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SpellMasters — Which do you prefer?

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questccg
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So I have two (2) options with the "control" dice:

1. The first option is having ONE (1) Custom d6 that gets rolled SEQUENTIALLY by each player, one turn after the other.

2. The second option is that EACH player has a color-coordinated Custom d6 and players roll their die at the SAME time.

Let me weight in some of the pros and cons:

A. Having only one Custom d6 will be LESS expensive. But forces sequential order of play, one player after the other.

B. Each having their own Custom d6 is costlier. It also allows all players to look at the dice results and PLAN how the round will go.

This is a co-operative phase of the game. Planning out a round and who will play first and last (also in between) seems very much in the SPIRIT of a "co-operative" game. I really like this aspect.

But the cost is rather high (like $1 to $5).

Which would you choose and why???

I know in my own mind, I would select everyone has a custom die and they are all rolled simultaneously. For additional details, each custom dice has 3 faces: 2x Blank, 2x Shield an 2x Sword. Their purposes are as follows:

1. Blank: You can perform "non-combative" actions/spells to heal, increase your defenses, etc.

2. Shield: You can attack the opposing Monster using whatever option is available to you.

3. Sword: The Monster attacks you and you take damage on a poor d20 roll.

So the question remains: 1 die or multiple dice???

let-off studios
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Production Cost, Time Cost

Personally, I prefer the drama of a single die throw (perhaps the result can be modified after rolling on occasion through specific player actions). I would also be pleased to learn that tension between the players would increase when they don't know the results of everyone's throw immediately, and if things look grim by the time player 4 makes the throw, everyone's hoping for a "clutch" result.

But I'm also considering how long the game takes, how long this combat phase of the game takes, etc. Is the financial cost savings of using a single die worth the amount of added time to the game?

If combat already takes too long to resolve (relatively speaking), then perhaps investing in multiple dice is the more effective choice for the game. At this point, I suspect you're the best judge of that. Playtesting will further bear this out, with other points of view.

Meanwhile...
One thing you might not have considered: using a regular d6 and assigning 1-2 to attack, 3-4 to defend, and 5-6 to blank (or whatever permutation you prefer). Not a thematic choice, but if cost is such a significant concern it may be worth considering. If you want quick combat resolution, I can imagine players saying, "Okay, I hope everyone rolls a 4!" or something like that. They play off the result with drama, tension, and instant resolution.

Fri
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plain d6 with action selection

If you used plain d6's maybe you could put them on an action selection board like in Grand Hotel Austria.

questccg
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Grand Hotel Austria — Cool stuff!

Fri wrote:
If you used plain d6's maybe you could put them on an action selection board like in Grand Hotel Austria.

Wow guys those are some very interesting ideas. I like the idea of an "Action Selection Board"... And if you roll only Standard d6s ... Well then the players can all ROLL 1d6 (Standard) and the "collectively" they can determine WHO will actually perform the TASK for that die.

Cool beans!

Definitely something for me to think about... I of course watched a Review ... but yeah... Very interesting!

Note: It gives me MOTIVATION to think of SIX (6) or maybe five (5) like in the Hotel, rolling a "6" would be a Wildcard, Players select which would be the best for "the team"!

In a way it's good... Because I was thinking "Physical Combat" versus "Magic Combat". Or how to manage "Letter Draws" during combat... Things like that.

This will give me something to plan for all "6" values... Will definitely see what I can design!

questccg
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Here's what I got:

My "Action Selection Board" is:

1: Choose to find a tile from one Wizard's pouch.
2: Perform some non-combative spell (Healing, Protection, etc.)
3: Choose a Wizard to Attack the Monster.
4: The Monster uses a "Basic attack" on one of the Wizards.
5: The Monster uses an "Advanced Tactic" on one of the Wizards.
6: Wildcard = Choose whichever action you like or remove a die from the board.

That's some pretty cool stuff!!!

I've done some playtesting (rolling 5d6s) and it seems to be cool. Originally we had two (2x) "Blank" which were "Perform some non-combative spell". Now we only have one (1) of those, but if required a "6" could become a "2" if needed.

