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SpellMasters — Re-think

While I was under the impression that this design was at 80%... I may need to re-think that a bit. I was planning to write a "book" to complete the amount of "Monsters" available to play against. However I realized that this might be GREAT for the "Players", it's not really great for me! Hmm...

What can I possibly mean? Well I was leaning towards a D&D component like a "Monster Compendium" with over 200+ Monsters to battle. But I realized two (2) things:

1. The Book may be too much for first time players.

A book while great for "replayability" is extremely hard to design because it requires a lot of research and writing/editing. And it becomes a focus piece of the game (meaning the game will make it or break it on the book).

2. It's bad for business...

Again while the book with 200+ monsters is great for players, it doesn't leave too much to the imagination. Everything is spelled-out (Pun intended) and it's only a matter to "choosing" which is the Monster players want to battle next.

This of course, led me to think that a more RPG-approach to the game might improve the game a little bit. And make it more "business-friendly" also! I'm not sure HOW to do this... I have some ideas... But I need more "thinking" to solidify this design.

Other finer details are like: "Do we need a Dungeon Lord (to pace the game and keep players engaged)?" Right now, I'm hoping that given the rules there are "Events" and "Triggers" which would automate the process and NOT require one player to play a DM role.

Again more things to think of... I will work on this design some more... It's no doubt on my mind (but has been cast aside because of three other designs moving forward in completion). Cheers!

Comments

I'm now thinking that a "hand-full" of cards may be better...

Originally before the Book, I had planned for a series of "cards" for the "Monsters" you would battle. This was real good ... But I got into the issue that maybe "not enough" Monsters could yield less FUN because once a group goes through the "campaign", the mystery is over...

Of course, now I am thinking about it in terms of "Play Time".

What I mean by this is if it take 60 minutes to PLAY one Level ... Well then maybe 2 Levels lasting 2 hours ... May be possible but probably at the limit of the threshold of maintaining focus.

If on the other hand, it took 30 minutes to PLAY one Level ... Well then maybe 5 Levels lasting 2.5 hours ... May also be probable. This is if everyone playing is having a good time and the players run into the "One more round" philosophy.

Also the number of players changes the play time too... So I guess there needs to be a Method by which to SAVE the game and resume at a later time. And this is normal like most RPGs. The more players the longer a round lasts ... But also the quicker the Monster is defeated (because of more wound cards present...)

This means that some details need to be ironed out during the playtesting of the prototype (Especially the game DURATION). Of course there is no prototype just yet... I am still trying to finalize the details of the design before attempting to CREATE a prototype that corresponds to a version which is as close as possible to the final version.

More to come soon... I will be working more on this design in the coming weeks. I also need to continue to re-work the "Crystal Heroes" rulebook with the more readable FONT and improved visibility overall.

I have TEN (10) Monsters already pre-built ... but

I need to "refine" them. Why? Because it's not as "thematic" as I would want it to be. I'm trying to balance the "core" essence of the game with the actual theme (which is Magic/Wizardry).

Before the search terms could be found in a brief "thematic" paragraph. But this method is 1. Much too easy and 2. Not all "thematic". I want something that is more "open" but need to find a way to LINK the "theme".

My current WIPs are all around FIFTHTEEN (15) cards. That's enough money for artwork and illustrations such that the game can be financed (the production usually accounts for 50% of the revenues). Too much art means too costly the price to make the game. I've learned that with "TradeWorlds"...

That game is "awesome" ... But is very pricey to make (art-wise). The cost for production is also high and ATM beyond my capabilities... Anyhow I am trying to offset the "too much art" problem and make more compact and streamlined games. That's why I dealt with a Publisher to make that game a reality...

I'll continue to work on this design this week... And maybe get to some more EDITING of the "Crystal Heroes" (CH) rulebook over the weekend. Cheers!

More RPG elements are going to be required

(I think)!

As far as Spells and Counter-statuses (for the "extra" actions a Monster can take), that seems to be logical and work. Now what I need is to ADD some kind of "Events" (and/or Triggers) to add thematic/RPG content. I'm still contemplating HOW I am going to add those elements.

I don't want to have too much Tracking but perhaps some DICE PLAY could add some kind of events to the game...

Like say you are battling a "Mimic" (Treasure Chest Monster). Perhaps whenever you rolled a "12" during a Melee Attack, this could trigger a "Quest" Event. For example: "A 'BAT' menacing flies out to attack you..."

This could be one such "thematic"/RPG element that can be tailored per Monster. And there could be several "Quest" Events per Monster... That intensify the longer a battle goes on between you and that Monster.

Again these are some "basic" ideas upon which I can build some more RPG-like elements.

Anyone have "other" ideas on HOW to add some more "thematic"/RPG elements to this design??? Feedback, questions, comments, suggestions are all welcome. Cheers!

