Saturday, July 28, 2018

Crusaders expansion prototype PDF and rules doc

I finally sat down and wrote out the rules for the Crusaders expansion I've been testing. It's in the format of my prototype rules for Crusaders, not the finished Crusaders rulebook. Once I'm convinced the design is finished, the next step will be translating it to that format.

For those interested, here is a sneak peak at the expansion rules and prototype PDF:

Crusaders expansion rules v1.0_7-15-18

Crusaders expansion prototype PDF

The major thrust of the expansion is twofold:
1. An all new, more involved Influence action. Some playtesters suggested that just collecting VP for the Influence action was boring. In general I like having an axis in games with multiple paths to victory that is "just points," things like the big buildings in Puerto Rico for example. But for the expansion, I tried out a new version of that action...

Instead of just collecting points, you use Influence to collect influence tokens from the regions on the board, leaving your influence markers behind. These tokens give you 1-time or permanent bonuses to certain actions, and the markers you place allow you to travel more easily through those regions.

This turned out to be pretty cool, but I'm really glad I didn't try to put it into the original game, because I think it complicates things and makes more fiddly.

2. Four new building types. This was the first idea I had for expansion content, way back in January of 2015. I've tweaked it a bit, now the new buildings can be built anywhere, but they're more expensive than the old ones. However, if you build a new building int he same hex as a specific existing building (belonging to ANY player), you get a discount.

The latest effects of the new buildings have been pretty good so far in testing...
* Keep - Take your next Troop for free. There are also 2 additional troops for each player, and the enemy strength tracks are modified so they don't slow down at the top end.
* Chapel - Add an action token to your action wheel
* Vault - Immediately upgrade one of your action wedges, and score VP at the end of the game
* Mill - Remove any other building of this level or less from your board (not level 4 Bank)

I originally wanted them to be buildable ONLY where an OPPONENT had built a specific building, but that didn't work too well when I finally tried it. I was afraid that if you could build a Keep over your own Castle, for example, that players would just do that, and it wouldn't add the interaction I was going for. But I tried it, and it seemed to work out OK.

Finally, I decided it would be better if players could build a Keep (for example) without building a Castle first, even if an opponent hadn't built a Castle, so I tried allowing that, but at a higher cost. That seemed to work out alright as well.

So I'm pretty happy with the different aspects of the expansion, and with the help of my trusty playtesters we came up with a few new Factions to try as well. I have 2 that didn't make the cut in the original game for one reason or another that I might include as well, bringing the total of new factions up to 6.

I could use a title for the expansion, and I'm open to suggestions! Since the new Influence action is central to the expansion, maybe a phrase with the word "Influence" in it would be good? Lance suggested "Divine Influence," which I like quite a bit. Can you beat that?

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