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Monster Keep: Still Playtesting

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questccg
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Well I've done my very first TWO (2) Player playtest... Now for a "Micro" Deck game, the game has a lot going in just ten (10) cards per player. BUT there is something "broken" with the design:

I created operations and players specify the values (that total 12 points).

The problem is this:

  • The operations and coming closest to 0 was supposed to define the TURN-ORDER. However I find that player OFTEN manage to get 0 using +/- and then a / or x...

  • My first playtest was a bit "flawed" since I FORGOT that cards that reach 0 Health go into the player's GRAVEYARD. This is important because I feel like another end-game rule would be: when a player has less than 5 minions, he is defeated and removed from the game.

So it becomes a CHALLENGE to figure out ANOTHER "way" to determine the starting player... And the point of the whole system was to avoid a stupid way of STARTING the rounds.

The other aspect of having sufficient "resources" is not too bad. Yeah sometimes you focus on the turn-order formula and discount the "resources" but I find it's not too bad.

The MAIN problem is how several players get 0 score and some other method of determining the starting player is required!

Thoughts/Ideas/Comments/Questions all welcomed.

Cheers!

questccg
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Got an idea...

The idea could "in some cases" solve the turn-order. It goes something like this:

The "strength" of your minions is the 2nd factor.

What this means is that the OPERATIONS used to make the formula can also be used to compute the starting score.

  • A Multiplication (x) = 4 points
  • A Division (/) = 3 points
  • A Subtraction (-) = 2 points
  • An Addition (+) = 1 point

This might work, I will need to playtest again... Next playtest SOON (later today...)

questccg
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Plenty of "things to think about"...

While the turn-order is important... I have noticed how the "core" cards react well with the RPS-9. There is some "smart" decision making during the process of choosing your minions. And then during that process, if you have multiple valid choices, you take a closer look at the "resources" and figure out which are the best ones considering your minions.

The process is definitely a bit "mechanical", it doesn't "flow" as nicely as I would want it to. But there are a few things to consider when choosing your minions and "resources".

The five (5) card draw definitely HELPS in restoring chaos. Since only a subset is available to players, it radically cuts down on the selection of the "right" cards... Sometimes you've got to make due with the minions you have and other times you get to ponder on which ones to choose.

I am going to have to play a few more games - to better appreciate the subtleties of "this" game. Cheers.

questccg
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Playtest day tomorrow!

Well I've got my day off tomorrow - and am slated to do several rounds of playtesting... I am "optimistic" because I am saying "several"... I mean I got the day to see how the game plays with the "new rules" to the turn-order and as well as remembering that loyal subjects go into graveyard if they get killed (which is of course all reasonable and logical)!

I'll do a couple intensive 2 Player playtests and get a better feel for the game... And see how the game fairs: will it be okay enough to want to ADD something or is it "broken" and needs to go back into the "drawer of shameful games" (LOL)!

This will be the FIRST time, that I think about "ADDING" another layer to the game. Lots of thinking has to go into HOW to "add" another layer to the game.

What I am leaning towards is the addition of "tile laying" mechanic almost identical to "SpellMasters". Monster Keep could very well be "part" dungeon exploration mechanic and I'm still not 100% certain how to MERGE the two (2) ideas... I have some rough ideas but there is some uncertainty.

First thing first, some more playtests ... and then some additional tries to see IF the "tile" mechanic can be "added" to the game. And then figure out how it might work together...

Baby steps ... one at a time...

Cheers!

questccg
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Testing of the standard 4d6s WORKS!

Well using 4d6s are a "resource" roll works pretty darn GOOD!

First round: both players managed to get a total of 0. But Red has 11 points versus Blue had 14. So Red went first a killed two (2) out of three (3) underlings. But when Blue got to strike back - he used his only unit to kill TWO (2) of the Red player's underlings.

The score (for Round #1) was: Red = 3; Blue = 4!

Quite the surprise...

Functional aspects:

Well with the rolling of the dice, this adds another "Phase" to the game. Which is really good because it adds something "procedural". And both players roll the dice to see who has the upper hand in the round.

So I will continue the game and see who wins in the END!

Update: Here is the final scores (Blue Wins).

Blue: 4 + 9 + 5 + 5 = 23; 5 underlings killed.
Red: 3 + 2 + 9 + 2 = 16; 7 underlings killed.

Game lasted for 4 Rounds. And surprisingly, even if the game is SIMPLE, it is rather FUN to play. Add to this the "Collectible" aspect (for a CCG) and you might have a neat "Micro" Deck game players can enjoy...

Right now, all I have playtested is a two (2) player game. Ideally this would need to be playtested with four (4) players too! I'll get to that soon enough. For now I want to be satisfied with the game's experience.