You've seen my

You've seen my monster-manual-in-card-form design, I assume.. works out well as long as you can fit any monster on a single card -- nothing too complicated or crazy. My cards are tarot-sized.

200 monsters is a lot of monsters. I have about 50 now in three sets total.

Yes — sorry I didn't realize what you were talking about!

Jay103 wrote:
You've seen my monster-manual-in-card-form design, I assume.. works out well as long as you can fit any monster on a single card -- nothing too complicated or crazy. My cards are tarot-sized.

Yes I have seen your "monster-manual-in-card-form" design...! But is there anywhere I can have a peek at it (again). No doubt yours would be more verbose because your game IS an actual RPG!

Jay103 wrote:
200 monsters is a lot of monsters. I have about 50 now in three sets total.

Yeah well ... It was an IDEA (I never said all my ideas are good — lol). I have a total of about 72 categories of Monsters and then specializations.

For example: Ants = Bullet Ants, Weaver Ants, Fire Ants, etc.

Getting back to 50 in three (3) sets: 15 x 3 = 45. That to me is sounding much more FEASIBLE and LOGICAL. As per your own admission too. The Manual was something that I "thought" would be neat... And I still think that it could be very "versatile", but card version of fifteen (15) Monsters is probably the way I will be leaning.

Something like story-wise: 5 Level 1, 4 Level 2, 3 Level 3, 2 Level 4 and 1 Level 5 (for a total of 15 unique Monsters — or some variants like the ants...) The Big-Boss on Level 5 will be unique... But I plan to allow the players to mix-n-match and have a Level 1 Monster as a Level 3 Monster... There will be rules to how to alter the "base" configuration into a STRONGER Monster than intended (and it should also work in reverse too — Stronger Monster made weaker).

So a Level 1 Monster could be the Level 5 Monster too! Or a Level 5 Monster could be a Level 1 Monster (the reverse side of things). I have to work on the RPG elements to get this working properly. But I already have a "model" or "sample" with some of these elements, I just need to add some of the other details like the "Battle Deck" and the (X, Y) attributes for Attack Parameters (they are 2 variables that affect the outcome of the various attacks).

The "Battle Deck" was supposed to be STATIC (only 1 version) per Monster (and/or variants). But with different Player Counts, I might need more than one "Option".

I've got some more "thinking" to do ... And BTW the whole "Upgrade and Downgrade" concept for each Monster, is not set in stone just yet. I need to see if this is possible or NOT. Right now I'm working on a conceptual level only.

Correct me if I am wrong...

So you have the Monster Name, a LARGE "Description" area, a Illustration of the Monster and three levels of Difficulty: Easy, Medium and Hard.

The difficulty just makes the number of Hit Points different and the die that needs to be rolled...

That's what I have seen from your website (Found an image with a sample).

In my case it is significantly different:

1. There are twelve (12) Tactics available to the Monster pool.

2. (X, Y): Some of the Tactics rely on one or both of these variables.

For example: 5 = Fire Damage: Deal "Y" HP (d20) Direct Damage.

In this example the Tactic relies on the "Y" ONLY variable... The d20 is the poly dice that is affected. This is unlike Melee which is offset by by a Wound Die... So IF your Wound Die is 4/8 any difference lower than 4 deals zero (0) damage.

3. The more Monster HP, the harder to defeat and the more XP gained. So if I have a leveling option for HPs (like 1 to 5) ... This can make a Monster more dangerous... The "Battle Deck" could also be injected with more dangerous forms of ATTACK too.

Again this is all conceptual ... Nothing is 100%, I'm still working on the design ATM. But I'm working on a significant amount of detail to make it MORE complex to have a system that is universal...

I'm still working on the RPG-side of things... It's not so much a story than it is a "system-with-mechanics". And ATM I don't need a "Dungeon Lord" and I'm hoping to keep things as neat and simple as possible with the most amount of flexibility.

Additional complexities

Also I wanted to point out a VERY IMPORTANT difference between our two games that allows me to be more "complex" in terms of the combat system:

questccg wrote:
In your RPG-Game, you can fight multiple Monsters in the same room. In my Board Game, you can ONLY fight ONE (1) Monster PER LEVEL.

And it's more like World-Of-Warcraft where you have a Tank, a Healer, a Magician, etc. All fighting ONE (1) Monster... with different tasks.

I'm not saying my game is EXACTLY like this... I'm just explaining some of the differences. (Which BTW are VERY IMPORTANT because my "Battle Deck" system could NOT be used in a multi-monster scenario). It would be impossible (first!) because you would need to have MULTIPLE "Battle Decks" and then ... The whole game would just not work.

