Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Of Power & Glory - part 2

A quick note before I get started.  I am writing this blog with the assumption that the reader in familiar with the current rules of Of Power & Glory.  If you would like to read them, they can be found here: https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/of-power-glory then follow the "Rules" link.


The first playable version of Of Power & Glory was built on The Game Crafter.  And with that came some changes.  First off, The Game Crafter only had 8 distinct colors that I could use to for the Kings.  After a bit of mental anguish, I decided to get rid of 2 of the Kings.  And thus, Leopardi and Baudelaire gave up their dreams of relative obscurity for a more deeper, darker and more certain obscurity.  The game board, which I had always imagined as a single board became 9; 1 main board and 8 small boards for the 8 Kings.

In the first version of the game, players could place their pawns on the court of a King, swap positions in court, add armies to a King or swap adjacent territory cards.  Each action cost you 1 power.  When a King won a battle, a die was rolled and that many favors were distributed to the players starting at the top and working down (starting over again if the die roll was higher than the number of players in court).  There were only two types of favors: going up by 3 in Power or going up by 1 in Glory.  A player could do as much on there turn as they wanted and could afford to do.  Battles between Kings were decided by the number of armies that each King had.  Each King had a unique number of flags printed on his card and this number was used as a tiebreaker.

Here I will try to describe all the major changes and it's effect of the gameplay.  I'm not sure I'll be able to remember the order or the changes or all the minor revisions in between, but I'll try to describe each aspect of the game as it was originally and how it is now.
  • The concept of adding armies to a King to increase his power was too fidgety and it could end in a tie and could lead to 1 or 2 Kings becoming far too powerful.  This was changed to a list of the Kings in order of their power.  This is less fidgety, since there's only the markers for the 8 Kings and not dozens of armies.  It can't end in a tie and Kings can only be incrementally stronger than another King.  It's also MUCH easier to determine the winner of a battle.  In addition to the change in representation, the players' ability to manipulate the power of the Kings was limited.  This forced players to consider more Kings instead of just focusing on the 1 or 2 powerful ones.
  • Power used to be a resource that was earned and spent.  This was simplified to just be an incrementing value.  Power also had a new meaning.  It used to mean the number of actions you could take. It became the number of Nobles that you had access to and each Noble could take one action.
  • Players swapping position in court was flawed because it led to Player A making a move and Player B simply undoing it.  It's not very fun to do stuff only to have it undone...  you feel like you're not accomplishing anything....  because you aren't!  To address this the game became a worker placement game.  Nobles were taken off the board at the end of the round, so there was no more swapping, just placing your Nobles for the first time again.  
  • This addressed the immediate concern, but caused a new problem.  You no longer had any affinity for a particular King.  To address that problem, the concept of titles was introduced.  Now there was a third favor that you could get from King.  I decided to use rings for both the territory markers and the titles.  This was a great change as it led to an interesting dynamic.  The more players that cozy up to a King, the less that King is able to accomplish.
  • Since I made the actions more Worker Placement like, I decide to do the same thing with the favors.  The die was gone and now players could chose a favor and prevent other players from choosing that favor too.
  • It became evident to me that turn order was very important in this game.  I didn't want the first player to have too much of an advantage, so I made turn order changeable.  This was a forth favor that players could get from a King.
  • Once I had 4 favors,  I started thinking about what other kinds of favors I could have in the game.  Soon after, the Espionage favor and  Sabotage action were born.
I believe these were the major changes that changed the whole concept of the game around, but there were numerous minor changes. Some of them are noteworthy and I will explain those in the next blog.

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