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Axis Mundi Introduction and Playthrough Video - Feedback Wanted

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questccg
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BHH and Wil Wheaton

Hello Peter,

You can watch the game being played by Wil Wheaton and friends at Geek & Sundry:

https://geekandsundry.com/shows/tabletop/page/6/

There are I believe some interviews too... BHH is on that page and you can click on the correct video to watch the game being played.

Your game is VERY "different". But it reminds me of BHH because of the "Traitor" mechanic where "something" happens and then the game is out-of-whack and players are scrambling to defeat the "Traitor" while trying to ensure that they don't die in the process.

So it's got a 2-Phase system much like Axis Mundi (AM). AM is players race to the middle and one (1) player emerges as an Angel or Demon. And then the play style changes. Well BHH does the exact thing. Except ONE (1) of the players is a Traitor and has lured the others to be sacrificed.

Anyhow no worries about the "ideas". Just wanted to share some insights into how to make the game LESS "abstract" and more defined. I don't expect you to change the entire game. Just pointed out some things to consider.

Cheers!

questccg
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Hmm... Strange?!?!

It looks like the videos from Geek and Sundry are not working... It's too bad because watching Wil and his friend PLAY the game was really interesting to see and watch. It may be a little longer than a Tom Vasal Dice Tower review... But then again you've made an almost 4 hour long video about your game. It might be reasonable to expect you to watch a 45 - 60 minute playthru video from Wil & co.

I'm very disappointed that the link did not work. Because the video was FUN to watch and (spoiler alert) Wil turns out to be the Traitor who goes on a mad rampage 3/4 the way into the game...!

You can maybe find other playthru videos ... not sure. But one thing for certain the TableTop review would have been the best example to see HOW the game was played and also how I draw some comparison in terms of the overall gameplay.

My apologies for giving you a broken link... I don't know where else you may find a more (or at par) video with sufficient playing to get a REAL feel for the game.

Sincerest apologies.

peterthull
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BHH and AM end idea

I found the BHH Geek & Sundry video on YouTube at the following addresses:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MINNKyE4fjs (pt. 1) & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgbQwxQIhbw (pt. 2)

Yeah, definitely a different vibe (and gameplay) than I was going for, but interesting (and fun!) design.

Instead of your Angel/Demon vs. Opponents endgame idea, what do you think of the following idea I came up with: the game gradually tips the scales in the Angel/Demon’s favor using a leveling mechanic. The first Angel/Demon has the powers as they are right now. The second Angel/Demon gets a six-card hand limit instead of the normal five. The third Angel/Demon gets the same, plus a Scrounge (retrieving a card of their choice from the discard pile). The fourth gets a seven-card hand limit and a Scrounge. The fifth gets the same seven-card limit and 2 Scrounges, while the sixth automatically wins the game.

A shorter version might be better: the second Angel/Demon gets a 6 card hand limit and a Scrounge, the third gets a 7 card hand limit and 2 Scrounges, and the fourth automatically wins.

questccg
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Finding a solution versus FUN...

Not sure I understand your Angel/Demon ideas... One thing is to find a solution to "finishing the game" and then there is allowing the players to have "FUN" playing the game.

Right now, from what I have seen is that IF you become an Angel/Demon only YOU can WIN the game. If you are killed, the cycle/race starts anew. THIS is BAD! It will make the game longer and result in players giving up (at some point in time). Don't you think over 3.5 hours is TOO LONG for a game?

The game should be 60 to 90 minutes (on the average).

It's not just a problem that your VIDEO was LONG. The GAME is TOO LONG. That's why I referred you to BHH, because players take their time exploring the House BEFORE the "Traitor" (Climax) is revealed. And then it's either the Traitor wins or the other players win (by surviving).

You do have a TIME/LENGTH of play issue. However I don't think you understand, I referred you to BHH because that game has SOLVED the length of time issue. At first I had my own reservation of BHH... But after watching the AM video, I am positive that BHH does well be "quickly" resolving the game either way: #1. The traitor defeats the other players #2. The players defeat the traitor.

However it happens rather quickly as opposed to the "exploration" of the house (which is generally longer and consumes most of the game time).

You need to FIND ways to "simplify" the game, it's length ... and all the while preserving or "enhancing" replayability. Just because your intro says that a bird comes down to do your bidding, doesn't mean you can't change the story to fit a more diversified crew of familiars.

Anyhow I do want to wish you good luck with your game. But I still think you don't realize that the duration of the game is much too long. And what is paramount is that EVEN YOU didn't finish your own playthru video...

peterthull
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trailer

I made a new video, a game "trailer". It's 3 minutes long, and can be found at the same link: https://www.betterliferesources.com/axismundi/

I tried to have it answer all the questions that a sales video would, as mentioned previously by ceethreepio. But I guess I wouldn't consider it a typical sales video, as I have nothing to sell. Its CTA is just to get the right people interested enough keep scrolling.

I know that it was advised to keep a video like this between 30-60 seconds. I think I heard somewhere that the shorter the copy is, the harder it is to write, and I just haven't figured out how to reach that level of brevity yet.

...

P.S. Thanks questccg for the feedback and well wishes.

questccg
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Watched 50% of the video...

You need some kind of "co-opetive" style of gameplay IMHO. What this means is that in order to ascend the volcano to the top, players must co-operate but at the same time "compete" against their fellow opponents.

