Odin Day’s Spotlight: A new challenger approaches

This Odin’s Day we’ve got something a little special. I’m currently looking into the possibility of adding on an extra pledge level that will let you bring the game up to 5 players. The game has been fully tested with 5 and we’d hoped to be able add enough dice to stretch to 5 players with stretch goals, but it doesn’t quite look like we’ll get there. The good news is this means adding an extra hero for every backer when we fund. These heroes take the game to the next level, but heroes aren’t just born, they’re made on the battlefield and we’d like your help to choose which warrior to turn into our newest hero, but you’ll need to know what they’re all about first.

(Psst… obviously the art below is just a rough sketch for now. Check out our other hero spotlights to see how awesome the final image will look!)

First up is Olaf Foeseeker.

Olaf Foe-seeker made his name young. He travelled far and wide, always keen to lend his sword to a battle with a storied hero on the other side of the shield wall. While other heroes proved their worth with battle prowess – fighting five men at a time, holding a bridge single-handedly – Olaf watched and waited, saving his strength. And when the time was right, when the battle was almost done, he would pounce, raising himself up by striking other named warriors down. When the great winter came, Olaf didn’t have a great hall or a strong clan behind him but his name and his boasts drew a desperate few. If you fought with Olaf, you would not die in your hall, wasting away from hunger, you would fight and you would kill and your deeds would be remembered in story and song.

Olaf Foe-seeker Rough

Our testers have found Olaf to be one of the most heroes difficult to play, but also one of the most rewarding. Many of the other heroes Paths to Glory provide a reliable stream of glory, but Olaf needs to bide his time, relying on Fate until he can find the perfect moment to strike. His very presence can strike fear into the hearts of other heroes and can change the dynamic of the game as other players do their best to not fall into Olaf’s traps. The Hunter ability can be used to pounce on players who have left their hero at home without enough support, but also adds a great degree of flexibility, if you can stomach the glory cost.

Next, we have Brenna Battleborn!

There are many tales of babes born on the battlefield. The seers say it is an omen of a great but cursed warrior. A child so born will grow into a strong warrior but is fated to die as they were born, covered in blood, screaming and surrounded by loved ones. Actually, to a Viking, that doesn’t sound half bad.
Brenna Battleborn Rough

Brenna isn’t afraid of death, and any player that uses her shouldn’t be either. To head towards a glory victory, you’ll need to flirt with danger, pushing Brenna into battles she won’t win and might just lose, taking best advantage of the Fate cards available. Other heroes are faced with a tough decision when battling Brenna as slaying her can end up in a pretty large glory gain for her player, more than enough for her inevitable revenge.

Ready to rally behind your hero?

We’re giving you lots of ways to show you support for your hero, and a week to do so. We’ll be counting up all the results across all the social media.

  • Tweet with #ragnaroll and your hero’s first name, #Olaf or #Brenna
  • Share or like our Facebook pictures of Olaf or Brenna
  • Vote in the BGG poll, and add your thumbs to the BGG pictures of Olaf or Brenna
  • Shout out your hero’s name in the comments below!

Odin’s Day Spotlight: Freya the Red

Freya Spotlight

Freya was but one of her father’s seven noble-born children, and with so much noble blood around it was all but inevitable it would come spurting out. The sole sister among a brood of brothers, Freya refused every suitor brought to her and took to the sea instead. She would raid, like her father before her, and came to be known by the bright red sail of her flagship. If you saw that sail, you knew that death was coming in with the tide.

While Freya went a Viking, her brothers smiled at each other across the table but plotted behind close doors. It seemed that every time she returned, another brother had met with an unfortunate accident, a hunting arrow gone astray, a fall from a horse, accidentally falling on one’s one sword several times in a row.

When Freya left her on her last raiding season before the seas froze over, only two brothers remained. The oldest and the youngest, and she hoped that when she returned, the surviving brother would be greeting her with open arms and not waiting weapons. When she finally returned, she found herself greeted not by a brother, but by a father, still defiantly clinging to life. He had grim news, both brothers had met with another unfortunate accident. The clan would need a strong leader for the dark times ahead, he told her. A storied warrior with a reputation to be feared.

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Odin’s Day spotlight: Hilda Shieldmother

Today’s also our very first Odin’s Day of the Ragnarol campaign, also called Wednesday by the English. While Thor might be the most famous god of the Viking pantheon, it’s his daddy Odin that will be hearing battle prayers in Ragnaroll, and that gives his name to the most middle of the week days. Thor was loved by the working man perhaps because, unlike his father, he favoured strength and honesty over guile, and his iconic hammer was symbolic of this, a tool of labour, not of war. Odin, on the other hand, was a god for those who did not sow, and delighted in the wars and battles of men. Odin was a god of kings, jarls and heroes; a god for the bad times ahead; a god for hump day! So every Odin’s Day we’re going to feature one of the heroes of Ragnaroll. First up is Hilda Shieldmother, the fierce lady you see in our main image.

Hilda-Preview

Nobody weak survived this far into the long winter of Ragnaroll. When everything else was falling down, when brother turned against brother, and banditry was rife, Hilda stayed strong and held her ground. There were other heroes in her clan, men who called themselves leaders, but their ambitions were often bigger than their raiding parties, and it wasn’t long before the people of the clan looked to Hilda as a voice of reason. But nobody makes it through the long winter innocent, there were some hard choices to make in those dark times. Hilda’s not a maiden anymore, she’s one mean mother.

