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Alex
11-29-2012, 10:22 PM
PILLAGE!

Guaranteed (Alternate) Turns

In case you haven't tried it out, players in the game alternate turns when playing against each other. Player 1 goes first, followed by Player 2, and then Player 1 again. Units on one person's team also go in order, and players can't choose which unit to move during battle.

This is true even if one player's team has lost a unit. In the case of 6v5, the team with more units doesn't take more turns or gets an extra turn. Turns still alternate, and the team with 4 units cycles faster through it's turn order.

http://i49.tinypic.com/s66td1.jpg

Pillage

One meaningful change that was made to the core mechanics of the game (Guaranteed Turns), is called “Pillage!”. If you’ve already played a game you’ve probably seen it. But did you understand what happened? And how did it feel in the grand scheme of things?

To explain fully, the game plays as normal - each player taking alternate turns, even if their opponent has more units left on the board. However, when one team gets down to a single unit, Pillage! mode kicks in. In this mode, turns revert to the the original “death spiral” style of gameplay. Each unit moves in order and the lone unit now has to wait for all of his or her enemies to act before they get another turn. Check your initiative to see the new move order!

This was implemented to address situations like 4v1, where the 1 unit could act so many more times than the team with 4 units.

While the last one standing still has a chance to get a kill or two, no longer will they run circles around their opponents, which the vast majority of players described as frustrating during the beta. Additionally this raises new tactics, including a renewed importance placed on the “maim vs kill” dynamic, which had (with a few exceptions) become “always maim”.

Personally, us developer-types think it’s a blast and a fun way to mix up the gameplay.

Alex
12-19-2012, 01:18 PM
THE HORN
Metal clangs in the distance, followed by shouts. Children run to their homes, standing in the doorways, peeking as far as they dare. Anxiously, their mothers stand behind them, listening, and on the air floats the sound that they prayed to the dead gods not to hear - the horn. The customary show of respect brings little comfort... which of them would be without a husband tonight?

http://stoicstudio.com/uploaded/tutorial_horn.jpg

Man, Arnie suggested writing some flavor text but it turned out pretty brutal.

For each kill you make, one star on the horn fills up. This is a community pool for all your allies. By clicking the horn button on any friendly character's turn you can replenish their willpower by 1 for each star you have.

Immediate implications!

If you have multiple stars you can press the button multiple times in a single turn.
The red number shows how many stars your enemy has.
An additional wrinkle to the maim vs kill gameplay: maiming is just as important as ever, but killing is no longer a detriment.
Save your horn points for the end game to make a mad rush against your foes, or spread them out evenly for a little boost as needed.
Give yourself a little extra space to go nuts with your willpower use in battle, making burst breakers more viable, or spend more on bonus movement.
Make a maimed unit useful again, at least for a turn or two.
More tactics!


Far-reaching implications!

The horn will be a powerful tool in the single player game, giving you a great advantage over your enemies and important to the story. We've been planning the horn feature for quite a while now, and you can even see this in the Kickstarter t-shirt.
In the future the city will include a building that allows you to switch out horn powers to match your play style. Options may include restoring allies armor or affecting an entire enemy team in some way. For now, all horns have the same power to restore willpower.
Different horns will have different appearances.
Horns are used in the lore as a sign of respect when someone dies in battle, and as a way for others to hear the news that there has been death.


One last consideration: there are some known changes to gameplay that the horn introduces. It creates a bit of unpredictability in combat, which can be viewed as both a positive and a negative in a tactical game. Ultimately, however, we like that it creates exciting stories about dramatically turning around combat, or beating the odds in a way that feels fair.

We are also taking a long view of dropping more willpower in combat. We like how tense combat can become when everyone is out of willpower and miss chances come into play. However, in practice, the horn doesn't seem to diminish this effect because players still expend all their available resources before the end of combat. Giving more willpower tends to just encourage players to use it more often and we still end up with the same tense endgame.

Additionally, we're looking toward the future of level 2 and 3 abilities, which will cost 2 and 3 willpower to use, respectively. With the value of willpower going up soon after our release, we feel that more willpower to distribute on the board will be necessary.

Try it out with an open mind, consider how it might change your current strategies, and enjoy!