Hedron Designer Diary 1

Got into some more heavy playtesting with Hedron and a friend kindly broke it, revealing that powering up a d20 was too powerful a strategy. I’ve made a few rule revisions to try and get Hedron back to what I wanted it to be, and to do that, I had to think about what I wanted Hedron to be.

Current version is a little shaky pretty bumpy.

Design Goals

  • Hedron’s key concept is the chain, creating the right chain to meet a specific outcome feels like puzzle-solving and solving puzzles is rewarding
  • Hedron is a brain-burner, you need to think about what you’re going to do
  • Hedron has entropy, the game inevitably heads towards an end game state
  • Hedron rewards skill and offers enough depth for repeat players but is still accessible for new players
  • Hedron is print and play

Revision Breakdown

  • Absorbing at the end of a chain is no longer a free action, this means the chain is no longer a closed system and you can’t move single hedrons at no cost (you can still absorb energy, but you can’t move a hedron AND absorb energy)
  • Venting has been moved into Basic Hedron, and Advanced and Full Hedron have been removed. I think Basic Hedron is complex enough right now, and I’d like to concentrate on getting the engine running smooth before adding extra parts
  • Rolling a 1 on the generate roll, lets your force your opponent to reroll any of their hedrons except the d20
  • You can now use a d20 and whatever dice you have around as long as both sides are symmetrical, because why not?

Playtest Report

There were a few strategies that emerged throughout play that I hadn’t foreseen or encountered in early playtest sessions, mainly exploiting the closed system to make very powerful plays with fully powered up hedrons. I was content to leave them in as they didn’t appear to break the game, that is, until they did. I played several games with a friend and he was able to identify the dominant strategy and exploit it.

Removing the free Absorb at the end of a chain not only reduces the dominance of this strategy, it simplifies the game and makes it more accessible to new players, as players don’t need to discover the hidden exploits to play a decent game against an experienced player. Another change I was considering was outlawing d20-on-d20 violence, as the powered up d20 could move across most of the board and attack, but with the Absorb revision I don’t think it’s necessary. The d20 is still powerful, but you now need to give it the energy to move.

The other small change I made was to soften the blow of rolling a 1, as it was a bit of a 1-2 sucker punch; you got the worst result possible and lost your turn. The first change I trialled was allowing you to recover a lost hedron, but this both prolonged the game and made hedron elimination (as opposed to d20 assassination) a less viable strategy. The current iteration allows you to force an opponent to reroll a dice whenever you roll a 1, with the limitation that it can’t be the d20.

Playtest Goals and Future Plans

I’ll be running the new version through the gauntlet again, testing to see if it breaks. If it seems solid, I’ll start working on some 3 and 4-player rule variants that don’t include player elimination, as I don’t think Hedron is the type of game where player elimination is acceptable (it’s straight out attack and elimination, and doesn’t have enough of a narrative to make spectating particularly enjoyable).

Feeling Experimental?

One additional change that’s up for testing is giving enemy hedron’s an energy sapping aura. Moving through any hex adjacent to an enemy hedron costs an extra energy. This would allow more strategic hedron placement, as well as encourage more attacking rather than just putting everything into a d20 assassination attempt. I don’t know whether this is necessary as yet, and it adds an extra level of complexity, so I’d like to trial the current changes before implementing.

16 thoughts on Hedron Designer Diary 1

  1. Ant says:

    Hi, I like the idea of paying 1 more to move thru enemy auras.
    But dislike that rolling a 1 can force an opponent to reroll. That messes with their strategy and feels wrong for this game to me.
    I’d suggest if the roll is less than half when recharging, just move the result to half. Then there is a chance to go higher or just a reset.

    1. kotzur says:

      I’m definitely trying to walk the fine line between skill and luck, so it’s good to hear if something feels wrong. The reset to half is a good idea. How about if you do reset, then you forfeit the rest of your turn? That way, there’s still a feeling of pressing your luck and a consequence of rolling low, but you’re not completely ruined if you roll a 1.

      1. Ant says:

        attempting to recharge a single die ends your turn anyway right? (tried rules check but work dissalowed).

        Perhaps a recharge turn can be any number of your dice, but if you use the “move to half” ability due to a low roll the recharge turn ends.

      2. Ant says:

        being able to recharge your whole army in a single turn may be too powerful, perhaps this could be countered a little by the risk of rolling a 1 when the recharge has gone wrong and the die is self immolated, perhaps even sending out a shockwave of damage to the adjacent cells equivalent to its maximum die value…

      3. Ant says:

        I like the idea of having the different value dice (not just any as long as armies are symmetrical), it gives Hedron its flavour to use the full gammet.
        I also think it could lend it this idea: A higher potential die may sacrifice itself in its turn to morph/exchange with a lesser value die that was eliminated, it is placed in the same cell as the sacrificed die and is at full charge due to this special move.

