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 Gameplay Feedback from Playthrough 
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I really, really love the style and theme of this game.

What the video did not sell me on though was the implementation of the gameplay. By that, I mean that it seems like all the elements are there to make this into a really fun game, but they are just not being implemented in the best way right now, at least for what I want this game to be.

What I want from this game is a fast, frenetic action game where you and your friends shoot the bots, loot the bots, then shoot each other, all while racing against the inevitable arrival at the station. I want this to scratch the same itch as Munchkin; completely separate theme and gameplay, but the same design space. With that in mind, here are my suggestions and feedback to get the game leaner, meaner, and guaranteed a long-term place in my collection. They will be roughly in the order that they came up in the video.

- getting onto the train is unnecessarily difficult
FIX: Roll a dice. On a 10, you deploy 1 car in from the end (aka, the caboose). On a Jack, up to 2 in from the end. Etc. If right from the start you can't even manage to get on the train, you're not an Infinite Rail Raider.

- too many extra rules for starting in the caboose
FIX: scrap one of the options. It's good that the caboose gives you a choice of something to do, but too many choices in an non-action part of the game unnecessarily elongate and complicate it. I'd prefer that you don't need to draw a High Noon card, but that or placing a loot would be good, just not both.

- Grit, like not being able to move, disappear too quickly after a single fight
FIX: discard the top on at the end of a round, not after each fight.

- the Lawbots group dynamic works really well

- Showdowns with other Raiders involved do not work well
FIX: 1. Shooting at a Lawbot on your own is fine.
2. Shooting at a Lawbot when another Raider is present should give them the chance to help, but giving them their own roll in competition with the bots and you doesn't make a lot of sense. Instead, another Raider can assist you by adding a die to your roll - however, they can ask for anything they want in return for that assistance, from $$ to items to whatever else they can think of.
3. Losing to Lawbots should not have any further negative consequence than spending your action. It's not necessary.
4. Showdowns with other Raiders should be more interesting than just pushing them and maybe stealing coins if they're the highest player. When you Showdown with another raider, roll your hand as normal. The loser DROPS 1d3 coins into the car - they can be picked up just like loot tokens - and has the OPTION of fleeing to an adjacent car. This is so much more fun, and gets the backstabbing friend shooting action that this genre really demands.

- there's no need to be limited to only one item
FIX: You can have and equip as many items as you can find. You've spent the time looting, and you need all the help you can get against the Lawbots. Its much more fun to be rocking a pair of automatic laser rifles than to carefully consider which one you want.

- Get all the loot cards you draw! Much more fun.

- The High Noon deadline needs to feel much more like an impending threat.
FIX: If you are on the train when the last High Noon card is drawn, you automatically lose as the train arrives at the station with Lawbot reinforcement. Give raiders the opportunity with Move actions to jump off the train, and create this real deadline to add some risk/reward decision making to the game. Do you jump off early and bank your loot, or try and stay to the very last draw, knowing the risk is there that cards that are drawn might advance the deck further than you planned and trap you. In a game like this, where you're raiding a train, I really want to feel like you're trying to grab as much loot as you can before running away. That can and should be an exciting in-game element.

- Raiders shouldn't have a chance to interrupt your search. Its a slowing and annoying mechanic. You're bandits, you should settle things in Showdowns.

- It is easier to roll 4 of a kind than a Straight using these dice, so that should be changed to reflect.

- We haven't seen all the High Noon cards, but there should be some of them that force the drawing of more Long Arm cards, because those should have some role beyond the initial reveal of the cars.

--

Hopefully, the rules are still being considered for this game. There's some fantastic potential here, but I don't feel it is as well implemented as it could be in its current form.


April 18th, 2016, 8:42 am
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Minion
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Ulf Beorstruk wrote:


- It is easier to roll 4 of a kind than a Straight using these dice, so that should be changed to reflect.


I see this a lot in the comments section as well. I understand way one would see it that way, but I think the reasoning is flawed. Just because something is harder to get doesnt mean it has to be worth more. Just because it is harder to roll snakeeyes on 2d6 than to roll 7 (even with rerolls) doesnt mean it should be worth more. The showdown results isnt absolute like in Yatzy, but relative to the other players/lawbots.

The only problem would be for people to pursue the straight with reroll if you had the option for 4 of a kind, but that seems like an unlikely event.