Path to Glory

Gain 1 glory for each of your Vikings that is lost or slain. Gain 2 glory when Hilda successfully defends.

Unique Battle Ability

• Hold the Line • 2 glory
Reroll all of your Vikings with a Snakes result. Your opponent must use axes to slay as many Vikings as possible before using axes to take stores. No Vikings are lost or wounded in this battle.

Death

If Hilda is slain defending your hall, gain 2 additional glory. If Hilda is the only one of your Vikings slain in a battle, gain 2 additional glory When Hilda dies, flip this mat to the revenge side.

Hilda in action

If you were going to hold up in your hall with anyone all winter, you’d want it to be Hilda. With her path and abilities centred around defense, Hilda’s determined to bring her clan out of the apocalypse alive and will sacrifice glory and honour to do so. With Hilda, you might send a few single raiders off early in the game, to their death and your glory, saving more stores for later in the winter. But like all the heroes of Ragnaroll, Hilda shines in battle and you’ll need to offer a juicy enough target for other players to risk facing her in battle. Of course, you know that your opponents expect Hilda to stay home and protect her stores, so they might be inclined to leave their own stores lightly guarded giving you the perfect opportunity for a surprise raid, but then they know that you know…

Hilda’s Death condition also provides some interesting options and a nice chunk of glory, making her revenge inevitable (and perhaps sudden) if you can have her sacrifice herself in defence of her hall.

Next Odin’s Day…

So what do you think of Hilda Shieldmother? Perhaps she’s a little too pragmatic for those of you who have their ambitions set on carving a name for yourself with some epic raiding. Well, next week, you’ll meet another lovely lady of the apocalypse. They call her Freya the Red and that’s got nothing to do with the colour of her hair.

The State of Ragnaroll, August 2015

Hail friends and followers,

Today I’d like to catch you up on what’s been happening at End Game Games with Ragnaroll over the past 6 months or so. I’d like to start with a little apology to anyone who’s had tell them a date in the past. Development with Ragnaroll has been ongoing but real life has thrown in an unexpected interruption over the past couple months. I’m back on track now and can commit to staying on that track through the upcoming Kickstarter and beyond. Continue reading

The State of Ragnarol, March 2015

Hail friend!

Ragnarol has been in development for a long time now. It’s possible you heard of it a couple of years ago, when it was bouncing around in my head, or you’ve played it with me sometime over the past 18 months. It’s getting towards completion, but this last, long march through the snow is proving longer and harder than I had planned for. I just wanted to give you a quick update of what’s been happening with Ragnarol lately and where we’re heading in the very near future! Continue reading

Ragnarol Designer Diary 5

This designer diary is bit shorter than normal. I’ve really only made one change worth mentioned since the last diary, but I have now revised and updated all the rules and the components (see the main playtest page). Everything is now brought together in one document. Paths and Glory has become part of the main game, as has the concept of the hero, just not the assymetry.

The change I’ve made is actually a regression. I’ve changed the dog back into a d4 (with a d6 backup for print playtest version) and re-introduced the lootbag symbol. A lootbag lets a raider steal a store when raiding, win or lose. I took this (and a thief character) out of an early version Ragnarol because it wasn’t super useful; experienced players tended to prefer to take stores over killing warriors so it tended to more or less equate to an axe. However, the recent revisions, notably glory and the Fortify path, have made launching a raid to lose a viable tactic, so I’m putting the dog’s retreive ability back in for now. I’ve added in an extra lootbag in the d6 version so you should see this popping up fairly regularly in play.

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.

Ragnarol Designer Diary 3

I’ve had a few nights of playtesting with a few different people and some comments from the internet. Though most enjoy the game, there’s still definitely something missing. Some of the feedback, I’ve been getting is:

  • 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

On my latest playtest night, I was playing with a couple of friends and was pretty exhausted from a long day at work and didn’t have my usual enthusiasm or eloquence when running the demo. They said they liked the game and came up with some helpful feedback but I didn’t see the same spark that I have had with most other players. This gave me a bit of a wake-up call that the game is far from done yet. Continue reading

Ragnarol Designer Diary 2

Played a couple of quick basic games with 5 new players. The only hiccup was assigning raiding party order. There seemed to be 3 at a time quite often. We quickly house-ruled that on a tie, you roll your dice and player with least axes goes first. It was a quick and easy decision that I’ll bring into the canonical rules.

There have been a few mentions on BGG of the awkward wording and play of the Eye reroll mechanic. This was something I’ve had in mind, but hasn’t really come up as I’ve been running most games. I now know it’s an issue, and I also know that maybe I need to step back a little while doing balance testing, to let players try to work things out for themselves. Continue reading

Ragnarol Designer Diary 1

Ragnarol and Hedron are very different games. Ragnarol is a game that’s more about the interaction between players and the narrative that develops. It’s designed to be a fun game that gives you permission to ruthlessly pillage your friends. As opposed to Hedron, it’s not a game where winning means everything. The narrative aspect of the game helps to make the games enjoyable, win or lose, and it is very much game that mixes skill with luck, meaning it’s not 100% your fault if you lose. But one thing that’s come up a few times in testing is that occasionally a players will have a bad battle early on and lose a bunch of stores or a few men, and it’s hard to catch an early lead. With Ragnarol, I want players always to feel that their choices matter and that they can raid and pillage their way to victory. So the latest iteration of Ragnarol includes a few more options for your warriors apart from raiding (which some of you may have already seen) and a new path to battle success through gaining glory.

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