View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently November 18th, 2017, 10:39 pm



Reply to topic  [ 22 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
 Tinkergoth's playtest thread (20/10/17 rules and later) 
Author Message
Minion
User avatar

Joined: July 11th, 2015, 10:54 am
Posts: 89
Hey all. Starting a new thread for playtests using the 20/10 update rules.

Due to longer than expected game duration and a later than expected start time, I only managed to complete one game on the weekend. I'll be aiming to get at least two, preferably three or four, in next weekend.

The below is pretty much a copy paste of my report made through the portal, so when I say "you", I obviously am referring to SPM.

Game 1: 50pt Doctrine vs Cerci
Rules Iteration:2.1, 20/10/17 update
Doctrine:
Anthony
Castor & Pollux
Catalogue
Fiametta
Academy Guard x 3
Novitiates x 5

Cerci:
Princess Malya (RK)
Mr Tomm (RK)
Rin Farrah
Pit Crew x 2
Hell's Belle's x 3 + Upgrade
Royal Wrecker + Upgrade

Game Type: Standard Scoring, Encounter Level
Playtime: Approx 2 and a half hours.
Result: Cerci by mix of objective control and destruction.
Final Score: 6-1

Rules Queries

Shielding and Collateral Damage: Collateral Damage mentions that armor applies and no defensive actions may be taken, but doesn't specifically say if static shielding applies. Shielding's description says that it reduces all damage before armor applies. As written I assume that the specific of shielding is supposed to trump the omission of it from the Collateral Damage section, but it should really be specifically stated one way or the other.

Armor Explanation:There should be a full explanation of how Armor flips work in the Armor section under Unit Cards. You explain it in the Abilities section, but defensive abilities that add Armor are an increase to the stat for the purposes of the attack that is incoming at that time. The explanation would make far more sense in the actual location that the stat is introduced, or even under the Applying Damage section.

General notes:

Honestly, the gameplay experience with the new rules update was actually pretty negative for both myself and my opponent, in a few ways. I'll go into detail below, but to sum them up:

1. The game itself was boring for us compared to the previous rules incarnation.

2. Some of the changes felt like they limited our options at any given time.

3. Some of these changes (Power Tokens, changes to how abilities are costed), feel like attempts to fix issues that weren't actually broken.

To delve into more specific details...

Surge Actions: Okay, Keyword for this is good. We both thought that was a good idea. What we didn't like was that instead of the units having some cool unique ability, like Drag the Goods on the Hell's Belles, we just got to choose from a limited subset of our normal actions. The previous abilities actually led to some situations where I had to think about what to do, because there was a genuinely difficult decision on if I was better full activating a unit, or Surge activating a squad of Belles and stealing the enemy objective out from under them. Neither of us used a single Surge activation in our game because we could just use our unactivated units to the same or better effect while also getting to move them. The change makes the game more boring and removes a strategically interesting component.

Power Up phase: Again, we both thought this was a boring mechanic. We liked having unique ways for our factions to get tokens, and honestly, while the Shattered Sword and Corsairs could probably have used some tweaking on how they got their tokens, the rest of the factions seemed fine. Additionally, since due to the way costing of units has changed, all cards except Voids are now supposed to be useful (more on this later), most of the time we just didn't bother using the power tokens unless we had a void card to throw away. It generally wasn't worth me giving units the tokens in exchange for a card I was potentially going to need, since no matter what colour was on it, I had units that needed it. If the complaint was that not all units could get their faction tokens easily, why not just make it that the factions still had unique token generation methods (Pit Stop etc), but make it that each of them just generated Power Tokens instead of faction specific ones? Then if you had a Cerci unit that you felt was too slow to be able to get tokens the normal way for their faction consistently (like the Hardshell as a random example), you could just give that specific unit a different rule for token generation (Stoic would make sense on Hardshell for example).

Changes to Ability Costing: This is actually one of our biggest gripes with the changes. The rest we could live with if this wasn't in play. The way we saw it play out, the way abilities are costed with specific colours now based on type and press actually limited what we could do at any given time. Previously I could hold onto Green, Blue and Yellow for Malya, knowing that I could use it for attack or defense depending on what I felt was the more pressing need at the time, while pitching enemy colours as payment for certain presses or holding small amounts of them for units that needed them (like Asger Faust). It gave me flexibility to adjust my tactics on the fly, adding an element of excitement as I had to decide if I wanted to spend my resources on defending my units from an immediate threat, or keep them for a big attack I had planned that I may not get the cards for in time. Having it as Primary = Attack (and that's not even consistent, the Academy Guard's Sweep Attack uses Green only, while a lot of my Cerci attacks used Green and Orange), Allied = Support/Defensive and Enemy = Presses (with each enemy colour seeming to be aligned to presses for one specific type of action) actually felt limiting. I wasn't in control of what sort of actions I could take, because a) there's very little opportunity to sculpt your hand in the current ruleset beyond activating your cypher over and over again to draw more cards and discarding down, and b) If I had green, it was only good for attacks. If I had blue, support. If I had yellow, defensive. Similar situation applies to presses. I could almost never press my actions, because I kept ending up with the wrong enemy colour for what primary or allied colour actions I had in my hand. The only exception was two spectacular occurrences where I ended up with 1 green and a ton of red available to me when I had the Royal Wrecker active, so I just Incinerated a target so much that they had no chance of survival beyond the next command token cleanup. Beyond that, presses were essentially useless to me. It's simplified to the point of being dull. The old style of costing abilities was thematic and interesting. Asger used Creation (Green) like all Cerci, sure, but unlike most he and his Devils also used Corruption (Purple), because they were gangsters and he literally had an ability called Struck Deal (if that doesn't scream Corruption, I don't know what does). Now they all just use the same thing and it means that there's no planning along the lines of "If I use this for this unit, I can save this other colour for that one" like there used to be. Now it's just "Well, I used this colour last time, so I can't use it to attack now".

Standardised Ability Costing is Boring: I get that you're trying to standardise costing. But Cerci are already fragile, and while Guard is great, having them all have a defensive cost of 3Y meant that I could almost never pull it off. I think I managed one, maybe two defensive actions in the entire game. And the only one I definitely remember was just off a lucky flip where I got two primary Yellow cards. The only reason I kept so many of my units alive was that I spent every second minion activation using the Pit Crew to heal 2 lousy points of damage at a time, and I placed my squads very carefully so that only one or two of the members could be hit by an attack at a time. Meanwhile my opponent was fairly consistently able to pull off Shielding 2 for 2O on his Doctrine, giving him overall better damage reduction over the course of the game, despite us both playing what are essentially squishy factions. Also, Standardised Costing is again, boring. Some factions should be better than others at certain action types. The Shattered Sword SHOULD be better at melee than the Doctrine, and the Cerci, a Speed/Support faction SHOULD have better support actions for the cost. There can be exceptions on units within each faction of course (the Black Diamond Medic makes sense as having an effective heal action for example, while Asger and Lug make sense for having strong melee capabilities in Cerci), but differing ratios of cost to effectiveness of types of actions across the factions is a solid way of differentiating their play styles and themes.

Stealth: Given the improvements to melee, this once again feels like trying to fix a non-issue. Rin went from being a strong unit that I had to make a concerted effort to keep out of reach (which often limited how often I could get a decent shot off from her, or get the target I wanted at the time) to being a complete liability, because even with 4 armour from Stealth, the flips were random enough and the odds of me getting Guard off lower enough that my opponent just immediately started targeting her from range. The ability doesn't even make sense being called Stealth anymore... Stealth is hiding. Armor is your ability to tank damage. Hiding doesn't mean you can magically tank more damage, it means you shouldn't be getting hit in the first place.