I think the fact that you can use your knowledge of poker hards is far more important than tying the ranking to an arbitrary mathematical principle. The only important thing is that it should be an advantage to roll and or reroll more dice the the opponent. And that is indeed the fact, very much so.


April 18th, 2016, 1:01 pm
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Minion
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I have just watched the play through video and although I thoroughly enjoyed it I had very similar concerns to those mentioned by Ulf. In fact he brought up a few suggestions I hadn't thought of and I do hope SPM will at least consider them before printing the rulebook. I just hope there is still time for changes to be made, given that the game should go on sale in October.

The only change I wouldn't make regards the four of a kind argument. In this instance I'm with Roar.

Ulf's comment - "Hopefully, the rules are still being considered for this game. There's some fantastic potential here, but I don't feel it is as well implemented as it could be in its current form" perfectly echo my own. I already love this game but I'd like it to fully realise its potential and become a great game instead of a good game.


April 18th, 2016, 1:54 pm
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Minion
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Roar wrote:
Ulf Beorstruk wrote:


- It is easier to roll 4 of a kind than a Straight using these dice, so that should be changed to reflect.


I see this a lot in the comments section as well. I understand way one would see it that way, but I think the reasoning is flawed. Just because something is harder to get doesnt mean it has to be worth more. Just because it is harder to roll snakeeyes on 2d6 than to roll 7 (even with rerolls) doesnt mean it should be worth more. The showdown results isnt absolute like in Yatzy, but relative to the other players/lawbots.

The only problem would be for people to pursue the straight with reroll if you had the option for 4 of a kind, but that seems like an unlikely event.

I think the fact that you can use your knowledge of poker hards is far more important than tying the ranking to an arbitrary mathematical principle. The only important thing is that it should be an advantage to roll and or reroll more dice the the opponent. And that is indeed the fact, very much so.


I have a similar sentiment. I think people calling the dice mechanics flawed because of the actual probability betweem straight, full house, four pair is a bit extreme. I use the analogy of a triple in baseball versus a home run in baseball. The home run is easier to achieve than a triple. Nevertheless, majority of the time, it is much better to get a home run rather than a triple. Since there is a chart in RRI listing exactly what they deemed to be of higher rank, whether or not the straight is easier or not easier to roll than a 4 of a kind is not that big of a deal to me.

Some questions I have was there seems to be some discrepancy between the PDF rules and the video playthrough:

1. The option to draw a high noon card. I thought from the PDF it was mandatory for all players to draw the high-noon card?
2. After fights, I think it was mentioned in the play through that you only get to take money from the losing raider if they have the "highest" amount of money? In the PDF, it mentions that the losing raider does not have to have the "highest" amount of money only that they have to have "more money" than the raider.


April 18th, 2016, 1:57 pm
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I like a lot of the suggestions here honestly.

One comment on the odds issue, I've read all the comments on the KS and the one thing no one seems to take into account is that the odds should be calculated cumulatively IMO. If you want a fair statistical comparison of winning a showdown then you should be taking a total of the odds of every hand that can beat your opponent's hand. Those are the only odds that really matter to me.


April 18th, 2016, 3:20 pm
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All of Ulf Beorstruk comments are so very much valid, especially the parts about the game ending with you still being on the train being negative, and the fact that the combat between Players seems a bit pointless (I loved the idea about having the players drop there double dollars, and them requiring picking back up, that is perfect). Id like to see a real impact from losing a showdown badly against a player character, such as a pair being rolled against five of a kind meaning that the player that has lost has been knocked of the train, and must try and re-board the train at the start of their turn, this way players will think twice before shooting people just cause they can. Like seriously if you don't have the most money in the current rules, you have nothing to lose from getting in firefight and that's lame.

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April 19th, 2016, 5:57 pm
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A lot of good ideas here and on the KS comments. I think they are tweaking the rules right now, based on some of the discrepancies noted above. so lets keep suggesting cool stuff and maybe some of it will stick with the SPM / ND guys and gals for the final cut.

