Prototyping

Forum for discussing the Heroic tabletop game

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Postby Panda Tar » Mar 9 2015, 17:40

With the idea of stacking units, how would you implement equipping a single equipment on a whole stack? Sounds odd to me. ;|
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Postby Groovy » Mar 10 2015, 3:51

Units don't stack in the tabletop version of Heroic. Are you referring to the PC version?

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Postby Panda Tar » Mar 10 2015, 13:22

Yep.

In Tabletop it would be normal.

In PC version, it could be like a technology, research it in the 'blacksmith' for a price depending on the number of units you had (like upgrading them). If you wanted to change the equipment, another research, another price etc.
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Postby Groovy » Mar 18 2015, 6:01

I got home from work to find my gaming table in disarray. Map pieces, cards, tokens and counters were all jumbled up, with some scattered across the floor.

I hate cats.

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Postby Panda Tar » Mar 18 2015, 13:32

:lol:
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Postby overall » Mar 18 2015, 14:13

Image x)

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Postby Groovy » Mar 18 2015, 17:26

I have finished playing the first four-player Heroic game. It was played on map 6 with the latest faction designs that I’ve posted on this forum. The only rule change I’ve made was to omit resources. This has made mines redundant. All the other items were used as designed, though I had to tweak some stats and shuffle some abilities.

My main goal with this round of play testing was to evaluate:
  • Heroes. How memorable they are depends entirely on how helpful their abilities are. Some of the heroes made a world of difference, while some became obsolete with other units of their level. The best heroes noticeably influenced tactics, and remained useful throughout the game (even level 1s). For example, the Elf hero ended up with two abilities that influenced the units around him – reduce the cost of shooting by 1, and Piercing Shot (hits all units in a line). The first ability made Sylvan shooters considerably faster at creeping. The second made Sylvan Ballistae very dangerous against enemy troops. By contrast, the Roc hero’s ability of giving fliers an extra action point was confusing because it wasn’t clear when it kicked in
  • War machines. They work tremendously well. Launchers deal a lot of damage at great range, but are weak in defence and need to be protected with a buffer of regular troops. Bashers are very tough and deal a lot of damage against high-level units, but struggle against low-level units and guerrilla tactics. All war machines are too slow for map exploration. So players have to field a mixture of units to be successful. Furthermore, with war machines being so effective, worker creatures (mostly level 1s) and hauler creatures (levels 1-3) are in demand throughout the game. This is similar to StarCraft, where marines never become cannon fodder, but without the possibility of rush tactics
  • Megaliths. The single Megalith that was on the map didn’t feature in the game. It was controlled by Barbarians, who didn’t have any artefacts to place there. I’m also having second thoughts about global effects that Megaliths produce. They seem unnecessary, perhaps even counterproductive. I’ll omit Megaliths for now
  • No resources. Omitting resources is feasible. Actually, it’s probably one of the best design decisions so far. Creature availability alone sufficiently limits player actions. It did lead to some tedious re-recruiting during the game, but this didn’t affect the outcome, and was to be expected from a design that was created with resources in mind. A redesign should address this comfortably
Regarding the map:
  • Having two fronts makes for some hairy strategic decisions – it becomes crucial to estimate correctly how many troops will be needed to reach an objective so that one doesn’t overcommit on one front and come up short on the other. It also makes behind-the-scenes diplomacy vital
  • Putting special structures (Market, Workshop, Mercenary Camp, Megalith) in the corners was a bad idea. They were outside the flow of play, so players had to choose between capturing them and enemy structures. The latter were invariably more valuable because they both strengthened the attacking player and weakened the defending one. I’ll put them in the thick of things on the next map
  • Troops are much more effective in areas close to their dwellings because these provide healing. This has made them vulnerable on large sections of the map that didn’t have any dwellings
  • Dwellings surrounded by hills are quite difficult to capture because they provide healing, defence and range bonuses to the defenders. This has helped the Alpine faction hold off both the Barbarians and the Sylvan for about two weeks
Miscellaneous observations:
  • The game is both very strategic and very tactical. Incorrectly prioritising the order of dwelling/lair capture causes a faction to noticeably fall behind others in development. Positioning units suboptimally, or not leveraging their synergies, has the same effect.
  • The game is also quite unpredictable. For example, the Barbarians didn’t have access to Trolls, so they had no ranged units at all. The Sylvan didn’t have access to any of their spellcasters beyond the Elves that they started with
  • Sometimes it is better to sacrifice a unit or two in order to capture a higher-level dwelling/lair than to play it safe and take longer to capture it
  • Sections of the map get cluttered in mid-to-late play. This makes it important to be selective about which units one is going to send out. Low-level units can get in the way of high-level ones and end up more of a hindrance than help
  • There are too many creatures affiliated with a faction that don’t sufficiently strengthen it. This is partly because I rushed the design to make the team building event two weeks ago, but also because I underestimated the value of producing units compared to spells, abilities or artefacts. I’ll have to address this in the next iteration
Things to figure out:
  • I’m not sure what movement and placement restrictions should be imposed on units. Currently I’m allowing units to move over the tiles that contain allied units, provided that they don’t perform any other actions there or end their turn on them (stacking units would be quite messy). I don’t know if there’s something better that I could try, or a proven system in some other game
  • We need ways to capture or befriend neutral units. This would be better than killing them, not only because the player would gain another unit, but because he’d probably gain a unit that his town cannot produce. This could give him access to features of his faction that he currently cannot utilise, and would be especially important when populating ruins (still to be introduced)