  2. Ant says:

    perhaps the aura could also be cumulative and stack on shared adjacent tiles to really add depth and presence to formations

    1. kotzur says:

      Interesting idea. I don’t think it’d come up too much during normal movement, but you could use it to move next to enemy hedrons and lock them down by making movement really expensive. We’ll try it out!

  3. Yao-ban says:

    What about simply not losing your turn? If you roll a 1 then you get to perform a full turn again?

    I feel like a hard “do something if you roll a 1” is a little bit binary, if you know what I mean. This way, you just make 2 the worst roll; it’s almost as bad as getting a 1 anyhow. A more organic solution would be to get something else in proportion to the amount that you fail to roll. Obviously this is easier said than done, since I can’t think of anything off the top of my head.

    (Edit: Off the top of my head – perhaps if you are adjacent to an enemy hedron you get a free attack for (value of die) – (die roll) or (half value of die) – (die roll)?)

    Anyway, glad to help and I’m always free for testing. If you have a spare hour at night pop down to my place!

    1. kotzur says:

      That’d be great. The little woman is happy to test Ragnarol but Hedron is a bit too brain-burning for her. Maybe Wednesday?

      I’m not sure more math is a good thing (we’re not all applied mathematics professors). I think my D&D days give me a tendency towards emphasising minimum and maximum results. I’ve got a couple of options, incorporating each of the two ideas.

      1. Yao-ban says:

        I’m not an applied maths professor either (got another 3 promotions before I can call myself that). But I get what you say about the math. If it can be worked in naturally, perhaps…

        Anyway, Wednesday is fine. You have my number.

  4. Ant says:

    I imagine that ramming would make a good addition to this game.

    Only a HIGHER value die may choose to ram with kinetic energy to send a lower value die in the opposite direction, receiving damage only if it connects with another die after the ram AND ramming can send a die out of the battlefield, another way to eliminate!

    The ram distance could be multiplied depending on the number of increments higher in value the ramming die is to the target (a D20 ramming a D4 is 5 increments higher, so the D20 only needs to move one cell to send a D4 five cells, or move 2 cells to give it the kinetic energy of 10 cells of movement, causing damage equal to the ram distance to it and the die in its path.

    To ram requires moving INTO the cell the target die inhabits (more likely within a friendly aura field – making the ram requirement more energy costly to initiate).

    1. Ant says:

      Another feature ramming introduces is the potential for dice that are reduced to 1 – thru means other than a failed recharge – have powered down and initiated MINE mode (any collision detonates them as if they rolled a 1 to recharge using my suggestion to deal damage equal to the die’s maximum to each adjacent cell). The owner may decide to recharge them in their own turn, but otherwise a die on 1 is a mine.

      1. kotzur says:

        Hey Ant,

        The reroll you suggested and the aura both worked really well. We did a fair bit of iterating last night, and they were the two things that we kept. We changed the aura so if two auras overlapped it was impossible to cross. The current version we’re working with is much improved, we’ve cut down on assassination and spending turns powering up, but still work to do as I want to encourage more movement and less turtling. I’ll keep the ramming in mind, but want to get the base system running as smooth as possible first. The explosive 1 is definitely an interesting idea.

        We also found that turns with a lot of energy changing and rerolling were pretty tedious for your opponent, so I think we’re going to focus on making players work for their energy, rather than trying to luck it out.

        Thanks for the feedback.

        PS does work block Dropbox? Might start hosting files with my hosting if that’s a problem.

  5. Ant says:

    Great idea to make movement thru 2 overlapping auras impossible – simple and powerful, no messy counting attempts, just a barrier.

    Yeah, a quick game is better, less rerolling!

    Dropbox is fine, just my work is picky, no probs!

    How about another idea time:
    The humble D4 – if ramming is implemented down the track, perhaps the boon for D4 is speed.
    1 energy spent moves 2 cells.

    But, that is only if ramming is tested, NOW, without ramming, the D4 could have the ability to kill the D20 with a single point of damage, think of it as the trump.
    Hardly ever going to work due to D4 fragility, (assumption), but another layer of optional easy to remember strategy.

    1. kotzur says:

      Once I’m happy that everything’s running smooth again, I do want to make sure that the humble d4 has its day, it needs to be more than just cannon fodder. And you are definitely right, the different types of dice make for a much more dynamic play.

Comments are closed.

Copyright © 2013 Kotzur-Yang Creative