Zurück zur Startseite

Shadowlords Forum

Das Forum für Tabletop-, Brett- & Kartenspiele.
Aktuelle Zeit: 23.09.2017, 19:19

Alle Zeiten sind UTC + 1 Stunde




Ein neues Thema erstellen Auf das Thema antworten  [ 8 Beiträge ] 
Autor Nachricht
 Betreff des Beitrags: Evolution der Schiffe und der Regeln
BeitragVerfasst: 06.04.2011, 13:27 
Offline
André Winter
Benutzeravatar

Registriert: 29.08.2006, 23:52
Beiträge: 5458
Wohnort: Augsburg
In diesem Thread findet ihr zusammengefasst die Posts aus dem Leviathans-Blog zur Regelentwicklung und dem Design der Schiffe.

Viel Spaß damit!

_________________
André Winter
L'Art Noir - Game Design and Translation Studio


Nach oben
 Profil  
 
BeitragVerfasst: 06.04.2011, 13:28 
Offline
André Winter
Benutzeravatar

Registriert: 29.08.2006, 23:52
Beiträge: 5458
Wohnort: Augsburg
Evolution der Schiffe:

Franzosen:

Erste Skizze des französischen Leviathan
Bild

Veränderte Skizze, die sich dem "Feel" der Franzosen besser annähert.
Bild

Erste Sepiareinzeichnung des Schiffes
Bild

Blaupause des Schiffes
BildBild

Fertige Illustration
Bild

French Grenouille-class Type 1 Destroyer
Bild

French Liberte-class Type 2 Light Cruiser
Bild

CAD-Grafiken für das Modell
Jean Bart (Type 4) French Battleship
BildBild

Briten:

Erste Skizze des englischen Leviathan
Bild

Veränderte Skizze, die sich dem "Feel" der Engländer besser annähert.
Bild

Zwischenskizze 2 und 3
BildBild

Blaupause
Bild

Fertige Illustration
Bild

Erster Rapid-Prototype eines britischen Leviathans
Bild

British D-class Type 1 Destroyer
Bild

British County-class Type 2 Light Cruiser
Bild

CAD-Grafiken für das Modell
HML Leviathans (Type 4) British Battleship
BildBild

_________________
André Winter
L'Art Noir - Game Design and Translation Studio


Nach oben
 Profil  
 
BeitragVerfasst: 06.04.2011, 13:28 
Offline
André Winter
Benutzeravatar

Registriert: 29.08.2006, 23:52
Beiträge: 5458
Wohnort: Augsburg
Entwicklung der Regeln - Teil1:

Zitat:
What Should This Game Be?

Two years ago (or so) Dave, Loren and I are at a convention in Oregon and we know we want this universe, but what type of game should it be?

We’ve all been gamers for a very long time and have played a huge host of games. So anytime you’re looking at a new game you have to decide a few things: Who will play this game? Why will they play it? And both of those questions automatically generate additional answers to the next set of questions to ask: how complex should the game be, how long should a “standard” game be, should there be an in-depth universe to go with the game, and so on. And of course the giant plethora of games we’ve played allows us to instantly compare what we’re thinking about to other games. “Well it will be like X, or it absolutely won’t be like Y.” And so on. Can be frustrating when you realize a mechanic you’ve come up with is a little too close to that X or Y…but at the end of the day, very useful.

The convention was a small one, so traffic by the booth was light. As such I was able to sketch concepts on a note pad for almost the whole weekend and the basis of the current game came from that time frame. Obviously it’s been heavily tweaked, both from my own thoughts as it progresses and from the “Leviathan Crew” of authors, not to mention continual play test feedback.

I’m trying to talk a very fine line, of course. When you’re producing a miniatures game that will be a line of products and be supported with add-on releases from the get go, the re-playability is paramount. However, with most miniatures games re-playability usually means great tactics and great tactics usually come at the cost of complexity. At the same time we want this to be a game that has a wider appeal and ease of picking up and trying than what a more traditional miniatures-style game might have (I think of it as being more “boardgame-like”). So the line I’ve been walking is trying to balance making it relatively easy to get into and play (that more boardgame-like), but with some great tactics once you get it (the miniatures-style player).

Now that’s nothing new, of course. Any game wants to try and strike that balance. But hopefully the way I’m going about striking that balance is a little re-freashing and a little new…because that’ll help spark interest and interest turns to enthusiasm and enthusiasm leads to giving the game a try…which is what this is all about, after all.


Zitat:
What’s beyond the scope of the initial rules?

First, let me start this blog post by saying that even this early, the amount of comments and excitement I’m seeing is incredibly gratifying. That said, however, while I’m trying to peek in now and then and respond to some specific comments made about these posts, I can’t possibly answer every question that comes up. Perhaps if Leviathans was the only thing I was working on I might have that time. As it is, I’m feeling pretty good that I’m able to make these blog posts once or twice a week in the midst of my work load.

What does all that mean? Please have patience. You’ve got some great questions and instead of jumping in every time to immediately answer them, with a few exceptions I’m going to hold off. Instead, through continued blog posts heading forward, not only will you see the development of this project, but you’ll hopefully get all of your questions answered. And answered in a way that is far more complete than any quick responses I might make to any given comments. Thanks!

Okay, now to the meat of this post. Right at the beginning I knew there were certain aspects of a “flying game” that I simply had to leave at the door. As with any game design you’ve got to figure what can you include and what should wait for a rules expansion or advanced rules.

With BattleTech I’ve had the joy (pain) of working on the advanced rulebooks of late, which has allowed me to delve into “rules expansions” to my heart’s content. Especially with Tactical Operations, I liked to joke “You can battle with your ‘Mechs, inside an aircraft carrier, while it’s sinking, and pick up some battle armor and throw it at the enemy while you’re at it.” Then again, it’s 25 years into BattleTech’s life and a very advanced rulebook, so I can get away with that.

For Leviathans we’re right at the beginning. So while the universe screams for fighter squadrons, aircraft carriers and full 3-dimensional rules, all of those are simply beyond the scope of the level of ‘difficulty’ we want the game to encompass at the beginning. However, unlike say BattleTech (which Jordan will tell you right out was a one-off game and its success surprised them, so every rules edition beyond that has been a plugin to a system never designed for expansion) I’m designing Leviathans from the get-go to be expandable into numerous different areas if it proves a success. Hopefully this will lesson the impact that rules expansions can often have on game balance and play.

Now I can hear the screams now. “No up and down?! But you’re flying?!” The problem is that either the inclusion of 3-dimensional rules are either too light so they hardly provide any feeling of that aspect (so why include them?) or they’re so complex that it takes the difficulty of the game to a higher level than every other aspect of the game.

Furthermore, for Leviathans, it’s not a game of dog fighting planes, but instead massive ships with giant guns, so they’re more “ponderous” than “agile.” So both the feel of the game and the need to ensure that the added complexity doesn’t make the game too difficult for a “out of the box, intro game play” aesthetic, made the decision easy.

Does that mean we’re ignoring the fact that they’re in the air? Of course not. Both fiction and art touch upon that aspect: the first story fiction piece we hope to have on the site in the near future deals directly with that concept, while the art for the ships shows that most of the side guns are tall and thin, with vertical slots that allow for raising and lowering the guns.

At the end of the day, of course, the true test of whether or not excluding the 3-dimensional element directly in the first box set worked or not is when its picked up and played. The game is very fun and enjoyable and still very much conveys a ‘flying’ feel without going that route. But of course, as noted above, I’m also designing the game from the ground up to have such expansions, so I’ve copious notes floating around on how to add that rules expansion down the road, in a way that’s very cool and will only take a fun game and make it even better.


Zitat:


Zitat:
To Record Sheet Or Not To Record Sheet

When you look at miniatures games as a whole they fall into several categories (there are other categories, but for my purposes the vast majority fall into one of these three).

1. Record Sheets for everything. BattleTech is likely the best example of this, with an in-depth record sheet for about every unit you can field…last count, with all the advanced rules options, we’re pushing 50. Now this provides a great sense of how cool and big and kick-butt units are, as they don’t die quickly and you can feel the damage as it occurs. The downside, of course, is that things don’t die quickly, so the games can be long and of course it can be incredibly intimidating for a new player to look at a pile of confusing record sheets.

2. Hit points; semi record sheets. Games like Warhammer, Warmachine and so on usually have a very small record sheet with fixed stats for their heroes, while the bulk of the units are simply a single hit point figure, and many of those are a hit and kill situation. Now those style of table-top miniatures games work like that because you’re fielding dozens and dozens of figures and as I can attest, if you’re fielding that many units and they all have in-depth record sheets, you’re looking at months of play time. So while it works to quickly speed up games, I think the downside is that you lose a sense of connection to most of the figures when they pop like candy.

3. Combat dial. Pioneered by Mage Knight, MechWarrior: Dark Age and HeroClix, variations of it exist across numerous games. Basically taking all the stats and moving them to a dial on the miniature’s base to speed up game play. While it solved a lot of the issues of “too many RS and they’re too complex” and “too few details on the miniature,” it had its own issues for game play, such as the dreaded “did you put the miniature back exactly where it was?”

So there’s a long, storied history of successful games that fall into those categories and those that spin off variations of those above to make cool, fun games. After looking at all the various options I kept coming back to the record sheet. Especially when you’re talking multi-thousand ton vessels, I felt that neither simply “hit points” or a combat dial could really do it justice.

At the same time I didn’t just want to do a standard paper record sheet. There’s been a lot of cool innovations made in gaming over the last 5 to 10 years, as well as unique and new ways of tracking information and the materials used for such tracking. So after kicking around the concept some we had some jotted notes on some paper and we got in some very early and quick tossing of some dice to see how it was feeling; not sure I’d even call it “game playtesting” as the rules were so loose at that point, but instead it was more about “aesthetic playtesting” if you will.

What resulted was a solid concept that we could and should use a record sheet to provide enough details to really convey the sense of the size of the vessels and the wear and tear damage they take. And so far, through a lot of playtesting that’s proven itself out thoroughly.

At the same time we’re not going the normal paper route (as mentioned above), but instead we’re going down what I hope is a different, cool and fun path. But I’ll touch on that down the line.


