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Subject: Major Realmspeak Update Released - Questing rss

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Steve Schacher

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Robin Warren released the new questing version of Realmspeak last night. See the details at his blog at the following link.

http://realmspeak.blogspot.com/

Steve S
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Erik Racer
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We are living our lives... Abound with so much information... Come on, let go of the remote,
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Thanks for the info. I recently acquired Mage Knight Board Game and am loving it ... which has me jonesing for this game even more. This would be an excellent way for me to try before I buy (especially @ $100 a pop on e-bay). Finding the time to devote to the effort will probably be the biggest mitigating factor.

I haven't looked at the software at all. I assume you able to save your progress and resume it at a later time.
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Edward Rustin
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Yup, it's easy to save the game and come back to it later.

Realmspeak ain't pretty, but it's a pretty fantastic piece of work.
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p55carroll
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Just got mine installed and running for the first time last weekend, and now I get to upgrade it already--before I've even had a chance to try it!

Update: Hooray! I got it to run (after copying over a couple special .bat files). Now I'll get to start out in RealmSpeak with this updated version. It'll probably be a long while before I ever use the new Quests feature, though.
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BrentS
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Thanks for your work on this, Steve. Very much looking forward to trying it out.

Brent.
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Steve Schacher

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Robin Warren deserves the credit. I mostly scripted the quests.

Let us know how your games go.

Steve

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Trevor Dewey
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It's pretty neat agree with your suggestion on the blog that it seems to work best as part of the development game - particularly starting from 1 and playing to 77 or so VP (level 10+). arrrh
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Steve Schacher

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Trev,

At that point, you might as well play the timed game instead of a high point-limit game. Maybe play for 3 to 6 months.

I've been playing with the different development rules to see what happens. Mostly, since you're not playing with the original VP scheme, you have to turn on the option to allow development for any VP, not just ones you put points into (since you aren't putting any points into VP categories).

If you play with the option for NO VP RAMP, then you will gain a development chit for each 10 Fame, 20 Notoriety, 2 Spells, 30 Gold, or 1 Great Treasure. If you play with normal VP ramp, then the numbers are multiplied by the level number, making the higher levels much harder to achieve in a single game.

A level 1 character often has no weapon, and maybe one fight chit (some have none). With everyone neutral to you, you might need to hide out at a dwelling for awhile until you draw a Joins You card, and then go find that native to become your companion. Or, you can try the Mapmaker quests, because they give you Fame and Notoriety when you complete the map, and money when you return the map to the House. I just realized that I did't update the Word Document for the Mapmaker quests to indicate that they also reward Fame and Notoriety when completing the map portion of the quests.

Discovering sites will give you the quest points, but those don't affect development. Looting treasures can gain you development if the treasure has Fame or Notoriety with it. If it has conditional Fame, you can sell it to the native and improve your relationship with them. That could make it easier to hire them at a lower level.

Also, you can activate a quest that gains a special advantage, even if you don't think you can complete the quest soon. Bear in mind that if you do this, you cannot discard the quest. You must complete it to get it out of your hand.

Otherwise, it's tough going for a level 1 character.

Steve
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Trevor Dewey
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Hi Steve,

Yes, it's very tough as a Level 1 - which makes it interesting. I think the best way to go for the weakest Level 1s is what you suggest: hide at the Inn and discard and redraw until you get one of those get a free companion cards and grab a rogue or two. The Elf can start with Persuade so he can get 3 rogues if he rolls well.

Anyway that's why I went for VPs and not a timed game - It can take two months just to get to level 2...

...because the real problem with the development game from level one is the decided lack of small mobs in the Woods/Valleys such as the Ghosts for the weaker characters to kill. I've been playing some artifically shortened test games with 2 Boards and/or the Pruitt Monsters and that seems to help as the Pruit set adds a lot more low-level mobs (e.g. Kobolds or two sets of Ghosts).

My only hmmm moments I've had so far with this Quest expansion is that the 2 All-Play VP points for finding loot locations (Shrine, Pool, etc) seems a little high.

Trev

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Steve Schacher

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Trev,

Robin made the same comment about the 2-point discovery rewards. It's this kind of playtesting that will help to balance this out. I'm open to changes, and of course, anyone can change the points for themselves if they want.

My argument was that 1-point quests were for meeting visitors and the original victory points (fame, gold, etc.). Two points were for going out and exploring (taking the risk of being attacked by monsters). Three points were for quests with combat requirements. Four points were for multiple location/action quests, and five points were for the big thematic quests.

