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Critique the Oct 2008 GDS Challenge Entries

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kiwasabi
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GrimFinger

GrimFinger wrote:

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Entry #4 - Team Killdozer: Emergence of the Crystalmongers
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1. I liked the fact that the entry name for this game was very colorful.

2. I liked the "creatures living beneath the surface of the Earth" idea.

3. I disliked the fact that these creatures had an economy, at all. It just seemed to strike me as somewhat less monstrous of a race/species.

4. Paranoid gun nuts plus killdozers is a good concept within the overall game.

5. I liked the increasing strength and size of the attacking waves of creatures.

6. Overall, I think that the idea is stronger than the implementation of that idea, where this game is concerned. I think that this would result in low replayability, due to boredom.

Thanks for the nice comments and good feedback.

In reply to 3: The idea behind this is that they aren't your run of the mill dumb, predictable monsters; they're actually very intelligent like humans. Think of it this way; would you be more scared if the zombies you were surrounded by were slow and mindless, or if they were talking to each other about how to best catch you and tear you apart?

In reply to 6: I would definitely agree that I could've implemented this idea better. I'm a lot more of a video gamer and TCG gamer so I'm not so familiar with board games. This will, of course, improve in the future, however.

However, I strongly disagree that this game has low replayability. I think that your thinking behind this is that once you've mastered the game, it's pointless because it's too easy. But this game is designed to have several difficulty settings.

kiwasabi
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tlmirkes wrote:Entry #4 -

tlmirkes wrote:
Entry #4 - Team Killdozer: Emergence of the Crystalmongers
- Team goals promote cooperative play
- Simplicity in game play is a plus
- Description of the game board would help to picture rules "in action"
- Amusing setting; good for casual gaming or introducing new players to gaming

I really intended to make a good image for the game board, but just didn't have enough time. I think that my ideas would've been a lot more clear to people had I made the board I had in mind. Next time I'll make that a higher priority.

Any other areas you think it could stand to improve?

kiwasabi
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Hedge-o-Matic wrote: **Team

Hedge-o-Matic wrote:

**Team Killdozer: Emergence of the Crystalmongers**
A couple of things, here. First off, the title needs to lose the sub-title. *Team Killdozer* is quite cool enough. Having two jargony terms in the title is a mistake. Next, the preamble removes a lot of the monstrosity of the Crystalmongers, since they seem pretty justified in attacking the surface. And how monstrous can they be, with an economy and all? Heck, the opening makes me think of all the innocent Crystalmonger orphans being created by our toxic waste dumping and oil drilling. I mean, it even mentions their patience, making me think of drumming fingers and heartfelt sighs as caverns collapse and irradiated water leaks into Crystalmonger aquifers. And when they emerge, who stands up for humanity? Paranoid gun nuts. Great. Humanity's finest. Again, who's the monster, here?

I completely agree that having two jargon names in the title was a bad decision. I'll avoid that in the future.

As for the Crystalmongers not being monstrous enough; as I mentioned in a different post, think of it this way: Would you be more scared if the zombies you were surrounded by were slow and mindless, or if they were talking to each other about how much your race deserves to perish and how they're going to tear you limb from limb? Several people were turned off by the fact that my monsters were intelligent. However, I think this is only due to people being used to seeing dumb, predictable monsters in all movies and most games.

Team Killdozer is basically the group who comes out after most of the military has been wiped out. They're meant to be an interesting yet comical alternative to marines or whatnot. I could see your point that it's strange that they're dumber than the monsters they're being attacked by, though.

Hedge-o-Matic wrote:

I imagine the game being sort of like an dungeon crawl, but question whether the game offers enough tactical enjoyment. Without any more specifics, it's hard to say. To the author: avoid wordy sentences, and boil down concepts to shorter forms, to allow greater detail where it counts: in letting us know more about how the game will play. For example, are there any other types of structures or interactions that might make position important, or is it all just fighting? Where do the power-up equipment come from? These things are what define the game, and the rules, as written, don't specify clearly enough. A good start, but flawed.

This is a good couple comments here. I really had no idea how to write board game rules in a clear manner, but after all of the posts about it on bgdf I've got a much better idea. My rules will be written a lot clearer in my next game. Also, had I included a good image of my game board as I intended I think you would've gotten a much better idea of how the game is played.

