Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Of Power & Glory - part 3

There where a few other changes that I mad to the game that I wanted to mention here:
  • I discovered that the last round of the game didn't play well if you knew that it was the last round of the game.  The reason is that there is only one favor, Glory (with the possible rare exception of Sabotage) that made any difference in the outcome of the game in the last round.  To Solve this problem, I introduced the End of Game Card.  This is a card that is shuffled into to bottom 18 cards of the territory deck and triggers the end of the game.  So, unless the card comes up as the very last card, you can not be 100% sure when the end of game is.
  • When The Game Crafter announced that they were planning on releasing real chipboards, I took the opportunity to completely redraw the entire board.  I placed the Kings' castles on the board itself instead of as 8 smaller boards.  I moved the map into the upper left corner and the scoring into the upper right corner.  In general, the game board just looks better.
  • The moving of the King's castles onto the main board forced another change that is ultimately an improvement in and of itself.  Each King used to have, a hardcoded starting power, starting position and a random archrival.  But when I put the castles on the board that effectively hardcoded the archrivals which was too hardcoded.  As a result, I decided to let the other aspects of the Kings' start be random.  Now a King starts in a random location and starts with a random power. While this change was driven by a change in visual representation, I think it leads to better gameplay and higher replayability.
  • From the first version of the game I always knew that I wanted players to have a way to affect what territories were being fought over, but how they did it has changed many times, ultimately ending with mechanic that's not too far removed from what I started with. Originally, a player could swap two adjacent cards.  The problem with the way I did it originally was that same problem that I had with the positions in court.  A player could make a change only to have it undone by the next player.  I made numerous changes to this mechanic only to realize that the change to a Work placement style game had fixed the problem for me.  So I reverted back to something close to what I started with.  A player could now move a card to the far left or far right, but Now they had to place one of their Nobles on the card which meant that the card could not be moved again.
There were some other changes that I was thinking about during all of this that I am trying to put into an expansion to the game.  So, here's the deal on what I'm currently considering for the expansion (called Of Power and Glory: Sovereignty).  One of the minor drawbacks of the random starting positions of the Kings is that it takes away a bit from there character.  King Machardo (an Spanish sounding name) could start in Berlin which seems a little strange.  So I think I wanted to compensate for this by giving the Kings a little more character.  So, one of the things that the expansion does is makes each King a little different.  They all have a quirk that affects the gameplay. 

So here are the quirks (cut and pasted straight from the rules that I'm working on)
  • Gavio, the Solitary : Only 2 Nobles may be in his court at a time. 
  • Cheshire, the Cracked : His Kingdom starts in two pieces. 
  • Rothschild, the Miserly : He does not give out the Power Favor. 
  • Hahn, the Arrogant : He does not give out the Title Favor.
  • Delgado, the Boastful : He does not give out the Glory Favor. 
  • Jouffroy, the Mad : He will not allow any Noble in court if they have a Title from any other King. 
  • Machardo, the Great : He has 3 additional Titles. 
  • Zietzler, the Resilient : At the end of any round in which Zeitzler is 5th or worse on the King Tracker, he moves up one spot.
These quirks do more than just give the Kings' a little personality, they affect how you play the game.  Since the beginning, I wanted the Kings to feel like other players in the game.  This change gives them a personality that you must take into account when deciding which Kings to back.

The other major change in the Expansion is the addition of an additional Favor...  a far more dynamic favor: a Special Favor.  For what ever it's worth, you place your noble on the King's shield to claim the Special Favor.  Special Favors are cards that represent an agreement between you and the King.  All agreements are in this form:  If you (the player) help me (the King) achieve this goal at the time the game ends, then you get this many victory points.  Each King has it's own deck of 6 cards.  5 of those cards are stock (the same for every King), and there is one that is unique to that King.  When the game is setup up, only 3 cards (chosen at random) for each King will be available.  They're placed face down near the game board.  When you take the Special Favor, you get to look at all tree cards (or fewer if some have been taken already), and choose 1 of them.  This is kept secret until the end of the game.  It offers another way to earn points.  It also introduces a small bad side effect.  In the base game, there is no way to end in a tie, now that's not the case.  I have yet to come up with a satisfactory solution to the problem.  Of course, worse case scenario, I can just live with the fact that the game could end in a tie.

And to quote the great Forrest Gump:  That's all I have to say about that.

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