I'll be the first one to admit: "Not too bad!"

Keep you all posted on how things progress... Cheers!

questccg
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On to prototype #2!

Well I've fine tuned the cards - made them more lisible (using lighter shades of gray). I also removed the resource "section" from the cards, instead I will be using dice to determine each player's resources...

This Second Prototype is printed (hot-off the press - so to speak), all that remains is to cut it using my paper cutter (which saves a TON of time rather than having to use scissors for each card). It even does circular corners too!

I think this version will be my "draft" version ... if the playtests go well. And to be honest, I can't foresee any complications with the game. It should be "good to go" and I can start talking to my artists... Seeing what can be done from the artistic side of things!

Cheers.

questccg
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Prototype #2 almost ready...

I am just finishing up cutting the corners of the cards - and then I should be ready to commence a new "playtest" with this updated prototype. For this version of the game, this is Prototype #2. I've already playtested the cards with the earlier version of the game - simply ignoring the "resource" values on the cards themselves.

Since now "resources" rely on 4d6s... The results are more interesting. For example you could have a "low" roll and your cards WEAK compared to your opponent. BUT - you may have the stronger formula (closest to 0) and go first and unleash some major damage before being wiped out!

Believe me I've seen it happen. So don't be discouraged if you get a "low" roll ... you may be able to squeak in front of your opponent and surprise them!

I don't foresee any problems with this version... Definitely a worthy game, even IF it is rather "simple". But it's a "Micro" Deck game with only twelve (12) cards per player... So how much can be done is rather limited...!

I'll post up the results of the NEXT playtest probably around 5:00 PM today... Cheers.

Update: Just finished up cutting all the corners for two (2) Player decks. I will keep the OLD Prototype because I can use it to simulate a four (4) Player game! I might even get to testing a four (4) player game later on tonight... We'll see how things progress!

questccg
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Results of the latest playtest

Well here are the final results of the latest playtest:

Blue: 11 + 6 + 4 = 21 VPs; 5 underlings killed.
Red: 7 + 7 + 6 = 20 VPs; 4 underlings killed.

It was very close, the game only lasted three (3) rounds. Blue Wins by one (1) Victory Point (VP).

The game is actually FUN. I enjoy playing it. Which is a very positive sign ... because I was worried that this would be one more shelved design.

But it looks like everything is coming together on this design.

Next step: 4 Player playtest (which will occur sometime tomorrow night).

questccg
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Four (4) Player playtest has BEGUN!

I just started the Four (4) Player playtest of "Monster Keep" (MK). It all started around 7:45 PM and should progress. I'm not focusing on it 100% this way I don't memorize each player's Operations and Operands... Making the game less predictable - since I'm busy doing other things that just a pure "play the game all in one sitting..."

I do this, take breaks, walk away after a turn, have a sip of water, check on BGDF, read my e-mail, etc. All so that I don't retain the scores and cards of each player ... making the playtests seem more real and random as if you were playing with Four (4) players!

I'll keep you all posted as to the outcome of the game! Cheers.

questccg
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As far as formulas go...

The first round: 1, 0, 0, 0. Tight results... Let's check Step #2.

"Resource" amount: 11, 17, 10, 12.

The turn-order is resolved:

Player #3 is First = 0; 10
Player #4 is Second = 0; 12
Player #2 is Third = 0; 17
Player #1 is Last = 1; 11

Amazingly Player #2 has more "Resources" - but because of his formula, he goes AHEAD of Player #1 who has less... Pretty darn cool if you ask me! LOL

Scores after Round #1:

Player #1 = 11 VPs
Player #2 = 6 VPs
Player #3 = 2 VPs
Player #4 = 3 VPs

So Player #1 takes an EARLY "lead" but I'm sure players will be more aggressive in future rounds, in order to prevent a QUICK sprint victory!

Player #3 made no friends early and lands up with the LOWEST score too...

questccg
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Round #2 is NEXT...

Round #2: 0, 0, 2, 0. Tight results AGAIN... Let's check Step #2.

"Resource" amount: 14, 11, 14, 10.

The turn-order is resolved:

Player #4 is First = 0; 10
Player #2 is Second = 0; 11
Player #1 is Third = 0; 14
Player #3 is Last = 2; 14

Scores after Round #2:

Player #1 = 14 VPs (+3)
Player #2 = 11 VPs (+5)
Player #3 = 12 VPs (+10)
Player #4 = 5 VPs (+2)

Player #1 is still in the lead - but two other players are within reach of winning the game in the next round. Depending on what cards get drawn, players losing cards to their "graveyard" (killed) making formulas more hard to get near 0...

We'll see how the NEXT round goes...

