Had a lovely playtest of Holy Press last evening with my wife, and managed to knock the last few corners off of Holy Press. While there’s still lots of room for polishing, I think the base game is ready for taking the gameplay video and submitting it this weekend!
In addition, I’ll be doing a little brainstorming on Mistgore and what my goals are for it, specifically underlying mechanics and statlines, as I want to make sure that’s not falling by the wayside while I’m working on these board game contests!
She really, really liked it. My lovely wife is really good about giving honest feedback, and she’s also a board gamer like me, so she’s got a good eye for mechanics and gameplay that make sense versus those that need trimming or readjustment.
I incorporated all of the Mandatory Changes and even quite a few of the Suggested Changes from Wednesday’s post, and overall I think they were perfect additions.
- When book starts printing on a word tile, you don’t get that word
This was a clarification of the “Start printing where you left off last turn” change made
- Shuffle dispensations and tithes, and just use 3 at a time from that deck
We played with 2 Tithes (of a deck of 6), 2 dispensations (of a deck of 6), 1 Global Tithe (of a deck of 3) and 1 Global Dispensation (of a deck of 3), for 6 total markers out at a time. The stroke of genius suggestion was that the cards just get shuffled into a single deck, and you have X cards in play at a time. Maybe everything is Tithes or Dispensations, but for the most part you should get a mix of both.
Another suggestion was that the # of cards from this deck in play be reduced based on the # of players. This might need some further playtesting, but currently I was thinking that players use 8 cards minus the number of players, to a minimum of 3 cards. That, or just a flat 6 cards for 2-4 players, and 3 for 5+
- Play until someone hits 10 Scriptures
As it turns out, the “continue where you left off” method both feels like it flows more naturally, but also makes the gameplay really refreshingly dynamic on top of how it already felt, and it also makes it surprisingly easy to reliably get a unique Scripture each turn. As a result, we bumped the number of Scriptures needed to trigger the endgame up to a biblical 10. This would be just 5 for 5+ player games, though, as I think 10 would take the game from around 45 minutes to play to something more in the neighborhood of an hour and a half or more.
- Optional game mode
- Keep back 6 Factory tiles when laying out board
- When you land on a Factory tile, after adding your word replace it with a Factory tile from the top of the unused tile deck and add your tile to the bottom of the deck
- All players get a free rearrangement of 1 Route token at the start of their turn
This was an idea mentioned to increase the craziness of a given game, but one important idea my wife mentioned was to not introduce this alternate mode until the second edition of the game. I think this is a sound idea, as that way people’s first impressions of the game aren’t hampered by a rulebook with untested game modes cluttering it up.
With that said and done, I’ll be recording and editing the gameplay video, and submitting it this weekend to Cardboard Edison. Wish me luck!
Next we’ll be moving on to a discussion for my goals for Mistgore, on both a micro and macro level.
The Big Plan
So, my eventual goals for Mistgore is to have an ongoing campaign-focused skirmish wargame, like if Mordheim met Living Greyhawk met Lone Wolf adventure gamebooks. I’m planning on going a similar route as One Page Fantasy Skirmish, with a simple core system and then with complexity and depth arising from layers of simple rules, rather than obtuse and needlessly-complicated rules from the get-go.
There’s a few layers to the game I wanted to touch on briefly, that I hope to go into more detail on as the weeks go by:
- The Patreon Model
- Base Combat Mechanics
- Carried-Over Skirmish Content
- Changing Cities and the Great Migration
The Patreon Model
I do want this to be a for-profit endeavor, but I also don’t want to screw people over with prohibitively high costs. I’m going to have the base, plain rules and the first City of that year available for free, but then have the Deluxe rulebook pdf, the current City, and any and all past Cities available if you’re at least a $1 patron. At higher levels, I’ll incorporate your game results into the changing politics and stories of the settings, with some of the highest levels giving your groups unique/tailored stories in the fluff, representative NPCs from your warband members, and similar incentives.
My hope is that the free entry will allow for easy entry into the game, and that players who have gotten a taste will want to subscribe to be a patron to get access to even more gaming content. I’m looking at a new City every 3 Months, so content cycling should be relatively regular and keep things fresh.
Base Combat Mechanics
The underlying mechanics of the game will be a to-hit value using a single die per attack, that typically compares your Melee or Ranged attack value vs the enemy Defense value. Equal values hit on a 4+, greater than the enemy hits on a 3+, and greater than 2 or more hits on a 2+, while less than the enemy hits on a 5+ and less than 2 or less hits the enemy on a 6+. Defense values will be a dual-value statistic, similar to the Nerve/Toughness values from Kings of War/Star-Struck City.
This system is so a unit can get lots of bonuses over time (With Me/Ra/Def values capping at 10), but without exponentially building combat potential at the same time. A lot of the equipment and upgrade rules are going to be a hybrid of Star-Struck City and One Page Skirmish Fantasy in style and application, so hopefully warbands will feel unique and with lots of room to explore, without feeling like every single time you’re given tabula rasa and complete free reign to work with.
Carried-Over Skirmish Content
This is something I’m still figuring out. I want each game to be significant, and the game section in a given city to be even moreso, but at the same time I want to avoid each unit becoming a laundry list of one-off and custom abilities, conditions, and other stuff that needs to be noted separately.
I think I’m going to similarly cap Special Rules at no more than 10 for a given unit, and have any non-universal special rules be required to fit in a single sentence; it might be a bit tight and require playing with other special rules in order to fit, but I want to make sure that checking over a multiple-seasons-old character doesn’t feel like reading an impenetrable tome.
Changing Cities and the Great Migration
So the defining “seasonal” feeling for the game will be the migration of warbands ahead of the forces of the Mistgore blades. This will involve the changing of the city to a new ruined city, and will allow me to do a number of things:
- Release errata and similar updates
- The publication will be a PDF and print-on-demand item, allowing me to also do bundled “Year One, Year Two” type book releases as well.
- Shift the terrain aesthetic, either a lot or a little
- So the starting city will basically be Mordheim, but that can shift to more tall towers and overhead catwalks in the second city, then trees and shrubberies in the third, then more open fields of grains and plants in the fourth, etc.
- Include a new terrain tutorial for some stand-out key feature of the new city
- Going off of the above list of city types, the tutorials could be for basic ruined houses, and then towers and ladders/bridges, then trees/shrubs, then doormat fields, etc.
- Change up the list of available equipment
- Unique weapons as well as one-off artifacts and the like
- Change up the list of available NPCs/Mercs
- Same as equipment
- Change the type of in-game random events that can occur
- Change the type of post-game events that can occur
- Alter a single or very small set of mechanics or playstyles within cities
- This will probably be either very minor changes that last an entire year, or a larger change that lasts only a single city, or both. I want to avoid screwing any one army over, but I also want to make sure that players feel like this alteration does end up having a tangible and enjoyable game effect
Lastly, I want some sort of solo content. I was thinking a CYOA adventure snippet, something you can do with a limited number of your units (so you can’t grind for XP or loot, for example), might be fun since most groups will be playing narrative and friendly games anyways. It will give more bulking-out to the City publications, and also have a fun way to get into the game if your group meets infrequently.
Well, let me know what you think so far in the comments/reblogs, and stay tuned, as I’d like to talk more about the ideas I have for Mistgore next week. Cheers!