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Pieces vs Cards

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LordBrand
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Joined: 12/27/2014

I'm not sure if this belongs more in prototyping, but I"m putting it here because it's non-specific.

In the game I'm designing, there is a board to represent "the world."

Armies move around this world, and when they step into each other's territories, a battle commences. Armies are identical. There is no differentiation of troops or forces. Each army "pawn" represents a predetermined number of dice rolled, and a predetermined amount of health. When they clash, dice are rolled, and successes from either side inflict casualties.

Some of the uniqueness and excitement from combat comes from the other component. There is also a deck of champions that players purchase and add to their forces. Champions can swing battles, and add combat strength and health to the fight. Players know which champions are in play by each player, and where those champions are.

Here's the dilemma: How to mix these types of forces elegantly.

The current playtests, we note armies by pawns. Each player also has a small set of "super pawns", labeled 1, 2, and 3. On the player board (tactical board with faction specific details) are three sections, each corresponding to a different "super pawn". Players place the champion card at the section to note which pawn it is associated with, and then that pawn travels on the board with army pawns.

That sounds a lot more confusing when I write it, so if people read this and say, "huh?!" please don't hesitate to let me know here or via PM and I'll throw together a diagram.

Thanks!
-Jon

The Professor
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It sounds familiar...

LordBrand,

It sounds as if it's similar to "A Game of Thrones" with its Infantry and cards representing "Champions" who can assist. Am I right? If so, you may have an "off the shelf" example to use.

Cheers,
Joe

kevnburg
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Pawns on top of Cards?

The champions seem to function like special squad leaders. You could make their leadership more evident by making the other army pawns appear subordinate to them: If the champion cards are small enough to fit on the board's spaces, you could try placing the champion cards on the board and placing the army pawns each champion is leading on top of the card.

Hope that helps.

LordBrand
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Thanks for the

Thanks for the responses!

@Joe - Not quite the way Thrones does it. In thrones, the cards are essentially combat cards that swing the battle. In our game, the Champions are units on the board as well... Thereby making location matter.

@kevnburg - Yes. We tried placing the cards on the board, but they ended up taking up too much room. The cards a little too large to sit comfortably, and there are other things on each territory adding congestion.

We also considered removing the "super pawns" and replacing them with colored stands that the card could be inserted into so that it stood up rather than laid flat. The problem with this became the "I need to see that card real quick" phenomenon, and we have a worry that card integrity will break down over time as the cards get more and more used. This might cause our champions to "flop" over and that wouldn't really be heroic, would it? (;

The champions are somewhat awkward because of how many different niches they serve, but that's part of the strategy of the game. They actually can serve several uses in the game, depending on which is chosen. Some are more combat oriented, some provide new actions players can do, and some provide passive abilities to facilitate "builder" strategies.

Players can go for standard territory collection towards victory, or can make decisive plays against other player's champions to cut their legs out from under them.

Quick note as well in case it is relevant and helps people with ideas: The board is dynamically built with other territory tiles.

Thanks again for the ideas!
-Jon

The Professor
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Location: Specific or General

LordBrand,

As a military officer, I'm curious if your "Champions" need to be located in the same space as your pawns? I ask because maybe the player can retain them on their own mat and each "Champion" has a range or can influence the entire battlefield.

Cheers,
Joe

LordBrand
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@Joe - That's an interesting

@Joe -

That's an interesting idea, and one we hadn't really played with yet. They evolved as a merger from more powerful troops (such as the Siege Engine in Game of Thrones) and Roles (like Twilight Imperium or Puerto Rico). However, in that evolution, we may be able to do a little more diligence to consider if they can fit in their own right now. We would need to anchor them to something, so it could be territories with cities, or neutral territories, or territories where you contain armies.

We'll toss the idea around and see if it works. I'll let you know what we come up with! Thanks

The Professor
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Champions Across the Land

LordBrand,

I do hope that works for you...for a game in which I'm the Developer, I've given similar advice to the Designer and it may also work well within his milieu.

Cheers,
Joe

kevnburg
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Custom Miniatures?

In addition to having the champion cards, you could try creating custom miniatures for each different champion that would be placed on the board instead of the numbered super pawns (as done in Dusk Tactics). This would significantly increase the component cost of the game, but, if the miniatures are unique looking and give an impression of what the champions' abilities are, it will make it easier for players to identify which "super pawn" does what (and players won't have to worry about keeping their champion cards in order as they pick them up / put them down). Also like in Dusk Tactics, you could add some standardization to the miniature design so what abilities each miniature has are more intuitive (for example: If a champion has X combat ability, it holds a sword with a certain arm gesture. All other champions that have that same combat ability also hold a sword with that same arm gesture. All Champions with building abilities hold hammers.)

If custom miniatures are too expensive, you could use round discs (or any other differently shaped wooden/plastic component with a flat top) that have different stickers on them for each champion to get the same effect.

ruy343
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Good ideas

Kevnburg's idea of wooden discs with stickers is a good one. I would build on that to include two of each champion, and then you could have cards to the side that represent groups of troops (like how Axis & Allies: Pacific does it). You can just pile your dudes onto card on the side of the board, and have a champion token just sit on the board and on the corner of the army they lead. This would work well if the champions grant an increased army size or something (which would make sense, but isn't always included in games like this, and that's OK).

LordBrand
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The disk idea is a great

The disk idea is a great one.

The miniatures would be too cost prohibitive. There are around 30 champions (which champions are available in the game is one of the pieces of randomness to help keep each play-through unique).

Do you think that people have trouble matching the art on the disk to the art on the cards in these kinds of situations?

I know my own group ran into that a little bit with the little player tokens in Arkham/Eldritch Horror. People would see the pieces and they all looked so similar, people would grab the wrong player piece.

The Professor
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Small Price to Pay

LordBrand,

In response to your question, no, people will not have trouble matching the artwork, provided your artist renders unique drawings for each of your Champions. I'm a veteran player of AH, and while the first few games may prove troublesome for new players, they'll learn to recognize the pictures.

Cheers,
Joe

kevnburg
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Discs vs. Chits

LordBrand wrote:

The miniatures would be too cost prohibitive. There are around 30 champions (which champions are available in the game is one of the pieces of randomness to help keep each play-through unique).

Asking players to attach 30 stickers when they open the box is a bit much. You might want to consider using a chit board with punch-out tokens (e.g. http://mystarbase.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/006-counters.jpg) instead. Downside to this: the chit counters would be less thick and probably wouldn't look/feel as nice as wooden discs.

LordBrand
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@Kevnburg - Oops, sorry! My

@Kevnburg -

Oops, sorry! My brain already jumped to chits. I agree that stickers would not be the way.

Thanks for the feedback.

The Professor
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No Stickers ~ Good Call

LordBrand/Kevnburg,

In 2013, I backed a small publishing house with a game entitled Mars Needs Mechanics. It was a clever premise but it never hit the table as often as I thought it might given its rule-set and fairly straightforward design. I bring it up in this discussion because in addition to the cards and the board, a sheet of stickers accompanied the pieces and I have to say that it "cheapened" the entire experience for me.

In addition to board game design and development, I cook...a lot, and long before you a tasty morsel enters your mouth, you've already devoured the meal with your eyes. Make it look stunning and avoid stickers.

Cheers,
Joe

Dagar
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I can only agree to this.

I can only agree to this. Stickers are hard work you as a player do not want to get through before the first play. I've had such an experience with Belfort, and though it is a good game, these 1 1/2 hours of putting stickers on wooden markers sticks in my head and links to this game.

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