Ragnarol Designer Diary 4

Straight out of the gate, variable player abilities in Heroes and Clans just didn’t work. The conditions on both were too specific to add any real strategy to the game, and there really ended up either adding the occasional wild swing or not working at all, at least in a 2-player game. I’m going to save the concept of both of these and try to work some things through but I’m removing it from the playtest options for now.

Two things came out of iterating through with Heroes. The first change was pretty simple, and came from Odin’s Son ability, which was to reroll all the dice that he chose when he got an eye, which was the default eye ability at that stage. I rolled back the basic eye rule to just rerolling 2 dice with a single eye result, and only eyes with 2 or more. This actually seemed to work better and quicker, and worked so well with the next big change that it become the new mechanic.

The other thing I got out of Heroes was the hero dice. This no longer has variable abilities attached to it, but functions as a central character that adds more tactical options in battle. At the start of the battle (before Eyes come into effect), the hero can do one of two things
1. Be a hero – they can change their result to anything they please
2. Rally forces – they can choose to reroll any dice that they choose.
This does increase complexity slightly but opens up tactical choices and make players feel like they’re more in control of their warriors. It works quite well with the new eye rule as players can rally their forces around an eye, or even use eyes to essentially block other eyes. This also creates a central character for player’s to build both their strategy and their story around. (Also made it that it takes 2 axes to kill a hero because otherwise he just gets taken out too early and too easily)

Fortify really can slow down the middle game as players huddle behind their fortifications. Players can ignore warriors on the Fortify track for 3 glory but it became obvious pretty quickly that players weren’t going to get that much and have enough warriors to remain a real threat. I think there needs to be (a) a way to bypass the fortifications to get stores* or (b) more overall glory in the economy or (c) both.

Now, let’s go back to what we said last time. Game speculators on the internet and in real life were giving me the following impressions

  • We’d like more asymmetry
  • We’d like to have cooler guys (a hero), and less genericism
  • We’d like experience points
  • We’d like more gotcha! moments

The asymmetry pretty much failed and I had already decided that experience points wasn’t something that I’d be including (although glory does somewhat function as a reward point), but I did end up with a viable hero character and some fun gotcha moments. In a 15 store game, I managed to keep a strong force of warriors throughout the game but my warriors starved during an all out raiding round as there was no food left when it became my turn to raid.

There are a few other changes that I’ll be bringing through, some of them clarifications and some of them tweaks, based on the more varied scenarios that have started to pop up through more playtesting. I’m going to try to start brainstorming some more ideas for tracks (including possibly adjustments to the currents tracks and variable tracks) so if you have any ideas let me know.

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