Here's the way I see it (and you can critique all you like — if you find just one nugget of wisdom useful, my job will be done):

1. The original (3:50 Video) first phase of the game was making your way to the Axis Mundi. This was like a RACE, since players start at different locations. During this phase what was observed was that players seem to be separately distant enough to not "enter into melee combat"...

So it's a RACE to the top and ...

2. Next comes the second phase which is the opponents are trying to STOP the player who won the race from escaping the island. This was all about fighting and melee combat, defeating the "demon/angel" was paramount... And so the opponents would co-operate to defeat the "demon/angel". If the "demon/angel" dies, the process restarts anew...

And then it's a RACE to the top AGAIN ...

Clearly you need to work on simplifying the game. Ideally you would want only ONE (1) Phase. And in this one (1) phase IDEALLY you would want to BLEND all the different actions together.

So it could be a RACE to the Axis Mundi ... And the first player who reaches it WINS. That sounds logical.

So what is the problem?

You need to "extend" the race phase to include more actions and interaction between the players. You CANNOT simply make it a RACE to the top and ... well ... that's it.

You need to change it so that it is EVEN MORE "Puzzle-ish". How... Like I said co-opetive style of play. Instead of bonuses in the crates, you should need to put "special artifacts" that each player requires to make it to the top of the volcano.

For example: the Golden Statuette.

Instead of all kinds of PERK cards for your crates, you choose four (4) cards, which are the "artifacts" and YOU must collect three (3) out of four (4) of them and then race to the Axis Mundi. These are all secret... But the "artifacts" ON THE BOARD are REVEALED. So there is HIDDEN information AND PERFECT information.

But as a player MOVES to get an ARTIFACT, he can be attacked (Melee) to stop him from returning the artifact that he needs to HIS WAREHOUSE.

The DEAL about the Puzzle-ish style of play is when there is contention for one artifact required by 2 players. Then it becomes a RACE to GET IT and to RETURN IT to a warehouse...

So THIS style of gameplay would encourage players to co-operate like make TRADE deals (playing nicely) or dirty stealing (by immobilizing a player with his/her familiar) and then returning that "artifact" to his/her warehouse.

Do you understand how DIFFERENT this style of play is???

But there is something to be said about this style... It's more about travelling the board and avoiding the enemy while getting the artifacts YOU need to make it into the Axis Mundi...

Think about it...

This style of play BLENDS the two (2) phases into ONE! No longer it's about racing to the top and back trying to survive... It's about co-opetive play where you race up and back several times to get the RIGHT artifacts for your warehouse.

Once you have the three (3) of four necessary artifacts in your warehouse, you are crowned the victorious player and leave the island with your booty!

I know ... it's so very different. But I've tried to streamline the game a bit and blend the phase together so players can compete and collaborate too.

Of course feel free to "dig out" any nugget from this and see what could be appropriate for YOUR game. I'm not telling you HOW to design your game, I'm just offering up an "alternative" VISION as to how you put everything TOGETHER and land up with a 60 to 90 minute game time.

Best of luck(!?) with your game @Peter. Hope some of this you find interesting and helps your with ideas about how to "streamline" the game into something more playable.

Cheers!

peterthull
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questccg, thanks for sharing

questccg, thanks for sharing your idea. I took a while to think about it before responding.

I appreciate the thought you put into your “redesign”, for lack of a better word.

The game, as I have designed it, and what I was going for, is a mid to heavy weight, multi-stage competitive race focused on tactics, with 3 primary mechanics: grid movement, hand management, and action selection. The reason I choose this style of game is personal preference, but also for thematic reasons – to pay homage to S’s plot and theme on a straight-forward and symbolic level.

The ideas you are proposing, as I understand them, would make it into a cooperative pick-up and deliver game with set collection and negotiation as the primary mechanisms. Those seem like two entirely different games to me. Perhaps yours would be the better game – I can’t say. What I can say is that I am exhausted, and I’m not sure that I could re-build this game from the ground up, even if I wanted to.

I am not convinced that the multi-stages of the race are “bad”. I think the game’s transition from being cooperative to competitive makes the co-op phase fraught with tension, because you can never commit to being fully cooperative with an opponent that would actually benefit from stabbing you in the back if they could get away with it, so it leads to opportunities for betrayal. In addition, it adds to the game’s tactics: not only do you need to think about defeating the Angel/Demon, but also not getting caught with your pants down when you do.

I am also not convinced that the game is too long. You asked, “Don’t you think 3.5 hours is too long for a game?” For most board games, yes. But some games can be so epic as to warrant long playtimes (see Twilight Imperium). As for Axis Mundi, I am adjusting the rules to make the game end after 3 Angel/Demon cycles. Maybe that will be a good length. I haven’t playtested it yet, but I think with that adjustment it will be at most a 3-hour game, assuming no analysis paralysis. I estimate that if a game was played quickly, or with a victory in the first cycle, a game could be finished in under an hour. Keep in mind, the playthrough video was 3 and a half hours long because it explained all the rules and tactics in detail. Obviously, a regular game moves much faster.

I am not saying you are wrong in your analysis, I would just like more people’s opinions to give me more data points.

You stated…“[You didn’t] even...finish your own playthrough” I ended the playthrough because it was getting really long and because I figured I had already put enough work into it. If I had continued, it would have demonstrated the endgame, which has new tactics for both the Angel/Demon and their opponents. It becomes a game of cat and mouse around Cave, Power, and Warehouse Hexes. The board’s layout is designed for this and I think it makes for a dramatic ending.

Again, thank you. Your thoughts are appreciated and your ideas are very interesting. It’s very helpful to me to get a fresh take on my project.

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