I was also factoring in multiple players. In a solitaire game, all the locations are there for your taking, which may contribute to your thinking that 2 points is too generous. With three or four players, that may not be the case. The early game becomes a race for the "low hanging fruit," so to speak, so that no one player gets too far ahead in quest points while another decides to stay at one site and loot. This will also trigger monsters at many places. Looting for treasures and gold won't get you points unless you have the cards.

Once the sites are discovered, the players have to move to the three and four point quests. These will involve killing monsters or going back to search for required treasures.

That was the plan, anyway.

Steve
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Trevor Dewey
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Hi,

I thought about the multi-player aspect but then it just super penalizes the Dwarf character and helps the faster characters such as the Amazon and Wizard. I'm hoping to get a 2-player game in this weekend to see how that goes. It also adds a major luck factor if it's one of those games where the lost city or lost castle has 2 or 3 loot sites and one person stumbles upon it early and the others are out of position- that could be (assuming reasonable search roles) 6+ VP right there.

My only other concern balance-wise is that I think the freebie cards (free hide, companion, color magic, gold, etc) need to be balanced with a cost (Minues notoriety, fame or gold - e.g. the Free 10 gold has a cost of 3 notoriety). This just came up because I just started the game with the Free 10 gold card which is pretty big advantage at start: 2x everyone's gold).

Apologies for the nitpicking - as I really like what you've done - just think it needs a little tweaking here and there.

Since you're answering questions: what does the A,B,C,D group mean in QuestBuilder with respect to rewards?


Best,

Trev

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Steve Schacher

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Trev,

Luck will always be a factor in Magic Realm. You can't mitigate all of it or it won't be the same game. Some games will have the sites dispersed and other games will have them clustered. It's the same with characters forced to start at the House vs. the Inn. They don't get the early benefit of single hiring of Rogues. What do you do? It's the nature of the thing.

In the larger sense, I tried to balance that by managing the number of cards. I can't say that I have that right, so I'd like some help here. There was a scheme to it. Here are my thoughts:

1. The You Are Famous... cards. There are 8 of them per type, or 1 for half the characters in the game. That makes 45 cards in total. That means that 8 characters can each get 1 point for Fame, or 1 character can get 8 points for Fame, etc. Not every character can get points, and some characters can't use point (spells, for instance), unless optional artifacts rules are being used.

2. The Befriend cards. There are two of them, one for the ogre and one for the wolf.

3. The Hide card. There are four of them, one for a quarter of the characters.

4. The Paths and Passages card. There are six of them. I was going to make 1 of each for a quarter of the characters, but paths and passages ability is combined, so I compromised and made 6 cards that work for both. I could drop this down to 4.

5. Roads, Strength, and Lights in caves. There are four of each of these, again 1 for a quarter of the characters.

6. Sources of Magic. There are two of each color.

7. Rumors (gold). There are 8 of these, one for half the characters.

8. Joins You companions. There is 1 for each native type. Some are easier to play than others.

9. Find Weapons/Armor. There are 4 of each, or 1 for a quarter of the characters. Except for the bows, where there are only 2 cards.

10. Rescue Offering. There are 2 cards, one for each possible site.

11. Passage into Darkness. There are 2 of them, one for each target monster.

12. Dragon's Treasure. There are 2 of them, one for each site.

13. Fabled Treasure. There are 6 of themm one for each TwT site.

14. Return To. There are 2 for each dwelling. These may be burn cards, since you have to complete a Rescue quest first, in order to get a visitor.

15. Meet A visitor. There are 4 for each visitor, or 1 for a quarter of the characters.

16. Valiant. There are 12 cards, 1 for each conditional fame treasure. I toyed with making this 8 cards, making it rarer by being less than the number of available treasures. I also thought about splitting these into individual cards for each treasure, but I thought that would be too limiting to gameplay. It was better to make a generic card and let the players choose which treasure to play during the game. A specific card was more likely to be discarded.

If you think the Rumors card is too helpful, I can make it rarer by reducing it to 6 or 4 cards. Or, like you said, add some cost like negative notoriety (accused of cheating?). The intention was for characters to have different random events that give them different advantages. One character can start with 10 more gold, but another can find an early companion. Who's to say who is the better off?

Keep the thoughts coming. I don't feel like I "own" the cards, and am willing to balance them to the tastes of the community, in order to make it a better game.

Steve
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Steve Schacher

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Reward groups. Robin explained them in a blog post.

They are a way to give the player a choice on a reward. The blank reward group is always awarded.

If you tag rewards with A, B, C, etc., then the player has to choose which block of rewards they want. You can have multiple rewards tagged with the same letter.

It gets a little tricky. I've had some problems with making sure that the texts are filled in properly in some cases. Also, you can't mix the blank and letters. It's and either/or for a step.