Zitat:
First Game Design Concepts

So I knew what type of game we wanted and we had rough concepts down for how to track damage on ships, so now I needed to put fingers to keyboard and generate rules.

One of the very first decisions to make was whether this would be a true table-top miniatures game (using rulers and such to measure movement) or whether I’d use some type of grid system. After doing a lot of research and looking at a host of games on the market (along with erring on the side of the type of game I was trying to produce) I decided against the gridless system.

So if I’m going with a grid, what type of grid should it be? Plenty of popular games use square grids, but that didn’t feel right, especially in a game where all miniatures are going to fill more than one space. The thought of these warships moving forward and then turning 90 degrees instantly for a turn made me laugh out loud.

The answer, of course, was sitting in front of me the whole time…I just tried ignoring it because I didn’t want my own many years of development of that game to bleed over into Leviathans. But after several fits and starts it became very apparent that a hex grid simply worked too well. What’s more, due the rough scale of the miniatures we wanted to produce (1:1200), the BattleTech hex-size simply worked perfectly (i.e. 1.5″ corner to corner). [As an added bonusit made playtesting easier as I could just tell people "go get a BT map."]

With the style of board defined it was time to dive into the game design full on. As I’ve previously mentioned, I wanted to be very sure to keep the game on the simple end of the spectrum. And that meant keeping the number of modifiers to a minimum. Now you can’t dump them all, of course, or there’s no possibility for tactics in game play, which makes the game not very fun to play, which kills off re-playability. So as my fingers began banging out initial rules for playtesting I had a rough figure of no more than 8 total situational modifiers for the core of the game (enhanced scenario play rules don’t count… ;-) . As it turned out, the first draft left me with 7.


Zitat:
Game Design Concepts Continued…

So looking back to the Playtest_1 version of the Leviathans rulebook (dated April 10th, 2008), it’s fascinating to see how somethings remained relatively unchanged through 5 iterations of the rules (the 5th is in one final playtest, so what will publish will be the 6th), while others have radically changed.

As I began the core work on these rules I really wanted to try and eliminate as many dice rolls as possible, while also providing an “iron-sides” aesthetic. By that I mean a banging away at each others armor with no results visible through one or two or perhaps even three hits and then you suddenly find the weak spot and you penetrate and do damage (this would also have the added benefit of not needing to track the wearing away of armor).

So as of the first iteration the entire game was based upon D10s.

For example, the 3″ Gun Battery looked like this: 8 hexes (Maximum Range), 0 hexes (Minimum Range), 1D10 (Damage Dice), 1D6 (Location Dice), Fire AT Will or Fire For Support (Types of Attack).

For the modifiers to the attack there were 5 of them. Positive Modifier: Silhouette, Target Damage. Negative Modifiers: Attacker Damage, Target Movement, Armor.

What that meant for game play, based off of my design goals as I mentioned above, is you’d go through the following format to see if you hit/damaged your target.

1. Check Firing Arc for the weapon

2. Check range to the target (i.e. if I’m firing the 3″ Gun BAttery mentioned above the target has to be at 8 hexes or less).

3. Select the Damage Dice (1D10 as noted above)

4. Select the Location Dice (D6 as noted above)

5. Roll both dice in what’s called a Breach Roll.

6. Find the Slot (a place occupied by weapons/equipment on a ship) corresponding to the result of the Location Dice.

7. Modify the Breach Roll for all 5 applicable modifiers (as noted above) and then compare that result to the Breach Number in the Slot as indicated by the Location Dice (as noted above).

8. If the result is less than the Breach Number nothing happens (the ironsides aesthetic). If the result is equal to or greater than the Breach Number then that Slot is destroyed.

That’s pretty much the basics of combat for the first iteration of the rules. Now considering the Breach Numbers on most ships are in the double digits the concept of a single 3″ Gun Battery destroying a Slot is almost non-existent unless you really start stacking up some good modifiers. However, you’ll note under the Types of Attack that it can Fire For Support, which means that all gun batteries of the same size that are able to target the same ship (i.e. are in range and are in the same firing arc) can bed combined to increase you’re chance of hitting/damaging the target.

Then again you could just use a bigger gun, such as a 12″ Gun Battery that fires 3D10 Damage Dice and 2D6 Location Dice (meaning it can potentially destroy two Slots in one salvo) or even an Aerial Torpedo that has 4D10 Damage Dice…course those aren’t direct fire weapons, so I’ll delve into the fun of torpedos at a future date.

Now while the initial playtest was well over a year ago at this point, I do remember that the core of what I was trying to accomplish worked very well. But at the end of the day…I just wasn’t happy that there still was so much adding and subtracting and referencing charts. So while I folded in all the playtest comments over the next month or two and sent out the next iteration of the rules I kept bashing my head against the wall of how to achieve all my design goals and make the game even more elegant by eliminating a lot of extraneous adding/substracting along the way.


Zitat:
Game Design Concepts Continued…

So I banged and banged on the core concept of how to drop away most of the modifiers in the game (making it easier to pick up and play) but to keep those modifiers within the mechanics of play or the game wouldn’t be very fun on re-peat play (all the tactics would be missing).

Now I’m trying to remember where the epiphany came from…and try as I might, I can’t. Strange. Regardless, during that process I realized that you could take various dice bell curves and use that to approximate modifiers.

For example, three of the previous modifiers I had were the size of the target (i.e. differences between Destroyer, Light Cruiser, Armored Cruiser and Battleship), whether you were striking the target on the starboard or port sides or on the bow/stern and the target movement.

Additionally, as I started working on that (and thanks to Mike Miller for putting together some truly sick spreadsheets to help me prove that switching to dice bell curves would result in the same situation as my original “D10 + modifiers” mechanic) I further realized you could use such bell curves for weaponry as well.

So under the original core mechanic if I was firing say a 3″ Gun Battery at a target I’d roll 2D10, then potentially add several additional modifiers: did the target move, what was the target’s silhouette, what was the target’s size and so on.

Switching over to a “dice bell curve” mechanic, then, most of the modifiers became woven into a set of dice.

If we take the example of say the British HML Raven Destroyer firing a 3 IN Gun Battery at the French Pontbriand Light Cruiser (provided it’s in the right firing arc and range, of course), I’d use a D6 (for the gun battery), then if I was hitting the Pontbriand‘s Stern or Bow I’d roll a D10, while if I was hitting its Port or Starboard Location I’d roll a D12. i.e. I’d roll the D6 together with the D10 or D12 (along with a D6 Slot Dice) as a Breach Roll, totally the D6 and D10 or D12 and comparing that value against the Slot on the target as indicated by the Slot Dice.

Thanks to those sick spread sheets I was confident I was on the right track and sending it out to playtesting only re-inforced that moving most modifiers into dice curves worked perfectly.

Along the way I made another change, this time based on the graphics that would eventually appear on each Ship Card (the “record sheet” used to track each ships’ game stats). While the new dice mechanic worked find, trying to come up with a host of dice icons that you could easily read and understand was proving difficult to say the least. It was also during this time I discovered it was actually cheaper to manufactur the same size dice and change the dice facing then it would be to have a full set of polyhedrals.

Those two concepts then merged in my head to color code everything. So all the dice are D12 shaped, but each color coding equals a different polyhedral (i.e. their dice facing reflects the bell curve): Green = D4, Blue = D6, Yellow = D8, Red = D10 and Black = D12. [For the math inclined, yes this means the D8 and D10 are not perfect, standardized D8 and D10 bell curves...but they're close enough to only make a difference say in every 100 games if one side was playing with "Leviathans Dice" and the other side was using standard D8 and D10 polyhedrals.]

This allowed for a simple set of colored pips on the Ship Cards to then easily showcase which dice should be used under various circumstances. So taking the example above, a player would look at the 3 IN Gun Battery Slot on his HML Raven and note the DBlue (grabs a blue dice; i.e. the D6), then looks at the Pontbriand and either grabs a DRed or DBlack (depending upon which Location he’s striking), adds in the prerequisite D6 Slot Dice, tosses all the dice in the Breach Roll, adds up the colored dice for a final value and compares that to the Slot Number indicated by the Slot Dice.

Now ultimately I further tweaked and refined this set-up, adding in additional dice combinations for various situations that enhanced tactical play (obviously I’ll get into those down the line). Additionally, I didn’t dump every modifier…there are still modifiers based on attacker and target damage that refused to be melded into dice…but they’re so few that during play it doesn’t feel encumbered like other games where a half dozen to a dozen modifiers might be applied.

However, at its core I felt I’d found the key to making Leviathans exactly what I wanted it to be. Relatively easy to pick up and play (due to everything being so visually based), yet retaining all the important mechanics that you need for re-playability fun (movement, range and so on are all important and you must play to the strengths of your ships and faction). And that sentiment has only been re-inforced across several large playtests…can’t wait to get up a QSR so you all can try it out yourselves and see how I did.


Zitat:
Game Design Concepts Continued…

After finalizing the concept of moving everything to the visual-based dice icons mechanic, I found in my own playtests that I’d simplified a little too much. There wasn’t enough differentiation in weapon ranges and target movement to encourage tactics. This was supported almost universally through playtest feedback.

Now there was a few other problems that arose that were relatively easy to deal with. For example because the dice are so much smaller on Destroyers (to simulate both their smaller profile, speed and agility), they can be difficult to hit. However, initially I’d given them too high of Breach Numbers, making them far too powerful.

Another silly issue is that the Stern and Bow Breach Numbers were relatively in line with the Port and Starboard values. Not only is that not accurate for wet navy ships, but it also reduced the need for maneuvering tactics.

Both of those were very easy fixes. I dropped all Destroyer Breach Numbers by 2 (regardless of Location), then I dropped ALL ship Bow Breach Numbers by 1 and ALL ship Stern Breach Numbers by 2. So yes, that meant the Sterns on the Destroyers dropped by 4. It felt huge, but once you dove in a played with multiple ship Types together the Destroyers instantly felt right where they should be.

So those type of issues were relatively easy to fix. But weapon ranges and target movement proved a much thornier proposition. I kicked this one around for weeks trying to find the most elegant solution. And at the end of the day, I believe I did. In both instances it may not reflect ‘reality’ as well as other games, but within the game aesthetic of Leviathans, I felt it worked just fine.