In regards to, "are there any other types of structures or interactions that might make position important, or is it all just fighting? Where do the power-up equipment come from?", There would be buildings that would either be blocking terrain or would be able to be knocked down by using an action. Also, the power-ups come from various sources on the map. I was thinking there would be a junkyard that would have engines and stuff you could get to make your tank faster, and that their would be a military base that you could get better weapons from, etc. Obviously this stuff didn't make it in and yet I still went over 800 words. I've got a lot of work to do in order to get my word count down.

Thanks for the honest and useful feedback. Let me know if you have anything else you want to mention.

kiwasabi
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Uchu Saru wrote:Team

Uchu Saru wrote:
Team Killdozer: Emergence of the Crystalmongers
I enjoy cooperative games, and to me this one has a good video game feel. Team up, trade power-ups, and blast away! Like Hedge-o-Matic, I find myself sympathizing with the Crystalmongers more than the gun nuts, but ignoring that, the general theme of fending off monsters with customizable tanks is cool. I can see the game getting frantic as it progresses-- later waves would pile on earlier ones if the player slack, and surviving would be a challenge. If power-ups had particular synergy with different Killdozers, the power-ups trading could be a particularly fun element. Simplifying combat and minimizing health bookkeeping might speed this game up, and I think it deserves to be fast and furious. I also keep imagining it using a hex map.

This game definitely does feel like a video game, doesn't it? That's kinda what I was thinking as I was designing it. I kinda think it might be better as a digital game since then the players wouldn't have to move the enemies around.

What do you think I should've done better in order to make you sympathize with the gun nuts more? Should I just not have called them "paranoid gun nuts"? Or should I say that the enemies emerged into the gun-nuts' property, killing lots of their friends and family? Or something else?

There were definitely plans to synergize specific power-ups with specific tanks. I agree this would be a very fun, cooperative game element. Some tanks would be much more attack-oriented than others, while others would be more about having better speed in order to run and snag power-ups quickly. There was also a plan to have a dumptruck that has gametext that specifically states only he can equip this crazy huge bomb that deals tons of damage.

"Simplifying combat and minimizing health bookkeeping might speed this game up, and I think it deserves to be fast and furious. I also keep imagining it using a hex map."

Any ideas on how to simplify the combat and health bookkeeping? I agree the health stuff is pretty out of hand (keeping track of the health of 20 enemies is asking too much).

I haven't played many games on a hex map before. Any particular game that comes to mind as a good example of how you think I should do this?

Thanks for the good constructive criticism.

Uchu Saru
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Killdozer development suggestions

kiwasabi wrote:

[...]I kinda think it might be better as a digital game since then the players wouldn't have to move the enemies around.

What do you think I should've done better in order to make you sympathize with the gun nuts more? [...]

There were definitely plans to synergize specific power-ups with specific tanks. [...] Some tanks would be much more attack-oriented than others, while others would be more about having better speed in order to run and snag power-ups quickly. [...]

Any ideas on how to simplify the combat and health bookkeeping? [...]

[...]Any particular game that comes to mind as a good example of how you think I should do this?

Thanks for the good constructive criticism.

I'm glad you found my criticism helpful and constructive. These are good follow up questions.

This probably would make a good digital game, but I think it can work as a board game. I think the main difference is that keeping the enemy "AI" simple is important in a board game, as is minimizing math and bookkeeping.

If the Crystalmongers were greedily attacking humanity to raid our resources, that would probably be enough to make me sympathize with the gun nuts. My main problem was that these intelligent, civilized creatures seemed justified in attacking after humanity essentially ruined their world.

Sounds like you have good ideas for the individual tanks and power-ups. I like the idea of having distinct fighters and power-up grabbers. I'd like to see some power-ups that are best for a particular tank, but tempting for anyone to keep-- thus forcing players to decide between cooperating and improving their own tanks. But maybe that's just me.

I guess the main problem I see with combat is the damage. Tanks and the Overlord should probably be able to endure several hits, but I think it would simplify things if the small enemies died after one hit. The medium and large enemies would die after two hits: they could just be marked as "wounded" after one hit. To make tanks hit harder, you could allow them to make several attack rolls at once (so they could score more than one hit on a single enemy), or increase their odds of hitting with each roll (base attack number), or both.

Classic Battletech comes to mind as an example of a hex map game that fits this kind of tactical combat. It'd probably work fine with squares, but I just keep imagining hexes. Maybe because they seem more crystalline.