Status tokens (Burning etc.): Okay in theory. But they actually slowed the game down significantly. The one press i could get off semi-regularly was for the Pit Crew's Specialist Knowledge, and I needed to use it at every chance I got, because I had to keep using it to keep burning tokens off my units thanks to Fiametta and the very occasional use of Anthony's cadre ability. Because I spent so much time on healing and clearing tokens, the first point wasn't scored until over 90 minutes into the game. Also the damage on burning may be overkill. In general probably not too bad (though with a little thought the Doctrine could be problematic with how much they can throw out), but the Royal Wrecker with Incinerator just makes it insane if you luck into a lot of red and don't have much else to do with it. I literally dropped 5 burning tokens on Anthony and 7 on the Academy Guard (also, the only two times I was able to press an attack in the game to any decent effect). That's how I scored my last few points. Due to the cadres we played we didn't really get to try the other tokens beyond Knock Back (which functions same as before and is generally okay.

Okay, let's get into general observations on units and game quality in general...

Death Spiral: This seems like it's going to be a thing again. Now that there's only one type of activation token, not a separate pool for minions and heroes, we're back in the situation that loss of minions equals massive drop in activation efficiency. If your opponent takes out all your minions, (which may not be that difficult given the difficulty I had activating defensive abilities consistently), you go from cycling command tokens every 2nd turn to every 4th, allowing your opponent more flexibility in regards to what they activate but also how often they can use full activations and giving them higher action economy due to being able to activate their minions as well in a single activation.

Academy Guard: Inconsistent costing on Sweep in regards to your new costing design (I may not agree with it, but if it's going to be done, it should be consistent), as mentioned above. Also, their Scythe Attack is insane for the cost. An overcharged damage 7 lifeleech attack on a squad that gets coordinated attack for 3 esper, no presses required. That's insanely good for the cost.

Pit Crew: so their heal has been nerfed, they're still melee only, AND they lost the only thing that made their melee interesting (bonus damage and the re-positioning effect), with the bonus damage for engaging that turn going to the wrecker instead (who already had plenty making her interesting). Being able to remove tokens is literally the only reason I'll take them, and honestly they just feel like a point tax, especially when they're still 5 points for 2.

Hell's Belles: Loss of Drag the Goods is super disappointing, as mentioned above. Turf War isn't exactly a great replacement, because it suffers the same issue all AoEs have, ease of removal. Great, I can score off an objective I placed the AoE on. But by the time they can activate to score again, my opponent has had 4 potential chances to clear that AoE, and I've probably already moved the Belles away a bit, so I'd just have to move them back in and place it again and hope my opponent doesn't just remove it again.

Asger Faust: Shake Down seems to be missing the Support descriptor (given that it costs blue). Also it says remove any power tokens on target unit, but the power up phase rules say that you can't put a token on a unit that already has one, so what's the point in allowing for Asger to add multiple tokens based on how many the target had? He's never going to get more than one.

Presses that allow you to take other actions: Clarification on if you still need to pay for the action that the press lets you take. Asger Faust's Shake Down has a press for 2O that let's you take a Struck Deal action. That Struck Deal costs you 1G2O. Given how the current way costing works encourages you to try to hold a little of all colours, it's rare that you'll have 4O available to you. If you have to pay for it, do you get the flip for the action as if you'd just taken the action normally? Rules like this aren't clear (it didn't specifically come up in our game, which is why I didn't mention it in the rules section above).

Cerci in general: For a faction that had a good balance of support and speed, a lot of that support versatility and effectiveness seems to be gone now. Lowered or more expensive heal effects, interesting effects on units like the Pit Crew gone, most support effects now seem to come from AoEs that are, once again, easily removed by opponents before they even get a chance to be effective. I'm back to feeling like my faction must personally offend someone in the dev team, because every time there's major updates they end up feeling like a generic grab bag of abilities that don't mesh well, and I feel like I have to start kicking and screaming again just to get them back to a fun state.

In all honesty it really feels like a lot of these new changes were made without any real need for them. Nothing was so badly broken that it needed this level of change. Some clarification sure, and some tweaking definitely, but not the significant changes we got. At least when you made the change from 2.0 to 2.1, we weren't even in the pledge manager stage yet, and you'd made it clear there was still major work to be done on rules.

I'm sure I could think of more, but it's really late here and I'm tired. So I'm just going to finish off with this (which is pretty much a copy of a comment I made in the Kickstarter comments):

I think I've figured out why I'm so annoyed about the changes, aside from the fact that they was a negative impact on play experience for my opponent and I. It's the fact that we're seeing what are, despite what you said, large rules changes AFTER you've already closed off the first wave of the pledge manager. I've already given you a lot more money so I got my order in before the close, as had my friend, and I was happy doing that because I was largely pleased with where the rules were at and you seemed to be down to fine tuning. So I figured I knew what I was getting. Apparently I was wrong.

To expand from the original comment a bit... You're making significant changes to the game AFTER the majority of us have locked down our orders and in a lot of cases given you more money, AFTER you had made comments suggesting that we were down to small tweaks and changes only. That's not really cool at all.

Apologies if any of this doesn't make a lot of sense, like I said, I'm tired, and it's been a very long day. If anyone needs anything clarified, leave a comment and I'll get back to you.


Last edited by tinkergoth on October 29th, 2017, 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.



October 23rd, 2017, 2:53 pm
Profile
Employee
User avatar

Joined: August 22nd, 2016, 6:01 pm
Posts: 661
Oh, I just sent you an email, so I'll put it here as well:

Hi,

Thanks for the feedback! For the sake of ease I'm just going to number these:

1) Yes, shielding can affect collateral damage. Quoting from step 4 on page 25:

"After paying the costs of a defense action, resolve its effects. The defense action’s effects will last until the end of step 8, Resolve Passive Player’s After Action Effects. This means that anything gained from the defense action (such as shielding) will be applied to any damage the target may take during the attacker’s after action effects (such as collateral damage due to being pushed off a cliff)."

That said, calling it out in the collateral damage section wouldn't hurt.

2) Yes, I agree we could have some more interesting surge actions. Easy enough to write. That said, I don't see the ability to use surge actions during an activation being taken away. But the Hell's Bell's ability that drags an objective could, as an example, only work if you don't take an initial move, making it far superior when used outside of an activation.

3) Ability costing. A few points on this. First, we want to encourage people to take actions even if they can't pay for it from their hand. This is a divergence from the playstyle of the original Relic Knights, we understand. But we want people to chance things sometimes and either miss or be excited at a success. Also, there is still a lot of choice in that if you have green in your hand, your choice is now 'which unit do I spend it on to attack?' Finally, there is the simple layout of the cards. Say you're playing Cerci. This means you use green for attacks, yellow for defense, and blue for support. There will absolutely be times you have to choose between attacks, support, and defense, since Green is always going to appear on a card with either blue or yellow, and you can't use both colors.

We got a lot of complaints about "dead hands." People were only looking for a single color, making every card in the deck either worth 2 of that color, 1 of that color or 0, and the vast majority of the deck was 0. With the new costing system, the choice is not, "How can I get more green and which unit needs it most?" The choice becomes, "Where do I use these cards? They're all useful. I can guarantee one attack, one defense, and one support, where do I put them? And where do I chance it?"

Overall the in house feedback on this has been very positive. But, of course, that does not discount your experience. Thank you for letting me know this was an issue for you.

4) General costing notes. I think this is a great point. Cerci will either have to change up their defense abilities sometimes, or just get a few more points in their defense stats. The lack of consistency in costing was a MAJOR complaint for people when I tested them in person. That being said, there is a lot of room to make units more flexible with their stats. So for example, Black Diamond don't get cheaper ranged attacks, instead they get more points in their ranged stats allowing them to flip more cards and hit more often. Since Cerci have to rely on the expensive Guard, maybe they get more defense stats (or we just change it up so they don't all have Guard). Either way, those changes definitely need to be made.

5) Death Spiral. We have played a bunch of games in the office and I'm yet to see someone wipe out all of the other player's minions without just winning the game. That said, you could do that before when minion activation tokens existed as well. And if you wipe out half of someone's force I'm not that inclined to be bothered that they have fewer things to activate. That said, I'll definitely keep an eye out for it. As you say, maybe the issue is more with Cerci's defenses.

