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Subject: City Defense: Solo Variant similar to Tower Defense rss

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Someone created a variant called Tower Defense on here a few months ago. It sounded cool to me and I took some of the info from those posts and created a similar solo variant. It has limited playtesting so far. Please let me know what you think.

City Defense:
You have recently conquered a city and usurped the throne. But there are still groups faithful to the past king who are coming for your head. The locals had no love for the past ruler but are unwilling to support you until you can prove that you are strong enough to hold the throne. At the end of each night you will be attacked by supporters of the old regime. Take the days and part of each night to prepare yourself, then send the scum back from whence they came. For each wave you survive you will gain more support from the citizens.

Players: 1
Type: Solo
Length: 6 rounds, 3 days and 3 nights
Map shape: concentric rings
Center: 1 random countryside tile (base orientation of other tiles on the orientation of this tile as if it were the portal tile)
1st ring: 6 random countryside tiles. Reveal these tiles
2nd ring: randomly select the remaining countryside and non-city core tiles. Stack these, alternating countryside with core, beginning and with countryside. When exploring, place tiles from this stack as usual. You must form a ring around the current tiles, you cannot expand past that ring. (This ring does not have to be completed).

Choose a city at random that represents a different color than that of your character. Place that city at level 3 in the center hex of the center tile. This is your recently conquered city. Place the enemy tokens based on the city level face down on the city card.

Special Rules:
You start in the city.

At first you have no support from the locals so you get no bonuses from your city. For each wave survived add a shield token to the city card. You will get 1 influence per shield token when in the city. Also, you will get +1 card per shield token on the city card when in the city or on an adjacent tile.

Elite units will be available as usual (once a core tile is revealed).

On the last turn of each night your city will be assaulted by the enemies on the city card. These enemies gain no bonuses (it is your city) and lose any fortification (your archers have the high ground). You must be in the city when end of round for the night is announced. If not, you fail.

Any undefeated attackers will stay on the card at the beginning of the next round and must be defeated before you can leave or interact in the the city again.
Once all defenders are defeated turn the city dial 2 notches, place these units on the city card face down. These units will attack at the end of the coming night. (If you are unable to defeat the previous attacker(s) before the end of the next night you fail.)

**********I have offered a second suggestion for these nightly battles in a post a down below a little ways. Feel free to try that one if it seems like a better option. However, at this point that option is less tested.**************

Any rules not mentioned follow normal solo play rules.

Victory conditions:
If you get knocked out during city defense, you fail.
If you are not in the city when end of turn for night is announced, you fail.
At the end of the 3rd night, all attackers must be defeated to achieve victory.

Give yourself fame equal to the level of the city for each wave defeated. Give yourself 15 fame for successfully defending the city. Receive all other normal end game bonuses.

To alter difficulty you can:
change city levels
turn the city dial more or less in between rounds
give attacking units city bonuses and fortification

I think this can be scaled for co-op play but would prefer to find proper starting levels for a nice intermediate solo challenge first.

Edited: story changed, city bonuses changed, can no longer recruit keep units at city (this may be added back after surviving the 1st wave)

Please leave thoughts or feedback and playtest results. Enjoy.
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Mike Qunell
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I like this scenario. I was able to defeat it with the city starting at the lowest level so it was level 1, 3, and 5. I didn't explore past the starting circle of tiles and was able to take out a couple of keeps and a mage tower. You have to plan how far to venture out and make sure you can get back. My final score was 104.
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Maciej Krok
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I like the concept of this scenario, though it'll take a lot of testing to optimize it.

My first suggestion is, that starting countryside tile shouldn't be picked randomly. It makes a huge difference based purely on luck. Tile 11 has half hexes adjacent to your city covered by the lake, tile 9 has a mountain and 3 costly wasteland hexes, tile 4 has 2 desert tiles and a mountain, tile 8 has two swamps etc. In comparison, tiles 3 and 10 have no such movement restrictions (and there is a lot of walking back and forth in this scenario), while tile 2 has both cheap tiles and an rampaging enemy on adjacent hex just to get you started. So, in conclusion, I suggest naming the starting tile (or create a group of tiles to choose from randomly), and I recommend going with number 10 if named.