Just a bunch of my opinions. I hope something in there helps or gives you some good ideas!

J Monty
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Joined: 10/16/2008
Congratulations, Dannorder!

Congratulations, Dannorder! And to everyone else as well. Each entry was a genuinely fun read for me. Well done.

My entry was Ghost Trappers and I do intend on developing it further (I've added a lot of the details back to the rules and I'm currently at work on a prototype board to test it all out).

I plan to critique all of the entries; just as soon as I have some more free time (either tonight or tomorrow morning).

tlmirkes
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Moral flexibility optional...?

Congratulations Dannorder!

And thanks to everyone for the great feedback so far! I've had some good reinforcement that I'm actually not looking at complete junk where the rules are concerned. This submission is based on a concept I've been trying to work into a game for some time now, but the sheer head-crushing depth of options represented in the vast array of animals that could be included (as DNA samples) has often overwhelmed me. That said, I would agree with this:

Uchu Saru wrote:
To me, the theme is a troublesome hybrid of two kinds of animal cruelty; it would need to be shifted a couple steps further from reality for me to find it palatable.

If "real life" had not demanded so much of my time during the submission week, I would've gone with something more akin to an Olympics concept, creating creatures to compete in non-combative events. I had completely forgotten about that earlier iteration of the game concept until after submissions were closed; I think it would've been a strong solution to the questionable treatment of animals (in multiple forms, no less).

I plan to continue working on this one, especially at taking it away from the combat side. I like the combat mechanic, so perhaps it will see use again in some other context. A bit of tweaking on the concept and thematic mechanics seems in order, however; I think it could be a fun little casual game with some retooling.

J Monty
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Critique

Great Blobs of Fire I really like the name and concept of this game. The Blob is one of my all-time favorite monsters, so it’s nice to see it getting a little love. That said, I do wish there were more focus on absorbing/digesting humans (or villages) to grow, but considering the scale (i.e.: country-destroying), I can see why this isn’t the case.

Monsters of the Big House When I first read this, I was also expecting it to be about a prison full of classical monsters (i.e.: Dracula, werewolves, the Creature from the Black Lagoon). I was hoping it would be a kind of, “Escape from Alcatraz: Supernatural Edition.” The rules as presented conjure up important elements of prison life: Lock Down, Prison Riots, Jail Breaks, and Executions. It would be cool to see more; such as: Solitary Confinement, Pardons, and so on.

Ghost Trappers This was my game. I had a lot of fun designing and writing up the rules. Like I mentioned up-thread, I do plan on prototyping the game and trying it out. I’ve added some of the details back to the rules and I’m considering adding an additional player to the mix. I had to cut out the rules for scoring bonus points to save word-space, which was a tough decision for me; so, I’ll post them here:

Bonus Victory Points When you trap ghosts, you are awarded bonus victory points determined by the total number of ghosts you trap and in which room you trapped in. The breakdown is as follows:

• Attic [0/0/5] • Grand Hall [0/2/4] • Library & Parlor [1/2/3] • Study, Kitchen, & Conservatory [0/1/2]

So, if you were to capture 1 or 2 ghosts in the Attic, you'd get no bonus points. But, if you were to capture all three, you'd get a whopping 5 bonus points.

Team Killdozer: Emergence of the Crystalmongers This is a solid, original, and zany concept. I just really like the name, “Killdozer.” I liked the clean and simple rules. Choosing a Killdozer and modifying it during play sounds like a lot of fun, and should require alterations in strategy from game-to-game.

The Haunting of Lower Thelwich This was the entry that I voted for. I have a soft spot for the chosen theme, and the way that it’s realized here is just great. I really like that you play the villagers, as opposed to the hunters; a nice twist. I also like how your victory conditions can change after becoming a vampire. In fact, the idea that you can be turned into a vampire at all really adds an extra bit of “oomph” to the theme and play. With some polishing, I would totally play this.

DNeigh This seemed to me to be a combination of “Frankenstein’s Monster” and “The Island of Dr. Moreau.” I have to say that is a great match! This entry was one-of-three that I had a real tough time deciding on which to vote. A corpse as a resource is just awesome! Out-of-control monsters that populate the graveyard with said corpses – even more awesome! The monster/DNA rules are inspired. All in all, a great use of theme and mechanics.

