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City of the Wolves // Need some help on several issues // All FR cards and rules v3.2 online now ! !

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le_renard
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UPDATE & EDIT
Print'n'Play prototype version of City of the Wolves - Rulebook & All Cards - v2 :
You can now download the rules from my Dropbox account here : http://db.tt/l9rz60aj
All the cards can be downloaded too, in low-ink version : All cards : http://db.tt/2WND0jUe

----
La Cité des Loups. Règles v3.2 FR
http://db.tt/JuEuS1aI

Toutes les cartes. v3.1 FR
http://db.tt/XhghYk3S
-----

This version is now a print'n'play prototype...
You only need some color wooden cubes and a die to try it and tell me what you liked and didn't like.

Your feedback is really precious to me and will be help me improving this design !

-------------- Original Post --------------------
Hi,
I am currently working on several "light" games. One of them is called "City of the Wolves" and is a kind of "express" version of another bigger project called "Insania Lupina"

City of the Wolves is a 2 players game in which Humans struggle against Werewolves for the domination of France.
Each player manages a hand of role cards ( not a common deck, but two separate decks of role cards ).
One of the player embodies the faithful humans lead by the King. The other players plays the Werewolves...
You have to conquer Cities (represented by cards), product resources to recruit Soldiers, or infect cities and turn their population into Werewolves...
The game has a fixed number of turn and can be played in 35 minutes by players aged of 8 or more.

I have made a .pdf rulebook featuring the rules ( 2 pages ) and all the required cards ( 4 A4 pages ). You will need some eurocubes and a die too... Everything is listed on the pdf.

If you're interrested by reading these rules or even want to help me and playtest it, I would be very grateful. I'm pretty sure this w.i.p game needs a lot of tweakings and improvements, and BGDF is probably the best place to get some help !

Send me an email :
le_renard_electrique (arobase) yahoo.fr

le_renard
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thanks to those who sent a

thanks to those who sent a mail and kindly offered to take a look at the rules...
Do you think i should just upload the rules here?

Moapy
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Uploading here would be

Uploading here would be great! I'm really keen to have a look, it sounds really fun.

le_renard
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City of the Wolves - Rulebook & Cards - v1

So here is the PDF file of the rules and the cards.

http://goo.gl/3ShWz

Please, keep in mind that this is a work-in-progress.
I did the layout of the cards, but not the illustrations.

I will soon upload an illustrated example of the setup ( where do those cards actually go ? ) because I think it might not be clear enough in the rulebook.

Moapy
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This looks really good,

This looks really good, renard. I look forward to playing the finished version!

le_renard
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Setup image

Here is the setup quick mock-up I have just made...
http://www.bgdf.com/node/5215

Thanks a lot Moapy...

EDIT : I reuploaded the .pdf rulebook & cards. It now includes the setup image too.

kopetkai
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The game looks great! The set

The game looks great! The set up is very clear and gives a good idea of how play would look.

alvae64
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Interesting game

Looks pretty good. Let me know if you need any play testing.

Cheers,
Eric

le_renard
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Thanks alvae64, Moapy and

Thanks alvae64, Moapy and kopetkai...
You're the very first readers of this w.i.p.

I definitely need some generous playtesters... I know it takes some time to print and cut the cards (though it's a light game... ), but at this stage it would be of a great help.

I can provide a few rounds summary if it can be of any help, or a faq, etc...

Thanks a lot, once again !

3ddevine
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That setup image helps out a

That setup image helps out a lot (and looks really nice by the way). I read through the rules and they seem pretty straight forward and clear. During your personal playtests did you find that the humans and werewolves stood an equal chance at winning? The rules gave my brain the impression that the humans had the advantage, I was curious if that was also true during play.

le_renard
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Thanks and FAQs

Hi 3ddevine and thanks a lot for reading the rules...

During the first solo playtests, the humans had a real advantage...
so I changed a few things... to make it short, the Peasant has to produce resources up to the value of one of the city the humans control. Then, the Recruiter can use those resources to "recruit" ( surprise surprise ) Soldiers. On the contrary, the Werewolf player just has to play the Infectious Werewolf card... this creature can infect the population of a city controlled byt the werewolf player and convert the City value -1 to a number of Werewolves.
I added the "Militia" ability to the Peasant. Instead of producing resources, he can "recruit" 1 ( and only one ) Soldier during his turn....