6) Additional actions. Quoting from page 24:

!XX CALLOUT XX!
ADDITIONAL ACTIONS
Sometimes an action may be taken twice, or may cause a different action to be taken. In this case, the additional action is entirely separate from the action which generated it: it may have a different target and it must be paid for as normal.
!XX CALLOUT XX!

7) Individual unit feedback. Really not a lot to say here. I'll have a look at all of these units and tweak based on feedback. Thank you!


I apologize for the timing of these changes. All I can say is that it is still a game in development. And while we thought we were in a good place, further testing led to some massive issues people had, and we felt that it was our duty to address them. I would certainly have preferred to have made these long before the pledge manager closed.

Your feedback is helpful and very much appreciated.

_________________
The Demogorgon tires of your silly human bickering!

Email: justin.gibbs@ninjadivision.com


October 23rd, 2017, 5:37 pm
Profile
Denizen
User avatar

Joined: August 27th, 2012, 5:11 am
Posts: 494
tinkergoth wrote:
Shielding and Collateral Damage: Collateral Damage mentions that armor applies and no defensive actions may be taken, but doesn't specifically say if static shielding applies. Shielding's description says that it reduces all damage before armor applies. As written I assume that the specific of shielding is supposed to trump the omission of it from the Collateral Damage section, but it should really be specifically stated one way or the other.
I agree that this needs to be clarified in the rules.

tinkergoth wrote:
Armor Explanation:There should be a full explanation of how Armor flips work in the Armor section under Unit Cards. You explain it in the Abilities section, but defensive abilities that add Armor are an increase to the stat for the purposes of the attack that is incoming at that time. The explanation would make far more sense in the actual location that the stat is introduced, or even under the Applying Damage section.
I don't think a full description needs to happen in the unit cards section. And armor is fully explained in it's use under "apply damage". Or did you have a different idea of how to explain/introduce the stat?

tinkergoth wrote:
Surge Actions: Okay, Keyword for this is good. We both thought that was a good idea. What we didn't like was that instead of the units having some cool unique ability, like Drag the Goods on the Hell's Belles, we just got to choose from a limited subset of our normal actions. The previous abilities actually led to some situations where I had to think about what to do, because there was a genuinely difficult decision on if I was better full activating a unit, or Surge activating a squad of Belles and stealing the enemy objective out from under them. Neither of us used a single Surge activation in our game because we could just use our unactivated units to the same or better effect while also getting to move them. The change makes the game more boring and removes a strategically interesting component.
I get what you're saying, and I am sad to see some of the more thematically interesting abilities removed. Perhaps there could be a "Surge Only" set of abilities added back in?

tinkergoth wrote:
Power Up phase: Again, we both thought this was a boring mechanic. We liked having unique ways for our factions to get tokens, and honestly, while the Shattered Sword and Corsairs could probably have used some tweaking on how they got their tokens, the rest of the factions seemed fine. Additionally, since due to the way costing of units has changed, all cards except Voids are now supposed to be useful (more on this later), most of the time we just didn't bother using the power tokens unless we had a void card to throw away. It generally wasn't worth me giving units the tokens in exchange for a card I was potentially going to need, since no matter what colour was on it, I had units that needed it. If the complaint was that not all units could get their faction tokens easily, why not just make it that the factions still had unique token generation methods (Pit Stop etc), but make it that each of them just generated Power Tokens instead of faction specific ones? Then if you had a Cerci unit that you felt was too slow to be able to get tokens the normal way for their faction consistently (like the Hardshell as a random example), you could just give that specific unit a different rule for token generation (Stoic would make sense on Hardshell for example).

Changes to Ability Costing: This is actually one of our biggest gripes with the changes. The rest we could live with if this wasn't in play. The way we saw it play out, the way abilities are costed with specific colours now based on type and press actually limited what we could do at any given time. Previously I could hold onto Green, Blue and Yellow for Malya, knowing that I could use it for attack or defense depending on what I felt was the more pressing need at the time, while pitching enemy colours as payment for certain presses or holding small amounts of them for units that needed them (like Asger Faust). It gave me flexibility to adjust my tactics on the fly, adding an element of excitement as I had to decide if I wanted to spend my resources on defending my units from an immediate threat, or keep them for a big attack I had planned that I may not get the cards for in time. Having it as Primary = Attack (and that's not even consistent, the Academy Guard's Sweep Attack uses Green only, while a lot of my Cerci attacks used Green and Orange), Allied = Support/Defensive and Enemy = Presses (with each enemy colour seeming to be aligned to presses for one specific type of action) actually felt limiting. I wasn't in control of what sort of actions I could take, because a) there's very little opportunity to sculpt your hand in the current ruleset beyond activating your cypher over and over again to draw more cards and discarding down, and b) If I had green, it was only good for attacks. If I had blue, support. If I had yellow, defensive. Similar situation applies to presses. I could almost never press my actions, because I kept ending up with the wrong enemy colour for what primary or allied colour actions I had in my hand. The only exception was two spectacular occurrences where I ended up with 1 green and a ton of red available to me when I had the Royal Wrecker active, so I just Incinerated a target so much that they had no chance of survival beyond the next command token cleanup. Beyond that, presses were essentially useless to me. It's simplified to the point of being dull. The old style of costing abilities was thematic and interesting. Asger used Creation (Green) like all Cerci, sure, but unlike most he and his Devils also used Corruption (Purple), because they were gangsters and he literally had an ability called Struck Deal (if that doesn't scream Corruption, I don't know what does). Now they all just use the same thing and it means that there's no planning along the lines of "If I use this for this unit, I can save this other colour for that one" like there used to be. Now it's just "Well, I used this colour last time, so I can't use it to attack now".
I like that this change makes it far easier to use cadre abilities, especially for timing them compared to the previous incarnation. However, it was also my fear that the change to ability costing would make this harder to do in practice. I expect my next playtest will confirm this. I am also at a loss for why the new color cost scheme was implemented. It feels much more forced than the previous version, and many units now have abilities that seem like a player will rarely be able to fully press. (Moffet being a standout for me, given Knockback's deservedly high cost). This format may be slightly easier to balance for the recruitment cost calculation, but it loses a lot of flavor. I'd rather take the frustration of having a bad flip (ce la vie) than have the frustration of having to micromanage my hand to the degree this change adds. I liked the "discard a card" presses. They allowed you to use enemy-color cards without needing a specific thing, and solved the issue of dead cards in a hand much more elegantly. If you want game speed, that seems to be the better standard for addressing out of faction colors, at least on low-impact presses. Instead of having it be a "discard any card", just make a generic esper symbol, so you can't use void cards for it (void cards are then only good for power token generation and the odd ability that uses them)

I get that part of the above two changes is to make choosing generation of power-up tokens vs paying for abilities/presses a tough choice, but I'm worried the current scheme makes the decision more punishing than empowering.

tinkergoth wrote:
Standardised Ability Costing is Boring: I get that you're trying to standardise costing. But Cerci are already fragile, and while Guard is great, having them all have a defensive cost of 3Y meant that I could almost never pull it off. I think I managed one, maybe two defensive actions in the entire game. And the only one I definitely remember was just off a lucky flip where I got two primary Yellow cards. The only reason I kept so many of my units alive was that I spent every second minion activation using the Pit Crew to heal 2 lousy points of damage at a time, and I placed my squads very carefully so that only one or two of the members could be hit by an attack at a time. Meanwhile my opponent was fairly consistently able to pull off Shielding 2 for 2O on his Doctrine, giving him overall better damage reduction over the course of the game, despite us both playing what are essentially squishy factions. Also, Standardised Costing is again, boring. Some factions should be better than others at certain action types. The Shattered Sword SHOULD be better at melee than the Doctrine, and the Cerci, a Speed/Support faction SHOULD have better support actions for the cost. There can be exceptions on units within each faction of course (the Black Diamond Medic makes sense as having an effective heal action for example, while Asger and Lug make sense for having strong melee capabilities in Cerci), but differing ratios of cost to effectiveness of types of actions across the factions is a solid way of differentiating their play styles and themes.
Standardized costs should be the starting point, not the endpoint. SSP should have better efficiency for defense actions, Primarily ranged units should have more expensive melee attacks, etc. And if we go back to the previous color cost scheme, I absolutely agree that secondary cost colors should be aligned to a degree with the flavor. I just don't want something like 1e Austrician again, who ONLY used enemy colors on his actions.