GeneArena The first thing that caught my eye for this entry was the great use of graphic design. The rules themselves seemed like they’d be fun to play. Is it possible to revive a defeated monster via DNA cards? It seems like it’s implied in the rules and would definitely be a step in the right direction. Finally, I think you could probably ditch the board and just play with cards and it’d work as well, if not better (after a few rules tweaks that is).

Monster Island This is a fun concept that I could easily visualize and imagine myself playing. Very clean, simple to understand rules. I like that as your monster grows you become more powerful, but you also have trouble moving around the board; fitting into tight spaces. This adds a nice layer of strategy (i.e.: when to grow). I also like the various monster pieces, i.e., tentacles, jaws and stingers, spinnerets – nice match of flavor to mechanics. Finally, humans as monster fodder are just great!

kiwasabi
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Uchu Saru wrote: I'm glad you

Uchu Saru wrote:

I'm glad you found my criticism helpful and constructive. These are good follow up questions.

This probably would make a good digital game, but I think it can work as a board game. I think the main difference is that keeping the enemy "AI" simple is important in a board game, as is minimizing math and bookkeeping.

I agree that keeping the AI simple is very important with this game; that's why I only had 3 very simple rules for how to control the enemies. I think it works fairly well, but it still may seem a little bit too much like the players have to make the enemy's decisions. I've been wondering if this may work better as a 1 vs. many game such as Fury of Dracula. However, I think that if this simple AI idea did actually work, it would be pretty cool since it would be an entirely cooperative board game that would be against an enemy that seems like it follows the same rules of the game as you do (instead of just being something like a randomly flipped card that doesn't move around the board).

Uchu Saru wrote:

If the Crystalmongers were greedily attacking humanity to raid our resources, that would probably be enough to make me sympathize with the gun nuts. My main problem was that these intelligent, civilized creatures seemed justified in attacking after humanity essentially ruined their world.

That's easy enough; just switch the greed from the humans over to the Crystalmongers. This is a great solution

Uchu Saru wrote:

Sounds like you have good ideas for the individual tanks and power-ups. I like the idea of having distinct fighters and power-up grabbers. I'd like to see some power-ups that are best for a particular tank, but tempting for anyone to keep-- thus forcing players to decide between cooperating and improving their own tanks. But maybe that's just me.

Cool idea! Another idea I've been working on is a game that can be played either cooperatively or competitively; and that changes throughout the game based on the player's interactions with each other. In the case of Team Killdozer, maybe there's a healing item that would heal 2 damage on any tank, or 4 damage if a specific tank used it. This could also apply to tires, engines, weapons, etc.

Uchu Saru wrote:

I guess the main problem I see with combat is the damage. Tanks and the Overlord should probably be able to endure several hits, but I think it would simplify things if the small enemies died after one hit. The medium and large enemies would die after two hits: they could just be marked as "wounded" after one hit. To make tanks hit harder, you could allow them to make several attack rolls at once (so they could score more than one hit on a single enemy), or increase their odds of hitting with each roll (base attack number), or both.

This is all very interesting stuff. Any idea what would be a good way to mark the enemies as wounded? I was thinking maybe you could have separate pieces that snap on to the enemies that make them look bloody, but that would probably drive up the cost of the game too much.

I also like the idea of being able to take a bunch of shots as opposed to one, but having those shots being less likely to hit than if you were to take one shot (maybe I read what you said wrong; is this what you meant?).

Uchu Saru wrote:

Classic Battletech comes to mind as an example of a hex map game that fits this kind of tactical combat. It'd probably work fine with squares, but I just keep imagining hexes. Maybe because they seem more crystalline.

Just a bunch of my opinions. I hope something in there helps or gives you some good ideas!

I'll have to check out Battletech; I've never played that game. I went with squares with this game just because its combat system is heavily influenced by Heroclix (even though that isn't that great of a game). The hex map could definitely prove to be the better option.

Thanks for another very helpful response. You definitely gave me lots of ideas.

tlmirkes
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Analyze and synthesize...

J Monty wrote:
Is it possible to revive a defeated monster via DNA cards? It seems like it’s implied in the rules and would definitely be a step in the right direction.

To be wholly honest, I didn't realize that particular quirk of the rule set until you mentioned it. It certainly would eliminate the concern I noted in my own comments on the design that late-game players would be rather ineffectual in game play. I can't see any reason why it wouldn't be allowed under the current rules...

J Monty wrote:
Finally, I think you could probably ditch the board and just play with cards and it’d work as well, if not better (after a few rules tweaks that is).

