Field Marshals Checkup #3

Post by: Grant Rodiek

I really love working on Field Marshals. I spent so much time on Frontier Scoundrels, Poor Abby Farnsworth, and other failed designs, so finally landing on something worthwhile is good for the creative soul. I imagine it’s somewhat akin to the satisfaction Wellington felt after the battle of Waterloo? That may be a tinge hyperbolic…

Nevertheless, it’s fun to watch players thinking about their turns and trying to make the most out of their options. It’s fun to watch them pull out powerful tactics only to see their opponent counter them. It’s neat that it’s becoming a game.

To cut to the chase, here are the new rules for Field Marshals. Below, I’m going to discuss the changes I’ve made as a result of testing, followed by a quick examination of some of the map development I’ve done. Note: Map development is REALLY DIFFICULT.

Testing Changes

In the latest test of Field Marshals, I tested a few key things:

  • Revised Tactics, especially new options for the defender in a battle. Previously the battles favored the aggressor entirely, which just isn’t accurate for the time period OR fun.
  • New conscript mechanic, which determined a player’s turn order and maximum Units.

Defensive Tactics

The revised tactics were definitely a step in the right direction. However, the value proposition for defenders just wasn’t there. Essentially, a defender would need to spend 3 cards (out of a hand of 5) for a marginally useful ability. By spending those 3 cards as a defender, he wouldn’t get to use them on his turn, meaning his round was relatively horked. Furthermore, the Ambush mechanic, which wasn’t a Tactic, was poorly integrated. It created clunkiness and confusion.

Now, all defensive tactics are activated with one card. For all 3 Tactics, playing the card is a definite trade off, but it won’t ruin the defensive player’s entire round AND it gives them a chance to turn the tide of the battle. I believe it’s the right direction. Ambush is now a tactic, which means it’s fully integrated into the system and it’s consistent across all defensive tactics.

Conscript Mechanic (Part 1)

The conscript mechanic was also a step in the right direction. Non-random turn order is better, having to decide how to build your Unit pool is good, and in general, the design needed a little breadth to deepen the strategy. However, the mechanic as implemented added a great deal of components and the dynamic turn order was too static for my tastes.

Before I explain my changes for the conscript mechanic, it makes sense for me to discuss the updates to the map first. They are very closely tied together.

The Map

In addition to the two features discussed above, some of the map’s current problems really became apparent. Fundamentally, too many map elements encouraged players to separate and spread out instead of fighting over scarce resources. For example, players start from the center and move to the outskirts to accomplish goals. There are too many coal territories, which means they don’t need to be fought over.

As a result, I’ve shifted a few things. The changes weren’t difficult to make, but I think they’ll have a huge impact on the quality of the game.

  • There are no longer Secret Orders that direct players to conquer Seaports. I don’t want players rushing to the edge. Seaports are now just a tool to use, a means to an end.
  • I’ve condensed the map slightly so that there are fewer overall territories.
  • There are now 3 coal territories instead of 4.
  • Coal territories are located in the center of the board. Player Headquarters are located on the outskirts.

Here is the map I just tested:

Here is the update:

Conscript Mechanic (Part 2)

Instead of adding conscript tokens to normal territories on the board for players to obtain, conscripts will now simply be tied to controlling territory. The previous mechanic had a few problems:

  • It added 12 new tokens and cluttered the board.
  • It encouraged players to sprint around the map to collect tokens. It rewarded mobility, not holding territory (which is fictionally strange and bad for the game).
  • It encouraged players to separate instead of competing for scarce resources.

The new mechanic allows players to increase their maximum Unit pool merely by controlling territory. However, there’s a twist. For each territory connected to his Headquarters a player controls, he can increase his max Unit pool by a set amount. Note that each individual territory doesn’t need to be connected, it’s that the set of connected, contiguous territories must ultimately be connected to the Headquarters.

In addition to adding Units, connected territories are worth more points at the end of the game than disconnected stragglers. And, if you notice the map above, there isn’t enough space for everyone to have all of the territories to hit the max pool easily. Plus, there are coal territories to conquer, fortresses to build…

Other Changes

  • Players will now earn points for Battle Trophies
  • Players will now earn points for controlling an opponent’s HQ
  • I’ve made slight tweaks to the card distribution in the decks.
  • I’ve modified the cards required to activate Tactics as well as some of the numbers on the tactics (See snapshot of the player reference board below to see what I’m talking about).
  • Assorted reference board improvements.

