some more thoughts later after a full game. I started a game against myself.

Is there anyway to toggle the facing of one side's blocks? When I play solo it helps if I can trick my mind into thinking I don't already know the entire disposition of the other side's forces.

Sitting on the East and West edges of the map instead of North/South is strange for me, but I can live with that. Also, some of the blocks look to be straddling regions (e.g. Comyn in Badenoch/Mar)

Is there anyway to select multiple blocks at one time, up to and including all the blocks in one area for movement?

Anyway to undo a move before you pass your turn? Nevermind, saw this answered in previous post I think.

Thanks for your work on this; I would love to play a fully functional Hammer or Richard III.
 
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Paul-Jan Pauptit
Netherlands
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Wow, thanks for sharing your thoughts, everyone!

Help & Documentation are definitely on the list. However, rather than working on online help pages collecting dust (ignored by everyone), we want to try and focus on keeping everything in-game. Things definitely need work in the 'intuitive' department, but for now press F1 during gameplay for the most prominent keys:


Camera:
- Control: Hide/show foreground items.
- Cursor keys: Move the camera.
- Alt + Cursor keys: Rotate the camera.
- Alt + left mouse: Focus the camera.
- Alt: Restore the camera.

Game:
- Yellow/Orange: Select/selected.
- Escape: cancel Selection.
- Right mouse: Done.


In other news, I have to admit I was kinda stretching things when I wrote "play against AI". The "AI" is (mostly) just performing random, albeit rule-compliant, moves & choices. We do have some plans on how we would like to implement a much improved AI, but have postponed further development in that direction until human-human gameplay is fleshed out a lot more.

@kentreuber: Would you mind sharing your platform of choice? iPad? Android tablet? Phone? Mac? We need to put together some sort of overall "priority ranking of platforms people want to play online board games on".

@Talltim: Ah, we'll have to look into that! Recorded it in our issue tracker, will report back. Other than things getting all weird, could you (technically) pick a card and play onward from that point?
 
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Paul-Jan Pauptit
Netherlands
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@HannibalUltor

Alternating the visible blocks when playing against yourself, interesting, I'm making a note in our issue tracker / ticketing system. I'd say to add to the experience you'd want the _camera_ to switch sides as well, and not see the other players´ card as well. Which ends up with completely different ´play against yourself´ gameplay then we have now, the current version aims more towards exploring and learning the game rules. We'll have to think on this!

Your remark about sitting on the East/West v.s. the North/South side is spot on. This apparently is a very personal playing style thing, we've seen players strongly prefer either one way or the other. That's why we introduced ALT + left/right arrow to rotate the board 90 degrees. It doesn't remember your preference though, if the initial position really keeps rubbing you (and others) the wrong way we might have to implement that.

Group select/movement is a bit tricky (for block games in general), as paths taken to move are important, and there are often rules affecting the number of blocks allowed to cross a border. As you wouldn't move multiple blocks in a real game (presumably), we chose not to implement it. Do you really miss it? During particular actions or all the time?

Noted your remark that some of the blocks look to be straddling regions (e.g. Comyn in Badenoch/Mar), thanks! It's a continuing effort to get this right. As we are not developing just HotS, but a generic game playing platform, we are struggling a bit to get to the best algorithm for "distributing block intuitively across an arbitrary region on the boar".

Escape (undo) only "undoes" (cancels) the current movement, beyond that it does nothing. We are working on more powerful, generic "undo" functionality, but this turned out to be... less trivial to implement than we hoped for. :-)

 
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Peter Geddes
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Morayshire
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It looks fabulous, well done!

I found the keystrokes very easy to get to grips with after a minute or two and the whole board and pieces are very smoothly rendered.

I personally found the battleboard a little disconcerting. The opponents blocks appear upside down to the single player. I understand why as they are "facing" each other when lying face down. I find it more intuitive to keep track of losses during a battle by looking at the "top" of a block, as that's the way up they would appear on the board. It's surely a personal preference thing but would be a nice check box option for single player.

How about a tiny graphic that counts the number of blocks that have already crossed a border during the movement phase?

Also, is it possible to set a waypoint? Say, I wanted to attack Badenoch from Moray but wanted to go via Lochaber first to deny that border as a retreat option.

Keep up the great work, I am very impressed already and proper excited.

Pedders

 
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Mark Hansen
United States
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UT
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Tried this with a friend but we could not connect together. The host would start but then the other would not join
 
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