Second, I can't find any suggestions about city levels which will name difficulty level of this scenario. I tested it with city levels 3, 5 and 7, scoring a total of 224 points with Arythea (green city). I think this difficulty level can be called medium with those settings. Though I think 3/4/5 enemies are appropriate for each wave, which would mean lvl 9/10 (blue city) for the last wave, and scaling waves 1 and 2 accordingly.

Third, It's unclear to me weather or not I know who's gonna attack me each wave. Do I see the enemies from each wave at the start of each day, each night or I simply don't know whom I'm exactly facing till the moment I'm attacked?

Also, I wonder if it's worth taking Arythea for this scenario only to be 100% sure you're not getting red city, which will be least useful IMO. 12 influence is pretty much impossible to be generated early on, and later on recruiting elite units takes priority over getting an artifact anyways. So, my doubts are: shouldn't red city be excluded from this scenario to make it less luck-based?

But overall I like the idea and I think this scenario is worth working on. A lot of backtracking here, but we should keep in mind that 6 tiles are placed face up from the beginning, which means 8 extra movement not spent (4 tiles x 2 movement each) and much better planning too. That is the scenario where you really conquer a lot of places to build up your character (ex. 4 mage towers, 2 dungeons, 2 keeps, 1 ruin and 1 monster lair in my last game) cause you don't spend your cards on cities. And where you really count cards in the discard pile to be sure you have enough movement to travel back to city on time. Bottom line: I like it ;-)

EDIT: I've tested it again today, scoring 238 points with Goldyx (white city). I have used starting tile no. 2 (worked pretty well), increased city level to 4/6/9 (to get 3/4/5 enemies per wave) and I am glad to admit it was hard. I had to generate 32 attack to stop the final wave (6 cards and units did the trick). It's still possible to finish this scenario completely healthy and I like that. Another suggestion that came to my mind recently is to double the final score for each wave defeated to encourage players to use higher city levels. The difference between 2 or 3 enemies in the first wave is huge, though when calculating score it's only one more point. This time I defeated all 3 waves blindly (not revealing attacker's identities before announcing end of night) and it worked pretty well (much harder to prepare though), so it's a solid concept. A little less conquest/adventuring (8 shields on the map) 'cause attackers kept me pretty busy (which is fine). For other players, I recommend setting city level to achieve 3/4/5 enemies accordingly (exact level depends on city), if you're seeking hard level ofc.

EDIT 2: Another round of testing, this time scoring 244 points with Tovak (green city). I've used starting tile 3, and again it worked pretty well, though I prefer tiles 2 and 10 for this scenario. Suprisingly, this time I felt difficulty level to be around medium, even though I used configuration from "hard" level (city lvl 3, 6 and 9 accordingly, all rules followed). Conquest/adventuring result hits a whooping 11 shields on the map (3 mage towers, 3 ruins, 2 keeps, 1 monastery,1 monster lair and 1 dungeon), mostly thanks to early recruitment of Altem Mages, cause two of those ruins were altars. This was actually my first game when final fight felt overpowered from my side, but monsters I got weren't so healthy to begin with, so I would say nothing to change here.

Again, I'm throwing into consideration some score alteration: either twice the points from each city level of defeated enemies or city lvl x 1 fame for first wave + city lvl x 2 fame for second wave + city lvl x3 fame for third wave.

EDIT 3: As promised, I have beaten it with Norowas as well, scoring a bit low, 205 points (green city), but it's still a lot of fun ;-) I used tile 10 to start, and suggested setup in city level (3/5/7).
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Kreuh -
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Hi Guys and Dekryr,

I just tried this variant and it was quite fun !!!
I played with Tovak, and was facing the Green City. I did chose the easy way with a lvl 1 starting City.

Are you still working on it, do you want a feedback ?
I have already a few remarks :

Scoring when defeating a wave.
Dekryr wrote:
Give yourself fame equal to the level of the city for each wave defeated.

The level of the City is going up during the game. What level City do I count ?