GenCon is quickly approaching, which means I need to polish off these changes and order some prototypes. I also hope to have some blind testing feedback before I pitch, which is also pressing. Deadlines lead to good decision making! We’ll see how it rounds out.

As always, questions, comments, and feedback are appreciated.

Field Marshals Checkup #2

Post by: Grant Rodiek

I decided a short time ago to focus my development efforts entirely on Field Marshals in order to make it as excellent as possible. The end goal, at least for now, is to make it pitch ready for the GenCon board game convention, at which time I intend to show it to some hopefully interested publishers.

The game continues to make progress, but this past Sunday (6/3/2012) the game was really put through the grinder. I tested it in a 4 player setup with 2 veteran print and digital designers, both of whom are incredibly competitive and obsessed with winning (i.e. not how I play games). I also tested it with my friend Cole Medieros (designer of GUBS) who is also a fantastic designer, but way more laid back. This concoction of design experience and personality really helped me see some of the flaws in the tested version of Field Marshals.

Here are the problems I felt I needed to solve:

  • Despite having 3 Action choices (March, Attack, Diplomacy), and varied turn order, players almost always chose the same action in the same scenario. Basically, I built up two cumbersome mechanics (Action Choice + Variable Turn Order) that led to a very static player result.
  • A few supplemental features (Coal, Fortresses, Orders, Seaports) had grown out of a legitimate need, but been integrated poorly. As a result, tiny rules were being missed and the pacing suffered.
  • The component set grew a bit out of proportion with my intent. Keeping costs in mind is important for designers.
  • The cards, despite being everyone’s favorite part of the game (and the game’s innovation) weren’t as strong or widely used as I liked.
  • Players too quickly reached their Unit cap of 10 on the board. At that point, the game lost some of its excitement as a choice was effectively removed.

I spent several days thinking about these problems and the specific feedback. After a few days of drawing maps, researching the Peninsular War, and brainstorming during long meetings at work, I arrived at a philosophical solution that guided all of my efforts.

The cards and tactics are the best part of Field Marshals. They are elegant, interesting, and unique. The cards must be the focus.

Using this as my guideline, I began converting these supplemental features into Tactics and components of each player’s deck. For example, the Diplomacy turn action was a bit too powerful. I neutered it, but then it lost its potency and value. My solution, was to convert it into a Tactic. I added the Diplomat card and a few very powerful Diplomacy actions. Instead of an action that is always available, it is contingent upon having a set of cards. Therefore, it’s okay to make it more powerful. This also makes it more fun!

Similarly, building a Fortress is now a Tactic that’s based upon the Fortress card. This should make them less obvious and more of a choice.

All told, the set of 6 card types expanded to 8, with the player deck growing from 25 to 30 cards.

  • Infantry
  • Cavalry
  • Artillery
  • Imperial Guard (wild card)
  • General
  • Fog of War
  • Diplomat
  • Fortress

To make the additional cards more interesting, I expanded the number of Tactics from 5 to 8. I made it so that a few tactics could use any card for the third card in the set. This prevents cards like the Diplomat, Fortress, and Fog of War from being dead weight.  I also now allow players to play all 5 cards if they want to more quickly cycle through their decks.

Another twist is that the Imperial Guard can be used as any card to activate a Tactic. Really want a Fortress? Use the Imperial Guard, but now he cannot be used to fill the role of the Diplomat. Oh, the choices!

Previously, the Imperial Guard could only duplicate another card that was played. This made him fiddly and far less useful. Now, players have several ways by which to unlock and utilize the powerful tactics. Here is the current set of Tactics and combinations from the player reference board.

While we’re on the topic of Tactics, I streamlined many of them in very subtle ways. This is something I spent months doing with Farmageddon and it’s some of the most important work I did.  I wanted to remove fiddly rules (i.e. Encirclement couldn’t be used against Units in a Fortress) and make them as interesting as possible. Also, to help mitigate the impact of random turn order, I provided players with more defensive options. This makes combat a little more dynamic, but it’s still a strategic game.

To further focus the game towards the cards and streamline the experience, I’ve greatly modified how players select Actions and determine turn order. Previously, each player drew one numbered token out of a bag of 20. The lowest number would go first. My hope was that the uncertainty would make for a fun moment. “Ah, I’m at 12. I’m probably going in the middle.” In reality, it was just an uneasy choice and players had little control. Plus, you’d often have a situation of the player drawing a 15, assuming he was going third or fourth, then going 1st because the other three players drew worse tokens. This wasn’t fun, it just lead to frustration.

