Posts Tagged ‘Forced March rule’

Back from the zoo

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

I am fresh back from the zoo - no, not playtesting this time, the real zoo. We are season ticket holders, so even for a short afternoon it’s totally worth it. We were headed to the lion’s den, but got stuck when my daughter found the playground much more interesting. In the end we watched other parents, which was just as fun as observing wild life animals.

Of course this prelude is just thought to smooth over the bomb I am about to lay.

In the recent poll I asked whether you wanted to get rid of the Forced March rule and go back to the old rules (which did not penalize stunned characters falling) or to keep the Forced March rule.

No fancy graphics this time - but the weighted result is that 62% of those answering the question are for keeping the Forced March rule.

I decided not to keep the Forced March rule.

I can almost hear the outcry now: “What the heck is he thinking - going against what is clearly the will of the Warlord community?”. I am going to tell you.

The Forced March rule solves a single problem: Allowing the Design Team to develop more interesting and more powerful level 4+ characters for a game. In Epic Edition the team felt it was necessary, because in essence there is no extra cost for bringing higher level characters to the front - once they are stunned, it doesn’t matter whether they are level 4, 5 or 6 (or even higher) - they habitually get stunned all the way to the front, where they can be readied easily.

To poll clearly indicates that players do not want that and I fully agree. Am I out of my mind then to decide otherwise?

Not entirely (I did license a “dead” fringe CCG - how sane can I be?). Besides the poll I asked quite a few experienced Warlord players for their qualified opinion on the topic. Some (not all) of them pointed out, that the rule also poses the potential problem of eliminating certain deck styles - Dragon ranching for example.

To me this translates into a negative play experience especially for casual players. If you don’t care too much about winning tournaments, you are proud to be able to play your dragon and you don’t want it being killed automatically by the time it hits the front rank.

That is one important reason, but another was even more important to me: It just didn’t feel right! What kind of lameass reasoning is that?

For me quite a strong one. I pledged to bring the fun back into Warlord, to give it an old school feel again. The Forced March rule significantly changes the game and allows another type of abuse by itself, which the Design Team would have to watch (for example moving opponent characters back to do automatic wounds on them, etc.).

That is not the game I feel comfortable with. I’d rather have powerful meta against such a situation where this occurs than having a standing, abusable rule. Compared to the suspense of whether my opponent thought of packing the correct meta cards in his deck and drew them when he needed them in my book a fixed rule is very, very boring.

Forced March was very limited in its application and even Cerebrul did not find that much use. The Design Team is working out a solution for the problem - meta cards that are playable and help a player to surprise and beat opponents stunning huge characters to the front. At the same time for example you will not see the same 3 hp level 4 characters that were very common in Epic Edition.

We have the luxury to start without any double-bugged sets and we are going to take advantage of that. I want an old school feel that allows old (i.e. pre-EE) players to come back. So I made a decision I am convinced is the right one. I am aware of how you voted and I think I know why you voted the way you did. We are going to offer you solutions for the problem, but it is not going to be the Forced March rule. You’ll see in the base set how it works out.

In the end I hope that you will enjoy the new brand of Warlord just as much as I do.

The Forced March rule

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

From a design point of view Warlord is special: Other than other popular games like Magic: The Gathering by Wizards of the Coast or the World of Warcraft TCG by UDE, Warlord doesn’t have a cost for playing characters.

Sure, you cannot play a level 4 character when you don’t have somebody sitting in rank 3, but at a certain point you have stabilized your ranks enough to play level 5 or even higher characters like the ever popular dragons. If you routinely achieve that, you’d always play the feisty lvl 4 and above characters, because once you start stunning them forward, no extra cost accrue.

From the design perspective this means that you have to be either very careful to design no too powerful higher level characters (but hey - this is part of the fun the d20 ties bring us - ultra-powerful monsters like dragons and heroes), give appropriate meta or have the Forced March rule.

For those not familiar with that rule: It states that whenever a stunned character falls forward another rank, it gets a wound. So for example, when a Terrorshard falls to the front (after flying to rank six, spending to five, stunning to four) it already has three wounds on him, making him much easier to handle for the opponent.

When previously dragon (or similar) decks became too powerful, some specific cards against that were introduced: Forced March, which nobody played because its uses were way too narrow, and Cerebrul, who offered a much better alternative, but still was played rather seldomly.

For Epic Edition the Design Team felt this posed too much of a limitation on higher level character options and introduced the Forced March rule and henceforth we saw level 4 characters with 3 hit points, level 5 characters with 4 hit points and so on.

Epic Edition failed. Was the Forced March rule part of the reason?

I’d like to know your opinion - so please vote in the poll to the right, which is going to stay open for two weeks.