Little things like that helped balancing things.

The 3 latest playtests seemed much more balanced and only a few victory points separated the two sides...

A few things that are not clearly mentionned in the rules :
- the number of soldiers, werewolves, trail and resources is limited. When you have no more soldiers... then you can't recruit anymore... etc...
- the werewolf player cannot redeploy his troops as he wants. ex: he takes a city... gains the city card, but he MUST leaves his werewolves on this card, unlike the humans that have the Redeploy trait.
- when a City controlled by humans is taken by the werewolves, all human soldiers that were on this city card are killed and removed from the game ( if there were any resources on this city, the werewolf can take them )
- when a City controlled by werewolves is taken by the humans, all werewolves that were on this city card are killed but ARE NOT removed from the game ( they can be resurrected by the Witch )

The game is definitely asymetrical, but I'd like to make it balanced though !

bonsaigames
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le_renard wrote:...The game

le_renard wrote:
...The game is definitely asymetrical, but I'd like to make it balanced though !

I don't really see why you want to make it balanced. Asymetrical games are some of the most interesting types out there and can really improve the replay value. In your game, I like the way the humans and werewolves play differently. If you have a game that is decided by a narrow margin most of the time, there's no reason to ammend it for the sake of balance. If Space Marines, Zerg, and Protoss all played the same, Starcraft would not have been so successful.

Have you thought of adding in more factions in the future, such as Zombies, or Vampires? If so, working out how those things work now while you're still playtesting and designing makes expansions so much easier in the long run.

Best of luck!
Levi

3ddevine
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You have a good point Bonsai,

You have a good point Bonsai, I have never made an asymetrical game like this so that thought didnt even cross my mind. And the fact that this is a 2 player fast card game makes it more likely that someone would want to try again if they lost. Just make sure that its not too difficult/impossible for the underdog to win...unless you have different scenarios that people could play through, some harder than others.

bonsaigames
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3ddevine wrote:...unless you

3ddevine wrote:
...unless you have different scenarios that people could play through, some harder than others.

Scenarios is a great idea 3ddevine! This is a great way to highlight the advantages of each faction's play style.

le_renard
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Thanks to both of you

Thanks to both of you !

bonsaigames wrote:
I don't really see why you want to make it balanced. Asymetrical games are some of the most interesting types out there and can really improve the replay value.

By "balanced" I just mean "playable"... I don't want one of the sides to be an almost impossible challenge.
Honestly, I don't think it's the case...

Quote:
Have you thought of adding in more factions in the future, such as Zombies, or Vampires? If so, working out how those things work now while you're still playtesting and designing makes expansions so much easier in the long run.

My bigger project which inspired this light game is based on historical facts, and stories too.
Stories of witchcraft and werewolves trials and executions in Europe and especially in France where we had this quite indelicate tendancy to burn, torture or throw into deep waters a lot of people... Plague : throw the Jews into the river ! / Famine : burn the witch / etc...

But I guess there are some possibilities of extra factions... Good idea !

3ddevine wrote:
...unless you have different scenarios that people could play through, some harder than others.

I totally agree... I plan to add some Event cards into the City deck.
"Night is falling..." advantage to the Werewolves during x turn....
"Village of the Doomed" : the revealed City is already infected...
"The Relic Merchant" : pay x Resource to the Merchant to buy the bones or some hair of this or that saint and gain a bonus during x turn...
"The Bitten King" : the King has been bitten during a hunt. Add 1 Trail token to this card at the beginning of each turn. When 4 tokens are on the card, the King turns into a Werewolf. The game is over.
etc...

This could be a good way of adding replayability to the game...

A ( nice ) guy on BGG suggested this to me, I think it is really a good idea...

brenton ( from BGG ) wrote:
One change that I think would be cool--no need to make it, but worth a thought--would be to create 3-4 more roles and then duplicate all of them. The players could draw a hand of the role cards + always keep the Leader card, giving them an unknown hand of cards that would make for a bit of imperfect information. The Leader card would allow the player to draw back up from the deck, rather than picking up the cards they have already played.