Steve
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Trevor Dewey
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Steve,

Thanks a ton! I'll test for a while as-is and see what my group thinks (though it is sorta hard for me to do more than 2P Realmspeak ;-) I can't imagine the game with 4 or 5 players - this is where the boardgame has the edge - easier to keep people locked into a game if they're at your apartment and you're feeding them food and beer).
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BrentS
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Steve, I've been dabbling and I have to congratulate you and Robin (and Jay and company for the original Quest concept) for what looks to be an excellent development on the game. In fact, I think it will change the way many people play MR. It may certainly become my default mode of play. I was intrigued by the BoQ but the static nature of the quests didn't appeal to me as much as VP based goals. In combining them you have created the potential for a very dynamic, rich and variable play experience. Well done and thank you.

A couple of Trevor's observations reflect my own initial reactions. I do like the challenge to be stepped up, not made easier, and for any advantage given, I always like there to be either a downside or an efort to be made to gain it. The biggest offender here for me was the Idle Gossip card which is big leg up for a freebie (unlike the follower cards which actually require the player to get to a certain destination to activate them). The suggestion of having to pay Notoriety to activate it (meaning you have to have actually gone and earned it) is a good idea.

I was also surprised by the the 2 VP bonus for site discovery. Finding a site is a big bonus in itself and is already tied into many of the other quest cards, so I'm not sure any VP award for finding them is necessary.....and if it is to happen, I would have thought a lower reward (1 VP) would be fairer.

Those two observations are feedback, not criticisms. On the whole this is really an excellent and very exciting development. I'm looking forward to someone with artistic skills creating a P&P card deck

Brent.
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Steve Schacher

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Brent,

Thank you for your kind words. This has become my default method of play, albeit from testing.

I agree about the rumors card. I initially thought of it after I added the random events from the BoQ. At the time, I didn't think of it as any more of a freebie than the Concealment or Paths cards, which you don't "earn" either. They are supposed to be rare, so that different people get different advantages at different times. If you think 10 gold is more of a freebie than a free hide when surrounded by monsters, then I can certainly add a cost. If 10 gold is 1/3rd of a victory point, then how about a cost of 1/4th of a point of Notoriety, or 5 Notoriety?

I'm still on the fence about the discovery points. I do sense a critical mass of opinion forming, but I want to hear more. My desire was to get the characters out of the valleys early, but also to dissuade the characters from rampant looting and killing. The way to do that was to make the discovery points too good to pass up. The character who stays behind to loot the first discovered site may lose out on early points and find himself in a deep hole. Of course, the trade off is to try to leap ahead of the others by playing a high point quest later to catch up. Making the discoveries worth 1 or 0 points would not motivate characters to seek out the harder sites.

The other question is the scale used to determine how many points is too much. In a timed game where the most points after 3 months wins, it might not matter so much if it's 1 point or 2. In a sudden death game it matters more based on the limit you're playing to. A 5 point game is too low, maybe even a 10 point game. I'd suggest playing a 15 point sudden death game, where maybe 2 point discoveries aren't so generous anymore.

If playing solitaire where you're not competing for discoveries, try playing with 2 monster rolls to get the tiles busier where you can't take your time with discoveries (or you get chased off the tile), or try off-board starts where you don't know where the dwellings are to refresh your cards, before saying that the points are too high.

Otherwise, I'd suggest trying it both ways and see which one appeals to your tastes. Changing the points is extremely simple to do in the quest builder, 2 or 3 clicks max.

Let's keep talking about this. I'm not saying that I'm right and you're wrong; I'd just like to see more games under people's belts before deciding one way or another.

Steve
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BrentS
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Thanks Steve.

It will be interesting to hear accumulated experience from multiplayer tests, as they will obviously play out very differently. I would think the majority of play will be solo, because of its availability on Realmspeak....and the fact that anyone wanting to play on the table is going to need to manufacture a set of quest cards.

I'm not sure that any modification to difficulty needs to be made for solo play....the Realm is deadly enough and can still kill you quite efficiently no matter how many sites you've discovered .

I do see the rationale for encouraging players to get out of the Valleys. One possible unseen downside to the quest cards is game starts which involve several days of players sitting at dwellings cycling quest cards until they get what they want.....which is part of the strategy but probably not something you want to see being abused in every game.

Maybe it's just personal perception, but I think there is a fundamental difference between Idle Gossip and the other free quest cards. Random failed Hide roll death is not uncommon, even for experienced players, and the Hide cards mitigate that risk slightly, while clogging up your hand at the expense of VP scoring cards. Holding onto them is a tactical decision with potential negative consequences.......which I like. Same for the hidden path/secret passage card.