tinkergoth wrote:
Stealth: Given the improvements to melee, this once again feels like trying to fix a non-issue. Rin went from being a strong unit that I had to make a concerted effort to keep out of reach (which often limited how often I could get a decent shot off from her, or get the target I wanted at the time) to being a complete liability, because even with 4 armour from Stealth, the flips were random enough and the odds of me getting Guard off lower enough that my opponent just immediately started targeting her from range. The ability doesn't even make sense being called Stealth anymore... Stealth is hiding. Armor is your ability to tank damage. Hiding doesn't mean you can magically tank more damage, it means you shouldn't be getting hit in the first place.
I like the ability that stealth has become, but hate that the old version of stealth has been removed. Rename this new ability to something like "Tactical awareness" or "Danger Sense" and please put the old stealth back in. If you think stealth has to be nerfed, why not use one of these two changes "To benefit from Stealth, the unit must be in contact with the object granting them cover". Or "If this unit can claim cover from the attacker and the attacker is not within X inches, this unit cannot be targeted by ranged or psychic attacks" (X could be 5 or 6). Stealth would then be good for sitting back, but if wouldn't be very useful as the battle moves closer. Or "A unit with stealth cannot be targeted by ranged or psychic attacks if they have a power token and can claim cover from the attacking unit." This means that a stealth unit always exposes itself for at least a turn after making an attack or moving, but can hunker down again while they wait for their next action, and requires the controlling player to invest resources in order to use the powerful ability.

tinkergoth wrote:
Status tokens (Burning etc.): Okay in theory. But they actually slowed the game down significantly. The one press i could get off semi-regularly was for the Pit Crew's Specialist Knowledge, and I needed to use it at every chance I got, because I had to keep using it to keep burning tokens off my units thanks to Fiametta and the very occasional use of Anthony's cadre ability. Because I spent so much time on healing and clearing tokens, the first point wasn't scored until over 90 minutes into the game. Also the damage on burning may be overkill. In general probably not too bad (though with a little thought the Doctrine could be problematic with how much they can throw out), but the Royal Wrecker with Incinerator just makes it insane if you luck into a lot of red and don't have much else to do with it. I literally dropped 5 burning tokens on Anthony and 7 on the Academy Guard (also, the only two times I was able to press an attack in the game to any decent effect). That's how I scored my last few points. Due to the cadres we played we didn't really get to try the other tokens beyond Knock Back (which functions same as before and is generally okay.
I want to see more feedback on this, because it won't be the case that everyone runs units that can clear status tokens. That said, if the power level of burning or bind turns out to be quite high, then running a token clearing unit will be important, and game speed will suffer.

On your other points, I am also afraid of the return of the death spiral. Presses/cadre abilities that allow for second actions are called out on p24, and it is made clear they must be paid for as normal. Faction identities may come more clear again as more of the units are added back in for testing; but if these are the baselines I can understand some of the concern. I am glad that the focus for what defines your cadre has been put back on the Knight, we just need a better way to generate power tokens (either back to faction abilities or addressing costing so that discarding for them is a clearer choice.)

It is my earnest hope that some of these changers were made as a "lets get more data on this" test. I like some of the changes, I'm just worried that they may not have been necessary.


October 23rd, 2017, 5:42 pm
Profile
Denizen
User avatar

Joined: August 27th, 2012, 5:11 am
Posts: 494
ND_Justin wrote:
5) Death Spiral. We have played a bunch of games in the office and I'm yet to see someone wipe out all of the other player's minions without just winning the game. That said, you could do that before when minion activation tokens existed as well. And if you wipe out half of someone's force I'm not that inclined to be bothered that they have fewer things to activate. That said, I'll definitely keep an eye out for it. As you say, maybe the issue is more with Cerci's defenses.
The big deference between having one type of activation token and two is how fast they cycle. So yes, in both cases you are activating half the units your opponent is when they have minions and you don't, but if there's only one type, you're now also in a situation where your activations are not full activations on more regular intervals, exacerbating the activation economy disparity. It's probably less of an issue in 50 point games, but in 35 and 70 the ratio of tokens to units is much tighter...


October 23rd, 2017, 6:19 pm
Profile
Employee
User avatar

Joined: August 22nd, 2016, 6:01 pm
Posts: 661
Major Glitch wrote:
ND_Justin wrote:
5) Death Spiral. We have played a bunch of games in the office and I'm yet to see someone wipe out all of the other player's minions without just winning the game. That said, you could do that before when minion activation tokens existed as well. And if you wipe out half of someone's force I'm not that inclined to be bothered that they have fewer things to activate. That said, I'll definitely keep an eye out for it. As you say, maybe the issue is more with Cerci's defenses.
The big deference between having one type of activation token and two is how fast they cycle. So yes, in both cases you are activating half the units your opponent is when they have minions and you don't, but if there's only one type, you're now also in a situation where your activations are not full activations on more regular intervals, exacerbating the activation economy disparity. It's probably less of an issue in 50 point games, but in 35 and 70 the ratio of tokens to units is much tighter...


I may be missing something here. More regular intervals?

Under the previous system if you had no minions, you could only activate one unit, as you had nothing to put your minion activation tokens on. This lasted the rest of the game. There was really no interval, you just went from two activations per turn to one, and it still works that way. So maybe I misunderstand?

To the issue of differently sized games: 35 points also requires fewer victory points for a win, so the game will still generally end around the time one player loses all their minions (if it happens). And 70 points needs more testing, so we can adjust if it does.

But we've played a bunch of games now, and I'm yet to see someone actually be denied activations in this way. (Though I have seen all of someone's minions wiped out - the game just happened to end as soon as it happened as the last minion killed provided the last victory point).

_________________
The Demogorgon tires of your silly human bickering!

Email: justin.gibbs@ninjadivision.com


October 23rd, 2017, 6:32 pm
Profile
Denizen
User avatar

Joined: August 27th, 2012, 5:11 am
Posts: 494
what I meant by 'more regular intervals':

Assuming a 4-token game, when using 2 hero and 2 minion tokens, you refresh your pool every other turn, regardless of how many minions are still alive. When the tokens are general tokens, the refresh rate doubles the instant your minions are all killed. So yes, in a 35-50 point game that will generally mean your opponent has 3-5 victory points from kills (depending on your cadre composition), but it still allows for the possibility of a huge tempo shift.

I admit I haven't gotten a game in yet, but previous games I've played have absolutely had outcomes where the above could happen, especially against squishy factions like Doctrine. This makes protecting Cyphers that much more important due to their effect on activation economy on top of their impact on hand management.

So yes, it seems like a rare occurrence (your enemy would have to specifically focus your minions and not score anything off objectives...), and if you haven't been trading kills you're in a worse position and likely going to lose anyways. But one of the stated selling points is "(paraphrased) come from behind victories should be happen and we don't want players to feel like the game is over until the last VP is scored." I want to make sure this issue is looked at and considered, especially for 50pt games where it's more likely due to higher VP needed.


October 23rd, 2017, 8:51 pm
Profile
Denizen
User avatar

Joined: September 9th, 2012, 1:25 am
Posts: 320
Location: Australia
ND_Justin wrote:
1) Yes, shielding can affect collateral damage. Quoting from step 4 on page 25:

"After paying the costs of a defense action, resolve its effects. The defense action’s effects will last until the end of step 8, Resolve Passive Player’s After Action Effects. This means that anything gained from the defense action (such as shielding) will be applied to any damage the target may take during the attacker’s after action effects (such as collateral damage due to being pushed off a cliff)."

That said, calling it out in the collateral damage section wouldn't hurt.


Try reading page 28 that covers the full range of Collateral Damage and not simply the damage caused as part of an action, then revisit the question.

