Kingdoms of Immacus: Playtesting with Fire

The Kravix (red) race got a little play testing love the last few weeks and has forced me to reevaluate some of the mechanics in the game. Every time this happens, I am grateful that the play testing sessions are finding little flaws that can be improved upon before release of the game. After the first play test session, there was a building combo that seemed way too overpowered though the opponent was able to push back towards the end. The concern that came out of that combination was not its overpowered nature, but the urge to then have that be the standard strategy played by all players. Basically, it refreshed an exhausted building, and in this case, it was used to crank out minions from the barracks, overrunning the board. I could see players playing multiple copies of these buildings and bringing out tons of units and wiping the board to a point where the game just isn’t fun. So the building in question (Architect’s Study) will be eliminated in its current form. Then the game field got swamped with buildings. Though there is nothing wrong with playing buildings, it made the game field cluttered, so I have decided to eliminate the Keep building in its current form. The Keep increases your building unit cap. So instead of having to build and upgrade and keep track of another building, the building cap will coincide with how many principalities are on the board. This makes sense for theme since the more land you have the more buildings you would expect to have on your territory. So making things simpler is a good thing. Thirdly, the game is almost completely managed with buildings alone until about turn 8 or 9. This is bad in the sense that now your hand and deck become more or less irrelevant. This is also hurt by the fact that players have the choice each turn by either playing a principality or drawing a card, and choosing resource over a new card always seemed like the better choice. These two together cripple deck usage and players are only drawing maybe three cards before the game is finalized. What the hell is the point of a deck then? So I tackled this on a few fronts. First, the choice of choosing either/or for drawing cards and playing principalities is done. Every turn you will play a principality until you hit the cap. Secondly, you draw cards at the end of the turn up to your hand limit. This will allow deck cycling a little more and should speed up the game as players have time to look at their new cards during their opponent’s turn. Lastly, the power curve feels like it needs to be adjusted upwards. Pulling a 1/1 from the deck should be better than playing a 1/1 from the barracks – and it is, but without being battle ready, that benefit seems a little lost in the shuffle, so perhaps a readjustment is in order. It concerns me to increase it too much, and even a .5 increase of the power curve has some nasty exponential growth come the high end. I’ll have to make the power curve perhaps flatten out with the max tribute costs etc. That is something that is a little more tweak-involved. So then a second play test session happened the next week with the new tweaks minus the power curve adjustment… The lack of Keeps made things more manageable and freed up resources for players to do other things. The drawing card mechanism worked well and players actually played more cards and drew from their deck. The building cap managed through principalities on the board also felt more natural. The only drawback is it sets a hard building cap at 5 and I’m not sure if I want players to be able to go above that, we’ll see with future play tests. All in all the game felt more coherent and flowed better. Also the game was more balanced ending at 14 to 15 with a one turn away from victory for the losing player, that’s what I call a damn good mirror match. Now there is still some juggling with the leveling up all the things, but I’m hoping once my tokens come in, it will make for a more clear understanding for what is leveled up on the board etc. Well that completes the first set of mono color mirror match play test sessions. The next set will be different race matches with all the new changes that have been implemented with this cycle. Ready for round 2.

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