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Subject: Why Named Villagers On Monster Cards? rss

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Edwin Karat
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I hope the designer sees this, as it's a game design question.

Why named villagers on monster cards? Usually, they don't find the villager and just hunt anyway. Okay, if they do, then they could theoretically kill the last villager in town, causing a lose. So, it's worse, but not very likely. It also ties the game to specific villagers and travelers. Why not have monsters kill townspeople with specific keywords, like military or storekeeper or entertainer? That way, hunting would be less likely, *and* you could swap out the townspeople/traveler decks (which I would have fun with). Also, you wouldn't have to worry about getting the assignments exactly right.

To the designer: If you ever get a chance to make a second edition, that seems like something to consider.

PS I actually like the game, though I feel there are limitations inherent in a fully cooperative deckbuilder that are unavoidable.
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Erik Burigo
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I found this design choice odd too.

Probably monster coming out from the Shadowrifts aren't inherently evil. They are trying to get vengeance after the wicked villagers that exterminated their clans.

Maybe the Snow Maiden had his children enslaved and sold by the greedy merchant...
And the Zombie Lord was a rich artisan that get betrayed and killed by his son (the child) for his legacy. The priest happened to behold the murder and blackmailed the child...
While Imps simply hate musicians and longbeards.
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Jeremy Anderson
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Hmm. I do like the idea of grouping the villagers. It helps open up expansion options for the town/travelers, and in general makes the game just a teense harder - but also more likely to cause a lose in a more dramatic way, which is good. (Though in defense of the present setup, there's a lot of drama building up when you get to that third Corpse.)

From a mechanical standpoint, there's nothing wrong with having every monster that kills someone just say "Kill a Villager." This eliminates the hunt step entirely; they just kill whoever's closest to the discard pile and that's it.
What I ran into there was that killing's the most common action they have, and it made the repetition really transparent to the player. With the individual variation, even if 90% of the time it ends up being "just hunt," it made the monsters feel like they have their own personas. Mar'Zose reads like a horror movie: The first to realize she's coming is the mystic at the edge of town - the one nobody quite trusts enough to heed the warnings. Then the holy man runs afoul of her, and dies. If she then takes over his church, and performs the unholy rites to reclaim her full power in the human world, well...that's it.
Obviously they don't all have quite that much thought put into them, but she'd have been so much more bland as "Kill a villager, kill a villager, heroes lose."

I'll have to think about whether the keywords still let me tell a story with the monster cards when I want to.
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Jef Honor
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As a game designer, I think having the monsters target specific villagers is actually a great idea, despite how they might end up just hunting a random victim anyway.

While the concept of going after specific villagers might seem like it is just a way to enrich the theme, or to hide repetition, I see it as another set of decisions put before the players.

I've played this with a few different playgroups, and each one has had favorite villagers they really wanted to keep alive. One group thought the Mayor must be protected at all costs, while another group really liked the Merchant, for example.

So, when the enemies would come up that targeted those specific villagers the playgroups made them priority targets. They enjoyed the feeling of protecting their villagers, and actually were distressed when the monster broke through their defenses and killed their favorite anyway.

These kinds of reactions and decisions would be impossible if they just randomly killed the villager closest to the draw pile every time.

With that being said, I do agree that there might be some difficulty keeping individually targeted villagers viable once expansions start adding to the village cards.

While I still don't think it would be a good idea to remove the named targeting altogether, it might work if the villagers also had a class system that could be used to make targeting work on a broader scale as well. (For example, a monster that targets everyone who makes food, or anyone magical/spiritual.)

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Edwin Karat
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Freyhon wrote:
As a game designer, I think having the monsters target specific villagers is actually a great idea, despite how they might end up just hunting a random victim anyway.

While the concept of going after specific villagers might seem like it is just a way to enrich the theme, or to hide repetition, I see it as another set of decisions put before the players.

I've played this with a few different playgroups, and each one has had favorite villagers they really wanted to keep alive. One group thought the Mayor must be protected at all costs, while another group really liked the Merchant, for example.

So, when the enemies would come up that targeted those specific villagers the playgroups made them priority targets. They enjoyed the feeling of protecting their villagers, and actually were distressed when the monster broke through their defenses and killed their favorite anyway.

These kinds of reactions and decisions would be impossible if they just randomly killed the villager closest to the draw pile every time.

With that being said, I do agree that there might be some difficulty keeping individually targeted villagers viable once expansions start adding to the village cards.

While I still don't think it would be a good idea to remove the named targeting altogether, it might work if the villagers also had a class system that could be used to make targeting work on a broader scale as well. (For example, a monster that targets everyone who makes food, or anyone magical/spiritual.)



That's exactly what I was advocating -- a class system. Perhaps the stonemason and merchant and baker are all "shopkeepers" or "peddlers." I understand why the closest to the discard pile would be monotonous. But named villagers rarely gets the right person and makes it hard to expand the village/traveller deck.
 
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Vincent Lalyman
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I agree with Jef.

My own suggestion some times ago, had been, in future expansion, to use the current villager names as "class name" for new villagers decks - in the "elven village", the Tree-Shaper has the "stonemason" key word, the "Druid" has the Priest keyword, etc.

I like the "kill specific villager" rule - it makes for tense games, when you desperately need to use this Gravedigger, but you draw it just when a monster wants to kill him When multiple monsters are active, my players often chose which one must die first by looking at who he may kill next turn : we don't want to lose the stonemason !!

However, in a future edition, "hero keywords" like craftsman, religious, official, guard, magic-user, etc, could be a good idea, if only a few villagers in a given villag deck have common keywords.
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Jeremy Anderson
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Thanks, guys. You've given me a lot to ponder.
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Patrick Hickey
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If you go the hero key word route, you could just use the existing villagers as the key words. That would make future releases fully backwards compatible, and would only require rules updates for the new releases, without errata.
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Erik Burigo
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Cadfan wrote:
If you go the hero key word route, you could just use the existing villagers as the key words. That would make future releases fully backwards compatible, and would only require rules updates for the new releases, without errata.


Exactly. That's the smae suggestion Vincent made. It could actually be the most streamlined solution. thumbsup
 
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Edwin Karat
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Painkeeper wrote:
Cadfan wrote:
If you go the hero key word route, you could just use the existing villagers as the key words. That would make future releases fully backwards compatible, and would only require rules updates for the new releases, without errata.


Exactly. That's the smae suggestion Vincent made. It could actually be the most streamlined solution. thumbsup


This still doesn't solve the problem that the monsters almost never find their named villager. My proposal had the intention of having multiple possible targets when it tries to kill someone. Of course, this makes the most sense if you assume there will be a 2nd edition replacing this one.

Yes, I would pay money for a kickstarter on a 2nd edition of this if the designer fixed a few extra details first, this being one of them.
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Vance VanGogh
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I like the idea of villager classes for the kill acts of monsters, but I think there's room for a few that target individual villagers for thematic reasons and for, as someone mentioned earlier, to prioritize killing monsters that attack the villagers you need most for that scenario.

I'd like to see 80% that target groups and 20% that target the most powerful individuals.
 
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