ND_Justin wrote:
We got a lot of complaints about "dead hands." People were only looking for a single color, making every card in the deck either worth 2 of that color, 1 of that color or 0, and the vast majority of the deck was 0. With the new costing system, the choice is not, "How can I get more green and which unit needs it most?" The choice becomes, "Where do I use these cards? They're all useful. I can guarantee one attack, one defense, and one support, where do I put them? And where do I chance it?"

Overall the in house feedback on this has been very positive. But, of course, that does not discount your experience. Thank you for letting me know this was an issue for you.


In house testing never counts for much as far as opinion on “is this good” or “is this fun” (as against “does it work” or “does it meet a stated goal”)

I saw plenty of complaints about dead hands as well, they were common to not cycling cards (by using card draw effectively) and were being mitigated by rules that allowed discarding any colour and so on. Further the Power Up phase strongly changes the value of ‘dead’ cards in your hand, without the significant changes to action costing that have been undertaken.

This then comes back to “actions should be able to fail”, moving to making all the cards in your hand always useful is reducing the chance of failure. Which undermines that prior design goal. You have already highlighted the other problem of having a hand that is dead to attacking or defending depending if you have the cards for one not the other.

Frankly, dead hands could have been fixed by returning the discard and draw step of Clean Up phase for the active player, but no a change from the ground up of all action costings was a more efficient solution...

ND_Justin wrote:
I apologize for the timing of these changes. All I can say is that it is still a game in development. And while we thought we were in a good place, further testing led to some massive issues people had, and we felt that it was our duty to address them. I would certainly have preferred to have made these long before the pledge manager closed.

Your feedback is helpful and very much appreciated.

I’m not mad because there were changes.

I’m mad because on September 23rd the update started;
Quote:
Hello all! We are finalizing the two player starter this week!

This is the final bit of rules design needed for wave one of Relic Knights

Now a month later we have a fundamental shift in the design of the base system of the game (action costing) and several other rules elements have significantly or fundamentally changed which significantly invalidates large portions of testing done before that point for the state of the game.

Perhaps this change is what was being referred to in the September 30th update?

If that’s the case that is a significant communication failure in light of the previous change in direction you had already undertaken with the rules from the launch of the campaign.

_________________
Australian Soda Pop Community On Facebook
South East QLD Relic Knights on Facebook


October 24th, 2017, 12:05 pm
Profile WWW
Minion
User avatar

Joined: July 11th, 2015, 10:54 am
Posts: 89
I'll be playing more games on the coming weekend (aiming for 4), so I'm not going to bother talking more about issues I have with mechanics at this stage until I've been able to do some more testing with the changes. I'll revisit this thread then with any further thoughts. Plus, Obsidian Crane and Major Glitch have already covered what I was thinking of responding with pretty well (particularly why you didn't just consider bringing back Discard and Draw instead of completely redoing the entire design space of ability costing and in the process losing all thematic elements of what colours of esper units use).

That said, there's something I would like to respond to. Before I do though, I'd like to make it clear that what I'm saying below is directed at SPM/ND in general, since I know that you specifically don't really get to make the decisions about when the pledge manager waves etc close. This is a slightly updated copy of a comment I made on the Kickstarter page in response to pretty much the same comment you've made here.

ND_Justin wrote:
I apologize for the timing of these changes. All I can say is that it is still a game in development. And while we thought we were in a good place, further testing led to some massive issues people had, and we felt that it was our duty to address them. I would certainly have preferred to have made these long before the pledge manager closed.


If the game is still in development to the point of even potentially requiring major changes then you shouldn't have locked down the pledge manager. Here's what should have happened if you were actually interested in rebuilding trust with your customers and supporters like you kept saying during the recent storm of negative reactions triggered by the launch of the Starfinder minis kickstarter:

EITHER

You should have copped to the fact that you felt the game still needed significant work and there was therefore going to be delays, and communicated that to us clearly.

OR

You should have been honest when you said you were down to fine tuning and made a commitment to not making any more major changes that would have a significant impact on how the game plays once you'd announced the pledge manager was closing.

There's no such thing as a perfect game, and there comes a point where you have to say "this is solid enough". Given your comments about how close we were to a final ruleset and being down to fine tuning, combined with the fact that the core rules had not changed significantly for at least a month or two before this, I don't think it was unreasonable of myself and others to believe we were at that "solid enough" point, which is why one of my friends and I proceeded to sink a large part of our yearly gaming budgets into your game during the close of the pledge manager. Having changes like this after that, is, to put it plainly, a kick in the teeth, and honestly, your apology means very little when you've already got our money. It also feels somewhat insincere given that you've done similar things on your other Kickstarters.

By all means make the game you want to make, but make sure you tell your customers exactly what that game is before you starting making them finalise orders and taking their money. Because what you've given us with this latest update is NOT the same game. The tactical decision process is completely different, because the design of units and balancing philosophy is drastically changed, and that makes for a wildly different feel to the hadn't. The group I've been testing with thought that the system was as close to perfect as it was likely to get prior to these changes. Our reaction after a game with the update was "well, this is bland and boring now". Probably not the reaction you were looking for.

I appreciate that you've improved communication and been willing to listen to us and discuss ideas during the beta, but the ball was dropped so goddamn hard on this one that it's cracked the ground and is heading towards the planet's core.

And on that note, what I'd really appreciate right now are straight answers to the following questions:

1. Is there any chance of the costing design being reverted if further playtesting from myself and others continues to result in negative gameplay experiences, or is this change the hill you're willing to fight to the bitter end to hold, like with suggestions to look at Draw and Pay instead of Flip and Pay earlier in the playtests? Either way I'll give the rules a fair and balanced test and report my findings honestly, but it'd be nice to at least have an idea of whether or not I'm wasting my time.

2. What is the absolute latest we can request cancellation and refunds of our orders? We'd rather not have to, but like I said, my friend and primary play test opponent both sunk nearly a full year's gaming budget into this project between the pledge manager and the Kickstarter. We're willing to keep play testing and trying out updates for a while, but if the current iteration is representative of where the game is going to end up, I think we'd both like to know when we have to decide if we're jumping ship or not so that we can reinvest the money in games we're actually going to enjoy. Sorry to be blunt, but neither of us can afford to lose nearly $400 US each on a game we're not going to play.


October 24th, 2017, 12:43 pm
Profile
Hero
User avatar

Joined: July 14th, 2014, 9:10 pm
Posts: 240
Greetings! Here is a response for some stuff that got brought up in this thread that we'd like to address.

Q: Is there any chance of the costing design being reverted if further playtesting from myself and others continues to result in negative gameplay experiences, or is this change the hill you're willing to fight to the bitter end to hold, like with suggestions to look at Draw and Pay instead of Flip and Pay earlier in the playtests? Either way I'll give the rules a fair and balanced test and report my findings honestly, but it'd be nice to at least have an idea of whether or not I'm wasting my time.

A: Short answer, is the cards are still in playtesting and we will absolutely consider all feedback on costing. We understand that the costing change was a big overhaul to the cards. There have been a couple of concerns raised about the changes that we’d like to address specifically.

The first is the perception that models are losing their ‘theme’ by having their actions use the faction’s primary colors instead of colors to the models (such as Asger Faust no longer using purple in all his actions). While this use of esper did allow some extremely light theming for a unit, the unit is a part of a faction, and factions are dominant factor in determining theme and abilities. Using the Asger Faust example, if he was intended to be a corruption/purple unit we would have put him in Black Diamond as an illicit arms dealer, with ties to the Synod and old GAMA. Likewise, units such as Hell’s Belles and Suicide Queen are as steeped in Cerci’s underworld as Asger yet have never used purple esper in their game mechanics. Ultimately, from a theme perspective, the faction needs to be themed together and function well together, which the new color costs accomplishes by tightening how each faction uses the esper in your deck. Then, a unit’s abilities and how they perform on the battlefield reflect the unit’s individual personality.