I think raider only battles should be done like texas hold em (only simplified for speed). No extra dice through equipment or skills;
1) Each raider antes up $$1
2) Each raider rolls 2 secret dice
3) Dealer rolls 3 dice for common hand
4) Going left from dealer, option to raise $$1, if anyone raises, all must call or fold
5) Dealer rolls 2 more dice to bring common hand to 5
6) Going left from dealer, option to raise $$1, if anyone raises, all must call or fold
7) show hands and make best 5 card hand from 5 common and 2 player hand

This should at least be printed in the rules as an optional advanced rule for poker players. It's still poker "light", but light beer tastes pretty good too ;)


April 19th, 2016, 7:31 pm
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True enough about the hand ranking. However, that's the least consequential part of my comments, and really only included because it comes up in a lot of critiques here and elsewhere. If you wanted the hands ranked according to rarity, then you would, but if they didn't change it it really wouldn't change my enjoyment of the game.

@akai; I think the ruleset they playtested in the video was a more advanced one than they showcased at the start of the campaign, hence some of the extra rules like not drawing High Noon on the caboose and the change between 'highest' and 'higher' player.

@Rain; having larger penalties for bigger differences in hand result is a potential, though its another thing you'd need a rules reference for and another but that could slow down the game. If there was a simple way to still get that 'greater risk' though, its a good idea. I do, however, like the fact that a player with no coins has nothing to lose, because it acts as a bit of a comeback mechanic, and I think it fits very thematically. 'Down on their luck bandit with nothing to lose goes after the greatest raider around'.

Kevlar on the KS comments had the good suggestion too of, instead of adding a die through a teamup, both players roll a hand and then they can use their rerolls collectively on either hand. Not sure if I like that more than adding a die to the person being assisted, because it means another hand being rolled and compared and slows things down a little bit more, but maybe the added time is worth it to get more interaction from teaming up? Or maybe, when a raider assists, they add a die to the main raider's roll, and let them use any rerolls they have? Not sure, but either way is good to get more of the "Team up with other Raiders, or do what bandits do best, double-crossing them when their chips are down. Anything goes when you’re out to make a big score!" line that is in the game description.


April 19th, 2016, 7:39 pm
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Kevlar wrote:
A lot of good ideas here and on the KS comments. I think they are tweaking the rules right now, based on some of the discrepancies noted above. so lets keep suggesting cool stuff and maybe some of it will stick with the SPM / ND guys and gals for the final cut.

I think raider only battles should be done like texas hold em (only simplified for speed). No extra dice through equipment or skills;
1) Each raider antes up $$1
2) Each raider rolls 2 secret dice
3) Dealer rolls 3 dice for common hand
4) Going left from dealer, option to raise $$1, if anyone raises, all must call or fold
5) Dealer rolls 2 more dice to bring common hand to 5
6) Going left from dealer, option to raise $$1, if anyone raises, all must call or fold
7) show hands and make best 5 card hand from 5 common and 2 player hand

This should at least be printed in the rules as an optional advanced rule for poker players. It's still poker "light", but light beer tastes pretty good too ;)


I was thinking of something along these line at first too! There's a big problem with it though that I wasn't able to come up with a solution for, and that's what you do with a player that doesn't have any coins yet. Should they be locked out of showdowns? I feel that the person with the least coins is the one that should most be wanting to go after the richer raiders. Also, while this would be fun, the amount of time it would take I think would really break up the turn flow.


April 19th, 2016, 7:42 pm
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Totally agree on the "team up" part of the ad needing an implementation. A missed opportunity otherwise. Hopefully the flow wouldn't be broken up so much as being an interesting change of pace, but I see your point. Fast is crucial to this game, unless there are advanced rules for longer games, and players agree on this. You could also allow any raider to join a hold 'em hand no matter where (s)he was physically, or as long as he wasn't on a car with the law. That could bring all players into that mini game for cash, and not be excluded and lose interest.

A starting $$5 option you thought of will avoid the problem you mention of not having the cash to join a fight. You can only ever win as much as you have though, just like poker.

Losing money doesn't seem as bad to me in raider fights as moving someone around, that doesn't sound useful if there are only raiders left on that car already.

I guess the worst thing that could happen here, is that the best poker player might win a lot :lol:, and without, the best dice roller might win a lot.

Another option would be to initiate the a player hold 'em hand every time a car is cleaned out of all loot. It'd be like a gamblers way of splitting the money ;)


April 19th, 2016, 8:40 pm
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Ulf Beorstruk wrote:
@akai; I think the ruleset they playtested in the video was a more advanced one than they showcased at the start of the campaign, hence some of the extra rules like not drawing High Noon on the caboose and the change between 'highest' and 'higher' player.