So it works for my own game ... and whatever RPG-elements that I insert. But it is NOT suited for multi-monsters and/or enemies at the same time. Like WOW above picture it more like Boss Battles, and one per level.

Sounds like you need fewer

Sounds like you need fewer monsters with more detail each, if there's just one monster per level, and that's more like a WoW boss monster where a balanced team is needed.

Indeed you are correct

But the real problem is with "Statuses" like "Charmed", "Entangled", "Sleep", etc. Those need special "keywords". Like if a Monster "Charms" you, this has an effect until you are "Saned".

The problem is that if there is ONLY two (2) Players... How to ensure that those players have all the "counters" to the "statuses"?!

I have been thinking a "Draft" at the start of the game, maybe!?

Originally I had thought up several Spells and "counters" on a per Wizard-basis... But with only two (2) Players ... it's a bit rough.

So now the "Draft" idea... From a market, maybe some kind of cards with the right "keywords" and spells. Or maybe a "Tarot" sized card like your Adventurers and/or Monsters... IDK.

Jay103 wrote:
...if there's just one monster per level, and that's more like a WoW boss monster where a balanced team is needed

Yeah that's exactly the right concept. The problem is the BALANCING... Especially with varying number of players. This one (of many) of the issues that I am facing. That's why I said I'm at 50% design-wise. Some of the RPG-elements are yet to resolved.

Another aspect is what I call the "give-and-take" mechanic. While MOST (I'm not saying all) RPGs your character GROWS in stats. In my game I want players to LOSE and GAIN stats during a game. So you can be high and mighty and draw 4 tiles per turn and then after a couple battles that were not so hot, you're back down to 1 tile... Some kind of PERMANENT effects that result in you going BACK a bit ... Even thought with some more XP, you can remedy the situation and become stronger again.

It's not all UPHILL ONLY... Peaks and Valleys. This was inspired by HATE by CMON where your characters get SCARS or lose limbs. Not exactly just a bit of the mechanic where things are not ALWAYS PERFECT (stats can be affected during battles).

And yeah you could be on the end of an unlucky card draw.

Need more time to think about it. There are five (5) status that rely on "keywords" to be remedied (cancel the penalty).

Anyhow I've got more to think about... A lot of people (designers) use TWO-SIDED stat sheets for their games for things like a Intro-Game vs. a Regular-Game, etc. Or Normal/Easy and Medium/Hard (on each sides). That might be a direction to explore further.

Like TWO-SIDED "Tarot" sized cards for like 2 player and/or 3 or more.

Again not 100% sure... Needs some thinking and see what are my options.

So far it's either A> Market Draft or B> Reversible Stat Cards.

If anyone has some additional ideas/comments/feedback/questions, please do not hesitate to share. Best.

What I have so far

I have five (5) Wizards, each with THREE (3) "status" modifiers. This means that IF you play 2 Players, only some of the selections are "compatible".

questccg wrote:
Druid = "Cure, Free, Sane" and Elementalist = "Wake, Guts, Sane"

In this example, both Wizards have the "Sane" Modifier and there are pre-defined selections that DO work together. To be specific, two with each having one Wizard. Like 2 Druid selections, 2 Elementalist selections, etc.

So you do have LIMITED choices about which Wizards can PLAY together in a 2 Player game. Three (3) or more, there are no "restrictions"... Choose any 3, 4 or 5 Wizards and you automatically will have a VARIETY of modifiers such that another Wizard can help you out if you don't have the modifier in your own Wizard's selection.

This has been my best "attempt" to resolve the "modifiers" and provide some kind a RULES towards Wizard Selection.

The list of Attacks (12 in total)

Figured I'd share the LIST of all twelve (12) Attacks:

01. Melee Attack
02. Re-shuffle/Guard
03. Acid Damage
04. Fire Damage
05. Frost Damage
06. Entanglement
07. Poison Damage
08. Pestilence (Disease)
09. Sleep
10. Charm
11. Psionic Attack
12. Intimidation

This will ensure that each one of the Monsters react with their own "Battle Deck" according to the attacks available. Another small "roadblock" is personalizing the "Battle Decks" according to the number of players. Like if it's only 2 Players, the Monsters need to be less powerful and be significantly easier to battle. But if you have 5 Players, the opposite needs to happen.

Anyways I'm working on that aspect now that the "Status" Modifiers have been resolved "to the best of my abilities"...

Note #1: My IDEA ATM is pretty simple... Is to have three (3) configurations: 1. 2 Players, 2. 3 Players and 3. 4-5 Players. A bit like "Easy", "Medium" and "Hard" but balanced in tandem with the number of players in the game.

Again I will revise this once I get a Prototype and am ready to deal with the "balancing" issues. This sounds to be okay (from a design perspective)...

