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Subject: Would you mind giving me some feedback? rss

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Ray M.
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Hello.
I'm Ray, the creator and designer of Dogs of War, a Norsine war game. While I am beginning the alpha phases of testing, I am trying to get a good hold on what the core rules lack as of right now. If you would like to help out, I am going to include a dropbox link in this thread in order for you to download the game's core ruleset at your leisure. If you decide to grab a quick download of it, please keep two things in mind.

1. I am offering a sneak peek of the core ruleset on the basis of finding out what you, the player, would like to see or have ideas for and also getting overall feedback.
2. The core rulebook is considered "mostly finished" in writing alone. The final copy sold in stores will likely be much different than this one. Please keep that in mind.

You can feel free to email me at dogsofwar.wargame@gmail.com in order to submit some feedback, questions, comments or whatever. You can also post here if you prefer.

Thank you for your time!

[geekurl=https://www.dropbox.com/s/zy4b1am4nc5r43n/Legend%27s%20End%20-%20Core%20Ruleset.odt]Click Here For The Download[/geekurl]
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todd sanders
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You have a lot of spelling errors in the document. You may wish to fix them before offering the rulebook up for discussion.
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John "Omega" Williams
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You might want to consider changing the name.

Theres at least two games and/or expansions out now using the title Dogs of War, one by sue-happy Games Workshop.

Norsine War actually sounds more descriptive.
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Ray M.
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Thank you!

Dogs of War has become Legend's End, which is a placeholder in case we find a better name before beta testing begins. Since the game was very Norse in it's history, we were thinking Ragnarok but there were probably many games with that name as well. Legend's End seems to fit for now.

Later, we want to expand the universe into a tabletop RPG and, hopefully, a video game on down the line.

Thanks again for your input.

Edit: Fixed link. This link contains namechanged game with hopefully most of spelling errors missing, as well as some changed terminology.
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Nate K
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Oh my Lord. Is there a reason the font looks so tiny on my computer? I can hardly read it!
 
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Dylan Green
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Hey Ray!

So what's the elevator pitch? Why would I want to play Legend's End and not Warhammer 40K?

I ask, not because I'm trying to tear Legend's End down, but because I want to know why you built it up. What makes it click? Why is it you want to make this game, right now?

I hope that by writing this out to a stranger, you can clarify your purpose and therefore be able to not get lost in a maze of indecision between dozens of possible routes...

not that that sort of thing happens to me or anything...
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Ray M.
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I don't really know why your font is small. It appears fine all all the copies I've seen. I apologize for that!

No offense taken. I was looking for feedback and I appreciate your having offered some!

Elevator pitch:
Everyone loves an apocalypse game, and this one has an interesting take on how the world ends that you can experience yourself through gameplay and setting narrative! This game is not only built to be less expensive, but also easier to learn with a less complicated system that allows for younger and newer players to get started, unlike Warhammer which costs hundreds to begin and has a college textbook sized rulebook. Com[ared to most other straight-forward style war games, Legend's End gives the option for players to use unique and fun scenarios in addition to the tried-and-true tabletop battles. What makes this game so awesome is that I have worked hard on designing a universe that is in-depth and meaty with a rich immersive backstory, much like the creators of Skyrim did. It's built to be fluid and immerse you into the experience and the universe and the battles themselves can be scaled to small games, DOTA style games or scaled up to massive world-shattering battles. The cannon fantasy gaming is great, but every so often, new blood is needed with new perspectives on old ideas and I think this game will definitely contribute to that. The war game also leaves open the options to expand the universe further, and even get into other styles of play in order to experience that Universe in different ways!

Might have run a bit long for an elevator but saying it out loud seemed to get within that timeframe.
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Dylan Green
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Cool. Rock on. Let's keep going.

As a gamer, and someone interested in game design, I'm intrigued by mechanics. How does Legend's End differentiate itself from it's competition mechanically?
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Ray M.
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The setup is very simple.

Attacks: Your attack score + The opponents protection = Attack successes.
Damage: ((Weapon damage + Successes)d6) - Protection Successes = Damage

There is no comparing to charts and having to memorize them like there is in a game like Warhammer. You know what your scores are and therefor, you know what you have to roll in order to damage the enemy. I wanted to hearken back to my roots with it, making the system of attacks much like thac0. You have a strike value ranging from -6 to 6, and the lower the better. You have your protection rating, which is the higher the better.