Ah ok. Have not thought too much on whether the change between 'highest' and 'higher' player was for the better or for the worse.

Ulf Beorstruk wrote:
Kevlar on the KS comments had the good suggestion too of, instead of adding a die through a teamup, both players roll a hand and then they can use their rerolls collectively on either hand. Not sure if I like that more than adding a die to the person being assisted, because it means another hand being rolled and compared and slows things down a little bit more, but maybe the added time is worth it to get more interaction from teaming up? Or maybe, when a raider assists, they add a die to the main raider's roll, and let them use any rerolls they have? Not sure, but either way is good to get more of the "Team up with other Raiders, or do what bandits do best, double-crossing them when their chips are down. Anything goes when you’re out to make a big score!" line that is in the game description.


My main negative feeling for Rail Raiders right now is there seems to be little in the game to emphasize the choice between teaming-up and double-crossing the other raiders. So anything that makes the game feel more like that would be great.

---

Another rule curiosity:
I know that the game allows someone to be not inside the train car so that you do not have to reveal the tile. What happens if you have multiple players on the train tile. One that was already on the outside while a second raider wants to go inside it? Every time you move from one tile to another can you pick to be on the outside or within the inside?


April 19th, 2016, 8:50 pm
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Quote:
akai said:
Another rule curiosity:
I know that the game allows someone to be not inside the train car so that you do not have to reveal the tile. What happens if you have multiple players on the train tile. One that was already on the outside while a second raider wants to go inside it? Every time you move from one tile to another can you pick to be on the outside or within the inside?

yeah, I;m fuzzy on that also, I guess if someone is on top of the car, due to a push or as their last movement, and it someone else explores it during their activation, they both enter the car?


April 19th, 2016, 9:01 pm
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It wasn't all that clear from the playthrough, but if its significantly more complicated than the gameplay value you get out of the choice of not revealing then it should probably be scrapped.

Really, for a quick fun game, you want as few circumstantial rules as possible.


April 20th, 2016, 1:46 am
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it seems there is no disadvantage of the revealed car. Lawbots dont block movement or anything. so actually if the car is revaled by someone.. it is. On top, inside, obviously doesnt change how you move

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April 20th, 2016, 12:24 pm
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Xris Wraith wrote:
it seems there is no disadvantage of the revealed car. Lawbots dont block movement or anything. so actually if the car is revaled by someone.. it is. On top, inside, obviously doesnt change how you move


The recently revealed Calvary bots do limit movement.

“Cavalry Soldier - If a Raider starts its turn on a car with a Cavalry Soldier on it, or moves on to a car with a Cavalry Soldier on it during its turn, then it may only perform the Move action once during that turn.”

If you just used a move action to enter a car and find Cavalry there you are stuck. If you are "on top" of the car and someone else reveals that car and you "fall into" it and find Cavalry you can only move one car as well. So there are instances where it will come into play.


April 20th, 2016, 2:55 pm
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They say in the demo that the purpose of the rule is to not give away the contents of a car to the other players when you enter it at the end of your turn. I can definitely see the intent there, as you could accidentally reveal a quick opportunity for loot to your opponent, but the rule seems finicky what with forced movement, and to my mind going to a new time should carry that risk/reward. I'd recommend scrapping it entirely.

I wonder if they'd be willing to release some of the assets of the game, like blank card files, as I'd love to do some custom heroes and lawbots.


April 21st, 2016, 4:58 am
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Ulf Beorstruk wrote:
I wonder if they'd be willing to release some of the assets of the game, like blank card files, as I'd love to do some custom heroes and lawbots.


Maybe those card sleeves that are still getting figured out will have a back of card design so that you can easily stick any card in for custom cards...


April 21st, 2016, 5:04 am
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Another fantastic idea from the KS comments from Erik Holweck is to provide Legendary Lawbot cards for Chuy. Inspired by one of the most fearsome foes of film space cowboys, he would be perfect as a big bad, 'oh sh-t' moment. He'd need a suitably epic ability though...


April 21st, 2016, 7:36 am
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Denizen
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with enough decent art assets to pull from, some form of card template for gimp or photoshop wouldn't be out of the question. NAS and SDE both have freakin sweet fan made card building templates for gimp, so chances are......


April 21st, 2016, 7:48 am
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And SDE even has an online card generator

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April 21st, 2016, 9:54 am
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