Happy post Valentine's to all you gamers and awesome geeks out there! Matt here with another update on the game I've been designing, Ramparts, Pens & Swords--and this one's a BIG one
VERSION 4.0 IS HERE!!!
Before I go into the additions and changes I've made since my original post, I want to again thank everyone for giving feedback, suggestions and ideas since I posted RP&S back in December. The creativity of the members here have helped me to realize several new elements to my game that have truly refined its play.
So what's changed? What's new? What's been 'refined?'
- Well, for one, the Rules doc has been completely revised! (edit: the attached .doc alters the format slightly, my apologies, but I assure you the original .docx is formatted properly) I received a lot of feedback in this department and y'all were right--those rules needed some serious reworking! While the Rules document is now considerably longer than it was before, I did my best to make everything as clear (and concise-ish) as possible. Also, in response to some very knowledgeable individuals here at BGDF, I've implemented the element of alliteration to the rules to better define the different stages of each round of the game. Since I've started to organize local blind playtests of the game, what's really important for me here is that players of varying experience levels be able to take the rules and understand the mechanics of the game, with a preference on quickness.
- Another major change is that I've spent many, many hours pouring over the Card Effects for each of the four Faction Decks and have refined the Factions into their own separate styles of play. Previously, Card Effects were largely shared across all four of the Faction Decks, but now the Factions all play quite differently from each other. There ARE a few Card Effects which are shared in multiple Faction Decks, but v4.0 has really put an emphasis on the uniqueness of the different Factions. I really want to get into the meat of how each Faction Deck is unique, but I've got plans to make those into detailed Game Journal posts. Until those are fully released, feel free to review the Excel spreadsheet attached showcasing all of the Factions and their card counts and Card Effects.
- Initially, RP&S started every round with a Redraw Phase, which had players draw cards from their Faction Deck to bring their hand up to 5 cards. Several Card Effects made players draw cards, and some of these Effects counted toward the player's next Redraw Phase, while others did not. This forced the player to keep track of how many cards they were to draw come the next Redraw Phase--a number that could vary wildly with each Round. I have changed this element in 4.0. I now call it the Draw, and there are only two conditions to this phase: If a player starts the Draw with at least 1 Faction Card in their hand, they will draw 3 cards from their Faction Deck; If a player starts the Draw with 0 Faction Cards in their hand, they will draw 4 cards from their Faction Deck. I haven't yet seen this element in action, but the formula feels sound, the math looks good, and the requirement on the players is much simpler: I have a card, draw 3; I don't have a card, draw 4. This change keeps players hands at the start of a Round down to a minimum, because several card effects discard cards from a player's hand. It also keeps enough cards in a player's hand to maintain the element of choice each Round, while also ensuring that a player's hand isn't empty after the Match Cards have been placed.
- Round Cards have been updated for each Faction, and there are now 10 unique Round Cards for each Faction. Previously, there were only about 6 unique Round Cards for each Faction, with multiples of some cards to fulfill their 10 cards. This means no more 'duplicate' rounds, and with more Round Cards total it also means that the Alternate Rules of play allowing players to build their Round Card Deck using any 10 cards provides a greater aspect of variety to the game. ALSO, thanks to the feedback and discussion of members here at BGDF, I changed the timing of the Round Card element to occur BEFORE players set their Match Cards, and this has opened up a whole new window of approaching the game's mechanics that I am very thankful for.
- Heroes now play differently. I'll talk about how they play now, rather than review every detail about how they've changed: There are 3 Heroes for each Faction. When a player chooses their Faction Deck, they take the 3 Hero Cards of that Faction and arrange them in any order. They then place the 3 Hero Cards face down on the Hero square of the board. Each Hero Card comes out into play when the Hero Card Condition for that Faction is met. For the English, all matches won in a round. For the Franks, all matches lost in a round. For the Holy Roman Empire, all matches won in a round. And for the Turks, all matches draw in a round. Heroes now have 2 different types of occurence: Once or Continuous, which affects the frequency of the Hero Card's effect on the play of the game. Once all of the Hero Cards have been cycled through play, they are then reorganized by the player and 'reset,' and can be played once more, one at a time, when the Hero Card Condition is met once again.
- I've added an element called Attrition to the game, which players track on their separate Attrition Meters using a Faction Counter (currently a pog-like 'token' with the Faction symbol on either side). When a draw occurs, the Attrition Meter for both players is moved up by 1. When a player's Attrition Meter reaches 10, Attrition occurs, and that player must remove the top card of their Faction Deck from play permanently. The Attrition Meter is then reset to 0. However, some of the Faction Decks focus on adjusting the Attrition Meter, making their Faction immune to the occurence of Attrition for a limited time, or even reducing the Attrition Meter rather than increasing it!
- The other changes in 4.0 are mostly aesthetic: an increase in font size, refining images, ensuring that the cards are lined up properly for print. If you reviewed the game in my first post, I invite you to take a 2nd look and provide any feedback you have about the game. Like any person developing something I keep wanting to make small adjustments and changes, but I'm very pleased with the current state of RP&S 4.0.
One last thing: I'm looking to find a few playtester (groups) who would be interested in playtesting RP&S v4.0 and completing an assessment of the game, ESPECIALLY if you're local to the DFW, TX area. I'll even let you keep the game after your assessment. If you like what you see so far and want to give the game a go, feel free to send me a private message and tell me about yourself. I'm always interested in the community's feedback, so drop some questions or replies and help me discover if I'm on the right track here.
Thanks, everyone, and God bless! ~Matt