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Postby Groovy » Mar 21 2015, 13:08

And here are some photos of the last game.

Games room.
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Game boxes. They contain all the cards, tokens and counters. Map and manuals are carried seperately.
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Close up of game boxes.
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The game at the end of the last turn (week 4, day 5).
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Alpine and Sylvan cards.
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Homestead and Barbarian cards.
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Barbarian troops breaking through Alpine defences (top left).
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Sylvan troops breaking through Alpine defences (bottom left).
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Homestead troops breaking through Sylvan defences (bottom right).
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Homestead troops breaking through Barbarian defences (top right).
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Postby Groovy » Mar 21 2015, 13:10

Here are the changes that I intend to make to faction designs for the next prototyping iteration:
  • Make equipment, spells and abilities standalone items instead of incorporating them into unit designs. Players can then choose which units to equip with what items during play. This is in addition to ammunition and artefacts, which already work like that
  • Make neutral unit designs slightly stronger so that they can be used as basic units of their species within factions. For example, replace Peasant with Squire as the basic Human unit, which will then defend Human dwellings on the map and serve as the entry-level Human unit in the Homestead faction
  • Extend the role that countryside species have within factions so that each one is required for several different kinds of items, the production of which consumes the creature. This will force players to choose between training a creature into a unit, and turning it into an item of ammunition, ability, etc, with which to equip existing units. The current design has quite a lot of gaps in this area, which I’ll have to plug. Each unit will only be equippable with a single item
  • Design some faction-specific units that already incorporate specific items (armour, abilities, etc) according to faction themes. These will be stronger than basic designs because they will be equipped with all the items inherent in their design in addition to the single item that the player may give it during play. They won't always be available, though
  • The expected end result will be to reduce the number of units in the game while greatly increasing tactical possibilities due to all the new unit-item combinations that will be available
  • I’m in two minds whether to treat non-consumable items (spells and abilities) the same way as consumable ones and morph creatures into them, or whether to let logic prevail and treat them as skills that are taught. I want to try the former approach just to see how much fun it is, and whether it’s worth writing some creative lore with which to explain it
And here are the changes to the map structures:
  • Design a map structure for each type of item – hero, unit, war machine, equipment, ammunition, artefact, spell, ability – that can be produced within towns. Place these structures on the map
  • When a player comes across one of these structures, he’ll randomly determine which townsfolk people live there
  • The structure will then produce one item every week, limited to what the townsfolk faction is generally able to produce. For example, an Alpine Workshop will produce an Alpine war machine every week. This way, a Sylvan player might get to use Alpine war machines, or a Homestead player might get access to Sylvan magic
As for the map itself:
  • I’m sticking with map 6. I’ll have to place the new structures onto it, but I’m not making any other changes
  • I’ve put map 7 on hold because it consists of regions, and with the removal of resources, I’m not sure what effect regions will have on the game mechanics. I’ll get back to it once I figure this out
Other suggestions are welcome. :beg:

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Postby Panda Tar » Mar 23 2015, 14:11

Cannot help but smile seeing all those photos. Way to go! :applause:

Groovy wrote:suggestions are welcome. :beg:

Hm, I wonder if we can, someday, play this game on Skype? Mainly because in order to help you, it's far much easier when we have played the game too. Only reading and seeing has been proven difficult to grasp so far.
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Postby Groovy » Mar 23 2015, 14:40

I suppose we could. I'm not sure how this would work, though. Would we play on my board only, or would you have your own one?