Update: Didn't notice the time - it's already 11:00 PM! Time for bed - will playtest the remaining rounds TOMORROW...

Super-Tooned
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Fun.

questccg wrote:
The game is actually FUN. I enjoy playing it. Which is a very positive sign ... because I was worried that this would be one more shelved design.

In my personal opinion, please take no offense from this, it doesn’t matter if you enjoy playing it. It really only matters if your audience enjoys playing it. If people enjoy playing it, they’ll buy it and tell other people about the game. You don’t need to advertise much either. It’s all just word of mouth. Try looking at your new game in my perspective.

Good luck on your game.

-Super

questccg
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I understand respectfully!

Super-Tooned wrote:
In my personal opinion, please take no offense from this, it doesn’t matter if you enjoy playing it. It really only matters if your audience enjoys playing it. If people enjoy playing it, they’ll buy it and tell other people about the game. You don’t need to advertise much either. It’s all just word of mouth.

This is just how I design games... IF "I" like it, then the game has a chance. If I find it boring, too complex, not enough cohesion, I shelve it. So first the game needs to be FUN to me. If it's not... I get the AXE and cut the crap... (So to speak).

Super-Tooned wrote:
Try looking at your new game in my perspective.

I understand and respect your perspective. My viewpoint is if I LIKE a game, then there is a chance other people will like it too.

But I get what you mean... My target audience is first ME! LOL

questccg
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Round #3 has just BEGUN!

Round #3: 1, 0, 0, 0. Again very CLOSE results. Let's check Step #2.

"Resource" amount: 10, 14, 13, 17.

The turn-order is resolved:

Player #3 is First = 0; 13
Player #2 is Second = 0; 14
Player #4 is Third = 0; 17
Player #1 is Last = 1; 10

Scores after Round #3:

Player #1 = 18 VPs (+4)
Player #2 = 12 VPs (+1) - Eliminated
Player #3 = 17 VPs (+5)
Player #4 = 22 VPs (+17)

Player #4 makes the AWESOME come-back to WIN the game in the third (3rd) round!!! How did that happen??? Players were too focused on making certain that Player #1 did not win - and miscalculated the score for Player #4 (who had only 5 VPs at the start of Round #3)...

Definitely FUN! And it was close even though Player #4 secured the Victory.

questccg
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Last night's ideas

Well I have come to the conclusion that my cards can benefit from a RANGE and a "Formation". There are four (4) possible formations. Soliders get a Range = 1, Magic Users get a Range = 2 and Guild/Warlords get a Range = 3.

If you are within your RANGE, you score points. Outside your range and that unit is worth zero (0) Victory Points (VPs).

Also for some Soldiers, I am introducing the "Guard" Ability.

This ability means that the units act as "one". So if I have a Fighter which "Guards" a Wizard, wounds are split between BOTH units. Could help some of the weaker unit survive an attack ... as well as giving those Solidiers an extra benefit.

Working on re-designing the cards (Again... Ugh!)

X3M
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Curious where this goes :)

questccg wrote:

Working on re-designing the cards (Again... Ugh!)

I know how you feel :D

Somehow, I get the feeling that you are slowly gliding into disorder of what you are doing. Correct me, if I am wrong.

Just make sure that you keep core rules and modifiers, separate. And that you know where your new idea's belong.

If you add new core rules. You need to test the game on that first. Before adding back all modifiers, 1 by 1.

So, is this Range a core rule, or simply a modifier?
Same goes for the Guard rule.

***

I like the fact that you have thought of that Guard rule. It shows similarities and some fundamental differences to my game.

Just out of interest, how is your Guard going to work exactly?
e.g. distribution of 3 damage. Who gets the bigger slice?
Why not, all damage to the Guard? What reason is there for that? Theme? Battle logic?

WinsmithGames
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Hey Quest I'm going to be

Hey Quest

I'm going to be honest with you, I get so lost in forums when I don't know the context. For such a small game, do you have rules posted anywhere? Maybe I can take a look tomorrow.

David

questccg
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No rules as of yet - I'm still playtesting...

@David: yeah I hear you. I will work on rules soon. Right now, I'm still in the process of "tweaking" the game play.

@X3M: Range is fundamentally in the "core" for certain. It allows you to protect what could be potentially "weak" cards in the eyes of opponents and easy targets to kill (or sent to the graveyard).

Guard is an "option" that I am adding. It also will need to be playtested. But it's an addition to TWO (2) Cards (out of 10) and adds more VALUE to those cards.

Let's make the assumption that you have a Fighter (6) and a Wizard (4). If the Fighter "GUARDS" the Wizard, each time a player ATTACKS the Wizard, damage is DIVIDED between both units. So assume 20 Damage (2 points), the modified score would be Fighter (5) and Wizard (3). Instead of just Wizard (2)...