So if your strike value is -2, and you're fighting something with a Protection of 5, you roll 3 or better to strike a hit. (-2) + 5 = 3.

The more successes you roll to attack, the better. If your weapon's damage is 2, and you roll 1 success to attack then you have three dice to damage the enemy with. During damage, the attacker has a major advantage, rolling to determine damage based on the number rolled. Protection ratings are used as dice that, on a 5 or 6, negate one point of damage. This usually damages enemy units in swathes, but characters, chosen and Ephemera have many more Stamina in order to sustain damage.

I'm still working out some of the kinks, and I believe playtesting and feedback like this will assist me with the final ironing out those kinks.
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Dylan Green
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Ahhhh THAC0...

Something you might want to consider; Attack value is a GOOD THING, hence most people want it to be positive. It is counter-intuitive for many people for lower numbers to be better (unless they're called "ranks" for some reason...). This goes doubly so for negative numbers.

If you wanted to fix this, you could pretty simply switch around the mechanics that drive offense and defense.

May not be an issue. Only play-testing will tell.
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Ray M.
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I could rearrange it easily, but like you said.. playtesting.
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Dylan Green
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Any other clever things you've done you want to brag about? What part are you most proud of?
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Ray M.
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I could gush about this game all day long, to be honest. I am the most proud of the setting that comprises, right now, nine completely different worlds that have been smashed into one and forced to co-exist which is also the reason for the wars. I could go on and on about the unique way I've presented old races such as the dwarves. I was doing a lot of research on them and found that the dwarves, according to Norse mythos, were formed out of the worms that were eating Ymir's flesh. I took that one step beyond and gave them a grub-like quality, having to spend time above-ground as "dwarves" as most folk know them, but they are also insects and many enemies of the Dwarven Swarm see their beastly, insect counterparts in battle as well. The dwarfs are complete with their own biology and life cycles in which they will metamorphose like a very complicated insect. Egg to larva to worm to dwarv to fleshripper and beyond, all at the mercy of the hive queen. Or the Ng, which are elf-like in nature but were forcibly ripped from the nature that abounded in their world before the Fall and having to cope with the lessened spirituality that accompanies the end of Creation.

This isn't about me, though! It's about you all letting me know what you think!
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Dylan Green
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Yes, but, I'm trying to gauge what you want for the game and what sort of feedback you are looking for.

Sitting down and reading a whole ruleset, even an alpha one, is going to take me a couple of hours. If you were paying me as an editor I would probably charge at least $10.00 an hour and I expect, to give you the feedback you desire, it is going to take me, at bare minimum, 3.5 hours. So to make the task easier on myself, I'm searching for your motivation and seeking understanding so that when I come back to you with feedback it will be feedback you can use.

So I'll make you a deal. Fully answer the questions below, here in the forum, and I'll spend the time you're asking. I'll do a detailed read over of your rules and provide commentary.

I won't promise you'll like it. I say this not because I'm a jerk (which is actually debatable) but because I care about game design and game designers. I'm offering you the feedback that I would want if I were in your shoes.

Questions:

1.) What is your game about?

2.) What do the players do? (What choices do they make on each turn?)

3.) Why are those interesting choices?

4.) What is the core mechanic of your game?

5.) Why did you choose that mechanic?

6.) What is the secondary mechanic of your game?

7.) Why did you choose that mechanic?

8.) What does your game do to command the players' attention, engagement, and participation? (i.e. What does the game do to make them care?)

9.) What sort of product or effect do you want your game to produce in or for the players?

10.) What areas of your game receive extra attention and color? Why?

11.) Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?

12.) Where does your game take the players that other games can’t, don’t, or won’t?

13.) What are your publishing goals for your game?

14.) Who is your target audience?

(PS: These are adapted from this: http://socratesrpg.blogspot.com/2006/01/what-are-power-19-pt.... Which is a set of questions somebody whipped up for making indie-rpg's. I've adapted them and put them here. I totally just made up most of them right now. If anyone has any other good ones to add, I'd be interested to see them (perhaps in another thread?
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Ray M.
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1.) What is your game about?
The battles and wars waged after the world has ended, causing all sentient races previously separated by separate worlds or dimensions, forced to fight over limited resources at the behest of their gods, or Ephemera.