First was the weapons. Originally I simply had a chart of weapons: 3″, 6″, 9″, 12″. And the chart listed the dice to roll, the type of attacks it could make and the range in hexes. Pretty standard. However, with the dice/color coding option starting to open my eyes to all the possible ways I could continue to make the game easier to play, I decided to move almost all of that directly onto the Ship Card Slot for a given weapon.

BildBild

As you can see by the two Ship Card excerpts above, in addition to the name, we’ve now got damage, range, as well as the type of attacks a given weapon can make (the triangle means it can also perform a Bracketing Fire attack in addition to a standard attack). And in doing so I was able to easily split the range into two brackets to help encourage movement. For those Gun Battery Slots above, anything up to six hexes you grab the yellow dice (D8) and add it to the Breach Roll; anything 7 to 12 hexes you grab the blue dice (D6) and add it to the Breach Roll.

Another great side benefit of dumping a chart and moving everything onto the Ship Cards is it allowed us to embrace the real world flavors of the various style and type of weapons fielded by different factions. Originally all ships mounted 5″ Gun Batteries…but the French didn’t use that type of terminology. So while the ‘game mechanics’ of those two guns are identical, one feels more French (138mm) and one more English (5 IN), which really helps to mold each factions play identity.

Another great side effect of this move is that it allows us to really play around with the dice and with ranges to simulate the different weapons available. For example, if I’d stuck with a ‘chart’, it would have 4 different weapons on it and any time I want to add a new weapon I’d need to try and publish a new chart. By moving to the Slots, though, you can play around with different damage/range profiles to increase game tactics with ease. After all, if you’ve done the homework, the range of weapons available during this time in the real world is astonishing…being able to fold that breadth into the game is cool.

BildBildBild

If you look at the three Ship Card excerpts above, you’ll see what I mean. The 3 IN and the 75mm Gun Batteries are identical; the 3 IN is off a British Ship Card and the 75mm is off a French Ship Card. You’ve then got the 65mm Gun Battery, which you’ll notice has the same Damage Dice as the 75mm, but shaves off 2 hexes at the top end, meaning it’s a gun you need to get close to use…and since the French Pontrbriand Light Cuirser mounts 4 of these on a side…don’t let that ship stay too close!

Finally, I used the same concept when dealing with target movement. Again, I was hoping to completely avoid this, but playtesting showed we simply couldn’t avoid creating some mechanic to help accentuate the need for tactical movement.

Bild

Looking at the Ship Card expert above, if a ship has moved out of its hex, you grab a black die and add it to the Breach Roll (the dice icon is against a green background, as in ‘go’ to help you remember) and if the ship didn’t move out of its hex you grab two red dice and add them to the Breach Roll (the dice icon is against a red background, as in ‘stop’ to help you remember).

As a final comment on all of this, there may be some of you wondering if this game is getting too complex and is perhaps something you wouldn’t want to play…especially with me harping about how ‘simple’ I’m trying to keep it, relatively speaking. Ultimately that’s going to be your call, obviously. But at its basic level (leaving out the fun Captain’s Manual plug-in rules I’ll talk about down the line) it’s exceptionally intuitive, with everything visual based. As mentioned in my previous blog, even with the ‘added’ complexity of the split ranges and twin target movement dice, it’s still a case of simply looking at your Ship Card and your opponents Ship Card, making sure it’s in range and in the right firing/damage arcs and then grabbing up the various dice as indicated and tossing them to see if you’ve cracked your opponent’s armor!


Zitat:
Game Design Concepts Continued…

I’m firmly in the game design concept camp that any game like Leviathans needs to have a “yea!” moment. Or to provide a more visceral example, it needs to have a moment like the kid on the bike at the end of The Incredibles: “That was totally wicked!” A moment in the game where you get a chance through a lucky die roll to suddenly change the tables and that forces players to cheer or groan outloud. Obviously it can’t be too easy or it would happen too often, not only upsetting the balance of game play but also making the moment mundane through too much repetition.

For Leviathans this moment is the Breaking The Keel Roll. Once you make the Breach Roll and determine the Breach Roll result and are ready to compare that to the Breach Number in a slot as indicated by the Slot Dice, if you hit a slot that was previously destroyed (even in the same turn) you’ve a chance for doing additional damage.

Now two rules iterations ago this would immediately spark a Breaking The Keel Roll. You’d grab 2DRed (2D10) and roll. Then you’d add a +1 modifier for every destroyed slot anywhere on the target ship. You’d then add an additional +1 modifier for any destroyed slots in the location being hit (it’s taking the force of the blow, so destroyed slots apply a double modifier). You add all those modifiers to the 2DRed result and if that number equal or exceeds the Structural Integrity on the target ship, the keel has been broken and the ship tears apart and cascades down in a fiery death across the landscape below.

However, while that “That was totally wicked!” moment worked perfectly for the feel and style of Leviathans (and for the game balance) we actually found there was a problem. I played in several games where I was hitting a location with only a single slot destroyed (say Slot 3) and due to lucky die rolls I dropped almost half a dozen shots all into Slot 3 and due to the SI involved either the Breaking the Keel Roll was impossible, or nearly so. For example a Battleship has an SI of 30…that means you have a lot of slots to destroy before there’s even a chance the keel will break (appropriate for the size and importance of the Battleship…but not very fun for the player).

Yet while it was appropriate, it still could lead to situations when far too many rolls were ineffective. Now as I mentioned many months ago, the aesthetic of Leviathans is an “iron-sides” type of feel, where you “bang away” for a few shots without any effect but then suddenly find the weak spot in the armor and blow through to destroy something. However, even with that aesthetic we were getting too many of those.

Strangely enough, it was on the 12 hour drive a few months back for a family reunion that I struck upon the solution; with the family mostly asleep at one point and the music blaring, the hind brain to gnaws on problems endlessly and you discard a dozen concepts before the right one finally pops up.

So going back to the top, you make a Breach Roll and if the Slot Dice indicates a previously destroyed slot, then there’s a chance for further damage. However, now what you do is keep all the D12s the same but re-roll the Slot Dice. If the new result indicates an un-destroyed slot, compare the already rolled Breach Roll result against the new indicated Breach Number; if it equals or exceeds it, that new slot is destroyed (i.e. the shell tumbled around behind the armor of that location, crashing into something new and destroying it.

If the new result of the re-rolled Slot Dice indicated another previously destroyed slot again, THEN you make the Breaking The Keel roll as described above (i.e. the shot didn’t tumble around but drove deeper into the bowels of the ship).

This solution worked out very well. Players didn’t need to try and keep track of anything (something I’ve managed to almost completely avoid), Breach Rolls significantly decreased in the number of ineffective rolls that occurred once a location started to take damage, and of course we got to keep the “That was totally wicked!” moment.

And that, by the way, covers almost every aspect of the Lieutenant’s Manual: The Quick-Start Rules. Once we release it and you start reading and getting ready to play your own games, you’ll have the behind-the-scenes of the “why” behind almost the entire booklet.

As a final aside, I happen to be looking at the site over-all to see what additional updates need to occur and I realized that Doug Chaffee did not have his biography on the page. Considering it’s almost all his stunning visuals that are bringing this universe to life (not to mention his stellar career and skills set he brings to our table), I’ve rectified that immediately.


Zitat:
Leviathans FAQ

So watching over the last week as the web version of the Lieutenant’s Manual was launched into the electronic skies has been fascinating. After this much work to finally reach such a big milestone feels fantastic. There’s still a long ways to go before the box set releases next Spring…but this is still a huge sign post…and a great morale boost to see so many people talking about it, giving the game a try and so on.

For those just finding this site I’ve generated a FAQ that hopefully will quickly and easily answer questions about the game/universe as a whole. Of course those interested in my more verbose explanations are encouraged to dig through the site and find the various blogs I’ve posted over the last six months where I provide such depth.

So let’s batten down the hatches and head into the storm.

Q. Why so many different dice?
A. The combination of polyhedral dice allow for the dumping of almost all addition or subtraction of modifiers during game play, while ensuring that those modifiers are still in the game mechanics so tactical movement and firing remains important.

Q: Why unique D12 dice?
A: It’s cheaper to produce a single dice of the same type (even if the facings are different), then to produce different types of dice (i.e. D4, D6, D8 and so on). This allows us to take that cost savings and put it back into the box; for example ensuring the miniatures are as high a quality as we can get away with. Furthermore, instead of different types of dice (D4, D6, D8 and so on), going the D12 route and color coding everything means it’s just that much easier to figure out how to play as you simply match up various color icons on each Ship Card to the appropriately color-coded dice, then make a roll.

Ultimately the experience of polyhedrals (D4, D6, D8 and so on) vs. the “Leviathans D12s” is the same. The only difference is whether you happen to have dice that match the colors used on the Ship Cards, or whether you need to remember which colors correspond to which type of dice.

In fact, I had the chance to create dice so unique that you could not use polyhedrals as a replacement and backed away from that. I wanted players to know that if a D12 is lost, they don’t need to buy a whole new box set to keep playing.

Q: Where will the fiction found in the Lieutenant’s Manual be continued?
A: Future PDF releases will contain that fiction and the entire piece will also be found in the box set release.

Q. The rules seem a little simplistic. It’s fast playing, sure, but is it too fast? How quickly will I become bored?
A. To ease a player into playing Leviathans the rules have been divided into three rule books: Lieutenant’s Manual, Commander’s Manual, and Captain’s Manual.

The Lieutenant’s Manual is currently available and is the “quick-start” rules of the game; a complete PDF that introduces players to the basics of the game, along with the visuals and a little bit of fiction flavor of the universe.

The Commander’s Manual is the core rules of the game and builds off the Lieutenant’s Manual introducing additional important elements, such as Battleships and their more complex firing arcs, steering gear, screening, torpedoes, ramming, turrets, advanced attack types and repairs. This rules booklet also has a scenarios section to aid players in building their own scenarios, as well as two ready-made scenarios players can dive into immediately.

The Captain’s Manual further builds off the the previous two booklets with enhanced rules. These are a series of rules that players can “plug and play” into any scenario, based upon the type of scenario they’re playing, how many people are playing, how big the game is, or just how they’re feeling on trying out X or Y rule that day. Some of the rules covered in this booklet are control rolls, elevation, minimum ranges, clouds, visibility, cargo ships, commanders, crew skills, wind and more.

