I had an incredible experience, demoing Reign of Man during the last Chicago Game Designers and Playtesters Meetup. It was brutal and I appreciate all the feedback dearly! 🙂
Here’s the summary of my analysis and the changes I’ll be making following that feedback. The summary is that I’m going to tie the engine building to what is happening on the board.
I’m not sure how long it’ll play anymore since these changes are so extreme. This is back to the drawing board stuff, not a few cosmetic tweaks. Big thanks to Dave and Brett!
Reign of Man Mechanic and Theme Review —————————
Mission and Pitch:
- Simple and fast-paced territory control and engine building war game for 2-5 players
We’ll review everything about the game to justify each characteristic and mechanic
- Small board
- Pros – Cheap TGC prototyping and small table space
- Cons – Fumbly feeling to troop movement
- Ruling – Need to use the 18×18 Quad fold board, or reduce the number of territories
- 6×6 Territories and Empires
- Pros – Represents important groupings of territories. Encourages negotiation
- Cons – Slight added complexity and difficulty in balancing
- Ruling – Keep the empires idea, but reduce the number of territories?
- Simultaneous turn segments
- Pros – Reduces strategic advantage to turn order and was intended to speed up gameplay
- Cons – No defender bonus and difficult coordination of movements. No oversight of double movement.
- Ruling – Could use a command player chit.
- Development rankings increasing tax gain
- Pros – Gives another reason to develop in this way for victory points
- Cons – Doesn’t follow the theme or give special abilities. Is currently too expensive to make sense
- Ruling – Move the benefits of wonders to the card itself. This is more realistic and ties the engine building mechanic to the map itself
- Pros – Preserve original thematic elements, allows expansion
- Cons – Unbalanced and hard to manage selection
- Ruling – This could be improved through more play testing, but should come after the game “works” without them
- Pros – Allowed customization of engine, strategic targets and bidding
- Cons – Resource availability cycle gave unfair advantage. Random selection occurred because of the victory point award at three wonders
- Ruling – Take wonders out, entirely. It’ll be more simple, give decision making power back to players and reduce costs
- Pros – Adds another planning element to change the course of each game – offering higher replayability. Is relatively fair because everyone is affected.
- Cons – Unfairly random at times. Adds complexity and cost
- Ruling – Keep but retool events. Can have many fewer cards; don’t need to cover every possible variation of everything. These should be positive so players don’t feel the fates were against them
- Power – Money – Taxation
- Pros – Allows bidding, which is required for wonders. Quantifies taxing
- Cons – Adds cost to the game as well as table space
- Ruling – Restructure engine building, raising troops and movement so you can do one thing each turn and should just make a decision
- Call to Coin
- Pros – Gives strategic clue to players
- Cons – Creates tax/move cycles. Adds complexity.
- Ruling – Remove the call to coin along with simultaneous turn segments
Board – Keep 6×6 Empires but on a larger board (10×16 inch). Remove the wonders card slot.
Turns and the call to coin – Designate a command player that draws the world card and passes left after each turn. Remove the call to coin in favor of a command token. On your turn you simply pick an action.
Actions – Granted by development ranks. Take one action per turn, and resolve it.
Engine Building – Update the empire mat so that advancement ranks give special powers. Start at rank 1
- Rank 1 – Action. Raise 1 army and place on a territory you currently occupy
- Rank 2 – Passive. May roll 3 armies when defending
- Rank 3 – Action. Raise 2 armies and place them on territories you currently occupy
- Rank 4 – Passive. Win ties, when defending
- Rank 5 – Action. Raise 3 armies and place them on territories you currently occupy
- Rank 6 – Passive. One victory point
- Rank 1 – Action. Move armies from one territory to an adjacent territory
- Rank 2 – Passive. May roll 3 armies when attacking
- Rank 3 – Action. Move armies from two territories to adjacent territories
- Rank 4 – Action. Move any number of armies to adjacent territories
- Rank 5 – Action. Remove an enemy army from an adjacent territory
- Rank 6 – Passive. One victory point for each complete empire under your control
- Rank 1 – Action. Increase one development by 1 rank
- Rank 2 – Passive. May move armies over port lines
- Rank 3 – Passive. Your people are super smart.
- Rank 4 – Passive. May ignore the world event
- Rank 5 – Passive. One victory point
- Rank 6 – Passive. Take an extra action for each completed empire you control
Cards – Remove wonder cards and update world cards to be primarily good things
Taxation – In favor of the one move per turn, remove all power / money entirely
Legendfolk – Remove for now, until the game passes without this expansion