The difference with Idle Gossip is that you can play it immediately anywhere. If done at your starting location you can use it straight away, cycle for other cards and spend it, with potentially major game swinging consequences. In two of my sample games, my White Knight rode out of the Chapel day 3 with a Warhorse (two Idle Gossips is unusual but it can happen) and my Wizard left the House day 2 with the Soldiers in tow (although in all fairness he needs all the help he can get). I would definitely favour something to make this less likely. On that point I was wondering if spending Fame would be more thematic than Notoriety....engaging in idle gossip is probably going to harm your good reputation more than your infamy.

Brent.

Brent
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Steve Schacher

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Brent,

Since Idle Gossip was hinting at ill-gotten gains, would it be even more thematic to cost a level of friendliness from each native in the clearing (feeling cheated), or is that too severe a price to pay?

By the way, lately I've been playing all my solo games with off- board starts and double monster rolls. I especially like the double monster rolls because it also increases regeneration. Single monster rolls tends to keep monsters spread out over the map more. Double rolls has them disappearing and reappearing more.

Steve
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goshublue wrote:
. . . and the fact that anyone wanting to play on the table is going to need to manufacture a set of quest cards.


I was separately thinking about this in the car ride home last night. Has anyone contacted Valley Games (or whoever is supposedly doing the new Magic Realm) with the consideration of whether this should be included as an optional part of the new printing?

It would make a lot of sense to me.
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BrentS
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srschacher wrote:
Brent,

Since Idle Gossip was hinting at ill-gotten gains, would it be even more thematic to cost a level of friendliness from each native in the clearing (feeling cheated), or is that too severe a price to pay?


Steve


Actually, this is an excellent idea, Steve. I feel first turn gold is a huge bonus and should carry a commensurate penalty. Given most characters start with natives with whom they have a favourable relationship (particularly those who have a choice of starting location), this presents them with a great dilemma. It won't change the ability of the Berserker, Swordsman, Magician and Pilgrim to hire a native straight away with their starting gold, or the White Knight, Captain or Dwarf to buy those vital pieces of equipment that they already can under the current system, but if they start gossiping after that they won't be able to push it further and will have hampered their ability to interact with that group for the rest of the game.

In this circumstance I would definitely recommend that the Idle Gossip card require the player to be present with natives to activate it (and they have to be gossiping with someone, after all ), preventing them skipping to the next Valley clearing, activating and coming back. They could still travel to a nearby dwelling where there's a native group whose relationship they're not concerned about, activate Idle Gossip and come back to their friends for trading/hiring, but that imposes the need for time-consuming action and tactical decision making which is so desirable in any variant for MR.

Brent.
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Steve Schacher

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Thanks, Brent. I think I'll do that. Another alternative is to remove the card completely, but since everything else is available, it would be good to give players a chance to get some gold, too.

I'll add a requirement that the character be in a dwelling with natives present in order to play the card, and then any natives in the clearing will become one level unfriendlier to the character.

I'm concerned about your remark about getting several in a row within a few days. I'll have to talk to Robin about this. I think the deck needs to be shuffled a few more times before starting the game.

Steve
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Steve Schacher

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One more thought on this...

Now that I'm increasing the penalty, is 10 gold enough of a reward for the cost? That's 1/3rd of a victory point. Should I increase it to 15 gold, or 1/2 of a victory point?

And I'm also going to reduce the card count from 8 to 4.

Steve
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BrentS
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srschacher wrote:
One more thought on this...

Now that I'm increasing the penalty, is 10 gold enough of a reward for the cost? That's 1/3rd of a victory point. Should I increase it to 15 gold, or 1/2 of a victory point?

And I'm also going to reduce the card count from 8 to 4.

Steve


I'm not sure without playtesting it and you may have a clearer idea from the playtesting you've done. I think it's difficult to value gold based on VP's alone. You can technically "spend" Fame or Notoriety to bypass a Challenge/Insult result on the Meeting table or Notoriety for a Campaign or Mission chit, but it's not quite the same. Gold is a much more valuable and versatile resource outside it's simple VP value. The potential to buy important equipment, and particularly to hire natives, is very powerful early in the game.

Brent.
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Steve Schacher

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Ok. I'll leave it at 10 gold and reduce the count to 4 cards.


Steve
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Steve Schacher

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And bug was found in the Return of the Adventurers quest. The fixed quest can be downloaded from here : http://realmspeak.dewkid.com/custom/quests

Copy the file into your quests folder.

Note that you must start a new game for the changes to take effect.

Steve
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