Note #2: I think this might actually work. But I've got some other concerns regarding "Damage" produced. Even if the Tactics are all okay, the problem lies in the amount of Damage that can occur. I'm not sure every Monster deserves a D4 for attack and well HIGHER dice mean that there is more risk of dying quicker. Again another RPG-element to take a look at!

2 Player combos that work (conceptually)

Here is my list of "complementary" Wizards to be available in the game (For 2 Players):

01. Druid & Elementalist
02. Druid & Sorceror
03. Elementalist & Enchanter
04. Elementalist & Druid
05. Sorceror & Druid
06. Sorceror & Warlock
07. Warlock & Sorceror
08. Warlock & Enchanter
09. Enchanter & Elementalist
10. Enchanter & Warlock

There are a total of ten (10) 2 Player configurations. This list can be simplified to only five (5) possibilities (if we exclude duplicates). But for completeness, I have include ALL possibilities based on Player #1 and Player #2.

Again giving you a peek into the "inner-workings" of the Wizards in this game.

Note #1: For example, it would NOT be possible to pair a Warlock with a Druid. The reason for this is because the "Wake" Keyword would not be a part of this selection. And this would mean that any Monster that has the capabilities to put one or more players to SLEEP... This party would not have a way to "cancel" the tactic (or its effect).

Three (3) or more players...

Opens up the game a bit. Whereas 2-Player configuration is a bit "restrictive". Actually 3 or more Players makes the game work with any combination of Wizards. It's just the 2-Players that have a more restrictive choice between which Wizards players may use.

Moreover in the most cases many of the "Keywords" are in double which means that two (2) Wizards can participate when matching the "Keywords" (which are Free, Cure, Wake, Sane and Guts).

I think this is a good "START". I also wanted to offer the Wizards with their own "Powers". "Powers" would be like "Keywords" but have a tangible effect in-game. The idea is that each Wizard has his/her own set of "Powers" even if they are ALL Wizards.

Hmm... Maybe I can make it a bit MODULAR. Instead of FORCING the Wizards to have RESTRICTIVE "Keywords" ... Maybe players can CHOOSE which two (2) cards (with their respective "Keywords") players may select rather than have FIXED sets. Need some more thought and re-work to ensure this is 100% possible and accurate.

I will post about this tomorrow. Cheers!

Okay so I have some more ideas to explore...

One of them being that the "Keywords" to counter Monster Tactics is that the card is "REVERSIBLE"! Not sure if this is going to work or not. The IDEA is that instead of requiring a "Master Set", the individual "Wizards" each have enough content to play with "out-of-the-box".

So that would mean:

01. Score Pad.
02. Custom D6 Dice Set.
03. Standard Poly Dice Set.
04. Tiles and Bag.
05. Wound Deck.
06. Wound Tokens.
07. Poly Dice Pad (2 pieces each).
08. XP Tracker Pad.
09. Spell Card (thinking Beginner and Expert).
10. Counter Card (the Reversible one...)
11. Pool of Monsters each.
12. Rulebook (which is tailored to each Wizard).
13. Dry-Erase Pen/Marker.
14. Box.

Something like this... OF course let me WORK on the "Counter Card" being "REVERSIBLE" because I think this IS the major advancement that could make the game ... just a bit more "flexible".

I will ponder about this tonight... And see if I can STREAMLINE this to "one card, two functions" with full-compatibility with all of the other Wizards (and their respective Counters).

Compatible Combos for Keywords

Wizard Set 1 Set 2
Druid #1 + (#2 & #3) #3 + (#1 & #4)
Elementalist #2 + (#1 & #5) #5 + (#2 & #4)
Sorceror #3 + (#1 & #4) #2 + (#1 & #5)
Warlock #4 + (#3 & #5) #1 + (#2 & #3)
Enchanter #5 + (#2 & #4) #4 + (#3 & #5)

I think this table is COMPLETE and allows for any combination of two (2) Players to select ANY Wizards and still have a full complement of "Keywords" used with Monster Tactics.

BTW I could be wrong... This took a LONG time to compile...

If anyone can find any holes here are the "Keywords" (in triads):

#1: Cure, Free, Sane
#2: Guts, Sane, Wake
#3: Cure, Guts, Wake
#4: Free, Guts, Sane
#5: Cure, Free, Wake

Those give the corresponding (above) values the details. The idea is to have ALL FIVE (5) terms in each selection. (And yes I know there will be a sixth value... but it will be a duplicate and can be safely ignored...) The extra value is considered a BONUS "Keyword" giving that Wizard an additional "Keyword"... (In reality all we need is one of each — that's the basic MINIMUM).

Note #1: Set 1 is on one side of the "Counter" card and Set 2 is on the opposite side (for fully reversible cards)!

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