I’ve now reduced the 20 tokens to just 4 tokens numbered 1-4. You know when you’re going to take your turn. However, turn order is revealed 1 by 1, so the player who goes first doesn’t know the order of the next 3 players. Another upside of this is that I eliminated 16 tokens and a bag from my component list!

In addition to the simplification of the turn orders, players no longer choose one of 3 actions (March, Attack, Diplomacy) to use on their turn. At its best, this system made for a mildly interesting choice. At its worst, all players always knew what to do OR they picked one and ended up getting screwed by the random turn order.

Previously, the active player on his turn could:

  • Do his chosen action (March or Attack or Diplomacy)
  • Reinforce
  • Build a Fortress
  • Tactics
Now, the active player on his turn can:
  • March twice OR March and Attack
  • Reinforce
  • Play Tactics
The old March and Attack choices are now just always available and simplified. The diplomacy and Fortress options are now integrated into the cards/Tactics mechanic. It makes for a far cleaner, more streamlined experience.

Quick notes on other Changes

  • Total Unit pool is increased from 10 to 12
  • Previously, players could use the same card to both Reinforce AND use as a Tactic. Now, it’s Reinforce OR Tactic. Remember, 5 cards now per turn!
  • Coal is removed from the board as a separate token. Now, controlling a Coal territory is worth more at the end of the game.
  • Players receive just one Secret Order (out of a possible 6 total). Secret Orders no longer have tiers. Secret Orders are all worth 5 Points if completed.
  • Victory Points are awarded by controlling territory and having the largest army.
  • The Map has been revised to make each headquarter position more equal and drive more conflict.
  • Seaports have been tweaked slightly to pose a less obvious and more interesting choice.
  • The game ends after 8 rounds. This is more or less the same, but now it’s clear and distinct, as opposed to “once someone runs out of cards.” A good lesson: If your game has a fuzzy aspect that can be made crisp, always choose crisp.

I’m really pleased with the evolution of the design. Obviously, only testing will verify how good the iteration actually was, but I’m confident I’m on the right path. As always, you can visit the Field Marshals game page for links to the Rules, Card Distribution, Reference Boards, and Map layouts.

My plans, if you’re curious, are to prove this revised version through local testing, then send out one or two blind copies. Then, GenCon. Thoughts, questions, and comments are always appreciated.

Field Marshals Checkup #1

Post by: Grant Rodiek

I keep making good progress towards making Field Marshals solid. I’ve just changed/added a few significant components to the rules, so I wanted to share and discuss them here, as well as cover a few other topics related to my snazzy war game.

Rules Updates

You can read the latest rules in their entirety here. Here is a quick rundown of the changes the game has seen.

  • Now 2-4 players: When I originally designed the game I intended and tested it with 5 players. Since then, I’ve only tested it with 2, 3, or 4 players. For a while I toyed with the notion of taking it to 6, but ultimately felt it would be too chaotic with that many players. I feel the same thing about 5, so I’m reducing it to 4. 4 players makes each round a little more predictable and reduces my component costs. Also, as long as the game is fun with 2, 3, or 4 (which it is), I don’t feel that taking it down from 4 is a deathblow. Plus, I can always add it back.
  • Orders: Since the beginning, the game has lacked a great win condition or end point. I’ve tested it where players need to conquer X number of territories, earn Y number of Coal, and a few other things. Ultimately, it was a bit too scattered. Now, to focus players and have fewer things to remember, each player will receive 3 Orders. Each order will give a task (like Conquer X territories), that, when completed, awards a set number of points.
  • Better Tactics: I’ve upped the tuning on the Tactics so that they are more potent and useful. Encirclement now lets you capture 3, instead of 2. Bombardment kills 3, instead of 2. I want Tactics to be decisive.
  • Attrition: I’ve been trying to think of a clean way to incorporate more long-term attrition into the game, i.e. a way to reduce a player’s potential Unit pool. One of the Orders tasks the player with winning a certain number of battles. I needed a way to track it, so I came up with a neat little way to do so that also solves my attrition problem. The winner of a battle now takes one of the loser’s Units as a Trophy. (Note: Matt Worden also suggested this. If two of us independently came up with it, the idea must be good!)
  • 2 Player Improvement: I continue to touch up and improve the rules for 2 player games. I’m actually surprised how well the game plays with only 2. The puppet state (now Allies in the rules) idea has worked really well.
  • Civil War: A very minor tweak. Instead or representing foreign nations, each player is now a Field Marshal vying for control in a disintegrating empire. I always thought the map, a series of odd shaped territories, was awkward as different countries. Now, it’s regions of one large country.

