Monday, October 10, 2016

Deities & Demigods update

I haven't been posting as often lately, nor have I gotten in as many playtests of Deities & Demigods as I'd like (though apparently I've been testing more frequently than Matthew... I haven't heard from him in a couple of versions now!). However, I HAVE gotten some plays in, and I've learned a thing or two about the recent tweaks and proposed changes. Here's what's come up in the last few plays, using the last blog post as a point of reference:

1. Building reward icons in cities
I have been playing with the most recent versionI described, and I think I like it. Each city has a particular reward, and when you build you get 3/2/1/1 of it. At the start of the game (in reverse turn order) you select a starting city and place your marker on the LOWEST reward space and collect that reward. However, when building in a city where you already have a marker, you stack atop your other marker and collect no additional icons, whereas if you Ares over to another city first, then building allows you to collect the highest remaining reward icon.

For now I'm keeping this version of the rule, because it seems to be working well. It also means the buildings have no icons printed on them, just a big effect or endgame scoring bonus. The artifacts have a smaller effect plus an icon. The monuments still increase your minimum devotion, they also have an icon PLUS a favor token PLUS potentially another icon from the city. I think this makes monuments compare favorably to B+A.

2. Cutting virtual Zeus
I currently think that just having 1 Zeus in the deck is the way to go, especially with the initiative bumps available on artifacts and in cities.

3. Simplifying to a simple hex board
This has been working well. I would still like to see some semblance of terrain (even just water vs land) in the end, but maybe that's just unnecessary complication :/

4. Favor of the Deities
I did some more tweaking of the deity scoring, which makes them worth a bit more (at least potentially more)...
Zeus: 2vp per unique deity in your display (rewarding diversity)
Hermes: 2vp per devotion track at level 4, 1vp per devotion track at level 2/3 (indirectly rewarding showing devotion to deities)
Ares: 1vp per minimum devotion increase (indirectly rewards doing quests)
Hephaestus: 1vp per city with your building marker (rewarding building)

As a side note, I'm beginning to think that level 1 Hephaestus should give 1 gold per building marker, not per city with your building marker... so it doesn't require Ares to do something. The Hephaestus favor bonus could be harder to cash in on, and therefore be "per city with your marker".

5. Adding a cost for increasing minimum devotion
This turned out to be a bad idea, I didn't like it and I removed it after 2 tries.

It's possible that nothing needs to be done about this beyond making the min bump on the initiative track harder to get.

6. Game duration and Hera
I think forcing a 5-round game is the way to go, and adding Hera made it feel less arbitrary. The version I tried was this:
Shuffle 4 Hera cards into a face up stack. At the end of each cycle, add the top Hera card to the deck - if there isn't one, then the game is over. When Hera arrives, she makes a demand (each Hera card has a different demand).

The 1st version I tried was that Hera was simply an opportunity to earn extra points by satisfying her demand. Choosing not to only cost you the opportunity to score points. This turned out to be fairly boring though because often times players would ignore the demand and nobody took advantage of the opportunity. Maybe that could be addressed by tweaking the values of the rewards, but I tried something else that I thought might be more interesting...

The 2nd version I tried was that you MUST meet Hera's demand, and if you do then you earn a favor token. This was a bit better because players actually had to care hat Hera's demands were, and she actually had an impact on the game. However, it amounted to just handing out a bunch of points to all players most of the time, and also we had to lose random stuff whenever Hera arrived. Sure, we theoretically knew it was coming, but it could have worked better... this seemed a little harsh.

What I would like to try next time is this... when Hera arrives, she makes her demand. If you refuse to (or cannot) give her what she demands, then you get a Spite token. Spite tokens come with a scoring penalty at the end of the game. If you do meet Hera's demand, then you avoid the spite token. If you DOUBLE the demand though, you get to DISCARD a spite token (or if you have none, collect a favor token).

I hope this will make people WANT to pay the demands sometimes, and if you specialize in one type of thing, then maybe you'll overpay those demands to make up for failings elsewhere.

I was thinking the penalty would be triangular negative scoring, but maybe a majority thing would be better.

I still might like to see city control matter more during the game, and I worry that going heavy Zeus and dominating the initiative track might be too strong. But other than that I think the game is in good shape!

1 comment:

Matt said...

Sorry Seth! Hopefully I'll have more time to test this one after Essen :)