If I defeated a City lvl 3 wave, then a City lvl 5 wave, do I get :
- Fame +8 (add the level of each city wave) ?
- Fame +10 (2 waves defeated x City level at the scoring time) ?

The first solution feels more logical, and I think it's what you meant.
But it means you have to remember the different level the city was during the whole game.
Not hard to remember, but it seems odd to me, because you never have to do maths with things from previous turns in this game.

Suggestion :
It would feel more natural to me if you would get the fame bonus at the moment you defeat the wave, not at the scoring.
When you succeed to defeat a wave, get fame equal to the level of the city.
Sure it can give you a level up, but why not ? You succeed to defend your city, so you become stronger for next stage : makes sense to me in the gameplay of a City Defense.

Other thing, about The mechanism of City defense.
Maciej Krok wrote:
Third, It's unclear to me weather or not I know who's gonna attack me each wave. Do I see the enemies from each wave at the start of each day, each night or I simply don't know whom I'm exactly facing till the moment I'm attacked?

This also disturbed me.

I was also annoyed by the City assault mechanic. I didn't like that :
- you have to end into the city just before you last turn, not before, not after.
- you have to wait the end of the night to fight the ennemies, not before, not (sometimes) after.

This means you start the fight at the end of the night, with your built hand. Then, (on night 1 and night 2), and you can drag the fight on the next day.
Problem : finish the fight at the begining of the next day is boring, because at the begining on a round, you want to plan your actions according to what you draw. (Because you draw from your whole deck so you don't have the chance to build a hand).
If you draw no combat cards at this moment, you cannot finish the ennemies, you cannot leave the city and you cannot interact : you waste your hand and some valuable time.
I know tactics helps with that, but still.

Plus, on the night 3, you only have 1 turn for the fight. This is odd because it's the final stage of the game, the big fight, the moment you where building your deck for.
The whole game experience revolve around this big fight, and sadly it last just 1 turn.

So, I know this is the core mechanism of this variant, but I got another suggestion, witch solve all this.

Suggestion :
- As soon as the night falls, the ennemies are at the gates of the City and start to raid it in order to steal it from you. You can start to fight them already at this point.
- When the next day rise, if all ennemies aren't defeated, then they managed to steal the city from you and you loose the game.

So it means you don't specifically have to be in the city when the night ends, but you have to defeat all raiding ennemies before the end of the round.

I tried it and the feeling and gameplay is great :
- you can defeat the raiding ennemies right away and spend the rest of the night away,
- you can do whatever else you want during the night, build a big fighting hand, etc, as long as you defeat all raiding ennemies before the end of night.
- Even if the combat last more than one turn, it's still on the same round : you draw cards from the same deck, not a fresh one and so you don't depend on the randomness of your first draw of the round.
- The scenario is the same for each night, the last night is no longer different, and the last big epic fight can last in several turns.

Guys, let me know what you think !
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Kreuh, even though this is an older post, I really like your spin on it. Giving it a try now asap.
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Kreuh -
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Cool at least it's usefull to someone else
Please, let me know if you try !!
Any feedback is welcome, I would be glad to improve it any further.

Sadly the OP didn't show anymore on this topic.

I tried City defense a few more time with my 2 suggestions, it was definitly fun.
Seems also quite balanced from what I can see, but I'm not very god at balancing things, so all in all, I guess it do the trick !

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Well I'm reviving my own dead thread. I had taken a large hiatus from mage knight, but now I'm back.

I appreciate the testing and feedback from everyone. To address some specific concerns.

I play that you cannot use the ability of the city until after successfully defending the city at least once. With the new characters I would say that you should just randomly choose a city. Just roll a mana die to pick. Reroll if you get a black or gold result.

The starting tile will still be random but will be randomized between tiles 2, 3 and 10. Shuffle those 3 tiles and pick 1 as the start tile. Shuffle the unused tiles back into the stack of countryside tiles before setting up your starting 6.

It's edited in the OP but I set the city level at 3 to start. Then 5 and 7 for the next 2 rounds. I have found it may be a bit easy after the first round. So perhaps increasing by 3 each round isn't a bad idea. That would be levels 3, 6, and 9.