Further Development

There are a few areas I’m worried about with the current game. There are always so many simple variables to tweak and I want to prove out more things before I say “done” and send out blind test copies.

  • Card Distribution: I’m toying with the idea of adding another General or another Cavalry to the deck. But, I don’t want players retreating too often or surprising attackers with a General too often.
  • Orders: I have no doubt tuning these will be a headache. The points awarded in many different combinations will need to be examined and put through their paces. I’ll also need to verify that it’s possible to complete 2 of the Orders in most combinations. I don’t want 2 of the 4 players to get hosed because they were randomly assigned a crummy combination of orders.
  • 5 Players: For some reason I want to add a fifth player! But, I’ll need to revisit the map (again, what a pain!) and make sure everyone is interacting with each other. I don’t want a 5th player off in the corner just keeping to himself.
  • Map Tweaks: I may need to reduce the size of the map slightly — just by 1 or 2 territories. But, where do I remove and where do I shift?

Expansion Ideas

One thing that really excites me about Field Marshals is just how many cool expansion ideas I have. Expansions come naturally for some games, but not all. For example, it wasn’t obvious where to take Farmageddon, but I have many great ideas for Field Marshals.

I don’t know what the future holds for this game, but I’d love to do some of these expansions.

  • Naval: Seaports are one of the better additions since I began prototyping this game. This naturally begs for actual Naval Units, Naval Cards, Naval Orders, and Naval Tactics.
  • Terrain Types: Definitely a smaller expansion, but I’d love to add forest and mountain terrain tokens to modify Tactics and potentially add new Orders. Also, potentially cities.
  • New Armies: Currently, the game features 4 identical vanilla armies based on the standard tactics of the Prussian, British, or French armies in the 19th century. I’d love to add new decks with new units and tactics, including one focused on Guerrilla warfare, one more focused on spycraft and deception, the massed infantry armies (i.e. Russia), and more. I feel this is a great way to add new content to the game in small chunks. Wizard Kings and Summoner Wars both do this and I love it.
  • Scenarios: This is one I’d deliver to players as a freebie. I’d love to create new stories and scenarios that change the starting positions of players, the premise, the team arrangements, the victory conditions, and more. This one naturally leads into…
  • Campaign: I love the idea of Risk: Legacy and the Memoir ’44 Campaign book. I don’t plan for players to begin drawing on the game board for Field Marshals, but I very much want to design a cohesive 3-5 game campaign setup that’s driven by the results of each game. You could think of each game as a few months or a year in the war. If X, Y, and W are present, go to scenario 5 and play it. It’d be the type of thing only for really hardcore players or people at a Con, but I think it’s really fun content to create and play.

The Awesome Version

I have this wild crazy silly idea. Very early in the Field Marshals‘ prototyping process I felt like the game gave off a classic vibe. It’s about controlling territory with wooden cubes and playing cards with simple silhouettes. It’s based on wars thought to be more “romantic” and “glorious” in their time periods and is meant to be fairly straight forward and elegant in presentation.

I want to create a really gorgeous wooden version of the game. Wooden board with little slots to place the initiative disks and turn order tokens. A hand-crafted box to contain everything. Little tokens with laser etched or carved symbols. Something like this.

This won’t be cheap. I’m currently researching several options to see what is and isn’t feasible. In all cases, there are basically 2 options:

  1. I personally finance about 10 copies and sell them out. My primary goal would be to still find a publisher.
  2. I go “whole-hog” and Kickstart it to try to sell hundreds of copies. This would prevent me (probably) from finding a publisher, but I’d have full creative control on the product.

I haven’t done a full business analysis of the costs and whatnot. I doubt it would be cheap. My question for you is, would you buy Field Marshals for $100 if it came in a gorgeous, one of a kind wooden setup? What about $125? If the answer is no, I’d love to hear that as well.