In other words, the Lieutenant’s Manual is just the tip of the iceberg (or mountain, in this case) of all that Leviathans will have to offer, presented in a way that each gaming group can decide at what depth they wish to play and when to move on to the next level/style of play.

Q: When will monstersinthesky.com have forums?
A: While we don’t have a date, we are working on it. We’ll let you know as soon as we know.

Q: The game feels more like “ironsides” as opposed to the pre-dreadnaught era of WWI? Was this intentional?
A:While the entire game has a little “ironsides” feel, that is accentuated in the Lieutenant’s Manual as we removed many rules to help with the learning curve. Additional rules, such as turrets, broadsides and so on, quickly brings the feeling of the game more into the pre WWI aesthetic.

Q: I’ve already played the game several times, where can I find more Ship Cards?
A: Watch for more Ship Cards to be released via PDF in the future.

Q: Why are there Crew Slots on some Ship Card location and none on others? You can’t fire without a Crew Slot?
A: All ships have crew, of course, and so even without a Crew Slot all ships can fire their weapons. Crew Slots represent more crew and/or more skilled crew in that location, which helps increase the likelihood of an attack’s success (hence the addition of dice in the Lieutenant’s Manual), make repairs at the end of the turn (rules found in the Commander’s Manual) and so on.

Q: What will the miniatures be made of?
A: We’re currently looking at high-impact polystyrene (HIPS), which is the standard for the highest quality plastic miniatures in the adventure game market.

Q: Will the miniatures be pre-painted?
A: We’re still in the final stages of reviewing whether the Leviathans’ miniatures will be pre-painted or not…the final decision has not yet been made. Once we’ve finalized the manufacturer and made this decision, we’ll let the community know.

Q: I’ve heard the Ship Cards will actually have a ‘punch out” element?
A: Currently the plan is for the Ship Cards to be made of styrene (think Pirates or Star Wars Constructible Cards…or something like a credit card), with each equipment slot a die cut that you you pop out during game play. This allows for a wonderful visceral reaction as you physically see the ship coming apart around you. Obviously this couldn’t be simulated in any meaningful way through the PDF, so the web version of the Lieutenant’s Manual was adjusted so that players are simply circling and crossing out slots as they’re destroyed.

Q: What is Creative Commons? What does it do for me?
A: Leviathans is an Intellectual Property: legal speak for the specific art/style/presentation of a fictional setting; i.e. there are several steampunk-esk air navy games previously published but Leviathans “whole package” represents a new, unique Intellectual Property. Creative Commons is a way for Catalyst Game Labs to protect that Intellectual Property while allowing the community to do what it does best: make cool stuff up! Make your own ships, your own rules, generate new art, even create your own timelines if you wish and distribute them to your hearts content. Provided you do it free of charge, not only are you protected, but you’ve the full support of Catalyst Game Labs in your actions. And if we like what we see, we might just try and buy it from you, if you’re willing.

Okay, I believe that covers the majority of the questions I’ve seen to date. If players have additional questions not covered here, post your questions and if I can, I’ll answer.


Zitat:
Game Design Concepts Continued…

As mentioned in my last design concepts blog, I’ve discussed just about every design decision that covers the Lieutenant’s Manual. With several weeks under our belt now since the Lieutenant’s Manual‘s release and most (I believe) of those following my blogs having either read and/or even played a few introductory games, I’m sure you’re already chomping at the bit to figure out what the Commander’s Manual contains that sets it apart and the decisions behind those rules. Let’s dive right in and start discussing those differences.

I believe one of the biggest additions is Line Of Sight (LOS); i.e. a straight line running between two locations (in this instance, the attacking and target hexes). Many of the rules differences in the Commander’s Manual are add ons, building off of what’s in the Lieutenant’s Manual. However, LOS is a “core” building block.

Unlike so many miniatures games, the Lieutenant’s Manual doesn’t rely on LOS. In fact I believe I’ve mentioned before that I tried like crazy to completely eliminate the need to pull out a string and draw such LOS as I felt it would slow down game play. However, through several iterations of rules, even when I thought I’d figured out how to make it work, play testing showed in no uncertain terms it absolutely did not work.

My favorite moment came when one of my play testers diagramed out how you could curve shots completely around a ship under the then current rules, as though Wanted suddenly was making an appearance in my Steampunk universe. So by the time I reach the fifth (or sixth…can’t remember now) iteration of the Commander’s Rules I realized I was left with no choice but to move to the inclusion of an LOS rule for certain situations.

Now luckily LOS only applies to two rules in the Commander’s Manual: Screening and Resolving Torpedoes (there are other rules in the Captain’s Manual that require LOS, but we’ll get into those at a latter date).

Now I hope you don’t immediately think that the use of LOS will hopelessly slow down your game. That’s simply not the case. After all, hundreds of games across the years have made excellent use of LOS without issue. However, remember that one of my primary goals of Leviathans was to try and make it as easy as I could at its core, with plug-and-play rules that could then stack on top to provide depth of play for those that wish to go that distance. And just like molding all modifiers into dice rolls eliminated that aspect of miniatures play while retaining its purpose (tactical movement), I’d hoped to swallow the need for LOS into a new mechanic. At the end I simply could’t figure a way around it without dumping far too much of the bedrock of the rules that had proven to work so well. As such, it’s back in where it’s needed and once players have a game or two under their belt using the rule, it’ll flow very smoothly.

Next time I’ll actually delve into the specifics of Screening/Firing Torpedoes, why they’re in the game and how they’ve morphed as the rules have changed.


Zitat:
Game Design Concepts Continued…

Through some 4 iterations of the rules screening wasn’t in Leviathans…and I wanted it that way (my eternal ‘keep it simple’ mantra). However, regardless of how many tweaks I made to Ship Cards or how many different ways I tweaked extent rules (such as introducing two Location Dice in the Green and Red arrows to take into account target movement) there still wasn’t enough tactical movement play.

Just as important, the game still was lacking the feeling of “naval warfare” and “fleet movements”. While the required use of Line Of Sight (LOS) to make Screening work properly did slow the game down slightly, both the needed game play AND aesthetic feel elements combined to demonstrate it needed to be in the Commander’s Manual and not shuffled into the Captain’s Manual as a plug and play optional rule.

In Leviathans Commander’s Manual ships have two screening options: Defensive and Offensive.

Offensive is just that…a tactic designed for offensive play. At the end of its movement a ship spends a certain amount of MP and designates a target ship it is “hugging” (this can be an enemy or friendly ship, but the ship must be a larger Type than itself). During the combat of that turn any LOS from attacking ships that target the Offensive Screening ship that crosses any hex of the ship it is hugged are blocked. This allows for some great screening movements as you use both your own ships and even the enemy ships to run say a fast destroyer right up through the middle of a formation and try and get into the Stern of the big ships.

Defensive Screening is all about protecting a ship that’s getting pummeled (again, the very definition of what a lot of naval warfare is about). In the game, at the end of movement a ship that is adjacent to a friendly ship spends a certain amount of MP and the controlling player announces it is “hugging” that ship. Then, just like in Offensive Screening, any LOS drawn to any hex of the ship being hugged that passed through a hex occupied by the Defensive Screening is blocked; i.e. if the attacks are made they’re directed at the Defensive Screening ship. During play testing I’ve had a number of Armoured Cruisers and even a Battleship or two survive several turns longer, than might have been the case otherwise, to bring their big guns to bear because I sacrificed my smaller ships in such screening moves, helping turn the tide of the battle.

Not only did the inclusion of screening rules solve all the issues addressed above, but as I believe I’ve mentioned before, it also allowed for more realistic “protect the convoy” scenarios. A lot of other similar games have no rules of how one unit can ‘take a hit’ for another unit to protect it and yet “protect the convoy” is a staple of almost every game out there. This allowed us to deal with the problem, while ensuring that when you put Cargo Ships into play (I’ll talk about those once I get into discussing the Captain’s Manual down the road) you’ve a chance of winning.


Zitat:
Game Development Continued…

So I no longer can keep all the various ship stats in my head as I’ve generated too many of them. So as I started working on another James’ Fighting Leviathans, I realized it was high time to generate a spreadsheet that would contain all of the ships in a single location for easy comparison.

As I built that sheet I continued to flesh out the gun batteries that’ll be used in the game. As I mentioned many moons ago, by moving all of the stats directly onto each Gun Battery slot it really allowed me to fuse the universe flavor directly into each gun, while also ensuring I could tweak numbers left, right and center as needed.

So, with the type of historians I’ve got working with me to develop the universe, we’ve determined all the various guns that were in use by which nations during this time period.

So first I plug all those in. Next I match up various gun sizes, so even though they’re using different terminology, it’s all effectively the same gun for game play purposes. For example let’s take the 3 IN Gun Battery, which has appeared on several published ships. The various factions field the following similar guns:

British: 3 IN

French: 75mm

German: NA

Italian: 76mm

Russian: 75mm

Japanese: NA

American: 3 IN

Austro-Hungarian: 7.5cm

First, if you’re checking your Ship Cards, you’ll know that a 3 IN Gun Battery is a 4 DBlue / 8 DGreen. Since all the other gun batteries are almost spot on size wise, all those weapons, when they eventually appear on a published Ship Card, will have the same game stats.

Next you’ll notice that there’s no German or Japanese entries. That’s because both nations simply didn’t field a weapon equivalent at this size. The closest German Gun Battery is 8.8cm, while the closest Japanese Gun Battery is a 6cm. Since both of those fall too far outside of the norm for this column of stats as established by the 3 IN Gun Battery, I needed to play a little bit with the stats. For example, the 8.8cm German Gun Battery (which is basically 3.5 inches) gets a slight tweak up to 5 DBlue / 8 DGreen, while the Japanese gets a slight tweak down on its 6cm Gun Battery to 4 DBlue / 6 DGreen.

For those really paying close attention they’ll note that the Pontbriand mounts 65mm Gun Batteries with the same game stats as that 6cm Gun Battery. Taking into account weapons both above and below these, I felt 5mm was a small enough difference to allow the guns to have the same game stats.

Now some of you may be asking “one hex change, is that really enough to make a difference in the game?” And that’s a good question. A few things to keep in mind.

