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Crystal Heroes — Still a very strong design

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questccg
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Well it took me like 2 hours to playtest "Crystal Heroes" (CH) with the new Crystal Count and only one (1) Single Crystal Pouch. This was for many reasons, from Manufacturing costs (now lowered by 33%) to too much confusion (it was difficult to keep track whose Crystals belong to what player -- Now it doesn't matter, they all come and go into one Pouch) to finding a purpose for the Champion cards (aside from them being your Victory Points, now they also HIDE the top of each player's Deck).

Super-stoked about all these changes because each one SOLIDIFIES the "core" game experience and makes the game more "user-friendly".

I also re-worked my Reward Tiers. No more "1 Player Versions" of the game. This was like "Tradewars" (the original box set). Again the assumption was that many players would buy their own sets and play together with their friends and fellow gamers. Again, WRONG! So, I naturally removed the 1 Player Version and added more Crystals to the 2 Player Version and lowered the Crystals to the 4 Player Version ... And voila... The costs balance each other out... And the price remains almost the same.

Other than this was a minor price increase and reasonable price drop. Let me explain. So again, with the Pouch being larger and more Crystals ... The 2 Player (Duel) option was increased by a few dollars ($35 USD to $39 USD). Still very affordable at the 2 Player Level. But there was a drop in price for the 4 Player (Multi-Player) option ($65 USD to $59 USD).

My guess is that these should round-out ... And give $+4 USD and $-6 USD a bit of a savings or just average out if there are more 2 Player Rewards sold than the 4 Player ones.

Really pleased at how this "streamlining" of the game has made for better (or similar) pricing in addition to improving the game overall.

About the playtest: Player #2 won in the 11th Round by drawing the last missing resource she needed (Lady Eloin). The game was controlled much by Player #2 ... By +4 Draws ... Which meant more Conquests (Player #2 did have 3 extra) and luckier rolls (only 1 of those). It wasn't run-away ... And it wasn't about sheer luck either.
Just better odds/probabilities because it came down to the wire (so-to-speak). But it was Player #2 game to lose, since Player #1 had no hope of winning in the 12th Round...

Anyhow the game is still reasonable to play and I've improved the overall "product" to something more "cohesive" too!

questccg
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Golly gosh darn it!

OMG during my latest Playtest ... I FORGOT that the "6s" are supposed to be WILDCARDS (player's choice from 1 to 5)!!! I knew something was wrong... it felt too "difficult" when trying to collect Crystals.

I'll conduct another Playtest this week. Man ... What a stupid omission.

It's my own game ... and I forgot. See now THIS is exactly WHY the games NEEDS "custom" D6S: so that the 6s can be replaced with a STAR ... And then NOBODY in the World will forget that LUCKY 6s are wildcards... Sheesh.

Ack ... That would have had such a BIG impact (I remember rolling 6s and thinking is there a 7+ resource drop???) I think the game would have ended earlier and the game would have been a bit closer too. To the point that I THINK Player #1 would have been in closer contention to WIN the game!

Okay we need another Playtest with the 6s...! Will post an update after this happens, explaining the nature of the results from that game.

Cheers!

questccg
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Just started another dry run!

We'll see how it goes with the *NEW* Crystal Count and only having ONE (1) Bag for all of the Crystals. I'd just like to get a better "feel" for the game since it was much tighter than usually (my last attempt). Of course I forgot about the 6s being WILD... No wonder it was much hard to accumulate Crystals when they we placed in play.

Will continue with tonight's playtest and report back to you all about the quality of the game and any concerns that I may have.

Update #1: Player #2 is leading 4-to-1 at the end of the 4th Round. While this may seem like a "run-away leader" issue, I know from experience that the opponent most of the time has the capacity to catch-up and even beat the early leader!

Update #2: Player #2 blew Player #1 away: 11-to-5. And Player #2 completed his Fever requirement to win. At a point in the game, there was a RISK of losing the game, because Player #1 drew 3 Chaos Gems. And there was the potential of a victory (lucky draw) ... Which would have seen Player #2 who was dominating the match ... Lose by poor luck...

questccg
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Resource vs. Hero Advancement

One of the minor issues with the game is BALANCING between leveling-up your Heroes and earning more Resources to Win the game. The issue is that because players are focused on WINNING the game, most players will opt to collect "Resources" instead of "Ex-P Crystals". And this, in a way, makes the "Ex-P Crystals" ALMOST "useless" (I say almost because on some RARE occasions... A player may choose an "Ex-P Crystal when it suits him/her).

So what I have been thinking about is that after a Conquest, when a Hero drops Loot, ALL "Ex-P Crystals" would be automatically collected by the winner of that Conquest. He/She would also collect one (1) Free "Crystal" of their choosing and then roll for more options to collect more "Resources"...

Therefore a Conquest would allow the Victor first pick (one Res), all Ex-P Crystals and the opportunity to roll for more Res.

This is what I have for the time being...

questccg
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UPDATE: I already had this mechanic!