Not surprisingly, my initial concepting round for this game was actually as a CCG, allowing players to build their creatures, but not requiring the use of a board for the interaction.

My initial concept was to design a game that would allow for uses in an educational setting, incorporating real-world animals, while fudging a bit on some of the science of the gene splicing and genetic traits. The idea was to include scientifically accurate (well, as of the time of printing) information about the animals (size, habitat, diet, etc.), and be able to use an engaging set of mechanics to help kids learn information without necessarily realizing it. I don't know how well the combat concept works in that context, but the Olympic events idea that I mentioned previously would match nicely, I think. Not perfect, but certainly a more engaging way to teach simple biology to kids than stuffy old textbooks.

suhreman
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GDS Critique

Id like to say i hate juding other peoples hard work so I tried to keep it light.

Entry #1 - Great Blobs of Fire!
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As mentioned before, who doesn’t like blobs? I really like the idea here of expanding your blob as it rips through villages. My only concern here is the use of money in this type of game. It’s hard for me to role-play how a huge blob steals me money or I guess maybe it’s a pay off not to eat their village but what village has 20 million? Besides my hang up on the money I enjoyed the entry.

Entry #2 - Monsters of the Big House
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I accepted the inmates as monsters right away but as others mentioned it would of been great to have classic monsters incarcerated. I’m not a huge fan of roll and move but I think you pulled it off well. One idea that came to me was to have players take on a role each turn and it passed it to the left, kind of like St. Petersburg. So each player is a Guard, Inmate, Executioner, or Warden. Each role has its own ways to score points. I’ve got quite a few ideas for this one but your more than welcome to tell me to go fly a kite! As mentioned before it could use some power ups.

Entry #3 - Ghost Trappers
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I enjoyed this theme a lot and the game was presented well, but for me I felt it was missing something. I realize this game was probably the most polished but from the title we knew that we would be trapping ghosts and I was hoping you would throw a nice curve ball to the theme instead of straight down the middle. Don’t let my analogy fool you I enjoyed the game as is.

Entry #4 - Team Killdozer: Emergence of the Crystalmongers
======================================
First let me tell you how much I hate co-op games. I hate them. Unless they still allow me to make my own decisions on my turn without 4 other people telling what I should do, otherwise it just becomes a solitaire game. Don’t let my hang up fool you I think this has plenty of potential in avoiding that trap. It was hard for me to tell where exactly each Killdozer started on the board in relation to other players. Maybe if each player started on opposite sides and the Crystalmongers emerged from the center, that way we’d be working together just not making decisions side by side. I also like the idea of meeting another player on the board to trade power ups.

Entry #5 - The Haunting of Lower Thelwich
==========================
I really like this game. I did have a problem understanding if players had a hand of cards or not. The rules said draw a card when moving into a location, and if it matched the location the action occurred, if not put it in the queue. Later it mentions discarding cards to escape. Maybe I missed something. Turning into vampires is also another great feature, but I fear the king maker will be present in some games.

Entry #6 - DNeigh
=================

This idiot typed to many words and blew it!!!

Entry #7 - GeneArena
====================
This game was present very well, the cards alone looked amazing. If only I knew how to format my rules and present them as clean as yours. I think others mentioned making it just a CCG, while agree I also like the idea a CCG/Board combo. I think the arena idea suites the contest but a more detailed map with terrain and obstacles would make it even more dynamic. Either way it’s a solid submission.

Entry #8 - Monster Island
====================
This game is simple, clean and on point for the challenge. I think the core game is great but I’d really like to see the monster building mechanic used in a different way other than arena/island combat. I’m also late in my critique and I would like to congratulate you on your victory!

kiwasabi
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suhreman wrote: Entry #4 -

suhreman wrote:

Entry #4 - Team Killdozer: Emergence of the Crystalmongers
======================================
First let me tell you how much I hate co-op games. I hate them. Unless they still allow me to make my own decisions on my turn without 4 other people telling what I should do, otherwise it just becomes a solitaire game. Don’t let my hang up fool you I think this has plenty of potential in avoiding that trap. It was hard for me to tell where exactly each Killdozer started on the board in relation to other players. Maybe if each player started on opposite sides and the Crystalmongers emerged from the center, that way we’d be working together just not making decisions side by side. I also like the idea of meeting another player on the board to trade power ups.