The old costing scheme forced you to take specific units if you wanted to maximize the efficiency of the cards in your hand. If you played Cerci and wanted to use any of the purple esper in your deck you HAD to take Asger Faust otherwise they were dead cards. Similar choices were required across the board. When you built an army you had to decide if you wanted to use your deck in the most efficient way possible or if you wanted to build a force using the units you enjoyed and actually wanted to use. We didn’t find this to be a particularly compelling army building decision—effectively maximum effectiveness vs maximum choice. The new costing scheme makes it so you are no longer forced to take certain units based on the colors they use. Now you can choose your cadre based purely on what models you want and how they synergize together, knowing that you will be able to utilize the entire deck so long as you manage your hand and army well (and have a bit of luck).

Under the new costing, managing resources and your hand is still essential and in many ways requires even more thought and planning for the future. The old costs made it so that many cards were “dead” they were not used for anything in your cadre, so if you needed to discard it was a simple decision to ditch multiple cards. That choice is not nearly as simple of a matter anymore. Now that all colors have some potential value you need to carefully think about what actions to take, or what cards you need to discard. Do you want to hold onto those green and red cards for big attacks (using Cerci); do you need those yellow and purple to ensure you survive the next big attack; or do you keep your blue and orange so you can get that support AoE down to bolster your units? Also, what unit will you activate next to use these cards on? They’re potentially useful for all of your units (not just one), so you need to choose wisely to determine what will be best given the situation-at-hand on the field. We find these to be much more interesting choices than the previous costing scheme allowed. It also makes it so that indecisiveness can cause you to fail actions just as readily as the previous scheme. Did I hold onto my defensive colors trusting that I would draw or flip offensive ones next activation? Did that pan out? (I know in my last game I made the incorrect gamble multiple times, leading to many failed actions! -Deke)

These are several of the key reasons we adjusted the costing on the cards. We know it is a big adjustment, but we made it based on lots (and lots) of test games and discussion. That said, we are still in playtesting and while we are not going to revert entirely back to the old costing scheme, costs absolutely can (and will) change based on your gameplay feedback and further internal testing.

Q: What is the absolute latest we can request cancellation and refunds of our orders? We'd rather not have to, but like I said, my friend and primary play test opponent both sunk nearly a full year's gaming budget into this project between the pledge manager and the Kickstarter. We're willing to keep play testing and trying out updates for a while, but if the current iteration is representative of where the game is going to end up, I think we'd both like to know when we have to decide if we're jumping ship or not so that we can reinvest the money in games we're actually going to enjoy. Sorry to be blunt, but neither of us can afford to lose nearly $400 US each on a game we're not going to play.

Our refund policy is eight weeks before shipping begins. So you have time to get in some games, and we’ll definitely be sorry to see you go if you so choose. We apologize that the card cost overhaul came in so late in the process. However, it took us some time to gather all the data from games and decide on an appropriate course of action, and since the cards were (and are) still in testing they are subject to change to ensure game balance. We hope that with more games you come to enjoy the new cards as much as we have! And like we said above the cards are still in testing so we look forward to your continued feedback as you play more games!

- Deke, Justin, and Dave


October 24th, 2017, 7:51 pm
Profile
Minion
User avatar

Joined: July 11th, 2015, 10:54 am
Posts: 89
Managed to get 3 games in this weekend. We even swapped factions for one of the games, so that was a bit of a learning curve. Experience was a bit more positive, which I'll discuss more below.

Game 2: 50pt Doctrine vs Cerci
Rules Iteration:2.1, 20/10/17 update
Date Played: 28/10/17

Doctrine:
RK Kisa
RK Scratch
Headmaster Togan & Cecelia
Fiametta
Librarian
Novitiates x 4

Cerci:
QK Marie Claude
QK Esmee
Betty
Lug
Faust's Devils x 3
Royal Wrecker + Upgrade

Game Type: Standard Scoring, Encounter Level
Playtime: Approx 2 and a half hours.
Result: Cerci by Hero Wipeout
Final Score: 5-4

How It Went Down

Early in the game I realised that scoring points off objectives wasn't going to be a realistic way of winning. My opponent was being too protective of his objectives, and whenever I'd try to get close his units were able to move in to counter me and lay some hurt. However during objective placement I'd placed a secondary pretty close to the centre of the field, in a fairly open spot. My opponent kept moving his units in to try and score off it, and I was able to pretty effectively turn it into a killing field, taking out Fiametta and Togan & Cecelia off it (this is how my opponent scored 3 of his 4 points, Fiametta took a few shots to get gone). Sadly I didn't get to incinerate anything with the Wrecker, because Kisa is way faster than I had realised, and has an easily overcharged and damage boosted attack melee that is capable of killing the wrecker in one hit. Chalk that one up to experience, but Betty and Lug were able to move in and dismantle Kisa by applying a few tactical high speed rivets and giant robot fists to the face.

Rules Queries

AOEs and unit death: I may have just missed this, but I couldn't find what happens to an AOE if the creator dies. Does it disappear? Or is it left in place until someone clears it? We played that they disappear but official confirmation would be good.

Tow: I'm not sure if this was ever clarified after objective markers lost stats and became indestructible, but do they still count as models for the purposes of Tow?

General notes:

Ability Costing: This game actually played a lot better than my first one. After reading Major Glitch's report and some discussion with him regarding how he approached planning for activations with the new costing, I think both my opponent and I had a better handle on it how everything worked. It looks like last time may have been a combination of being stuck in a mindset that worked for the old costing and a statistical outlier in terms of how bad draws and flips were. I didn't keep an exact track of successful vs failed actions, but it was at least 3 successful actions to 1 failed. Still not 100% happy with it, but it's working better. I still think some of the actions may need revisiting on effectiveness for cost, but overall it's okay. That said, I would like to confirm if keeping discard card presses was intentional? Most of them are gone but there's still floating around.

Power Up Phase: We're still finding this a bit rough gameplay wise. I get that you want us to have to seriously think about if it's worth dropping cards for Power Tokens, but so far we're finding that at least 90% of the time we're just going to hold onto the cards since they're all useful. I think I did it maybe 3 times in the whole game and it ended up being relevant once. Marie-Claude's one seems great for example, but

Kisa: Man, she is FAST. Barely slower than Malya, which I still find weird for Malya being the big speedster knight. Her Cat's Toy melee attack is freaking amazing as well.

Objective Scoring vs Combat: I think the balance has shifted back towards favouring combat over objectives, even for Cerci. There's nothing to stop players from just turtling around their objectives and taking pot shots when they can manage to manoeuvre to get LoS on enemy units. It's hard for Cerci to make an assault on a position like that (hit and run tactics help, but models like the Belle's often won't be able to get far enough away to avoid reprisal, and are pretty fragile still). Only real option for it is to roll in hard with Betty and Lug backing each other up, or for Malya to whittle them down with hit and runs, and that makes it near impossible to hold objectives. This means that, as I mentioned before, combat is the only serious option most of the time. I suspect this was still the case with the previous rules, with the difference being that Cerci had a few tricks I could use to open up opportunities to score, like risking taking a hit on the Belle's in order to abscond with an objective marker using their Drag the Goods ability. Now my best option is hit and run tactics attempting to take out heroes.

Final Thoughts: I'm a lot happier with the game than I was last weekend, though I think there are still tweaks needed, and something needs to be done to redress the combat vs objective effectiveness situation. But both my opponent and I definitely felt much more positive afterwards.


October 29th, 2017, 12:10 pm
Profile
Minion
User avatar

Joined: July 11th, 2015, 10:54 am
Posts: 89
2nd game of the weekend, my Cerci vs opponent's Doctrine again.