There is only one (1) offensive choice ("3") but a "6" could become an offensive attack too!

There are two (2) Monster Attacks with varying degrees of challenge. "Basic" and "Advanced"... I was trying to figure out HOW to incorporate "Special Moves/Abilities" of the Monsters.

Cheers!

questccg
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Another thing that I like

Is that the "Action Selection Board" allows you to specify the ORDER of things.

So if you roll three ones ("1"), The first player draws "3" of his choosing, the next player chooses "2" of his choosing and the third player draws only "1" tile.

I'm still working on "Combat". It's not that easy and there are a bunch of possibilities and avenues that I could choose. So I've got to figure out what I feel is best for the game.

@LOS and @Fri, together I think you have the BEST (and least expensive) option. That's five (5) standard White d6s. Can't get anything less expensive than that. It's like $1.50. So a bit more expensive than the SINGLE Custom d6. But with the "Action Selection Board", that opens up more possibilities.

questccg
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Just a quick example

So say I roll all five (5) dice (as there are 5 players)... Or everyone rolls 1 die each. And the outcome is: 3, 3, 5, 5, 6.

Now since there are TWO (2) "Advanced Tactic" attacks, the team would probably decide to REMOVE one "5" from the rolls: 3, 3, 5.

This can mediate the occurrences of too many "Monster" Actions. The result is that two (2) Wizards will ATTACK the Monster and the Monster will use his "Advanced Tactic" on one of the other Wizards (provided he is still alive)...

I'm still working on figuring out the way "combat" will proceed. But thank you for the genuinely GREAT nugget. You both (@LOS and @Fri) went with the standard d6s which is a good idea and the "Action Selection Board" just blew things over the top at total GREATNESS!

I need a good balance of "Combat-oriented" play, but I probably don't want the combat phase to take more than 10 minutes. Still plenty to explore and think about ... Cheers.

questccg
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Another example

So say the five (5) dice rolls are: 2, 3, 4, 6, 6.

It's easy to COUNTER the Monster's attack and get: 2, 3, 3.

Which means two (2) Wizards will Attack the Monster and one Wizard can either cast some sort of Buff or Protective Spell before one of the two players do battle...

I want the ROUNDS to be lightning-fast. The quicker they can be resolved the better... Because you don't want too much "Second Guessing" (Should I do this or that, etc.) No AP because that slows down the game ... And while I want ENOUGH meat to be a part of the "Combat Phase", I also don't want players to feel like it takes too many rounds to defeat the Monster.

Jay103
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$5 for more dice, that are

$5 for more dice, that are all the same??

That’s a huge increase in COGS if I understand you.

But, if speed of play is important to you.. I guess so? But at that point I’m not sure TGC is the way to go (which I assume is why the dice are so expensive). I pay about 10 cents each for my dice in China (1000 moq)

Fri
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Panamax/Alternate action selection board

Glad I could help. @LOS provided the needed stepping stone of using plain d6s.

FYI. Panamax also uses a similar action selection scheme. There's alot going on in this game so watching a how to play to find out about this mechanism maybe frustrating

Maybe you could layout your action selection board like this:

123456
Player actions
monster actions

Then roll X number of dice. Where x=number of players plus one. Players will take their actions. Then the monster will take the action that is left.

Edit: for an Additional thought maybe you can hide the monster action by making it a card that is flipped over when the monster takes that action. This is an attempt to reduce AP.

Jay103
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.. if I'm following

.. if I'm following correctly, then replacing a handful of custom dice with normal dice is a huge win all around..

questccg
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Speed as "collaborative" decision making

Jay103 wrote:
But, if speed of play is important to you... I guess so?

A couple things come to mind:

A> More fluid play, like not needing to WAIT for every players turn and the decision process that could be long in determining what to do next.

B> Teamwork. I like mechanics that "encourage" players to make decisions as a GROUP. That to me is the opposite of LAG (in waiting for players). Group decision making is cool because of the co-operative effort.

