Monday, 14 January 2013

Game design notes: The Board, Part Two

There have been quite a few versions of the board now. After the initial design, with too many colours for the board areas, the simplified colour set chosen to match the simplified card types has now been settled on.

There were still tests to do on the best combination of aesthetic and playability. Here is a slideshow of the various iterations / ideas:

Leading to the current version in use just now:

Current Magic Maelstrom Board (Final Draft v2.4)

Friday, 11 January 2013

Final Draft 2 - Revised Rules (v2.4)

Following on from recent feedback, I've tweaked the rules and player reference to reflect these suggestions and, hopefully, speed up the game!



more to follow...

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Final Draft Version 2 (Post 2 of 2)

First up, a picture, so this is not just a bundle of text, in this case, the illustration for the Assassin unit.


Now...more feedback providing fresh ideas for simplification and speeding things up, plus my comments...

1. No starting bundle of Build cards - you get whatever the die rolls produce plus your "controlled areas in card points" cards and that's it.
2. Draw Fate cards equal to mana - no more than 5 (?) can be carried forward to future turns but you can play all the cards you draw if you wish.
3. Build cards are discarded for mana at the end of your turn. No carry forward of those, score the points as per current "in-game" card discards

The three above would fit nicely with the current rules, particularly the reduced unit purchase costs.

4. Victory points at the end of the game are
a) accumulated mana points
b) one point per area held
c) mana points generated by any controlled area - black areas, special sites
d) one point per "mortal" unit on game board - armies, cities, mages and giant

OK, particularly if no end resource card mana, but this removes the hidden points element of the game.

5. Allow use of rain / weather cards as spoilers for other player actions?

Add to list of optional / advanced rules.

Intended Consequences 

Fewer cards and fewer decisions - at a guess there will be fewer cities and mages so less mana around

Yes on cards in general, but lower unit cost will mean reasonable amounts of units.

More emphasis on control of the board so more reason for conflict and more interaction during other people's turns

Yes, this is what I want to achieve.

Mortal units are rarer but valuable, "Fate Card" monsters are common but unreliable.

Yes, for fate card beasties.

No "funny last turn" with people hoarding cards.

Yes. Upside is 'normal' last turn, downside is no hidden victory points.

Unintended Consequences

Am I turning this into a different kind of game?

Don't think so.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Magic Maelstrom Cards

The fate, resource and character cards are an important part of the game.

Fate and resource cards have a common back design, to ensure that opponents cannot tell what a hand contains.


The following photos are of cards I got printed by - impressive quality and value for money in my opinion.

Resource Cards
In the latest draft, the resource card designs weren't too much work, as there are only 6 types required, with 18 of each type used in the game. This differs from early drafts, where the resource cards had dual purposes and therefore were all unique, just like the fate cards.


Fate Cards
Much more work needed here and reliance on public domain artwork from some of the inspirations for the game (more on this in the artwork post to follow).


Character Cards
No custom illustrations yet for these.


More later...

Final Draft Version 2 (Post 1 of 2)

(Now followed by a second post, following more feedback).

More streamlining now done based on even more playtesting and a Final Draft Version 2 created.

As before, the Magic Maelstrom game entry is on, but is still a bit sparse pending a decent update.

Here's the current board (v2.4 - with green gone 'vibrant' on JPEG export):

Currently, the game still takes too long, with each player turn requiring 10-15 minutes giving a standard 4 round game a playing time of 4 hours. This leaves too much down time for the non-active players, even if the active player may find it interesting.

The time taken is primarily due to the number of cards being generated, giving too many cards to work out (easily and quickly) what options to take, especially when reducing the number down to 15.

Recent feedback has included:
  • Turns taking too long (noted above)
    • Agreed. See reduced fate card amounts in Two-page rules.
  • Remove the 15 card limit?
    • Hmm.  Could lead to card hoarding for end game points, OK in itself, but would people then just not build things?
  • Drop Characters from the standard game?
    • Possibly - see revised starting units in Two-page rules.
  • Fewer resource (build) cards at the start?
    • Yes -  - see revised starting cards in Two-page rules.
Based on the this, I've tweaked the Two-page rules, mainly with the two following suggestions:

More starting units.  Armies go up to 10 and you get 3 initial characters. Areas will be more populated at the start and you have better options for planning your first moves.


Amended amount of Fate Cards received as follows; Mana generated by units or areas and add this to the victory point track. Take a number of fate cards from the top of the fate deck equal to half (rounded down) of the mana you generated.

The Card and Unit reference will need minor changes too. Possible changes to unit costs could be to reduce the purchase cost to only one card, making decisions easier to make.  With fewer cards, this should hopefully keep the game balance.

Ideas for new costs...

Existing costs:
Card Unit Summary Extract Original

Option 1:
Card Unit Summary Extract Option 1

Option 2:
Card Unit Summary Extract Option 2

Other things for consideration / fixing:
  1. Jokull - gets no defenders, any card colour allows appropriate units to move into it, latter can also retreat there.
  2. Maelstrom - clarify rules, no unit can either move or be forced to move into the Maelstrom, if it spins with a defender in it, that unit is destroyed. Make a spinning Maelstrom marker?
  3. Fate Card 038 - Faerie Tricks, cannot force a unit into the Maelstrom.
  4. Fate Card 063 - Abandoned Ship, you may only move one of your own units.
  5. Fire symbol doesn't look like fire.
  6. Fate Card 051 - Rastler Tasler - once deployed and 'owned' by one player, any subsequently discarded will join with the original unit. There are 3 of these cards.
  7. Fate Card 073 - Water Wyrm, only the wyrm itself can move two areas, not any units stacked with it.
  8. Fate Card 065 - Burial Mound, change reference from blue to purple.
  9. A large monster (Combat 8) that needs fed with enemies or will eat your troops...?
(Now followed by a second post, following more feedback).