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Strongholds (card & dice game)

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JewellGames
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Strongholds

Rules v2.8 | Components v1.7



Categories: Medieval, Variable Player Powers, Dice Rolling, Set Collection, Fighting

In this game, you command strongholds along the border of a contested region. Your goal is to deploy units to attack and destroy opposing strongholds while upgrading your own defenses and capabilities. The first player to destroy all 3 of their opponent’s strongholds wins!


An example of a stronghold Keep card and two connected Tower cards:


The dice emblems:

(click images to enlarge)

JewellGames
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Idea for defense counter?

Instead of using dice, chips etc for tracking defense I had thought about providing an optional method using a card.

See the OP images for my initial idea.

So far, I am using a "flag" defense counter card that I slide up and down but I need to do further testing if that becomes too fiddly or if it too easily slides around losing track of current value.

I am wondering if you guys have any ideas or feedback, thanks!

let-off studios
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I'm a fan of SGR so I'll be

I'm a fan of SGR so I'll be jumping into this in the near future when I've some free time. :)

JewellGames
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Thanks

Thanks! I plan to have the component files uploaded in a few days.

ChromeWarriorXIII
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Looks pretty cool. The only

Looks pretty cool. The only problem that stuck out to me in the rules was one of the Neutral Ally cards. "Ignore an attacking stronghold’s racial weakness penalty." This card seems incredibly situational compared to the others. All of the other ones can be used no matter what, but if you get that and you and your opponent are playing different races you've essentially wasted a draw. I would recommend either changing the card or having it in the rulebook to only include this card if both players are the using the same race.

JewellGames
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Thank you

Very true, it is fairly situational. That was a reason I removed another ally ability too. Thank you for the feedback.

I am struggling to find enough unique abilities since I have trimmed some of the game features right now (i.e. no champion unit dice, defender die, etc). But having 2 of a lot of these abilities doesn't really hurt the game at all.

JewellGames
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A new idea I am testing right

A new idea I am testing right now and the few playtesters I have used it with have really liked so far is:

The optional Defender Die

The sides of the defender die are the same as the unit die except the die will be brown/blue/grey in color to distinguish itself.

How it works:
Lets say your opponent attacks your dwarf stronghold with an elf stronghold for 3 attack. You can choose to accept the attack as is or you can choose to risk it and roll the defender die.

If you choose to roll the defender die and the clan rolled matches your defending stronghold's clan (dwarf) or a knight is rolled you instantly deal 1 damage back to the attacker. If the mason result is rolled you take 1 less damage.

However, if any of the other 3 clans (elves, gnomes, or men in this case) are rolled you take 1 extra damage!

Again this die would be optional to the player every time they are defending from an attack.

What do you think?

ChromeWarriorXIII
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I think that's a great idea.

I think that's a great idea. I always enjoy risk/reward mechanics in games. Plus, it makes it so that the both players are always involved. Even when it's not their turn, they get to do something that can affect them quite a bit.

You could also now make a couple of ally cards that are based around the defender die, such as getting to roll it twice (potentially decreasing (or increasing) the amount of damage you take even more).

JewellGames
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Exactly! Right now I have

Exactly!

Right now I have "Reroll an unwanted defender die result." as a confirmed ability and am testing the power/balance of a few other related abilities before releasing.

JewellGames
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Playtest Ready

This game is now playtest ready with the low ink components. This weekend I may make low ink alternative keeps that replace the emblems on the custom dice with standard dice pips.

It will be less thematic but will allow playtesters to just print the cards, grab some standard d6s, and play away.

In the meantime, a standard d6 breakdown is:

1 = Gnome (smallest)
2 = Dwarf
3 = Elf
4 = Man (biggest)
5 = Knight
6 = Mason (this looks like a tower)

So its pretty easy to associate.

ChromeWarriorXIII
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Cool. I've been really busy

Cool. I've been really busy but as soon as I get some free time I'll print this out and find (force) someone to play it with me.

JewellGames
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Thanks

Thanks.

Here is a link to my Strongholds BGG entry for the 2014 2player PnP Contest.

It links back to my WIP thread which has some recent pics of the printed components. I went to UPS Store and got them printed on cardstock for ~$4.00.

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New Versions of Components

I finally uploaded the color version of the components.

I also created a low ink version that displays the standard dice pips instead of the custom dice symbols for players who don't have the resources to make the custom dice.

JewellGames
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Tactic system

See below for details

JewellGames
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New skill level system

A few new changes coming in v2.1 of the rules sometime this week:

-Tactic has been renamed to skill.