First and for most, none of the above includes firing types, such as bracketing, saturation and so on (found in the Commander’s Manual), which can and will be used to add some differentiation here and there as appropriate.

Second, you have to look at a ship as a whole and see where tucking in subtle changes here and there on weapons (not to mention Breach Numbers and other equipment tweaks) changes the entire vessel into its own unique ship with its own playing profile.

Finally, future releases beyond the Core Box will begin to delve into Crew Abilities and Ship Quirks, all of which will not only provide some great additional game play, but will play off of various faction’s weaponry, accentuating those differences further.

Now to pass this giant spreadsheet to the playtesters to bang on and see if they find any errors or strange dice progression issues.


Zitat:
Game Development Continued…

Huh…looking back on it I don’t think I’ve ever done a “Game Development Continued” blog post back to back…shrug…it’s what I want to type this time, so I’ll do fiction or art next week.

Anyways, let’s talk torpedoes. In some ways, torpedoes are almost like skidding in BattleTech. I know, I know…how does that connection work? Well, stay with me for a minute.

Skidding in BattleTech is complicated. In fact, it’s so complicated that when I wrote Total Warfare several years ago (the ‘new’ definitive series of BT rulebooks) and I re-organized the rules so that only “tournament” rules were found in that book (any non-tournmanet rules were moved to other advanced rulebooks, such as Tactical Operations), I had some playtesters advocating for its removal from Total Warfare because of the problems it created in ‘tournament events’

Another way to look at it, the previous core BattleTech rulebook (BattleTech Master Rules), devoted 3 pages to it, including an example. However, from my own experience of playing the game for long years and from a pile of community feedback, the number of ‘what if’ statements those 3 pages didn’t cover was shocking (my all time favorite was “what if he skids off a cliff and there’s a VTOL in that hex at a lower Elevation?”…yup…happened in a game). So in Total Warfare (note I really didn’t change the rules at all), skidding required 5 pages and has two giant examples in it.

So why devote that much page count to such a complicated rule? Because it always felt so BattleTech to me. Giant, lumbering metal-clad monsters tromping through a city and the MechWarrior trying to pull off a maneuver with a ‘Mech that’s too extreme and down it goes, tumbling and slamming into other units, toppling buildings and so on. Not only did it feel right, but despite the complexity, a skidding situation never failed to create a series of groans mixed with “That was total Wicked!” (And for those following all my blogs, you know I’m a big believer in the importance of that in game play). Not to mention how many great fiction stories have put that mechanic element into use.

Hopefully you’re following me then, as I believe the aerial torpedoes feels right for Leviathans. Just like with skidding all those years ago as I was developing Total Warfare, I’ve had several discussions with playtesters about ‘is the complexity worthwhile.’ Now remember to put this into context. It’s not really that complicated at all…but compared to how gun batteries fire, it can slow the game down. But even outside of the flavor it helps to convey to the French (which make heavy use of torpedoes), it provides a style of game play that helps to make Leviathans…well…Leviathans.

It’s been so long, I just opened up the Word file of the first iteration of the rules that went out for playtesting (dated April 10, 2008 by the way), and man have torpedoes changed. The initial rules had them very similar to gun batteries but with hidden hex designations and the need to write hex numbers down secretly and so on. Those were too complex and ultimately didn’t feel right.

The torpedoes as they’ll exist in the game are an area of denial style of play. Firing and Target hexes are designated with playing pieces before movement, then all movement occurs. Before combat (i.e. firing of gun batteries), you then check LOS between the Firing and Target hexes and if there’s a ship along the LOS, the firing player makes a Breach Roll. And it’s a nice set of dice you’re rolling…hard to connect, but you’re almost always going to bunch through if you do.

The in universe concept behind how torpedoes work is that to miniaturize the electroid, electric generator, propellor and explosive down to a size to fit in a torpedo makes it…well…not exactly stable. So you lock in its firing solution and a clock that’ll ignite its movement, lob it over the side where it bobs and you get out of the way and then it activates, racing off on its pre-determined and very blind course, hitting anything that can’t get out of the way.

Ultimately this doesn’t do much good against smaller Type ships…but if you’re able to lay down multiple lines across a big, slow Battleship…you force him to go where you want or risk taking a pile of strong Breach Rolls. And by all means, be careful of your own movement so you don’t hit yourself…that’s happened several times to great groans and cheers.


Zitat:
Game Development Continued…

First just wanted to say that the forums have been up for less than a week and we already have 99 members and are on the verge of breaking 100. That’s fantastic to see…and anyone that follows these blogs that have not checked out the forums yet, please feel free to stop on by and check them out. We’ve already got a host of great discussions going (the Forum link is right next to the Home link in the header bar above).

So, moving on to the meat of this blog. Originally, like so many other games along similar lines, there was no making repairs on the fly in this game. Thinking back on it I’m not sure why I went this route, though it likely was a case of always striving to strip the game down, helping with ease of learning and play. Ultimately, several things came together to change my mind.

First, after I moved Crews to their own Slots and gave them Crew Dice, I began to realize they needed to have a little more value in game play. While Crew Slots are very effective when wedded to Gun Batteries, I didn’t like the concept that the Gun Battery’s destruction meant the Crew Slot was instantly worthless for the rest of that game. Additionally, I began to realize I wanted the flexibility of giving a ship a unique feel such as having Crew Slots in a Location with no Gun Batteries.

Second was an aesthetic discovery. Unlike so many other games I’ve dealt with in the past where there is a very small number of individuals crewing a playing unit, leviathans are crewed by dozens and dozens of individuals…so having ‘crewmen to spare’ to make repairs seemed logical. Not to mention the feel of a few desperate crewman using ingenuity, desperation and a healthy dose of luck to plug a leak, fix a broken engine part or make a destroyed gun work again…that fit perfectly with the grim and dirty, yet heroic world of Leviathans.

Finally, once I’d put the repair rules into place and gave them a whirl a few times I realized I’d put another “That Was Totally Wicked!” moment into the game, as one side desperately attempts to fix a destroyed Slot, while the other side cheers for a bad dice roll leaving the Location he just pummeled in a bad state.

All of those items combined into a great aspect of the game. Basically at the end of the turn, after all other actions have been resolved in a turn, a player can choose to try and fix any Slots destroyed in a previous turn in a Location that has an un-destroyed Crew Slot (the exceptions are Armor and Crew Slots, which cannot be fixed in this fashion). Any number of such ‘fixes’ can be attempted in a turn, but only one such attempt can be made per Crew Slot (meaning if the ship has multiple Crew Slots, multiple attempts can be made). The player then makes a dice roll to see if he succeeds or not. If he fails, the Slot remains destroyed…if he succeeds, the Slot is fixed and can be used on the following turn.

This helps to explain, as some players have noted, those ships that have Crew Slots in a Location without a Gun Battery. Since you don’t want a game to extend under the Lieutenant’s Manual, which is all about providing a quick and fast taste of game play before moving on to the Commander’s Manual, repair is not found in those introductory rules.


Zitat:
Game Design Continued…

How many different ship styles/types to include in the rules? Wow…that was a lot of thinking and discussions across a pretty large breadth of time. After all, there were so many varied types of real-world ships around the world. Ultimately, however, you have to be able to make a call and then ensure the rules and the package of the final Core Box supports that decision as much as possible.

Obviously if you’ve read the Lieutenant’s Manual you know there are Type 1 (Destroyers) and Type 2 (Light Cruisers) in the game. As future factions are released the names in parenthesis may tweak slightly, (Fast Cruiser), for example, but it’s still a Type 2 ship (i.e. a “flavor” name verses the hard code of the rules).

The Commander’s Manual contains rules for two more Ship Types: Type 3 (Armoured Cruisers) and Type 4 (Battleships). However, there’s only so many miniatures that can be included in the Core Box set. So while the rules for Armoured Cruisers are detailed, the miniatures for that size of ship do not appear in the box set and instead will be in the first supporting products released for the game line after the Core Box publishes.

So how do they differ? Well, one is size. While a Type 3 ships only occupies 3 hexes like the Type 2 ship (i.e. they’re both “cruisers”), the Type 4 ships occupies 4 hexes. Other differences are what you’d expect: in general, Structural Integrity higher, Starting MP lower, Breach Numbers higher, Enter Hexes Before Turn higher and so on.

The most significant differences are two fold, and both apply to the Type 4 (Battleship). First, the Type 4 Ships have 6 Locations on their Ship Cards: Fore-Port, Aft-Port, Fore-Starboard and Aft-Starboard added to the Bow and Stern. Second, due to the increase in size and the two side Locations, the firing arcs for the Type 4 ship are significantly more complex than those shown in the Lieutenant’s Manual, including a broadside firing arc. That’s a lot of firepower into either side…and toss in turrets (say what we have on the British HML Leviathan Type 4 Battleship), where you can turn the brutal double 12 IN Gun Batteries in the Bow to also fire into that broadside…and you better be prepared for a world of hurt if you didn’t manage to out-maneuver the Battleship.

In almost any game of this style I play I love “fast and agile”…it’s one of the reasons the Pontbriand is one of my favorite ships to date…but having torn several un-touched smaller ships in half with a broadside volley…exceedingly satisfying. And of course completely appropriate for the kings of the sky.

_________________
André Winter
L'Art Noir - Game Design and Translation Studio


Nach oben
 Profil  
 
BeitragVerfasst: 06.04.2011, 14:23 
Offline
André Winter
Benutzeravatar

Registriert: 29.08.2006, 23:52
Beiträge: 5458
Wohnort: Augsburg
Einblick in den Hintergrund

Bild
Bild

_________________
André Winter
L'Art Noir - Game Design and Translation Studio


Nach oben
 Profil  
 
BeitragVerfasst: 06.04.2011, 14:50 
Offline
André Winter
Benutzeravatar

Registriert: 29.08.2006, 23:52
Beiträge: 5458
Wohnort: Augsburg
Entwicklung der Regeln - Teil2

Zitat:
Game Design Continued…

While we’ve only shown Type 1 and Type 2 Ships to date, you’ve already seen that on the Type 2 ships it usually requires entering 2 hexes before a turn. ‘What about Type 3 or 4 Ships,’ I’m sure you’re thinking…’those have to be higher?’ And in general they are. How do you get around that?