Proud Prototype Papa

To say I’m enamored of my war game Field Marshals is a bit of an understatement. I’m fairly proud of the game, even though I know she has a long way to go. Since Farmageddon, I’ve killed two bad designs, spent 8 months trying to revive what may be a lost cause, and watched dozens of ideas just flounder. But, Field Marshals really excites me. I think it can eventually be a good, accessible war game worthy of publication. Fingers crossed!

I’ve spent a few nights building a really nice prototype. Most of the time I subject my testers to playing with colored index cards until I feel confident enough to order a nicer prototype through sites like The Game Crafter. I wanted to do something special with Field Marshals and my work has paid off. The purpose of this post is twofold:

  1. Show off the game!
  2. Tell you what I used so that it may help you when building your own prototypes.

Sourcing the Wood

Craft Parts has a fantastic selection of wooden components at very reasonable prices. My game has a large number of wooden tokens, so I bought a bag of wooden disks, then stamped them with the appropriate symbols. I also wanted to build tiny fortresses, so I bought wooden blocks and little flat square tiles, which I then glued to the blocks.

To create coal, I spray painted a handful of the wooden disks with…spray paint. Although you can purchase little pawns from Craft Parts (If I’m not mistaken, it’s where Dice Hate Me Games bought their “brewples” for Viva Java), I used the extra pawns I received with Flash Point.

For my unit tokens (little colored cubes), I pillaged a classic box of Risk I have lying around. For only $20 the game provides HUNDREDS of pre-painted cubes. Quite handy!

One of the biggest inspirations for a mechanic in Field Marshals is the result of numbered wooden coins I bought from Aaron Brothers. Keep your eyes peeled any time you visit a remotely artsy store — you may find amazing components.

Stamps, Fancy Papier

There’s a really cool print/paper craft store in my neighborhood called Paper Source. Perhaps you have one near you? If not, Michael’s or any other craft store should have what you need. For my capital tokens I bought a star stamp. I found a really simple anchor stamp for my seaports, then purchased a set of letters for everything else.

The game uses a really simple card layout. Each player has a small deck of identical cards. I bought blank, colored business cards from Paper Source in packs of 25 for $2 apiece. I then printed the symbols on simple square labels and appended them to the cards. The cards look great and they shuffle better than index cards.

Labels are your friend. Go to Office Depot and buy labels in all sizes.

For my game board I purchased Illustration Board from Office Depot. I was even able to make a set of thick player reference boards using the extras after sizing the board down. Again, labels were my friend. I also bought some lamination material to apply once the board layout settles down a bit.

I purchased the little cloth bag from Paper Source.

Finally, I am never without a stack of pencils, erasers, white-out, scissors, super glue, wood glue, crayons, and card stock. These are the tools of prototyping and you should have a desk covered in this junk.

I spent many hours printing and applying labels, tracing circles, gluing wood (and ungluing my fingers), but it was ultimately well worth it. It sounds silly, but a nice prototype makes a huge difference. Instead of a game that looks like work, you suddenly have a game that looks like fun. Never underestimate the impact this can have on your testers.

Share your prototype pictures. What tips do you have?

Introducing Field Marshals

I think it’s best for all creative types to have side interests, whether that’s cooking, or brewing beer, or anime, or comics, or what have you. For me, that side interest is history. I love it. The heroes, the villains, the war, the diplomacy, inventions, triumphs, and great sadness. All of it.

War, for better or worse, is a big aspect of history and something of incredible interest to me. It also makes for some really excellent board games, including Memoir ’44, Stratego, 1812: The Invasion of Canada, or the Conflict of Heroes series. I’ve been pining to create a war game for a really long time.  Field Marshals is my entry into the war gaming space and I’m really excited by it. But, before I talk about what Field Marshals is, I want to write about my design process.

My initial big idea was to create a team-based game in which one player on each team focused on the strategic side of play and the others focused on the tactical side of play. Basically, a Secretary of War in his capital giving orders to his Generals to carry out. I failed to solve a few problems with this design, including:

  • How to make the game fun with fewer than 4 players?
  • How to limit player communication in a way that was interesting but not detrimental to the social, board game experience?
  • How to not over-complicate things, but provide enough interesting things for each player role to do?

I moved away from this idea, which is for the best, as it turns out Richard Borg has already done this with Memoir ’44: Operation Overlord. My mother always told me to never compete with Richard Borg in war game design.