Jay103 wrote:
But at that point I’m not sure TGC is the way to go (which I assume is why the dice are so expensive). I pay about 10 cents each for my dice in China (1000 moq)

TGC's dice a relatively inexpensive (for standard dice): $0.30 a die. So "5" standard d6s = $1.50 (as I stated). It's the custom dice that are more expensive (about $1.00 each). Once you add the Blank indented dice and add the cost of stickers (for the faces)... I comes out to a buck a dice.

The "Action Selection Board" is relatively inexpensive (+$0.25).

You try to blend "interesting" game elements to be a part of your design. And the "Action Selection Board" is pretty cool. At this point in time, I'm not sure I want it to be dual-function meaning having six (6) options for the players and six (6) options for the Monster...

I'm not sure how to balance the two... I could probably generate more "categories" ... but how would they be laid out??? IDK.

Jay103
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Yeah, it seems like a win-win

Yeah, it seems like a win-win if you can come up with the right action board mechanic (I remember seeing that game on the Dice Tower with a very poor review, so maybe watch that). You get cheaper dice and a more interesting game.

Fri
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Actions that are represented by multiple numbers.

Could you have actions that are represented by multiple numbers? That way you could only have 3 actions the 1-2 action, the 3-4 action and the 5-6 action. I suppose you could divide up the actions asymmetrically as well like 1,2,3 action 4,5 action and the 6 action.

something like:

1,2 3,4 5,6
move attack defend
questccg
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I watched maybe the same review

Jay103 wrote:
(I remember seeing that game on the Dice Tower with a very poor review, so maybe watch that)

I was surprised, because I too took a look at the Dice Tower review... and I thought the overall idea was very clever. But the reviewer didn't seem very impressed with how all the mechanics came together in Grand Hotel Austria. I guess different strokes for different folks...

But I agree that borrowing the "Action Selection Board" is a good idea. But I can't necessarily get around to determine a "Player Section" (above) and a "Monster Section" (below).

I THINK for it to "work", you need to invert the strength of the actions. So like a "1" would be draw +3 tiles from you pouch (Mana Tap) and the Monster would be "The Monster uses his 'Advanced Tactic' to attack a Wizard".

Not sure... I need some more time to think about it... Something like the "LEAST FAVORABLE" action for the players has to be the "MOST FAVORABLE" action for the Monster. I'm still thinking... TBH.

questccg
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Six (6) Actions as in the earlier post

Fri wrote:
Could you have actions that are represented by multiple numbers? That way you could only have 3 actions...

I actually think I'm going to go with the SIX (6) Actions in the earlier post. I feel like those work real well... I've playtested just the "feel" of rolling those dice and then choosing/removing the dice from the round (as necessary) and I have to admit, it's pretty FAST and cool. And it encourages afterwards co-operation to determine who will perform which action.

So yeah I think I've decided to use the "Action Selection Board" with six (6) values (spread-out more or less equally).

questccg
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Taking my own advice...

See this URL for the "Letter Board" sample:

https://www.bgdf.com/blog/spellmasters-%E2%80%94-box-cover#comment-99838

I gave an "idea" about using "YOUR DECK" as "Health Points". But it was in the context of a Micro Deck (18 cards). I've been thinking about use a Micro Deck (10 cards) for the Wizard Grimoires ... And taking my own advice, I would use HALF the deck for Magical Spells and various forms of Attack and Defense... And use the REMAINING HALF for Health Tracking.

Something simple with not too many moving parts.

What I'm not 100% certain of is this:

1. Either each card is worth 1 HP, which would mean each Wizard would have ONLY 5 HP... (Seems a bit too low...)

2. Each card has a HEALTH VALUE (from 1 to 5 HP). The more powerful the card, the less the Health Value is high. So you've got to BALANCE between good (or better) health or better spells.

Still more thinking to be done. Cheers!

questccg
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I think...

I am really liking #2 right about now. With values 1 to 5, and a maximum of five (5) cards, that means your HP can be at most 25 HP. That's not too bad... Makes you more "physically" resistant but you have less powerful spells (the opposite of what I was thinking...)

Not 100% certain just yet. But I'm definitely working on making combat simple and "FUN" (without too many additional components - none if possible).

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