Something I'm still planning to do is put together a series of tutorials on how to play the game. But first, I want to get it to a point where I'm happy with it. Not finished, just happy to show it off without wanting to change things in the process. I'm guessing this is still a few months away...

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Postby Panda Tar » Mar 23 2015, 14:43

Play on yours. I would keep my annotations here, to know what I have, etc., but you would have to do the mechanics there, moving, revealing and explaining, hohoho. A bit troublesome, I think, but we ought to try. Besides, that would help me with my English. hohohoho
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Postby Groovy » Mar 23 2015, 14:49

It's easy enough to move all the pieces by myself. I do that already. The tricky part would be zooming in to the parts of the map that you want to see. It might require a lot of laptop handling. Or perhaps we could just play on a small, simple map so that I don't have to. :D

We can cross that bridge when we get there...

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Postby Panda Tar » Mar 23 2015, 14:53

Yep, handling the laptop might be a bit weary, hohohoho. If you don't have portable webcams, that is. Perhaps a small map shall do, indeed, mainly to help grasp the feeling and mechanics. Besides, I don't know how much time I'll have to spare to play. :D
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Postby Groovy » Apr 9 2015, 6:08

I’ve just finished playing a game with items from the 7th design iteration. This iteration dispenses with resources and introduces spells, abilities, equipment and ammunition that are made from creatures. The design also introduces archons, elementals and different artefact types, but I haven’t used these features yet.

While the design needs a lot of refinement, the game has demonstrated that its foundation is sound. It offers tremendous decision-making variety without being cumbersome. I’ll be sticking with it going forward, at least for now.

My next step will be to put together a basic tutorial that describes the game in detail. I’m hoping that this will enable other people to get a good sense of how the game works and contribute to the game mechanics. Or at least point out flaws in the current ones. :)

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Postby Groovy » Apr 9 2015, 6:10

Should we make retaliation optional - something that the player can choose whether to use? It looks like a simple way to add more depth to combat.

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Postby Panda Tar » Apr 9 2015, 13:15

Retaliation or reaction, I think some units could have different default ways to react to attacks, not only an attack retaliation, as I explained how it would work in FFT. I always thought the fact of simple attack as a response of another attack, a poor variety.

And a basic manual would help wonders.
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Postby Groovy » Apr 9 2015, 13:31

Thank you for expanding my horizons again, Panda. :tsup:
I've read your FFT info, but haven't quite absorbed it yet. I'm a bit slow in this way.

In FFT, how different are reactions from normal actions? Can a unit react in a way that it cannot act under ordinary circumstances?

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Postby Panda Tar » Apr 9 2015, 13:46

Some reactions are triggered only by specific circumstances.

For example, Samurai had 2 reaction skills he/she could learn:
Blade Grasp
Hamedo

Blade Grasp gave him/her a very high chance to block/parry an upcoming physical attack (not useful against magic), higher chances if attacks came from the front.

Hamedo was a counter strike happening before being hit by another physical strike. Also, didn't trigger when hit my special attacks or magic.

The Chemist had the reaction ability called Auto-potion. Whenever damaged (any sort of damage), you had a chance to trigger the use of a recovery potion from your stock.

The Wizard had the reaction ability called Counter-Magic. Whenever damaged by black magic, he would counter with the same magic.

The Priest had the reaction ability called Regenerator. Whenever being damaged, he would cast Regen upon himself.

Monsters usually had the Counter ability set as their reaction ability, which would be a normal attack. Monks also had this as a reaction ability.

Normal actions ranged from normal attacks from the abilities each unit had. Monks had abilities that ranged from attacking from afar, to healing life, reviving an allied character, hitting all surrounding units. Knights could break weapon, break armor, break attack power, break speed. Summoners would summon great beasts to heal, damage, buff.
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Postby Angelspit » Apr 24 2015, 17:00

The game at the end of the last turn (week 4, day 5).
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That looks awesome!
I'm on Steam and Xbox Live.


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