Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Front-All For One Lobotomy (cont.)

As I mentioned last post, for some reason, publishers have not been excited about All For One. In an effort to revamp the game and perhaps create something that a publisher would be more interested in, I'd like to try a simpler, more accessible (read: easier to explain and play) version of All For One. I've got some ideas along these lines, inspired by Queen's recent (and popular) Fresco:

When you get down to it, there are 2 main mechanisms at work in All For One. The rest is details and thematic chrome. The first mechanism is using shared pieces (the 6 characters) in order to affect Story Tracks, which you care about because you have a hidden goal which rewards you for advancing the right Stories. The second main mechanism is the combat system in which players vote for the outcome they want by playing a card from their hand - knowing that that card could instead be a mission they could do for points.

I'm really very happy with the vote-fighting in the game, but the reality is that combat is a peripheral issue in this pickup/deliver/route planning game and in a simpler version of the game, any combat should probably be less rules intensive, or cut altogether. As such, I do not mind trying the game without this combat mechanism - however with a theme of the Three Musketeers, consumers might expect combat to play a big role in the game.

Forgetting combat for the moment, that leaves just the shared pieces mechanism. I'd like to try a version of All For One which concentrated on the route planning involved in completing missions with these shared characters, to earn Favors and advance Story tracks. As the game has a route planning element, the rotating guard mechanism was intended to make the routes in the game dynamic, however (a) that might not be necessary, and (b) if it is, there may be an easier way to do it. Here are some possibilities:

1. No guards in the game. The guards were intended to be 'roadblocks' to get in the way of the characters moving around the board. However, perhaps the characters themselves are roadblocks enough.

2. Static (non-moving) guards. I could see 3 static guards being placed on the board, and whenever a Mission is complete, they move to new locations as indicated by the mission cards. For example, the locations of the required and bonus plot tokens from that mission. Running into a guard would end movement, just like running onto another character. Either the guard stays on the board, or is removed upon a character running into them.

3. Static guards that you can kill. When running into a static guard of the type described above, perhaps you're allowed to discard a card to "fight" (automatically defeat) him. Take the guard piece from he board and save it - score some kind of bonus at the end of the game for having defeated the most guards.

These are some of the things I'd like to consider and try in an effort to simplify the game. Then, some of the more fiddly rules could be included as expansions, like Fresco has. I'm interested to see how this works...

1 comment:

Scurra said...

I missed this post, because I hadn't realised I'd lost your blog feed some time ago.

In general I still agree with most of your comments about the game itself - the two core systems you mention still feel unique (even now!) Of course, the new Ystari Musketeers game may throw a spanner into the works of this one. We shall see.

As for the specifics - I will be interested to hear the outcomes of any tests you try with Guard modifications. It strikes me that losing guards completely would turn out badly, but the way they currently work certainly needs attention.

As you know, apart from still having your copy (grovel, grovel, sorry), I've been working on a rethemed version. I'm hoping to have some more testing done with that version soon, so I'll keep you posted as well.

-- David