I re-read some of my Game Notes (TXT) and found that I had ALREADY made the decision to "automatically" collect any and all Ex-P Crystals that get dropped ... This is yet another ADVANTAGE to winning a "Conquest". I guess I had already come to the conclusion that the Ex-P Crystals would be ignored until a specific occasion occurs which requires additional STATS to boost an attack (for example).

So I guess thinking up this mechanic TWICE is proof that this is the BEST choice/alternative for "Crystal Heroes" (CH)...

terzamossa
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question

Hello Quest,
I read some of this thread yesterday, so I hope I remember my thoughts correctly and am not forgetting any info you might have given higher up.
Just a thought, from somebody who doesn't know almost anything about you game. Maybe it's useful, maybe not.
I read several times in this thread something like "this is an even better option because it makes more convenient the use of Ex-P crystals" and it seems like if other things are not fixed, this crystals will be ignored.
My question is, have you considered dropping the Ex-P crystals altogether?
As I said I don't know much about your game. But if the rest of it works tightly together maybe dropping something that can be ignored would be the best option/cheaper manufacture and most importantly simpler rules for new players?
If those crystals are 50% of the game (maybe they become paramount in a second phase and you need to tie them to a first part, I have something similar in my game) of course I take back all of this :)
Let me know what you think!
Cheers,
Antonio

questccg
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About dropping Ex-P Crystals...

terzamossa wrote:
...My question is, have you considered dropping the Ex-P crystals altogether?

They are about a quarter of the game. But really not "required" for this First Edition. In the future, to make for balanced games, Ex-P Crystals will help players significantly. There are only nine (9) of these Crystals in the game (15% of the total amount of Crystals).

If have to do more "tweaking" to do and ... also think about having STRONGER Game Tiles as part of the game... Things like: "How the current set compares to them?" Will more than half of them require Ex-P Crystals to be competitive, IDK ATM?!

I don't want the game to be Pay-To-Play meaning you need the latest Tiles to be competitive... No ... There needs to be a finer balance. And I'm working on that "AS-I-TYPE"! I had some "ideas" last night... That I need to work on this week.

Basically I will BOOST the "chase" mechanic in the Game Tile Packs.

Because there is a limited amount of Game Tiles, I have decided to introduce 3 versions of each: common, uncommon and rare. This means MAJOR excitement when buying and opening Booster Packs! Will you get a bunch of "rare" Game Tiles??? Potentially the randomizer could allow a 12 pack all filled with "rare" Tiles (WOW!!!)

The question is: What are "rare" Game Tiles???

They are Game Tiles with STATs that are just a "bit" more competitive. So yeah having "rare" (or "uncommon") offer a player an "enhanced" version of the common Tile. It's not too much... But sometimes small benefits can make an important difference!

This is something that I must work on this week... BTW thanks for your interest and comment. No worries ... I would not remove Ex-P Crystals unless it "breaks" the game in some way. ATM they will make for "rarity" and offer better "Booster Packs" (a reason to buy!)

And this is for the PLAYERS not the collectors. Collectors will be satisfied with the "common" versions. It's the Game's PLAYERS who will want the little-bit "extra" to add to their Micro Decks!

Cheers...

questccg
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Variation of the STATs will be a key feature...

I don't think MANY games feature "rarity" as a method of having better cards... It's often a "weird" occurrence like Magic's Fetch-lands which make cards beneficial to play and sometimes more valuable than other cards.

But I don't think that's how Magic uses "rarity"... You cannot say that all common cards are less useful than their more RARE counterparts, can you??? No... Not from what I have seen.

In "Crystal Heroes" (CH) ... Because I am using "The Game Crafter" (TGC) to publish this design... I also benefit from their "randomizer". The PLAN is to offer common, uncommon and rare Game Tiles for each Tile. This means that when you open up you Hook Box, you will of course have a random Deck. But the 15 Game Tiles you will find inside will have "mixed" rarity.

As I said, each Game Tile can be common, uncommon and rare. It will be indicated on the Tile's numbering the "rarity". And for good use, players will be able to peruse the library of Tiles that are made available to the PLAYERS. Indeed this is a PLAYERS feature. Not Tiles that only look good, these will actually be Tiles you can use "better".

Why "better"??? Well in most cases, the "rarity" makes the Tiles just a bit "stronger". Not by a lot, only a little... And that's the difference between a common and rare Tile. One or two STATs that are improved upon or better with "experience" (eg. the Ex-P Crystals).

Again what I am doing would probably be impossible in most real-world scenarios. But because it's TGC, it IS possible and I plan to make something of it. Trying to make use of a "feature" that most designers ignore or have no use for.

And I PLAN to increase the "value" of the boosters in terms of PLAYERS wanting to buy more packs to get the "improved" cards. At least in some sense it means that players are getting "more" for their investment and that there are odds at play too... I am excited to see these collectibles be used in PLAY. After all, if it's only ART a collector is interested, he/she only need to collect the "common" cards. But IF you are a PLAYER and wanting that extra "value" for future conquests... Well we have something special for you too...

Cheers!

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