-Tactic execution chance changed from a flat 0/50/100% for all strongholds to a new skill level system based on stronghold size.

Small stronghold's start with 0 skill level, medium with 1 skill level, and large with 2 skill level. Each tower from an upgrade adds 2 skill level.

See table here.

-When attacking, if your stronghold's skill level is above 0 you will roll the skill die (standard numbered d6). If the roll result is less than or equal to your stronghold's total skill level you perform your clan's skill.

-Bumped up the power of the Men skill, Demoralize, to reduce the defending stronghold's attack AND skill level by 1.

-With the new skill level system I had to slightly alter the card layout to add the new stat. A stronghold's starting skill level value is displayed below the starting attack value.

See new layout image here.

I wanted the tower and keep icons to line up with each other so a quick scan of a stronghold instantly told the player what their combined attack and skill level was.

So, from the image link above if I match 3 dwarf dice results to attack, my total attack is 4 and total skill level is 5 (5/6 = 83% chance to perform clan skill).

JewellGames
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New Design

Before I continue with this design...

Do you like this style more of less than the current one?

New Design 1

New Design 2

JewellGames
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Got some feedback from

Got some feedback from players that preferred the old "build a stronghold look" design to the new "character" design so here is a hybrid of the old and new:

Hyrbid Design v1

Hyrbid Design v2

JewellGames
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A quick update

A quick update:

-I have enlarged the dice icons for my prototype sticker sheet and for the next version of the components.

-I finished all the newly designed keep, tower, and relic cards.

-I also added two new mini-expansion keep cards to the components for gamers to playtest.

This will be the design for version 1.5 of the components:

Stronghold
Relic

Two keep cards from the new mini-expansion Rebels with a Cause are also available to playtest in this version. The keeps are manned by the Knights and the Rebels.

The Knights have higher stats in comparison to their attack cost but only Knight dice results can be used.

Knight’s Ability: Charge – The opponent cannot use the defender die against this attack.

The Rebels have weaker stats in comparison to their attack cost but any mixed combination of the primary clan unit dice results equal to the attack cost can be used. So, Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, and Men can be used but
Knights (and of course Masons) cannot be used toward the Rebel’s attack cost.

Rebel’s Ability: Delve – Draw a relic card.

Knights
Rebels

JewellGames
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Update

A quick update:

Since getting back I have slightly tweaked the design.

- Reworked the castle image
- Changed the upgrade cost setup to somewhat match the attack cost setup
- Toying around with bigger clan emblems (the emblems nested in shields make the emblems much smaller). This is merely a design test so I may go back to shield emblems.
-Moved the upgrade cost information from the bottom to up under the castle and pushed the skill textbox to the bottom
- Changed the skill icon and added a very small matching icon next to the skill value box to correlate the two.
-Added matching stat icons in the ability text to correlate the ability with the stat it is affecting.

Updated Card Design (Dwarves)

Updated Card Design (Elves)

What do you like/dislike about the changes? Would you prefer the mason dice and emblem to be the same size and in-line with the other icons?

Do you like the new emblems for dwarves/elves more or less than the shield emblems? Thanks!

JewellGames
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Stronghold with two connected

The updated design of a stronghold keep card with two connected tower cards. What do you like/dislike over the older design?

Stronghold Image

JewellGames
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The new colored dice

The new colored dice icons:

(click image to enlarge)

What are your thoughts?

danieledeming
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Long time lurker, first time commentor...

So let me first say I have been keeping up to date with all of your developments and, though I haven't had a chance to play through it yet, I definitely want to.

That said, I really like the evolution of the designs, especially how they've changed from their originals.

With the current design, I really like the first four - don't change a thing. The Knights and Masons logos, though, don't seem congruous with the rest of those designs. The symbols work, and the colors are fine (B/W and W/B), however, you have embellished shields with the other four designs (altered shape) but not with the final two. Maybe a slight alteration, even to just one of them would make them consistent with the other designs.

Also, if you can put the Knights face on a black background, it would also help, from a design standpoint. All the other designs have the colored outline (even the Masons), the white border and then the colored middle, but with a white middle, you can't do that. If you can't do the black background, maybe make the knights another color like grey or purple?

Keep the designs coming, though - love seeing the progress. Gives me hope for my own...

JewellGames
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Thank you for the encouraging

Thank you for the encouraging words and I wish you well on your design!

Since I went with a classic circle for the Gnomes I thought why not a "bubbled" square for the Masons? Now each one is technically unique but I am still finding the identity I want for the Knights.