The enemies are kept face down and unknown until you enter a battle with them.

As far as scoring goes, it doesn't concern me that much. Feel free to offer suggestions on what you think is the best way for end game scoring.

Other notes. During setup I do not reveal every ruins token on the starting map. I treat them like keeps or mage towers. Once you are adjacent they are revealed during the day. However, when exploring and revealing new tiles normal rules apply for ruins tiles. It just seemed like too much info to have at the start.

Finally, Kreuh's suggestion that you should be able to fight the enemies at any point during the night. I have an answer that I think will work thematically, but note that it is completely untested at this point.

At the beginning of the night round roll a mana die. This will determine where the enemies will be attacking from. If you roll gold it will represent the starting countryside tile at 12 o'clock, white is the tile at 2 o'clock, red - 4 o'clock, black - 6 o'clock, blue - 8 o'clock, green - 10 o'clock. Place an unused hero miniature/Volkare on the farthest space from your city on the corresponding countryside tile. There may be 2 or 3 spaces that are equally distant in that case use the flow below for movement to place the unit. After each dummy turn move the miniature 1 space closer to your city using the quickest possible path (it should take 3 turns for the enemies to reach the space adjacent to your city). If there are 2 moving options that will get to the city equally fast then here is the flow:
1. move onto a space with an enemy token, remove this token from the board and add it to the city space.
if that is not possible then:
2. move to the space with highest move cost (never move it onto a mountain space or lake space unless there is no other option)
If neither of the above fits then:
3. randomly determine which space to move to

You may attack the invaders at any point during the night, however you must move onto the space with the miniature to attack. You cannot taunt them like rampaging enemies and attack from an adjacent space. If they are on unreachable terrain for any reason then you cannot attack them.

Once the miniature reaches the space adjacent to the city it will attempt to enter on its next turn.
If end of round has been declared then you must defend the city when the invaders move in. If you cannot defeat all enemies then you fail the scenario.
If end of round has not been declared then you may defend the city and fight the enemies if you are present in the city. You must defeat at least one enemy token or you suffer the penalty below as if the city was undefended. If you destroy all the tokens then continue out the round as normal. If you are not in the city and choose not to defend it then there is a penalty:
The first turn you do not defend, but your walls hold and repel the attackers, you suffer no penalty
the 2nd turn you do not defend you lose 1 reputation, if your rep cannot decrease anymore then you lose 1 fame instead (if this puts you back a level you do not return the rewards for gaining that level, nor do you collect rewards if/when you pass that level again.)
the 3rd turn you do not defend the city you will downgrade the unit offer. This means that you will change 1 elite unit in the offer into a regular unit for the rest of the game, instead of revealing 2 gold units you will only reveal 1 and 2 gray units (use a token to mark this). If you have not yet earned elite units then you will lose 1 space in the unit offer (either the far left or far right, decide which before starting the scenario. Also use a token to mark this). Once gold units are revealed if you have this penalty then this gold unit slot becomes a regular unit slot instead.
If you cannot defend the city a 4th time you lose the scenario.

If you want to use Volkare for this scenario you can. I would give his army units based on the city levels in the OP and allow him to attack as well (using the LL rules for Volkare attacks). This will make the scenario harder of course.

A reminder that this final idea is completely untested. Feel free to give it a try and let me know what you think.

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Leandro Medeiros
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Before nothing else, I already apologize if there is anything wrong with my English, not my first language.

Hey, I have really liked your variant, but a thing that was bothering me was the idea of the of the adversary troops instantly appearing in your city. With that in mind I have done a variant of your variant, I don't know if it is big enough to make another topic.

The main diference would be that instead of defending your city from the enemies printed on it, you would defend the portal (which will be centered countryside tile 2,3 or 10), which I like to see as it is the portal,from ALL the other cities.

It would work this way:

You discovered a portal for another world full of treasures and power, with such power you would be able to rule the world (for good or for evil). But the portal only open every 10000 years, which next time is in three days. The cities have found out your plan and will group together against you.