I also wanted to do something interesting with custom six-sided dice. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that this is one of my obsessions that always keeps getting knocked aside. Alas, I couldn’t quite figure out something compelling that other great games haven’t already done. One idea I had was to roll a number of dice and choose a number of them IN order to carry out some sort of dramatic battlefield maneuver. For example, inspired by Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, what if I played an Artillery die, then two Infantry die for an Infantry Charge (i.e. bombardment followed by massed infantry advance).

This idea was neat but again, I couldn’t get the overall battle system mechanic to gel. I tucked this idea away (which  was smart, because it evolved into one of the coolest parts of the game).

For a while I was obsessed with strange components, like magnets and white boards. What if a player wrote out his orders on a white board and passed them to another player? What if I placed the arrow to indicate my advance and then…something? This was silly, but while scrounging for neat components I stumbled across this set of numbered wooden tokens at an Aaron’s Brothers Frame Store.

I became obsessed with these numbered tokens. One idea I had was that players would draw 3 tokens from a bag of 20 (numbered 1-20) and would use them sequentially to plan their turn. Marching into certain countries would require you play a token above or below a certain number. Same with Diplomacy or other things. So, I might play a 3 to march over the mountain pass, then a 10 to negotiate with an NPC country, then finally an 18 to battle my opponent.

I liked the element of planning in a sequence and of being allowed to do some things, but choosing which things to do was difficult. However, the system was somewhat inflexible and too gated on chance. I hated the idea of players having multiple turns pass where nothing happened.

Last week, I finally had a breakthrough, which is good, because in 5 months of thought it helps to have a breakthrough. I played several games of Dragonheart with friends. Dragonheart is a 5-10 minute 2 player game where you play cards from your hand to complete sets and collect cards to score. It’s a game about timing, gauging probability, and luck. It’s probably one of my favorite games.

I thought about how interesting it was to hold onto a pair of cards in the hopes of drawing the third to complete a set, or playing one card in hopes of an opponent not having the second one in his hand. It just makes sense and it’s compelling.

The other game I played was Nanuk, a highly social bluffing game about Alaskan hunters. The game reminded me that social gameplay is some of the deepest, most satisfying gameplay you can design. It also reminded me that in Risk, even though there are no rules about diplomacy and alliances, it’s one of the best parts of the game.

Player 1: “Hey, if you let me have Africa you can have Europe.”

Player 2: “Sure thing!”

Player 2: “Hey…what are you doing in North Africa with all those units?”

Player 1: “Those? Don’t mind those. I’m going west to Brazil, you see.”

Player 2: “Oh, sure, that makes sense.”

And, the next turn Player 1 sends 60 units into Europe.

Cards and probability…social gameplay…and those damn numbered tokens from before…eureka!

Field Marshals will be a game that plays 2-6 players, in about an hour, and without dice. The game will be based on a fictional continent that features the Manifest Destiny obsessed soverignties such as the Green Federation, the Gray Republik, the Rot Protectorate (rot = red in German), the Yellow Caliphate, and others.

It has a few really cool features I’m excited to share:

  • All players draw a numbered token, which they keep secret. This will determine the player order when all tokens are revealed. You’ll need to plan based on when you think you’ll take your turn. Over time, the used tokens will be placed on the board so the probability of things will become more precise.
  • Each player has his own deck of 30 cards which feature just a few types of cards: Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, the Emperor’s Own, a General, and Fog of War.
  • On his turn, the player will play up to 4 cards from his hand. Cards let you add a certain number of Units to the board, but if you play a set of cards (i.e. 3 Cavalry) you an activate a powerful Tactic. There are 5 Tactics in the game that let you fight and maneuver more decisively.
  • Battles are decided in a predictable way, however tactics and sudden reinforcements will shake things up a bit.
  • Certain territories convey a bonus to the player or players in control of it. There are 6 bonuses, but only 3 are randomly selected and allocated each game.
  • I’m hoping there’s some excellent backstabbing and negotiations that result.

Here are the current rules for Field Marshals. Please keep in mind the game is in progress and far from finished. Here is the current distribution of cards in the decks. You can also view my collection of visual reference on my Pinterest board.

I have only conducted a single test, though it went well. Here are the things that I will be refining and solving in the coming months as I continue to test and refine this game.

  • The map or maps: I want this game to work with a wide number of players. I may need to create a variety of maps (like Smallworld), but I imagine refining the map will be the hardest thing I do. I completely re-designed it after the first test!
  • Designing and creating reasons for players to negotiate. I think that tweaking the initiative token/card probability features will really tie into this.

Stay tuned as the game develops.