Well, there’s two options. The first is a general Commander’s Rule that applies to any vessel. If a ship does not spend any MPs to enter a new hex during a turn (provided it has at least 1 undamaged Engine Slot), it can always spend its entire movement to change 1 or 2 hexsides; it can never change more than 2 hexsides in this fashion.

The second option is Steering Gear. I wanted an item which would occupy a slot to allow for cool movement options, but could also be destroyed, removing those options from play. A Steering Gear Slot brings two options to a ship’s movement:

1. It reduces the hexes needed to enter before a turn (regardless of how much they’re reduced, you still need to always enter a hex before a turn).

2. A ship with a Steering Gear Slot can sideslip into an adjacent row of hexes.

Not all ships are created equal of course and how Steering Gear Slots interact with a given ship or Ship Type can be fascinating in game play. Since Type 4 ships move first, are slow and yet can’t end the turn occupying a hex occupied by another ship, the sideslip can be incredibly useful in allowing the Armoured Cruisers and Battleships to still maneuver effectively around the board.

Meanwhile, you’ve got say the Light Cruiser Lave, which has Enter Hexes Before Turn 2 (as do most Light Cruisers). However, its Gun Batteries are light because it mounts dual Torpedo Slots in both the Port and Starboard Locations. So during a game its job is to stay at distance and simply flow back and forth behind the the main French formation, tossing out lines of torpedo fire to channel the enemy. To help make that a lot easier, it mounts two Steering Gear Slots in both side Locations, making it able to “turn on a dime”, so to speak, as it nears the edge of the board so it can maintain that distance, while flowing back across the head of the on coming enemy ships.

Since you might see some ships released in the near future mounting Steering Gear Slots, wanted to provide some context for where that equipment came from and some of its benefits during game play.


Zitat:
Game Development Continued…

So John Haward came to me with a cool proposal: start exploring the Minor Factions and the primitive leviathans and technology they’d be fielding. I thought it was a very cool idea, and so he and I are slowly kicking it around and seeing what we can come up with. (He’s doing most of the leg work and then he sits around waiting for me to review and comment…)

Now in the Leviathans Primer we discuss what Minor Powers have what ships…but it’s only in the broadest terms. Instead there’s a lot of fun potential to explore there if we start to flesh this area out.

For example I’m looking at a cool spreadsheet that John’s put together for his proposal on how to break things down.

He’s broken the development into a proposed five time periods:

Period 1: roughly 1890-1895

Period 2: roughly 1896-1900

Period 3: roughly 1901-1905

Period 4: roughly 1906-1910

Period 5: (currently) post 1910

The spread sheet then goes onto have sections such as “Hull Construction”, “Maneuvering”, “Power Plants”, “Engineering” and so on. These all correspond to these time periods and take the extent ships we’ve published (along with the Customization rules from the Captain’s Manual) and devolve them into game stats we can use to build primitive leviathans to hand to the various Minor Powers: i.e. Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, ottomans, Brazil, Argentina, Chile…and perhaps one or two others thrown in for good measure.

This will allow us to simultaneously flesh out the world setting even more than we have through the Major Powers, while also providing more fun and unusual ships and the scenarios to go with them. A great exercise in both universe and game building and one that we should be able to start bringing to the community in short order.


Zitat:
Game Development Continued…

Developing rules can be so odd at times. While cool, innovative game mechanics often set a rules set apart, the difference between a game system played and one not played often can simply be how easy the rules were to learn and how easy they are to use.

No matter the rules I’ve written for a host of different games (or the hundreds of games I’ve read and played over the years), I like rules that follow these thumbnail criteria (in no particular order):

1. Simple

2. Self-contained.

3. Standardized format.

4. Thorough.

5. Points to relevant material (if appropriate).

6. Plug and play.

7. Examples, examples, examples.

Considering the rules I’ve written and the rulebooks I’ve published (such as the 448 page Strategic Operations or 424 page Tactical Operations), some of you are laughing pretty hard right now at my use of the term ‘simple.’ However, in this context I don’t mean short and easy to understand necessarily. While some games are great for that (such as a pile of German boardgames that have wonderfully simple and short rules but lots of re-playability), in this context I mean individual segments of rules that are easy to understand.

For example, there’s a section in BattleTech Tactial Operations called Planetary Conditions. Basically a giant pile of rules covering a myriad of terrain, terrain conditions, weather and so on. Each of the rules by themselves is usually pretty simple and straight forward. Some of the perceived complexity, however, comes from the attempts to hit points 2, 4, 5 and 6 above. For example Thin Snow is incredibly simply: +1 MP to wheeled vehicles and conventional infantry. But then you’ve got to cover how Fire interacts with it…and weapons fire…and then units such as Spheroid DropShips, and what types of Prohibited Conditions are prohibited for use with Thin Snow, and then a thoroughly cross-referenced table that covers everything at a glance, and so on.

When you try and make it that self-contained and thorough and plug and playable, that’s when you go from a section of similar rules in a previous rulebook that spanned 6 pages to a section that spans 36 pages. Though, to be fair, the number of “terrain, terrain modifications and weather” options went up by 10 fold…but still, you get the idea.

So, what does all of this mean for Leviathans? Well, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I try and take all of those same concepts and apply them as appropriate.

However, there’s also point 3: standardized format. Now I know often I go too far and there’s others (including our editors, whom I love) that push back (rightly) now and then. But I’m a huge believer in creating a standardized format that’ll clue the reader into important information and allow them to digest everything in an easy to understand format.

So here’s some rules from The Channel Campaign from the original draft:

>>>

Repair – a vessel making a repair order is considered to be in the base location for that player (E for the English, F for the French). It may repair up to four damaged ship locations, provided replacements are available in stock (see Replacements). Note: Repair orders don’t count as Coalling actions.

Vessels being repaired cannot be used in battles resulting from an enemy Assault action.

>>>

Now, taking my concepts from above into account, here’s a current draft of the rules (pre-edite):

>>>

Repair Orders

A vessel given a Repair Order is considered to be in the controlling player’s Base Sector. For each vessel given a Repair Order, the controlling player may repair up to any four damaged Slots, provided replacements Slots are available (see Replacements, p. XX).

Coalling Orders: Repair Orders don’t count as Coalling Orders (see p. XX).

Assault Orders: During the turn that a vessel is given a Repair Order, it cannot be used in any combat resulting from an enemy Assault Order (see p. XX).

>>>

A very small example and obviously doesn’t cover everything I’m talking about, but hopefully gives you enough of a look to get the idea.

Now back to work so I can wrap this document it up and get it ready for an open release to you guys!


Zitat:
Game Development Continued…

How robust is your game design?

There’s a lot of criteria people use when determining whether game design is robust? For this quick post, when I’m talking about “robust,” I mean how easy is it to expand with additional rules?

Do follow-on rules fit seamlessly and appear to a player as though they were meant to be a part of the game from the beginning? Or can the players easily discern where you tacked it into place and see the wire, spit and gum?

I’ve seen plenty of both over the years, as I’m sure most of you have.

Why am I bringing this up now? Well, the one benefit of the production issues for Leviathans is we continue to thoroughly kick it to make sure it’s as good as we can make it, and we’ve slowly uncovered what appears to be an issue…smaller ships are a tad too hard to destroy, while the biggest ships are at a bit too easy.

Now don’t go thinking the whole game is broken. ;-) It’s still solid…and it’s taken a while of playing in a lot of different ways to find this issue (forum members, along with the host of Gen Con demoes and a new team of volunteers, really provided the fantastic feedback to bring this into focus). So I’ve been discussing with a core set of playtesters some ways to address this, after which I’ll send to the full playtest list to see if the patch works.

However, working on the patch itself has been a fascinating exercise in finding how robust the system is. Because it’s a subtle set of tweaks. Can you make those tweaks and maintain all the current “look and roll dice” mechanics that help define the game? Or do you have to tear the game back down slightly and rebuild? Obviously I’ll do anything required to make a game better (even if part of me wants to yell “but it’s done!!!”) and if I have to tear the top end down slightly and re-build, I will…

…but the game designer in me is hoping that no rebuilding will be required. That instead the patch we’re zeroing in on will provide that seamless fit I described above, leaving everyone feeling as they’re tossing dice in a future game that the additional mechanic or two were always meant to be in the game. Because it means the system is as robust as I was trying to make it from the very beginning.

We’ll just have to wait and see….


Zitat:
Game Development Continued…

One of the nice things about being plugged into the BattleShop and DriveThruRPG systems is that I get emails every time a purchase/download is made. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the volume of downloads for free The Channel Campaign PDF. I’ve also noticed people starting to post comments and questions on the forums, which is great; will be diving in there in a few days to start providing some feedback.

In the meantime on our end, while it took longer than I thought it would, we’ve finally got a new round of playtesting underway to fully determine whether or not we’ve found a permanent fix for the “small ships a little too hard too kill, big ships a little too easy.”

The basic concept was not to go in and make huge changes. After all, small ships fighting against each other felt good and large ships also are solid. It’s simply the combination of them that ultimately may be lacking. So simply modifying Breach Numbers and/or Weapons Dice could not only be messy, but could ultimately really mess up the rest of the game balance. Doesn’t mean ‘some’ such tweaking may not happen, but going a different route means minimizes how much of that may need to occur latter.

Instead, we’ve settled on tying a new mechanic directly to the “Type” of ship. In other words, currently on any Ship Card, the upper right-hand corner ‘box’ contains no real rules. Yes, it states the Type of ship and the in-universe name that applies to that Type (i.e. Light Cruiser, BattleShip and so on), but it’s not really direct game related. We’re now looking at adding some details there that will have direct game application.

In a nutshell, what we’re playtesting is small guns on big ships have an easier time hitting smaller ships, while small guns over-all have less effect against big ships.

Ultimately we won’t know for a month or so if this really does the job. However, I’m really liking the mechanic.

It doesn’t mess with any pre-existing Weapon Dice/Breach Numbers.
It’s still completely visual based and so can easily be reviewed as part of the process of adding up all your dice to make your Breach Roll.
By divorcing it from the specific stats of a weapon and typing it to the Ship Type, it means that we can also tweak it here and there for a given named-ship, making it even easier to provide variance between ships.
It actually fits rather well with the “real-world” guns vs. armor of the time period.