Game 3: 50pt Doctrine vs Cerci
Rules Iteration:2.1, 20/10/17 update
Date Played: 28/10/17

Doctrine:
Anthony
Castor & Pollux
Fiametta
Librarian
5 x Scribes with Shield Drone

Cerci:
Suicide Queen
Rollo
Betty
Lug
3 x Hell's Belles
Royal Wrecker + Upgrade

Game Type: Standard Scoring, Encounter Level
Playtime: 60 minutes
Result: Cerci by Hero Wipeout
Final Score: 3-1

How It Went Down

I tried objective scoring again this game, using the Belle's to lay down a Turf War AOE on the primary. Opponent just kept clearing them though, and so I realised again that attacking was going to be the only real way for me to win. Given that my opponent only had two heroes this time, direct hero wipeout was the clear option. Concentrated fire from the Hell's Belles boosted by a pressed Fickle Fate AOE laid down by Rollo made short work of Anthony, while Betty and Lug waded into Fiametta's Ring of Fire AOE to clear it and start smacking her down.

Rules Queries

Drive By: Does this allow units with Power Tokens to make an initial move, take an action, make a follow up move, then take a ranged attack? Or does it just move the action to the end of the turn and force it to be a ranged attack?

General notes:

Ability Costing: I had a higher ratio of failed actions this game, but nothing horrendous. Still getting used to it, but as I mentioned in my last report, it's not as bad as my initial test led me to believe.

Power Up Phase: Same note as above. I gave out one Power token in the whole game. It was actually useful to me at least, but most of the time it just wasn't necessary to do it.

Suicide Queen: I'm gonna feel like a broken record here again, but seriously, please revisit the speed on Suicide Queen. It just feels seriously wrong that she's slower than her Belles.

Objective Scoring vs Combat: Pretty much the exact same comments as previous report

Final Thoughts: Again, much the same as previous.


Last edited by tinkergoth on October 29th, 2017, 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.



October 29th, 2017, 12:37 pm
Profile
Minion
User avatar

Joined: July 11th, 2015, 10:54 am
Posts: 89
Final game of the weekend. My first attempt at playing Doctrine vs my opponent running Cerci.

Game 4: 50pt Doctrine vs Cerci
Rules Iteration:2.1, 20/10/17 update
Date Played: 29/10/17

Doctrine:
Delphyne
Ekhis
Fiametta
Prefects
6 x Novitiates
5 x Scribes

Cerci:
Suicide Queen
Rollo
Rin Farrah
Pacer with Chain Guns
4 x Faust's Devils
4 x Hell's Belles

Game Type: Standard Scoring, Encounter Level
Playtime: 2 hours 30 minutes
Result: Doctrine by Hero Wipeout
Final Score: 6-0

How It Went Down

Fiametta spent most of her time throwing down Ring of Fire AOEs to block Rin Farrah's LoS to my units. The Scribes, Prefects and Novitiates spent the first half of the game blasting the Devils and Belles off my objective markers. Once I'd cleared the minion units, I had an easy (though not particularly fast) time of things, because the card advantage from Rollo activating every single turn wasn't enough to offset the fact that I had two activations per turn with decent attacks available to his one (Rollow can't exactly bring the pain). So the second half of the game came down to Ekhis hunting down heroes one by one to bite them, followed by Delphyne throwing a Sic' Em at them, with the other units activating on the off turns to throw out attacks when they could see the units. Game ended with all Cerci units except Rollo dead, Suicide Queen being the last one to go.

Rules Queries

No new rules questions came up in this game.

General notes:

Power Up Phase: Same note as before. I didn't bother handing out any power tokens this time around (though to be fair it wasn't really necessary for this game I guess, it's not like my opponent's cadre had a ton of forced movement or tokens to hand out). My opponent didn't really use it either. He may have assigned a token, I'm not sure, but he definitely didn't use any.

Death Spiral: This was DEFINITELY in effect. Card advantage from constant activation of the cypher just couldn't make up for my getting double the amount of attacks in.

Objective Scoring vs Combat: Same comments as previous reports

Final Thoughts: Again, much the same as previous. I had a blast playing as Doctrine, the sheer damage potential on units like the Novitiates is ridiculous fun (they're relatively fragile to help make up for it of course, though not as much as you'd think, their Shielding 4 isn't that hard to get to). Still prefer playing as my Cerci though.


October 29th, 2017, 1:03 pm
Profile
Denizen
User avatar

Joined: August 27th, 2012, 5:11 am
Posts: 494
Glad to hear things went better for you this time around.

Power-up This was used a few times to good effect with Codebreaker in my game. It helped that his effect allows you to ‘bank’ tokens on units in order to dump multiple for a significant damage boost. I’ll repeat my thought that the starter cadres do benefit from not needing to power-up for their cadre abilities.

Suggestion Perhaps one unit on each starter cadre could be given a press that costs a power-up token, or an ability that can only be used if they have one (either spend it as part of the cost, or just have to have one to use it; part of the cost might balance better...) The Power-up phase is pretty important, and it probably should be introduced in the starter. Yes, it requires a deeper amount of thought than what is generally presented in the starter, but I worry about a player forming a habit of skipping the phase.

Tow As far as I can tell from the current rules, Tow affects a single model (with no other restrictions), and Objectives are models.

Drive By I suspect it is supposed to be two actions on the turn used.

Combat v Objectives My experience since 2.1 has been opening with heavy combat, then threatening objectives in order to draw out the opponent if needed. A couple of the advanced missions might help shift the focus to objective scoring, but I haven’t tested them. More of the advanced scenarios simply change how you approach combat instead of putting a greater focus on scoring via objectives. But even if the game were changed to “score only from objectives”, combat would still likely be the opening gambit to try and set up for easier scoring. That said, all of the advanced scenarios have some appeal in that they will affect the way players approach the game.


October 29th, 2017, 4:37 pm
Profile
Employee
User avatar

Joined: August 22nd, 2016, 6:01 pm
Posts: 661
I'm glad you had a more positive experience with these games! Thank you for the feedback!

Drive by does indeed allow you to take an additional action.

Yes, discard presses were intentionally left in. I think there is still room to have some here and there.

For power up I have often found it beneficial to discard either my support press color (for Cerci that's orange I believe) or even occasionally the support color. Many of the cadre abilities are pretty powerful and, I think, worth a card. Where they are not, please let us know. But of course I could be off.

Combat should be an important part of the game. I think Major Glitch speaks to the gist of what I have been seeing. The game is opened with combat and closed with objectives. Once one area of the board falls one player wins by camping a few units on an objective. So area control definitely matters, and it allows you to define how combat happens. For example, a melee unit is naturally at a disadvantage in RK due to infinite ranges on other attacks, but if it closes on an objective it forces the opponent to either give up points or engage the melee unit. That sort of thing. But combat is definitely supposed to be a large portion of the game. Is it too much? Well, I'll keep my eye on it. :)

I think Belles getting their old tow back could be fun. And Kisa may be a bit too fast.

I'll go through the individual unit feedback.

Just wanted to say, thanks for the reports!

_________________
The Demogorgon tires of your silly human bickering!

Email: justin.gibbs@ninjadivision.com


October 30th, 2017, 7:54 pm
Profile
Minion
User avatar

Joined: July 11th, 2015, 10:54 am
Posts: 89
ND_Justin wrote:
Combat should be an important part of the game. I think Major Glitch speaks to the gist of what I have been seeing. The game is opened with combat and closed with objectives. Once one area of the board falls one player wins by camping a few units on an objective. So area control definitely matters, and it allows you to define how combat happens. For example, a melee unit is naturally at a disadvantage in RK due to infinite ranges on other attacks, but if it closes on an objective it forces the opponent to either give up points or engage the melee unit. That sort of thing. But combat is definitely supposed to be a large portion of the game. Is it too much? Well, I'll keep my eye on it. :)


Thanks for the response Justin. As I've mentioned to you before, the issue my opponent and I are encountering is that by the time objective camping really becomes a viable option, I've only got to land one or two more attacks before I win on destruction points anyway, and seems to inevitably end up being the more efficient route to victory.

As to how to address that... I've sadly got no real suggestions right now. Maybe some more games will help, though I suspect I'll only be able to get one or two in this weekend.


November 2nd, 2017, 12:55 pm
Profile
Minion
User avatar

Joined: July 11th, 2015, 10:54 am
Posts: 89
Only one game this weekend. Neither my opponent or I were in the mood for more. Honestly, we only played this one because I promised Obsidian-Crane that I'd try out this list he thought of, since it raised some interesting possibilities for interaction between some of my units that I hadn't considered. Very short game too.