2.) What do the players do? (What choices do they make on each turn?)
Move, channel, use knacks and fight.

3.) Why are those interesting choices?
Channeling determines how many knacks you can use in a turn, and fighting is always one of the most fun parts of any war game. With their knacks and fighting skills, warriors from different factions violently decide the victor.

4.) What is the core mechanic of your game?
A thac0-like system, and a points system by which characters and units use their knacks, which are special powers and skills they have that lend advantages in battle.

5.) Why did you choose that mechanic?
I wanted to keep it simple in order to detract from complicated systems like Warhammer in order to allow people to play faster, and to get more people into the game who might normal pass due to overcomplicated systems.

6.) What is the secondary mechanic of your game?
Channeling! Roll dice to determine how many points you get that you can spend during your turn on your character's abilities called knacks.

7.) Why did you choose that mechanic?
It seems a logical jumping point to give characters their own specific powers, abilities and spells and determine how many of those knacks can be used in a turn.

8.) What does your game do to command the players' attention, engagement, and participation? (i.e. What does the game do to make them care?)
Engages players in an all out battle of opposing armies in competition in a setting that is rich and immerses you fully into it. The characters are unique compared to each other, even among those of the same race, offering a very unique style of gameplay.

9.) What sort of product or effect do you want your game to produce in or for the players?
The game is very competitive and I would like, above all else, to have players feel a sense of tactical victory for a win, and to learn new tactics and playstyles for losing. The game will also offer hobbyists the chance to paint and assemble new and unique models.

10.) What areas of your game receive extra attention and color? Why?
Each race gets it's own writing and setting information. Each had it's own planet or dimension that they existed in and as such, each planet gets it's own bit of attention and care to as to develop that race in the minds of the players.

11.) Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?
I'm really excited to see the artists get to work on creating models from descriptions. The races are very special to me, and I am curious and excited to see how an artist will render each model.

12.) Where does your game take the players that other games can’t, don’t, or won’t?
A new universe that exists after each individual world has ended, colliding with each other to for a meta-world in which the Ephemera lead their chosen race to victory and dominion over the others for their own reasons. It's a game of divine clashes with a simple system that anyone can use.

13.) What are your publishing goals for your game?
I want to publish by March, 2013, and begin with four complete armies and their accompanying books along with a final draft of the core ruleset.

14.) Who is your target audience?
My demographic is age 13 - 50. It will likely attract veteran war gamers, but I'm hoping to attract a new audience with sarter boxes with a simple but competitive DOTA-style scenario.

Hope that helps!
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Dylan Green
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Done. Give me a week.

Everybody else. Keep me honest!
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Ray M.
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Thank you so much Jack! I look forward to seeing what you've got for me. Even if I "don't like it" necessarily, as long as it's constructive and it helps me get a better grasp on my core rulebook and eventually make a better game, it'll be all for the better.

I've started a Kickstarter project in order to start production of the pieces. I found a great artist willing to work with me to get the pieces done while I fine-tune the core rulebook. We're going to try for an alpha release of December. If you're interested in taking a look at what we have so far, here is the link:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2103913595/legends-end-u...
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Dylan Green
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Not surprisingly I'm going to need more time. I'm about halfway done. I'll try for the end of the weekend.
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Ray M.
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No problem! I appreciate the help.
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Dylan Green
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Aright. Here it is:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/f0llw28382msfm5/Legend%20DG%20%28E...

I've done lots of comments, some of them on writing rules, some of them on game design, some of them just on style.

Some general thoughts.

THAC0 bad. There is a reason it went out of style. I would strongly recommend a different system.

For how to write this type of rules I would recommend grabbing a copy of Warmachine by Privateer Press and sitting down with it and copying it's style page for page. Look at how it starts with general concepts and then gets into specifics. Look at where it uses diagrams. Look at how it uses side-bars to elaborate on subtleties. Steal all of this.

Get a copy of Strunk and White's Manual of Style and read it. It's about 40 pages and it will do your writing a world of good.

Finally, Don't take anything I say too bloody seriously. You've done a lot of hard work and I applaud you. Giving your baby to anyone, especially me, takes a lot of courage and strength. You have a lot of hard work ahead of you, but I believe you're up to the task.
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Ray M.
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Sorry it took me a while to respond. I'm going to pour over your edits and see what's up. Thanks for taking the time.
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