In the meantime here is the new Masons emblem, thanks again for sparking the idea.

(click on images to enlarge)

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Updates

The rules and components have been updated to reflect the recent design changes.

One change to note:

I switched the Knight's & Rebel's ability. I felt the stronger ability should associate with the stronger unit. However, due to the Knight's overall stat and ability strength its upgrade costs are 3 Mason results instead of the standard 2 Mason results.

JewellGames
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Update

I have updated the components and rules in the OP to reflect some recent changes from playtesting:

- Removed Relic Cards from the components and rules

- Added the Rally Horn to the rules

The Rally Horn grants the player extra rerolls of unit dice, the skill die, and the defender die.

- The Knights' ability was changed from "Draw a Relic Card." to "Add 2 Points to a Rally Horn (max of 6)."

Also, the knight emblem background is now light grey but it won't be implemented until the next version.

BENagy
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I just want to say that I

I just want to say that I love this! Not too complicated, and looks fun. The rules you have are for two players, but any chance it'll expand to 4? I think it could scale rather easily. I'd love to get a copy, if you ever started selling it. =)

JewellGames
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Awesome, thanks for the

Awesome, thanks for the encouragement!

I'm looking into 4 player rules (both free-for-all and teams) I'll keep everyone updated on the progress.

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Updates

BENagy wrote:
I just want to say that I love this! Not too complicated, and looks fun. The rules you have are for two players, but any chance it'll expand to 4? I think it could scale rather easily. I'd love to get a copy, if you ever started selling it. =)

It has been a loooong time since an update.

The reasons for the game's slow development has been design limitations while trying to match the theme and mechanics. I really do love the theme of keeps/towers and attacking other keeps but coming up with new towers and interactions with the factions/tower effects was difficult.

A majority of the key concepts have remained the same with artificial tweaks:

5 Action Dice - Symbols:
4 Different Factions --> 4 Different Energy Types (each related to a Hero)
Knights (wildcard) --> Neutral Energy Type (wildcard)
Masons (to build towers) --> Hand (To equipping weapons and shields)

6 Factions (Dwarves, Gnomes, Elves, Men, Knights, Rebels) --> 6 Heroes (Warrior, Cleric, Ranger, Mage, Champion, Rogue)

The 3 different stat builds per Hero is exactly the same as before

Attack Cost --> Energy Cost (to attack)
Attack --> Attack
Skill --> Ability
Defense --> Defense
Rallyhorn (this came later in development) --> Focus

Major Changes

Up to 4 players! With a new targeting system, the game can be played with 2-4 players! The targeting system is very simple but prevents "ganging" up on one specific player. The beauty of the system is if you DO want to be able to gang up then the target cards can simply be removed during setup.

Instead of 2 Mason results to build 1 tower, it only requires 1 Hand result to equip main hand weapons/off hand shields and 2 Hand results to equip a two hand weapon. This keeps the main focus on the fight, allows players to equip their heroes before dying, and even allows players to easily replace equipment as the battle changes.

Strongholds previously had 1 static Tower to build. Currently there are over 50 different weapons and shields in balance testing. This sounds like a lot but the "armory" only contains 5 equipment at a time and is replenished whenever equipment is taken. This avoids overwhelming the players and give replay value to the game.

During the end of Strongholds phase 1 development, I asked myself what to do with left over dice. We had cards you could buy that "enhanced" your future turns but it felt clunky. Then we had an actions that if you didnt use ANY of the 5 dice you got a 5 pip "Rallyhorn". EVerytime you wanted to reroll a die, you could spend 1 pip.

Finally, we asked ourselves, "why not just naturally have any unused action dice convert to Focus at the end of your turn?"

Now all unused action dice are converted to Focus at the end of your turn. Also, during setup, the starting player starts with 1 Focus, the next player starts with 2, the next player with 3 and last player with 4. This slightly offsets the disadvantages of going later.

Each time a player spend 1 Focus they can reroll 1 action die, 1 ability die, or 1 defender die.

The new cards are back to basic prototype stage so they do not look as polished as Strongholds post phase 1. I will post those next just to get an idea of what we have been working on.

JewellGames
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Cards

Heroes (click for full size):

The (high stat build) Warrior with a weapon and shield (click for full size):

JewellGames
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Change

I didn't like the energy type row in the upper left corner, so I merged it into the stat section. I also tweaked the layout and went back to a white background while prototyping.

HPS74
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Whoa - coming along nicely

Looking good Gregg.......nice to see the evolution of design from post to post!

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