For the setup you would follow basically the same as you have done, but you put no cities on the center of the initial tile, instead, you just put one of your badge tokens to sign that this is a the portal (you can enter in the in the tile, paying two movements). Also, all the tiles will be placed revealed from the start of the game, placing all the cities beginning with level 1, they will increase their levels during the game, don't worry, to keep track of their levels, put a cristal of each of the base colors in the fame tracker in position 0.
Finally, there is no dummy player (the cities will play against you).

Choosing the tactics will follow just as it would happen with the dummy player.
During the day, you play as usual, but in the turn of the cities, you will roll 4 dice, for each die you will increase 1 fame for the city of the color in the die, if a die shows gold, every city increase one fame for that die, if it shows black, nothing happens.Every time a city passes to the next roll in the fame tracker, adjust its level in the base.

Note that, for a solo player game, you will have exactly 4 dice unused, so you don't change anything about the mechanics of the mana pool. This mechanics is a way to show that the cities are distributing their resources in order to attack you, some days they will not be that productive, in others, they can evolve all at once.

The turn only ends when the player declares the end of the turn, if the cities still did not played this turn, it will play one last time. You won't want to take a long round otherwise they will get too strong against you.

Again, choose the tactics as it would happen with the dummy player.
During the night, the cities will send their armies against the portal, place the the tokens facedown accordingly with each city level on their cards, this is the army of this city. At the cities' turn, each of the armies will move one space (doesn't matter which terrain, as long it is not a lake or a normal mountain) in the closest way possible to the portal, it may give you 5-6 turns before they get to it. If they successful enter in the portal tile(move there and you are not in this tile, or entering in the tile and defeat you there),
you loose the game.

The armies won't have their city's bonus.

You don't need to wait then in the portal, you can fight then before they all join against you!

If one of the armies crosses a keep, a mage tower, a village, ruins (that have monsters in it), they will destroy it, place a badge token of a character that is not in the game to sign it, also, during the next this army will not move next turn. You cannot interact with destroyed places during the rest of the game. They also provokes rampaging monsters if they move towards, as it would happen for a player, if they do so, the rampaging monster will be defeated, if it a draconum, they won't move next turn (doesn't matter how many draconums were provoked this turn).

The armies also acts as rampaging monsters against you, and will attack you if you walk towards then or even if you end your turn next to then, if it happens, you will have to use your next turn to fight then. You only reveal an army when you get at one space from then or fight then.

The round ends when you declare the end of the round (in which case, the armies will move one last time if they didn't played this turn, they may even attack you if you are only at one space from then, BE CAREFUL) or when you defeat all the armies(in this case, you will still have one last turn).

Taking control of the cities

At any round, except the first day, you can conquer the cities, if you do so, they won't send armies against you during the night and you can interact with then.

During the day, the cities will protect themselves with the number of tokens of their level and using their bonus, just as it would be in the regular game.

During the knight, after the armies departed from the cities, they are vulnerable, therefore, they will protect themselves with the number of tokens of the half of their current level (rounded up). If you conquer then during the night, their army sent this night will still go to the portal, and maybe it will get difficult for you to prevent it from doing it, specially because the other cities may be sending their troops from the opposite side.

If you defend the portal for the three nights,defeating the last armies during the night(otherwise they would follow you into the portal), and stinging in the portal by the end of the last night or successful defeats all of the cities(if it happens during the knight, you will have to defeat theirs armies), you win the game.

Some comments:

There might have some problems by letting the map completely random, like a city become not having a possible way to lead their army against you, if that happens, change the map to fix it.

It is more interesting if the cities are far apart from each other.

I didn't set the score, but I would like to put a reward to defeating cities, and by surviving the nights, or how many turns you took the finish the last wave.

I did not test this idea yet, I have tried the whole week, but I didn't have time for that.

If you think that the cities are not evolving fast enough, you might start at a different level or put weights on the fame: in the first day, every die gives one fame, in the second day, it gives 2, and in the third, gives 3.

I have done some simulations on my computer (ok, I work with mathematics, it is common for me to do such thing) to see how would be the outcome of the levels of the cities and the number of enemies that you would need to take down, I will post as attachment just a couple to illustrate the difference between the rates of experience of the cities.
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