Sunday, September 15, 2013

New games, and successes (mostly)

Hey everyone, I played two games recently against my girlfriend Sarah. Sarah is actually really not a wargammer, but was curious about this game that I have been working on for so long (and is ridiculously sweet overall, and the type of person who would do something like that). Both of us played with the pre-made parties, and Sarah selected the wizard group. Basically, everyone in this group, except for one character, can cast spells. I was a little nervous about this, because one of the major benefits of spellcasters is that they are super flexible, and can use a ridiculous amount of magic. I was worried that she would get overwhelmed with all of the options. However, she actually managed really well, especially by game 2. I selected a group of characters that summoned creatures. Game 1 I got beat, terribly, and it was basically my own fault. I wasn't able to summon creatures to the board very rapidly, and I didn't do a good job of keeping my guys hidden. The end result was that I got mowed down by magic arrows before I could really do anything. She won in a landslide. Game 2 was a rematch. I knew I made some bone-head mistakes during game 1, but I was also worried that the wizards might be a little over-powered. So, we decided to try it again. Sarah actually looked forward to the idea. Basically, now that she knew how wizards worked, she was looking forward to trying a new game. In this new game, I kept my characters mostly hidden for the first couple of turns, to allow them to start summoning creatures. Then, I burst out and attacked. I ended up getting beat, but it was really close for most of the game. I think I lost because of a combination of bad dice rolls, risks (some of which I would take again) that didn't pay off, and small tactical failures that blew up. For example, Sarah had a character that ran around with 1 health for basically the entire game, and due to a combination of bad rolls, not throwing enough resources at her, and really good moves to defend her character, that character never died. I learned a few things during this game. First, it is not a good idea to have an entire team of characters with summoning powers. Basically, summoning creatures costs energy points (a very limited resource), and so if you have lots of them, you will never use all of them. Second, right now I have these things called "life towers" that allow you to bring some of your characters back from the dead. They don't seem super useful, and it might be better if it was a combination of bringing characters back from the dead, and healing non-dead characters. Third, right now I have it that wizards can cast spells while in melee, but then can't attack during the turn. The net result of this was that many of her characters got to attack before I was able to, and occasionally she would kill one of my guys and free herself from melee. I think I am okay with this as a rule, though I will see what happens in the next few games. Finally, I need to figure out a better way to do the end-game conditions. Right now, every turn you add up your "morale", compare morale scores, and then roll dice to see if the game ends. It takes too much time, and is kind of finicky, and doesn't make a whole lot of sense. As soon as you start winning a tiny bit (including before blood is drawn), you have to start testing, but then you need to be ahead by a ton for the testing to mean much. I might change it to each party getting three secret (or not secret) missions, and if they complete all three, they win. The one really good thing I would say about this game: It felt the way that I wanted it to. There were a lot of points in the game where I didn't know what to do, and had to really think for a while about where to commit my troops, and how to use them. This is the strategic wargame feeling that I wanted this game to make. Not to dis on Warhammer 40K, but as much as I have always liked that game, it often felt like after you build your army and place in on the board, 95% of all decisions are obvious. This didn't feel that way. After this, I don't think that there will be another direct rematch. However, I would like to play Sarah again with a different party. She has decided that she really likes her wizards.

1 comment:

Danny Peck said...

I shouldn't be surprised to discover that we're both still obsessed with tabletop game design in 2013, haha!

This game sounds really interesting! I hope you get the chance to publish it!