It wouldn't be a big change, but I think people like having decks and a bit of random chance ("I hope that he draws all weaklings!", "I really need the Knight Templar this hand! Come on!").

What do you think ?

Moapy
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I think Brenton's idea is

I think Brenton's idea is really good. I'm usually not very big on luck mechanics (although my latest game is very luck based.. go figure) I think that a small element of luck keeps a game fresh and it also makes it more accessible. The less luck that a game has means that it has a higher skill roof and playing against an experienced player can be really not fun. Hence why I can't ever get any of my non-gaming friends to play chess, but they love a game of Talisman.

alvae64
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Round summary would be great

I have the pdf and will print and slice today. Can you provide a round summary?

Cheers,
Eric

rcjames14
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The Direction You Want To Go

As a WIP, the game flow looks promising. However, it seems like a number of devices in the design are currently acting as stand ins until you figure out the best way to handle them. Some of the elements which appear raw at the moment is the randomness of the dominance dynamic, the lack of card draw, and near unpredictable asymmetry.

It's not clear to me why the dominant player automatically gets a victory point every turn. If there are not a lot of turns on the game, this will tend to favor the player who gets lucky this game with die rolls for no particular reason.

Also, as Brenton has suggested, it might be interesting to introduce hand management into the game by giving each player a deck to draw from. Otherwise, you have near perfect information. And I'm not sure that the current depth of the game can support strategy for long without hidden information.

As far as I can tell, the goals of both players are nearly identical, but the decks are quite different. It's almost certain to be the case that one of the decks is better than the other and the more cards you add the less easy it will be to correct the imbalance. I'm struck by the analogy between the design process of this game and the evolution of predator-prey systems. With one side better able to prey on the other, it will take a lot of genetic mutation (vis a vis cards) and trials to find a stable equilibrium. But in that case, you risk designing the dynamic you wish to see, rather than letting it emerge from players own strategies.

I like the general flow and conceit of the game though. It's interesting, the idea of removing game turn tokens and placing them on the board to keep track of the end of the game. It very well may become the basis for an interesting resource system if you're willing to expand it. But, ultimately you have to decide how "lite" you want this game to be. It has the potential to expand in the direction of hand management and economic management if you want to go in that direction.

le_renard
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alvae64 wrote:I have the pdf

alvae64 wrote:
I have the pdf and will print and slice today. Can you provide a round summary?

Cheers,
Eric

hi eric... sorry for the late reply...

Do you need something more detailed? like a typical round with examples? or just the different steps?

le_renard
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thanks a lot rcjames14 for

thanks a lot rcjames14 for such an extensive post... it's precious to me...

you're right about the victory points given for the dominance tokens... too random to be deserved. At leasr directly because it would be good to use it as a new resource and give the players the opportunity to do something out of it, even if i still have to find what! any ideas?

i like the idea of a slight predator-prey feeling... encouraging a wilder or more wicked style of play for the werewolf side is also something i want...

i'd like to give a little more depth to the game but keep it playable under 45mn or so... (around 30 or 35 right now...)

a better hand management is definitely something i need...

once again, thanks a lot to all of you!

rcjames14
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Resources and Evolution

I do not wish to change the direction you wish to take with this game too much, so I am reluctant to make too many suggestions regarding a token resource system. But I think it might be interesting if there were communal resource generating cards from which each player can collect tokens and place them on top of cards in their control. When some (or all) of those communal resource pools are empty, then perhaps the game ends. So... It would give players a lot of control over the pace of the game... especially if card play can replenish the tokens in the pool.

In your particular case, this pool could be a combination of peasants, goods, wealth, political favors, arms, what have you... Which you can deploy to your cities or use to attack your opponent. The generation and allocation of these resources could be dictated by the roles that you choose for your turn. (on a side note, I think you will want players to control the pace at which city cards emerge, perhaps through role cards, otherwise you might find a swamping effect of disputed territory).

With regard to the concept of the evolution of predator and prey systems, I was referring to your game design process as well as the game itself. Though I see how it fits the theme well, the fact that one side is a predator and the other is a prey will create a system like the one described by the Lotka-Volterra equation.