Game 4: 50pt Doctrine vs Cerci
Rules Iteration:2.1, 20/10/17 update
Date Played: 4/11/17

Doctrine:
Kisa
Scratch
Fiametta
Librarian
7 x Novitiates

Cerci:
Malya
Mr Tomm
Asger Faust
2 x Royal Wreckers w Incinerator upgrades

Game Type: Standard Scoring, Encounter Level
Playtime: 30 minutes
Result: Cerci by Objective Control
Final Score: 6-0

How It Went Down

I won the flip, and let opponent take Villain. Normally I take it so I can have a little control over where my opponent can deploy, but I wanted to make sure I had first activation. I made sure to deploy my two Wreckers in base to base contact, with one of them approx 14 inches away from the Doctrine primary objective, and Mr Tomm in a position to get LoS on it.

Turn 1: During power up phase, discard two cards to place a power token on both Wreckers. Activate Mr Tomm, cast a pressed Shield Booster just in front of the Doctrine primary. Activate Wrecker1 (closest to the primary), run it 14 inches towards the primary (Malya's Cadre Ability). Couldn't quite get it in contact... but I could Tow Wrecker2 in so that it was in contact with the objective, inside the Shield Booster. No action, follow up move to block Kisa from getting to the Wrecker2 while remaining in the Shield Booster AOE. At this stage my opponent figured out what I was up to, and much swearing and raising of middle fingers was undertaken. Opponent activations were the Novitiates attempting to take out Wrecker2 (I managed to pay for between that and the Shield Booster it only took a few points of damage), and Fiametta laying down a Ring of Fire to try and control where I could run the objective to (this was a mistake. Concentrating fire on Wrecker2 would have been a better strategy, though from memory I would have survived since I believe I had enough Essence esper left for another use of Wrecker Frame, the first one had been paid for from flips).

Turn 2: Activate Wrecker2, score 2 points. Run 14 inches back towards Mr Tomm, Tow objective with me, place it in such a way that it mostly screens Wrecker2 from Fiametta and the Novitiates. Activate Malya, run her towards the Novitiates. Use a pressed Hit & Run to move the rest of the way in, have all damage prevented, which was fine as I wasn't after a kill. Feint towards the Doctrine Primary and Wrecker2, follow up move and get into contact with the objective in a way that does block Novitiate and Fiametta's LOS to Wrecker2. Opponent activated Kisa and moved in to engage and attack Malya, dealing a massive 11 damage with a pressed (for damage and overcharge) Kitty Toy attack, but couldn't position her to engage the Wrecker as well. Can't recall what he did with the 2nd activation. Current game state is 2-0 to Cerci. All Command tokens are cleared at this stage.

Turn 3: Activate Wrecker2, score 2 points, making it 4-0. Run 7 inches towards Mr Tomm, tow objective and place so that it's contact with Mr Tomm. No action, no follow up. Activate Mr Tomm, tank the damage from the Ring of Fire AOE due to his Shielding 2 and Armour 2 (not that it could have killed him anyway, not enough damage), score another two points, end game.

Rules Queries

No new rules questions came up in this game.

General notes:

Before I go into anything in detail, a few notes that might help put this game into context. My opponent had no idea what I was planning until he saw the Wreckers close in on his primary objective. I don't think he realised how Tow had changed (now working on initial move instead of follow up) and didn't quite get what Malya's Cadre ability is. If he'd realised what I was doing after seeing the list and deployed accordingly, or even reacted in a different way once the tactic was revealed, I think he could have made the game harder for me. Not sure it would have made a huge difference, but it would have slowed me down a bit. The list I took also has some definite weaknesses, like not having any Heal (even the lackluster Heal 2 on the Pit Crew) or status token removal, so Bind, Burn and Esper Drain could potentially be an issue, as could an opponent managing to get enough burst damage in early to take out one of the Wreckers through concentrated fire. Anyway, onto specific notes...

Power Up Phase: Power up phase came in far handier in this game obviously. I would have powered up the Wreckers no matter what cards I had since my strategy relied on it, but I happened to have two voids in my opening hand, so it was a really easy choice.

Objective Scoring vs Combat: Well. This was the exact opposite situation of previous games. I had to build a specialised list for it, and I suspect there's some decent counters for it, though I'd have to play more games running this and similar lists against opponents who are aware of what I'm doing and specifically adapting to it to be sure. Honestly, I wouldn't run this very often anyway, while it was funny watching the moment of realisation on my opponent's face and his following reaction, the game itself wasn't exactly fun. I want to be able to win by objective control, I don't want it to be a cake walk. I know it's a tough balance to get, but currently it seems like my options are either "win by outright combat with maybe 1 point of objective control if the opportunity arises" or "Build for RK1 Cerci levels of cheese and just ignore my opponent". Neither is really a great gameplay experience for me, though the former is at least more of a challenge.

Final Thoughts: Eh. Not a whole lot to say here. Both my opponent and I were feeling pretty sour about playing before the game even started, for reasons unrelated to the rules that I'm not going to delve into here. The rules themselves still feel pretty solid, though the combat/control balance is clearly still a bit of an issue. Nothing much else to say really, the game didn't go on long enough to really get that much to talk about.


November 6th, 2017, 1:07 pm
Profile
Denizen
User avatar

Joined: September 9th, 2012, 1:25 am
Posts: 320
Location: Australia
First I want to say thanks to Tinkergoth for executing my craziness!

Second comment is that a few of the questions in the question thread spring directly out of thinking about this style of lists and it’s applications. Thinking about how to execute it more effectively and how to counter it has caused some detailed examination of a few rules and picked up some things that were missed previously. (For example you can move through engagement “zones” around models but are not engaged unless you stop in them.)

Finally, while this strategy does hinge on Malya’s Cadre Ability and Tow’s wording I believe the place to fix it (if deemed a problem) is in limiting Tow to printed initial move. Malya may need further examination, but changing her instead of Tow limits future options for units and Cadre Abilities for any faction with Tow more than limiting Tow does.

_________________
Australian Soda Pop Community On Facebook
South East QLD Relic Knights on Facebook


November 6th, 2017, 2:14 pm
Profile WWW
Bottle Cap
User avatar

Joined: November 6th, 2017, 3:59 pm
Posts: 2
Would it make the most sense to simply revise the Tow special rule that you cannot Tow objectives? Unless of course this is completely intentional.

Maybe have it so only certain units like the Hells Belles can move the objectives like the previous playtest packet just so you can't do it in multiple successive actions?


November 6th, 2017, 4:37 pm
Profile
Denizen
User avatar

Joined: August 27th, 2012, 5:11 am
Posts: 494
A comment was made earlier to consider giving Tow back to the Belles, but this illustrates another concern: Tow only requires the target model to be placed back into contact with the Towing unit. This allows a bucket-brigade style repositinging of the target on squads that have Tow. It might be worth considering amending Tow to require the target be placed back into contact with the same model after the initial move, in addition to Obsidian-Crane’s suggestion of limiting Tow’s movement.

I am curious to see how this particular tactic can be countered, as it is clearly quite strong. If I can get a game in soon, I’ll set it up specifically to counter the Towtrick Cadre. I assume that in tournament play, the plan is still to have lists be public, so that a player could spot the build and plan to counter it. The question is more is it possible to hard-counter this or is a counter just a delay? Because it’s clear that it would only take a couple of turns to make this work as long as your opponent doesn’t keep every one of your units engaged...


November 6th, 2017, 5:36 pm
Profile
Denizen
User avatar

Joined: August 27th, 2012, 5:11 am
Posts: 494
Jian wrote:
Maybe have it so only certain units like the Hells Belles can move the objectives like the previous playtest packet just so you can't do it in multiple successive actions?
Even then, you could do it back to back on turns where the command tokens refresh. And that’s not even considering taking multiple squads of Belles...


November 7th, 2017, 2:41 am
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 22 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
Designed by STSoftware.