Thank you for your nice comments and feedback.

I've heard this same complaint about co-op games quite often: "If everybody is just working together towards the same goal and there's only one clear solution to every situation, why am I not just holding all the cards and making all of the decisions?". This may not be worded well, but I think everybody gets the point. If each player doesn't make his own decisions that hold value, then there's no point to the game even being multiplayer. I took this into deep consideration when thinking about this game, and I appreciate you acknowledging that.

I agree that it's impossible to know where I intended the players to start since I didn't have any pictures of the board and it wasn't mentioned in the text. I intended to put the full board layout on a detailed jpeg but ended up procrastinating too much. This is something I'll prevent in the future so that my vision can be more clear to people. Your ideas for the layout were what I intended; Have each player start at a different corner, and then have the three spawn points in the middle of the board somewhat equidistant from each player. The idea is, as you mentioned, that the players need to work together and make tough collaborative strategic decisions in order to ensure that they have good board control. It wouldn't at all (hopefully) be quadruple solitaire.

Uchu Saru
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More Killdozer ideas

kiwasabi wrote:

[...] I've been wondering if this may work better as a 1 vs. many game such as Fury of Dracula. [...]

Seems like it would be easy enough to include optional rules for this-- one player could manage Crystalmonger movement and attacks, and you could add a few new maneuvers. I think the current AI works for a co-op game.
kiwasabi wrote:
That's easy enough; just switch the greed from the humans over to the Crystalmongers. This is a great solution

Glad you liked it! "Having ravaged Earth's interior, the Crystalmongers burst through the crust to exploit the resources of the surface, trampling mankind as they go..."
kiwasabi wrote:
Another idea I've been working on is a game that can be played either cooperatively or competitively; and that changes throughout the game based on the player's interactions with each other.

So the game could begin as co-op, but depending on what happens in the game, it could turn competitive, or teams could form, or there could be a co-op victory after all? Intriguing!
kiwasabi wrote:
In the case of Team Killdozer, maybe there's a healing item that would heal 2 damage on any tank, or 4 damage if a specific tank used it. This could also apply to tires, engines, weapons, etc.

Yup! Help yourself a little now, or help the team a lot later?
kiwasabi wrote:
[...]Any idea what would be a good way to mark the enemies as wounded? I was thinking maybe you could have separate pieces that snap on to the enemies that make them look bloody, but that would probably drive up the cost of the game too much.

If the game uses counters to represent units, they could simply be flipped from a "healthy" side to a "wounded" side. For miniatures, your snap-on wound idea is cool; putting a peg into a hole in the base would be another way to mark wounds, and that would allow you to easily mark several wounds for larger enemies.
kiwasabi wrote:
I also like the idea of being able to take a bunch of shots as opposed to one, but having those shots being less likely to hit than if you were to take one shot (maybe I read what you said wrong; is this what you meant?).

That could be a cool power-up or tank ability, actually. But I was looking for ways to differentiate various tanks' potential damage output. For example, instead of "The powerful tank deals four damage, the fast tank deals two damage," you could say "The powerful tank attacks twice, the fast tank attacks once," and for a power-up, “+2 damage” could become “one extra attack.” This allows you less room to fine tune stats, but keeps the damage in scale with enemies that can only survive one or two damage. I was figuring the attacks would be restricted to a single target, but you might allow certain tanks or weapons to split the attacks between targets.

Uchu Saru
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GeneOlympics and Thelwich confusion

tlmirkes wrote:

[...]I would've gone with something more akin to an Olympics concept, creating creatures to compete in non-combative events.

I think this is a good solution to the ethical concerns of animal combat. Thanks for your response-- I'm glad you found my comments to be constructive.
You may already have plans for the animal Olympics, but I have a couple ideas for organizing the events and how they could work. Just let me know if you're interested.
And I do hope you find another way to use the combat mechanic. It would make a fun game with a different theme.

suhreman wrote:
I did have a problem understanding if players had a hand of cards or not. [...] Turning into vampires is also another great feature, but I fear the king maker will be present in some games.

Thanks for your critique! Players don't have a hand of cards, but certain cards (mainly the item cards) that they encounter can be held (face up) for later use. Also, some cards are removed from the game, while others go to a discard pile and are reshuffled later-- that might have been confusing too.
Is it the turning into vampires mechanic that you think would lead to a king maker situation, or something else? Any suggestions for a solution?

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