In asymmetry, one side will inevitably be more power than the other. As a result, it will tend to win. A common solution for you is to remove some power from the winning side, which will cause the "prey" to over populate the environment, and the system will collapse in the other direction. Only when one side kills the other at the same pace that the other one breeds at, will the system approach a relative equilibrium. But, in this case, since the evolutionary equilibrium comes after lots of ups and downs, by the time you find the rate of growth/rate of predation that matches, you will risk having engineered the viable strategies that players can take, rather than letting the players discover them.

le_renard
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Your post is really rich... I

Your post is really rich...
I particularly like the "prey-predator" relationship you describe here, even if, to be honest, I don't feel "math-oriented" enough to be able to use it... ( I now deeply regret that no math teacher ever found the way to show me the beauty and the importance of mathematics, even in creative process... )

As for the "communal resource"... I don't want the players to feel overwhelmed by too many options, so the "only" ( without adding anything ) available "resource" definitely is those Game Turns tokens ( as they're called now ).

I'm also convinced of the necessity of adding more roles and some "hidden" informations ( role cards to be drawn instead of having a fixed and permanent hand ).

So I guess I could use some roles to convert those "Wealth Tokens" ( that, just as a reminder, are gained by being the Dominant/First player... to make it short, by rolling a die ^^ ) into something else because of new role cards...

Example : the Builder could convert X Wealth to Fortify one city, the Weapon Forger could convert X Wealth to forge better weapon ( giving an attack bonus... ), the Merchant could convert X Wealth into Y Resource ( usually directly produced by Peasants ) then put Z Wealth back into the Wealth pool... and so on...

To avoid the First player to gain such advantages just by rolling a die, I think I may allow the First player to take, let's say 2 Wealth, when the other player could only take 1 Wealth...

Are you guys thinking I'm on the right track ?

le_renard
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Hello again... I have tried

Hello again...
I have tried tweaking the game a little, here is what I have tried this week-end...

- "Time" Deck : Every turn, both players draw cards from this deck. When this deck is empty, the game ends. This deck is composed of 34 Support Cards of different values ( 1 : 50% - 2 : 33% - 3 : 17% )

- "Allies" Deck cards : 8 "Neutral" Characters that both side can "hire" to benefit from their talents. Most Allies require a certain amount of Support Cards to trigger their abilities, etc...
Example : The Builder - Pay 3 Support Points to fortify a City of your choice

Beginning of a turn...
1. 3 "Ally Cards" are drawn from the Ally Deck and put into play, face-up.
2. The Dominant player is determined by rolling a die
3. The Dominant Player draws 2 Time Cards. The other player draws only 1 Time Card.
4. Each player chooses 1 Ally among the 3 available. ( If both players chose the same Ally, the Dominant player wins the tie. The loser may choose another Ally though... )
5. The Allies abilities are triggered.
6. etc... ( dominant player plays his first role card, second player plays, etc... in a A-B-B-A sequence... )

What do you think of these ideas ?

le_renard
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Hand Management idea...

This is how I plan to manage the Role Cards, etc...

Each player has his own deck of Role Cards.
These decks are constituted of Role Cards and Domain Cards.
Each Role Card has a Domain symbol ( Attack, Protection, Knowledge, Production, Social, Curse, etc... )
The Domain Cards are kind of "boosting cards" that will grant a bonus to a Role.

Example : Bernard wants to Attack the city of Toulouse. He fortunately has "The Knight" role card in hand, which grants him the possibility to attack and a +1 bonus for this attack.
Bernard has also drawn a Attack Domain Card.
The Knight Role Card and the Attack Domain Card share the same symbol, signifying that they can be associated and played together.
Bernard plays his Knight and places his Attack Domain Card too. He will be able to attack with a +2 bonus during this turn.

At the end of his turn, this player has only 2 cards remaining in his hand ( 2 roles + the domain card ), so he needs to replenish his hand. He draws 3 cards from his deck.
He could also decide to discard one or all the cards remaining in his hand before replenishing his hand.