I’ll provide some more updates on that in a few weeks to let you know how it’s going.

In the meantime, keep enjoying The Channel Campaign and keep those comments flowing!


Zitat:
Game Development Continued…

First, an apology.

There won’t be a follow-up to the Leviathans: A Big Battle Playtest_Part 1 post. After we played the first few turns back in early December, the whole family got sick for literally weeks. However, we were right in the middle of a turn, and by the time we finally got back around to feeling up to playing the game we realized we’d not marked the sheets in a way to be able to tell what Slots had been damaged that turn (as they’re not destroyed until the end of the turn). Which meant the playtest was hopelessly skewed as. In addition, I had some new rules I needed to playtest at the smaller 4 vs. 4 scale, so we decided to scrap the game. Again, fluke situation and I do apologize…hoping to play another big game this month and this time I’ll make sure we finish the entire game before I tease with cool photos and only a half-a-game post.

Moving on, been another busy week once again for Leviathans work.

Despite not completely finishing my own big game playtest, got enough gaming in (not to mention other playtest comments) that it looks like we’ve finally got a solution that simply and easily deals with the potential issue of imbalance between Type 1 and Type 4 ships, which I’m very happy about. Especially as the solution puts the power in the player’s hands to decide how and where to use it, which is always the way to go.

I’ve also been folding in proofing comments to the Captain’s Manual. This also gave me the opportunity to generate some last minute additions based upon scribbled notes over the last several months:

Repair Rules (Expanded)
Gun Battery Shockwave
Critical Gun Battery Failure
Recoil

All of those rules are firmly within the “Enhanced Rules” aesthetic, but rules various playtesters (and myself) have wanted to see…and as ever, designed for that all important “plug and play”, so each of them (like everything in the Captain’s Manual) can be dropped with ease into a given scenario.

I’ve also been busy tossing endless emails towards Matt Heerdt (our fearless Lead Graphic Designer who’s attempting to out-beard me by Gen Con) on a host of graphic issues to start wrapping up the last of the various visual elements needed.

BildBild

For example here’s a sample of two ship crests, the French Pelletier and the British HML Anfield; each ship will have a unique crest that appears on its Recognition Card (this is pre-distressed, so it’ll be more weathered looking in its final form).

Bild

Here’s another graphic we’re working on, the torpedo tokens (these are just about final). It’s surprising how much time has been spent on these little guys…a lot of iterations and a lot of passing them out to playtesters to actually use on the playing area.

For example this graphic has a wonderful “steampunk” feel that Matt gave it…but I wanted to push it further and have the text on it actually look like the “Torpedo Target/Launch” letters were stamped through the metal, with a light illuminating it from behind (i.e. as though it were a dial on an old machine). Like a proper British gentlemen Matt went to work to try and make it happen…and then let me know “I canna push the engines any further, captain”…at the size these will be at, not only do you lose all that great minutia, but it actually muddled it and made it hard to read on the playing area. As much as I want every component of the game to scream “you’re in a cool, alternate steampunk setting!”, playability has to take precedence in such instances.


Zitat:
Ship Cards: Evolution of Game Component Graphic Design

So fair warning…pretty sure this is going to be a long blog. As those who’ve followed me for some time know (especially if you’ve read my recent “House Liao art notes” BattleTech blog posts), I tend to go to the Nth-degree. So when I started thinking about showing the evolution of the Leviathans‘ Ship Cards (the game component used to track movement/combat of each ship during a game), I started digging and realized that across several years there’s been a pile of evolution and tweaks.

BildBild

With that in mind, digging into the way back machine, I’ve got a file here dated April 8th, 2008 (at left). It’s one of the very first iterations for playtesting; I just used Illustrator and created a very quick and dirty sheet I could toss some dice with on the table. Surprisingly, despite the vast difference between the final iteration and this, many of the details remained identical.

As I handed my quick and dirty graphic off to Matt a year and some months later, I included some bare bones concepts on how I thought it could look. Matt put together a quick graphic based upon my comments (at right)…and it was apparent right away that my initial thoughts were not in the right direction. I then told Matt to simply “go to town,” ignoring anything I’d said before. Instead I simply provided a bullet point list of the game elements that needed to be portrayed in some fashion.

He came back with the following four designs. All are the same basic concept, but there’s subtle tweaks between each one. Right out of the gate I knew this was exactly the right direction (go Matt!), it was just a matter of choosing which of the core graphics to use.

BildBildBildBild

For those that have seen any of the Ship Cards, either in one of my blogs or as part of a PDF we’ve released, you’ll know that we chose to go with the second card from the left above. However, you’ll notice that the first three cards above don’t have any dice icons…that’s because, for those that remember back that far to when I talked about it, the initial iteration of the game was a pretty standard D10-based game with a bucket-load of modifiers. As we chose the core graphic design to use, I’d made the decision to move to the new unique dice system, so the Ship Card on the right above, then, is the basics we used.

BildBild

Now we’ll showcase the HML Anfield Ship Card and all the iterations it passed through to reach a final Ship Card (literally signing off on it this week).

On the left is version 1. Basically take the first draft of the playtest card from above and drop it into the core graphic design we’d selected.

Version 2 on the right adds some more changes. First, we switched the illustration to an over-head view of the ship. While we really liked showing a thre-quarter view of the ship, ultimately it ended up being slightly counter-intuitive to how you play the ship during the game, so went with the straight down shot. At this time I also aded in a “moved/didn’t move” mechanic for targets, so two arrows (red and blue) are found in each Location now. You’ll also note the Breach Numbers significantly fell during this iteration as playtesting continued.

BildBild

Starting here you’ll notice from now until the end that the major changes are pretty much done. Instead, it’s all minor tweaks based upon two criteria: changes due to rules tweaks/playtesting, or changes due to just trying to make the card easier to read/use during game play.

On the left is version 3, where the only real change was the thought that changing the “go” and “stop” Location arrows from red and blue to green and red to match street lights was probably a good idea.

On the right is version 4. A number of tweaks fall on this card: switching the white outline to a “T” icon for turrets (visual), change “MP Per Engine Slot” to “Starting MP” (ease of use), rotating torpedos from 2DBlack to 3DRed (playtesting), adding “Trim Tank” to every “Tesla Coil” Slot to help avoid confusion for players (i.e. these are ‘not’ the tanks that keep the ships afloat).

BildBild

As I’ve mentioned before, while the various delays that pushed the release back were frustrating, it never stopped us from continuing to kick on the Ship Card graphics (not to mention playtesting) to ensure we’d plumbed every possible option and were using the best possible design (often to Matt’s endless frustration, I’m sure).

So right and left we’ve got two side trips we took to try some various things. On the left is a quick and dirty attempt to see if we could try and squeeze in the firing arcs and pivot hexes onto a Ship Card…obviously there comes a time when usability must give way to look and that simply looked terrible.

On the right I had Matt grayscale those Slots that affect the ship as a whole, while you’ll also see a rainbow of additional colors…ultimately after printing them out, as well as reviewing all of the comments from the playtesters, we realized our original colors still worked the best.

Bild
Bild

That leads us to the last month, where we’re really starting to finalize and lock things into place. Once we actually had the white samples in hand, and were able to compare them to a host of other games we think highly of, we decided the look and feel of the Type 1/2/3 Ship Cards would be better if we slightly increased the over-all size of the cards.

As Matt dug in and started making tweaks (you can see a screen capture directly above of all the layers in each of these cards), he realized the slight change in size would allow us to rotate all the text in the Stern/Bow Location into the same orientation as Port/Bow…no more neck pains! Even better, on all previous iterations there was a “shadow” effect that made the dice icons look like 3D buttons…while I’ve always liked the affect, Matt happened to turn it off and suddenly the colors popped even more…all our efforts on all those colors and all we had to do was turn off a graphic effect.

As if all that wasn’t enough of an improvement to the card, Matt tossed on different looks for the Location Dice in the Starboard and Port Locations (we chose the Bow/Stern Locations as popping the most, for ease of use), while the Location arrows now actually start outside the Slots making them pop more as well. (All these changes are reflected in the version 5 card at left.)

On the bottom, then, is the version 6, final HML Anfield Ship Card, which represents the final look all the cards will emulate (the lines off each corner are for the bleeds and placement; printer needs ‘em to make it work right).

Bild

Yup…just about as long as I thought it would be to cover all of those details…hopefully you enjoyed a walk down this long and oft-times hectic road with me to see how the process worked (at least this time…cause it’s never the same).

See ya next duty shift!


Zitat:
Development Continued: Use Every Second…

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a big believer in using every last second you’ve got to keep trying to improve a product. While it can be a pain, I believe this almost always results in a superior product. However, there are downsides. To-print schedules can slip if you’re not careful; it can mess up layout’s schedule as you’re asking them to ‘tweak just one last thing;’ it can actually cost money if you’re making those changes on the printers proofs; and so on. So every time you push for changes at the end after files have rotated into the final proofing/heading-to-print stage you have to weigh the pros and cons of what you’re doing.

With Leviathans that was especially a careful balance that needed to be maintained. At this year Origins Game Fair a few weeks back, usually after midnight, Jason was proofing final Shadowrun Street Legends layouts and then I was proofing and signing off on final Leviathans work after that; both final material Matt was wrapping up, as well as digital printer proofs direct from the manufacturer.

With all of that swirling along I had a good, long conversation with Robert DeHoff, who was direct captain of the Leviathans gaming at the Origins Game Fair. While we’ve demoed the game at several conventions over the last two years, this was the first time that a “final” set of rules was put through such a large scale of play. What I mean by that was the running of a “grinder” event, where the game ran for 12ish hours, with a dozen ships on the playing area and people moving in and out of the event; i.e. it’s designed to maximize the number of people that can leap into the game for a quick 20 to 40 minutes to get a flavor and then leap back out if they wish (course we had some people that played almost that entire time straight).

As such, the system in all its aspect was tested more than it’s ever been tested before. I was extremely gratified with the enjoyment people had and that at the end of the day really only two subtle issues arose.

1. Destroyers. I’ve blogged about this one several times, but getting destroyers to ‘feel right’ power-wise within the game has been exceptionally difficult. They can’t be too weak or why take them, but they can’t be too powerful or it hurts the feel of the game when you move the battleships across the playing area…and all the while they’ve got to mesh well with the fleet-style play.