So damage can be partially absorbed by another unit. This reduces the odds that a party member will be directly killed (or sent to the graveyard) too.

But this is an ADDITION to two (2) units only. And will need to be playtested to determine how "functional" this add-on is really.

@All: What I am going to do for NOW is do a playtest with RANGE and just scribble Numbers on the OLDER cards. I won't print and cut new cards. Will be much easier and it's only prototype cards, they are meant to write on... Hehehe.

I need to see HOW "Range" will affect the "core" game too. I may think it works in "theory" but may break the game in some way. So it needs testing too.

I'll just mess up the existing cards - such that they go to the garbage because of testing these additions. Then I'll have to AT SOME POINT, re-print and re-cut all the cards for FOUR (4) Players.

I've also started to design MORE cards too. I have not printed those out yet... Only testing the "core" game and seeing how it goes.

WinsmithGames
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Just saw your updated basic

Just saw your updated basic rules. Here are some thoughts and questions:

  • I assume each of the 10 cards are unique actions/abilities?
  • If the four dice are Food, Battle, Treasure, Wild, what do each of those mean?
  • If I understand, players choose 3 cards to play from their hand of 5. Roll 4d6. Then choose how to allocate the each d6 to one of the four Food, Battle, Treasure, Wild?

Are all of these player-decisions done simultaneously? If so, my initial thoughts are that players are making too many decisions without having enough knowledge of board state. This leads to either analysis-paralysis, or too much chaos. (B/c the most interesting decisions involve some knowledge of the board state and/or opponent's options.)

questccg
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Some explanations

WinsmithGames wrote:
+ I assume each of the 10 cards are unique actions/abilities?

There are only "Monster" cards. The game is a "Micro" CCG (Collectible Card Game). You can have three (3) of NON-UNIQUE cards. Unique cards only allow a multiple of one (1).

Sample CARDS can be seen here:

Sample Duke and Wizard Cards

WinsmithGames wrote:
+ If the four dice are Food, Battle, Treasure, Wild, what do each of those mean?

Each "Monster" (or underling) has two actions: Basic Attack and Advanced Tactics. To use these action requires some Food, Battle or Treasure. Sometimes multiples of two and even three "resources".

WinsmithGames wrote:
+ If I understand, players choose 3 cards to play from their hand of 5. Roll 4d6. Then choose how to allocate the each d6 to one of the four Food, Battle, Treasure, Wild?

Basically each "Monster" (underling) has an "Operation". It can be:

  • Plus "+": Soldier for addition
  • Minus "-": Magic Users for subtraction
  • Divide "/": Guild for division
  • Multiplication "x": Warlord for multiplication

The GOAL is with a THREE (3) card MELD to get scores CLOSEST to 0. If there are ties (and it happens), the "operands" (dice chosen) are added to determine the STRENGTH of a player's "resources". Lowest player goes first, highest last.

The Wild dice may be used to SUBSTITUTE ONE (1) of the other three (3) dice.

WinsmithGames wrote:
Are all of these player-decisions done simultaneously? If so, my initial thoughts are that players are making too many decisions without having enough knowledge of board state. This leads to either analysis-paralysis, or too much chaos. (B/c the most interesting decisions involve some knowledge of the board state and/or opponent's options.)

Turn-order aside, there is an RPS-9 (Rock-Paper-Scissors) that decides which Monsters (underlings) are hostile to each other. Same races will NOT attack each other.

When player's reveal their cards, based on who goes first and what underlings he chooses to attack. Your goal is to try to balance out your attack, so that no one player is left with too many points. And this has to be done by multiple players. You just can't assume: "Oh I'll ignore Player #3 because someone else will deal with his underlings."

I've got some more "tweaking" to do with the "Formations" and "Range"... I'll be certain to post more about the results over the weekend.

Cheers. (And Kudos)!

Fri
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Drafting dice

Just a random idea. Have you considered having the players draft their dice from a common pool. I think this could provide interesting choices with getting vs denying resources and turn order. Of course who gets to draft first is a problem.

Adam Leamey
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Hope the playtest are going

Hope the playtest are going well will you be doing online playtest anytime soon.

joebergmann
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similarities

My 2 cents worth on the "Guard" ability. I have a cooperative game where a group of players can be attacked and wounded by a creature. I let the players decide among themselves who gets the damage or how to split it up. It makes for some pretty fun, and often funny, choices for the players. Some players like to "be the hero" and take damage, some don't. Interestingly, as their health gets closer to zero, things tend to change. :)
Also, this is a game about saving the President of the United States, which makes for some real interesting gameplay right now, as you can assign damage to the President! :)

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