Sean McCarthy
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Hey all,

I have come to the realization that I really dislike the Witch King. I dislike how he makes activation irrelevant, and I hate how he turns combat into a card-cycling machine. Even with the expansion giving an alternate option, I don't think the Black Captain as we know him deserves to exist at all.

EDIT: This is a lie. After a reminder by Alex and a long opportunity to think I think that the Black Captain is a necessary part of the game. See my second reply below. I'm leaving this post up for reference.

Anyway, I'd like to make a replacement Black Captain. He will not have the activation drawback. He will not have the Sorcery ability.
I would like some assistance testing my new version.

Currently, this is what I'm thinking:
-Does not activate nations on entry
-Does not have Sorcery
-Has 3 Leadership, not 2.
-Has ability: Whenever you conquer a stronghold after a siege battle, you may move the nazgul.
-Has ability: Whenever one of your armies advances into a region after making an attack, you may move the WK:BC to that region.

(His abilities basically let you shift your leadership/hunt rerolls
around quickly and without spending dice to do so, thus saving dice,
pursuing the FSP more efficiently, and keeping the FP on their toes
about where you are going to attack next. His second ability allows
you to besiege a stronghold and instantly have 3 extra leadership
there.)

I don't know whether this is weaker than the real Black Captain or not; the nazgul-moving ability is pretty strong, but obviously drawing cards was pretty good too. My goal is for him to be a little bit weaker, but the main hope is for him to not warp gameplay as badly as the previous Black Captain.

If you would like to help me playtest this, you should keep the nation-activating drawback. For testing purposes, it doesn't make sense to remove it, because in the main game, activation is not well-enough-developed anyway. In any case, I only need feedback on the other two abilities.

Should you try him out, I would be interested to hear the following things from you.
1) What has your experience with the real Black Captain been like?
2) How does this version change game balance? Does it help the FP, the SA, or neither?
3) How does removing Sorcery affect the game? Does it open or constrict strategies? How?
4) How does adding his other abilities affect the game? Does it open or constrict strategies? How?
5) What is your opinion about how well this BC works?
6) Do you have any ideas for abilities a new version of the BC could have? Do you have any ideas for names that these abilities could have? (This is the least important question.)

(On 2, 3, and 4, try to be as detached and objective as possible.)

I've tried him once already and it went fine, so I know it won't be a total waste of your time.

Thanks,

Sean
 
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Alex Rockwell
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I think this change greatly favors the all-out military rush, and ignoring the fellowship. Thats just my gut feeling.

Without the card draw, drawing character cards, your ability to corrupt the fellowship is much reduced. Therefore there is less incentive to try, you are just trying to slow the fellowship so you militarily race them.

With the extra moves which dont eat your character dice, your military attack is sped up. This gives extra incentive to race militarily.

I think this would make the game devolve into military race versus strider rush with no eyes in the pool and no corrupting going on. Which imo, is the most boring of all types of war of the ring games.

Thats just my initial impression.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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I think that's a pretty good point, Alex. However, I can't see this BC being much faster militarily than the real one. I think people will place one eye per turn with both of them.

I will try to think of an ability to replace the nazgul-moving one, that makes for slightly slower games.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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OK, I've changed my mind. Alex has reminded me that the Black Captain is an important part of the game as we know it. I now think it's probably best to leave him in, and just make activation even more important somehow. By having the Black Captain empower the FP militarily, the SA will have to draw strategy cards and not just character cards, or risk military defeat. I have already seen this happen somewhat, just not on a large enough scale.

Previously, I had been frustrated at how to do improve activation without ruining other aspects of the game, but I think I have found a good way now.
 
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Andrew Palmer
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Quote:
I now think it's probably best to leave him in, and just make activation even more important somehow.


How about: When the WK is in play, the FP can use a single Muster die to advance TWO FP Nations on the Political track.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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andypalmer wrote:
Quote:
I now think it's probably best to leave him in, and just make activation even more important somehow.


How about: When the WK is in play, the FP can use a single Muster die to advance TWO FP Nations on the Political track.


This is eerily similar to what I have.

I am saving it (and a couple other things) until the expansion comes out, because it's meant to be played with that.
 
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Daniel Edwards
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Agree that the military version just encourages a military rush (whether or not the "fixed" version is better than the old version who just draws strategy cards). The new version makes a military strategy more efficient while making a corruption strategy inefficient so you will just go the later.

I think everyone is agreed that the wk is imbalanced because the negative effect of the downside just isn't significant compared to the advantage. You always want to bring him in early because there is no real reason not to. I agree If you want to change him you should focus on increasing the disadvantage rather than effecting his powers. I suspect that the expansion gives you good reasons not to bring him in so early.

My suggested possible changes:

- when the wk comes into play activate all free peoples nations and move them each one step down on the political track;

- when the wk is in play, gandalf and/or strider can be promoted via any action dice (of for free).

Alternatively if you think card cycling is the heart of the problem then maybe limiting the cards that can be drawn to once per turn rather than once per battle.
 
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Yaron Racah
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The system we use is:

When the WK comes into play, the FP can immediately push one nation straight to war. Do not activate the other nations.

This is much more potent than activating all FP nations, and even more potent than activating all FP nations and pushing them one step, because the FP needs waste no more muster dice on advancement, and can immediately start recruiting troops right where they're needed.

This provides a nice disincentive for bringing the WK out early, when no FP nations are yet at war.

As a bonus, it also doesn't make activation (of the other nations) irrelevant.

Yaron
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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Re: Testing a Different Version of the Witch-King: Black Cap
Activation:
At the end of each turn for each active nation not yet at war, flip a coin. If the result is "heads" advance the nation one step on the political track.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Re: Testing a Different Version of the Witch-King: Black Cap
SevenSpirits wrote:
I think that's a pretty good point, Alex. However, I can't see this BC being much faster militarily than the real one.


Free nazgul move on stronghold capture = 4 free nazgul moves during the game = 4 character dice = 4 more attacks ~= 1 extra turn speedup in military win. This would make the shadow win almost all military vs ring races, imo.

But then, you already posted that you decided the change was bad.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Re: Testing a Different Version of the Witch-King: Black Cap
I feel that the witch king's card draw ability should be in the game and should be a main part of the shadow strategy. The FP has card draw from a couple of sources, like gandalf being guide (and in the expansion, the FP tends to draw many more free cards than before) and this is the shadow's main card draw ability.

It just didnt have a high enough cost, and its costs should be more the earlier it occurs. Thus, activating FP nations early shold have a stronger drawback.
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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Re: Testing a Different Version of the Witch-King: Black Cap
If the goal is to nerf the so-called "Witch King attack" strategy, the minimal change is to force the WK to redraw from a deck of the FP's choice, or maybe alternate between character and strategery.
 
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Glenn Russell
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what about when a nation is activated it also moves one space on the political track?
 
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