The entire last 9 months of final production, as we took the time to continue to playtest things, were dealing with Destroyers. The last two rules tweaks made during that time period were specifically to increase power of larger ships and decrease the power of Destoyers: both of those tweaks involved the Bracketing Fire and Saturation Fire abilities in the Commander’s Manual and that now you re-roll any Slot die for such attacks that indicate a Miss Slot.

However, after the first two days at Origins there was a feeling that the Destroyers might still be a hair two powerful. Saturday offered us the chance to use two grinders as one last play test to prove the point, or not, about the Type 1s (and to a slightly lesser degree some of the Type 2s).

Ultimately I decided after reviewing the data with Rob that indeed the Destroyers were still a little more powerful than I wanted. As such, literally right at the proofing stage I introduced a final rule into the Commander’s Manual that when you’re making a Breaking The Keel Roll, you add an additional +1 modifier for any Miss Slot in the Location struck. That seems to be the final, little tweak that fully brings the smaller ships right into line where they should be.

2. The second tweak revolves around the aerial torpedoes. What’s even more amusing is that the idea came up ages and ages ago during playtesting. However, at the time I didn’t like it as it was suggested as a “core rule” and I felt it changed the feel of what I wanted for the torpedoes too much.

However, a few things changed since then.

First, we had to remove all the Captain’s Manual material from the box and so I turned around and created a “Captain’s Manual Excerpt” in the Commander’s Manual that offered several optional rules.

Second, at Origins in the grinder, with so many people involved and so many ships, they started running into a situation where movement was taking too long as people tried to carefully maneuver around all of the aerial torpedo lines. Now that’s the exact flavor I love about that aspect…but games already take longer when you keep adding in people, and combining that with what is potentially one of the largest time sinks in the game…it was becoming an issue.

To solve it at the convention, Rob and his crew simply flipped the Target Hex markers over so no one had any idea which Launch Hex markers went with which Target Hex markers. It was a great, great way to resolve a situation at the convention and ensure the games kept moving forward.

However, my experience over the years is most fans (particularly if you’re talking a tournament) want play with rules from the rulebook, not rules they have to learn specific to a convention.

Since I abruptly had the opportunity to include that exact rule, but do it in a way that leaves it optional, but there to be used as needed, I quickly folded in a Fog of War Torpedo rule.

Below you’ll find two of the twelve sets of torpedo markers found in the Core Box Set. The front is used when players are playing standard Commander’s Rules, but then the option is there to flip over the Target Hex. It creates the needed solution to use at any convention without having to introduce a rule a player hasn’t seen before, while also adding in one more way for players to tweak the rules as they like, which I love.

Bild

Bild

Once again, huge kudos to Robert, Amanda and their crew for being willing to speak up and then run with the impromptu playtesting…and of course to those players that unwittingly helped to improve the game, all while just tossing dice and having a great time.


Zitat:
Game Development Continued…: Faction Game Play Aesthetics

I just passed along the Ship Quirks rules for playtesting (I’ll dive more into that in the future) and I’m currently generating the Italian vessels stats to go with the first wave of Germans so I can send those out for playtesting.

Just as we’ve spent a lot of time creating a visual distinction for each of the factions (if you’ve not read it, check out this blog post that delves into that in-depth), game play itself needs to provide a flavor.

Now, similar to the discussion in that previous blog post where I mention that due to the nature of how we established the universe the visual differences often are subtle, the same applies in-game. The distinctions between each faction are not nearly as apparent as many other table-top miniatures games…but they are there and do provide (and enhance) specific styles of play.

The following are my current concepts for the specific flavors of the first four factions. Note that as with many aspects of the game, these are not locked in stone by any stretch. Based upon the community’s interaction specifically with the Germans and Italians (thus giving us a gut check on 4 of the 8 factions at that point), I can then decide if my concepts for the Russians, Japanese, Auto-Hungarians and Americans will work, or needs a major shake-up.

British
These guys are the vanillas of the Leviathans world…but they also have the biggest guns. And historically they were one of the only empires to continue building bigger and bigger guns through The Great War (with only the Japanese really keeping up with them). This means that other factions may reach the British 12 IN guns, but the British will then reach up into the 14, 15, 16 and 18 IN gun battery range. Of course the 12 IN gun is already exceedingly powerful, so it’ll be a fascinating exercise in game design to introduce larger sizes that don’t break the bank…for example, off the top of my head, I could see some of the largest guns requiring two slots.

French
Extreme speed and torpedos. Like the British and the ‘bigger guns’, concept, the French ships will continue with ‘standard’ torpedos combined with great speed and maneuverability (i.e. steering gear) as their vibe. The Pontbriand and Lave are perfect examples of a combination of torpedoes and crazy speed/short guns that define the French.

German
Relatively slow speeds, high SI and tons of armor. This mentality will portray itself in the game in various ways. For example the very first “Armor: +3 Breach” Slot will likely appear on German ship. Additionally, I want the Germans to coordinate their fleets even better than anyone else, so I’m playing around with some new Slots and rules to go along with those Slots that will push fleet action: Bracketing Crew and Screening Crew.

Italians
They can’t match the over-all quality of high speed/firepower as the French (don’t expect to see an Italian Pontbriand). However, the current concept is the Italians worked closely with the French developing their engines and come away not only with that technology, but also a fascination with aerial torpedoes that goes well beyond the French; they start building a line of torpedo submunitions. In-game, the torpedoes will be self-balanced (i.e. they won’t make the standard aerial torpedo obsolete), but instead offer some very cool new options, tailored to different situations that unfold on the game table. For example a much shorter hex range torpedo that rolls 4DRed.

Of course there’s a lot more to each faction than just these crass core game concepts. It’ll be these types of rules, combined with the specifics of each Ship Card, meshed with the visual aesthetics of a faction, that’ll really bring home an empire’s style…and of course desirability for launching their fleet onto your gaming tables.

See ya next duty shift.

Randall

_________________
André Winter
L'Art Noir - Game Design and Translation Studio


Nach oben
 Profil  
 
BeitragVerfasst: 06.04.2011, 16:11 
Offline
André Winter
Benutzeravatar

Registriert: 29.08.2006, 23:52
Beiträge: 5458
Wohnort: Augsburg
Erster Schlachtbericht

A Big Battle Playtest

As I mentioned in previous blogs, there’s still some sections of play I’m taking a very hard look at concerning the interaction of small ships with larger ships. And nothing like hands-on play to really come to grips with what is or is not working…and of course its just freaking fun to play games at this size! And, well, I thought I’d share…

Bryn and I set up a game of “four maps”, with every British and French ship that we’ve generated a Ship Card for to-date (Bryn is playing the French while I helm the British; you know, the beard and all).

BRITISH FLEET

Type 1 Ships

HML Raven, D-class
HML Trafford, D-class
HML Anfield, D-class
HML-Beagle, D-class

Type 2 Ships

HML Essex, County-class
HML Hertfordshire, County-class
HML Courser, Destrier-class
HML Charger, Destrier-class

Type 3 Ships

HML Spion Kop, Defender-class
HML Evesham, Defender-class

Type 4 Ship

HML Leviathan, Leviathan-class

FRENCH FLEET

Type 1 Ships

La Gloire, Grenouille-class
Montpellier, Grenouille-class
Montcalm, Grenouille -class
Pelletier, Grenouille -class

Type 2 Ships

Pontbriand, Liberte-class
Lave, Liberte -class
Aigle, Faucon-class
Ardent, Faucon-class

Type 3 Ships

Le Fantasque, Conquerant-class
Philip II Augustus, Conquerant -class

Type 4 Ship

Jean Bart, Paris-class

Bild

For set-up I just laid out both maps side by side (again remember that these are large print-outs of what are “two” maps, so that area is actually four maps) and then quickly parked the ships in the deployment zones along each side.

Bild

During Turn 1 the French line up their torpedo boats for firing at the start of the next turn, while I “race” my slow-boat British ships forward; you’ll notice his crazy fast Light Cruisers and Destroyers on the right side pushing in quick (Bryn trying to bring the powerful but short-ranged Pontbriand gun battery arcs into play).
[img]
http://monstersinthesky.com/wp-content/ ... _small.jpg[/img]

During Turn 2 Bryn boxes in one of my ships, while a flurry of aerial torpedos fly…

Bild

During Turn 3 Bryn and I both lose Light Cruisers, while the map devolves into two very distinct battles.

Bild

Turn 4 further accentuates the two battles underway, with his Jean Bart joining one clash while my HML Leviathans clashes with the other (note the destroyer screening the British Type 4 ship’s stern to avoid a French broadside into its weakest arc).

_________________
André Winter
L'Art Noir - Game Design and Translation Studio


Nach oben
 Profil  
 
BeitragVerfasst: 06.04.2011, 16:27 
Offline
André Winter
Benutzeravatar

Registriert: 29.08.2006, 23:52
Beiträge: 5458
Wohnort: Augsburg
Französische Flotte

Lave Liberté-class Light Cruiser
BildBild
BildBild
BildBild

_________________
André Winter
L'Art Noir - Game Design and Translation Studio


Nach oben
 Profil  
 
BeitragVerfasst: 28.09.2011, 09:26 
Offline
André Winter
Benutzeravatar

Registriert: 29.08.2006, 23:52
Beiträge: 5458
Wohnort: Augsburg
Update.

_________________
André Winter
L'Art Noir - Game Design and Translation Studio


Nach oben
 Profil  
 
Beiträge der letzten Zeit anzeigen:  Sortiere nach  
Ein neues Thema erstellen Auf das Thema antworten  [ 8 Beiträge ] 

Alle Zeiten sind UTC + 1 Stunde


Wer ist online?

Mitglieder in diesem Forum: 0 Mitglieder und 1 Gast


Du darfst keine neuen Themen in diesem Forum erstellen
Du darfst keine Antworten zu Themen in diesem Forum erstellen
Du darfst deine Beiträge in diesem Forum nicht ändern
Du darfst deine Beiträge in diesem Forum nicht löschen
Du darfst keine Dateianhänge in diesem Forum erstellen

Suche nach:
Gehe zu:  
cron
POWERED_BY
Deutsche Übersetzung durch phpBB.de