All the played Role or Domain cards are placed in a Discard Pile. When the Role Deck is empty, the Discard pile is shuffled and put back into play as the Role Deck...

le_renard
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V 1.2 First playtests

So tonight I have ran 2 new solo playtests, using a new version of the game.
I had not included any new roles, but duplicated all the cards ( 3 copies of the Knight, 1 of the King, 2 of the Monk, etc... )
I had included Domain Cards and a simple Hand Management system...
( You draw 5 cards, if you're not happy with your hand, you can discard and draw new cards to a 2:1 rate. You can do it whenever you want during your turn )

I'm very happy with it, it was a lot of fun to play, even in solo ( maybe a little bit too easy for The Werewolves I guess, but I have some ideas to fix that ).

Even if I didn't add the Time Deck ( former Game turns tokens ) and its associated Support Points ( a new ressource I plan to use to hire Allies ), I took these playtests as opportunities to test the feel of drawing those resources and the general flow, etc...

Though the determination of the Dominant player is totally random ( you roll a die to determine it ), the final distributed Support Points were quite balanced ( 26 sp for one side and 27 for the other ).

I distributed the Support Points like that : 17x1sp / 10x2sp / 6x3sp.
The game lasts 11 turns.

I must confess I'm a bit anxious about adding this Allies-to-hire option, because it might lengthen the game or slow it down.
One solution could be to give the players the opportunity to hire Allies not every turns.
Maybe only when 3 Ally Cards are displayed face-up on the table. One Ally card being drawn and placed on the table each turn....

But well... the game really starts to shape...

le_renard
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City of the Wolves - V2

Hello again,
I have spent the last weeks working on several projects, including City of the Wolves.
Thanks to some precious help on BGG, the game has evolved into something much better.

Here is a link to download the v2 rules.
The cards are not included yet, and to be honest I'm afraid there may be too many cards to print and cut to easily find some playtesters....( 90 something I think... )

But if any of you are willing to help me and give it a try, I can upload the cards too.

Anyway, here is the PDF rulebook link :
https://www.yousendit.com/download/T2dkeFVaQk5vQnZyZHNUQw

As usual, your advice and critics are more than welcome !

le_renard
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A couple of friends

A couple of friends playstested this v2 last night and it was great !
Far from being perfect... Some roles needs to be polished or simply removed, etc...
But the "game flow" and the mechanics seems to work nicely, the theme could be reinforced by better graphics and components, but well.. all the elements were there.

The next steps are :
- fixing a couple of details (in the cards, not in the rules)
- updating and uploading all the cards in case someone would be willing to give this game a try

I have a couple of ideas under my belt that some of you mentioned here and I want to keep :
- additional factions / cities
- event cards that can be placed in some decks ( riots / climate / plague )
- scenarii cards : a couple of story cards triggered by some actions or during fixed rounds

These ideas might be kept for later development...

I would be very grateful if you could take a few minutes to read the current version of the rules and tell me what you think of it...

Thanks a lot !

le_renard
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NEW UPDATE : City of the Wolves - Rulebook & Cards (1/2) - v2

NEW UPDATE : City of the Wolves - Rulebook & Cards - v2 :
You can now download the rules from my Dropbox account here :
http://db.tt/l9rz60aj
A lot of things have changed since the last version...

The Ally and City Cards can be downloaded too, in low-ink and color version :
Low-ink Version : http://db.tt/9wH4HZ9S
Color Version : http://db.tt/mRZKATp5

The "color" version is just a simple old paper textured version...

The Characters Decks ( the hands of players ) and Support Cards are not included yet. ( they will be uploaded in a couple of days )

le_renard
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Print'n'Play Prototype Version

Print'n'Play prototype version of City of the Wolves - Rulebook & All Cards - v2 :
You can now download the rules from my Dropbox account here :
http://db.tt/l9rz60aj

All the cards can be downloaded too, in low-ink version :
All cards : http://db.tt/2WND0jUe

This version is now a print'n'play prototype...
You only need some color wooden cubes and a die to try it and tell me what you liked and didn't like.

Your feedback is really precious to me and will be help me improving this design !

le_renard
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French rules

I have translated the rules into french.. I'm sure it's pretty useless here, but well here it is ^^:
http://db.tt/z9SqqI5c

le_renard
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Good news !

I have received very encouraging news from France about this game !
Nothing is done yet, but at least the game seems attractive and taken as seriously as it can be !
Please, keep on posting comments and sending pm about this project !
All suggestions and advices are more than welcome !

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