Removing VP from ARC and Improving Cities

Only post if you have actually read them and the design document(s) in the Wiki.

Should Victory Points be removed from Arcmage?

Yes, VP should be removed!
5
100%
No, VP is awesome!
0
No votes
I have another idea (comment below
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 5
Desttinghim
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 08:36
Location: Utah

Removing VP from ARC and Improving Cities

Post by Desttinghim » Fri Nov 03, 2017 20:06

I've recently been doing some play-testing with ARC, and I have come to the opinion that it would work better without victory points. I think most of the people I've played with agree. Keep in mind that these are folks that I play Magic casually with. They like the game, but want to see it differentiate itself more from Magic.

Basically, the victory points are like life from magic (even if they are called Influence), and distract from what are the most interesting difference: cities. The cities give Arcmage a whole new level of strategy. Sure, it gives players more of an incentive to put units into the army, but I think the armies being the only places that units can attack from and defend all the cities is enough of a reason for most players to want units there. This would also allow the losing player more chances to recover, because once they are down to a single city they can put all of their units into there and defend.

Another problem is that the cities die too quickly. It isn't hard for a player to get creatures that have 6+ power. This makes the game almost too short - I've never managed to use cards that bring units back from the dead, because at the point that is happening, the other player is already attacking with enough power to destroy my cities in a single hit.

I think cities should have more defense points because of that. This would allow the game to go on longer and give players the chance to use the cool advantages the cities give them. The cool factor of cards and their abilities shouldn't be underestimated.

Players should also want to have their cities have at least one or two units. When playing against uneasy alliance, my opponent usually keeps just one creature in the Second Son's Army Camp to provide the +2/+2 buff and sends the rest out to smash my cities (he doesn't target VP because he thinks the cities are more fun). I think that he should want to spend a little more time building an army and using city advantages.

EDIT: I think that direct damage (deadly shock, elvish ambush, or skeleton archer) should primarily target creatures in the army or enemy creatures in your own cities (like Shadow in the Dark). This would make players spend a few more turns getting bigger creatures out before sending out creatures to take down their opponent. Shadow in the Dark is fine (if these changes are made) because he is easier to negate. There are currently no counter spells, and I don't think there should be (most people don't think they are fun to play against).

In summary:
  • Remove VP/Influence as a game mechanic in ARC, and give losing players a better chance of turning the tide
  • Increase city defense points so that one hit from a unit will not kill them
  • Give players more incentive to keep their civilians in cities
  • Make it harder to target units in cities
All in all, these changes would push Arcmage away from magic while increasing the fun factor of the game. Well, that's what I think, but I haven't playtested this yet. That's my next order of business. What do the rest of you think?
ngoeminne
Posts: 268
Joined: Mon Feb 29, 2016 15:34

Re: Removing VP from ARC and Improving Cities

Post by ngoeminne » Sun Nov 05, 2017 14:32

Hey Louis,
Desttinghim wrote:I've recently been doing some play-testing with ARC, and I have come to the opinion that it would work better without victory points. I think most of the people I've played with agree. Keep in mind that these are folks that I play Magic casually with. They like the game, but want to see it differentiate itself more from Magic.
Nice to see you playtesting. I think I agree with you and your friends in making it more different than Magic and getting rid of the VP is a possible option.
Desttinghim wrote:Basically, the victory points are like life from magic (even if they are called Influence), and distract from what are the most interesting difference: cities. The cities give Arcmage a whole new level of strategy.
That's true, the VP distract attention away from the city strategy, and make new players with a MTG background play just as they would in MTG. Building army and just attack, without the cities extended tactics possibilities.
Desttinghim wrote:Sure, it gives players more of an incentive to put units into the army, but I think the armies being the only places that units can attack from and defend all the cities is enough of a reason for most players to want units there.
Good point.
Desttinghim wrote:Another problem is that the cities die too quickly. It isn't hard for a player to get creatures that have 6+ power. This makes the game almost too short - I've never managed to use cards that bring units back from the dead, because at the point that is happening, the other player is already attacking with enough power to destroy my cities in a single hit.
I agree with that as well, the cities could have higher hit points to start with. Or we could relate it to the number of residents or something. Or maybe they shouldn't be that uniform as it is now. E.g. you could have cities with different HP. And maybe max the total sum of all your cities.

What had you in mind? Something around 15 per city?
Desttinghim wrote:Players should also want to have their cities have at least one or two units. When playing against uneasy alliance, my opponent usually keeps just one creature in the Second Son's Army Camp to provide the +2/+2 buff and sends the rest out to smash my cities (he doesn't target VP because he thinks the cities are more fun). I think that he should want to spend a little more time building an army and using city advantages.
Agreed, the thing is that I haven't found a good way to guide the player to want more creatures inside the cities.
Desttinghim wrote:EDIT: I think that direct damage (deadly shock, elvish ambush, or skeleton archer) should primarily target creatures in the army or enemy creatures in your own cities (like Shadow in the Dark). This would make players spend a few more turns getting bigger creatures out before sending out creatures to take down their opponent.
This changes things a lot, and we should try it out in playtesting. We could limit the creatures abilities to their zone by default. Either the city they live in (yours or your opponents') or the armies.
Creatures in a city can target:
- other (friend or foe) creatures inside the same city
- creatures that are attacking the same city
Creatures in the army can target:
- all creatures in all armies
Creatures can move into enemy cities (like shadow of the dark)

For magic or event spells I'd still allow targeting every creature (except the player since there's no VP). However we could use card rules to restrict them in some cases.
Desttinghim wrote: In summary:

Remove VP/Influence as a game mechanic in ARC, and give losing players a better chance of turning the tide
Increase city defense points so that one hit from a unit will not kill them
Give players more incentive to keep their civilians in cities
Make it harder to target units in cities
Nice wrapup
Desttinghim wrote:All in all, these changes would push Arcmage away from magic while increasing the fun factor of the game. Well, that's what I think, but I haven't playtested this yet. That's my next order of business. What do the rest of you think?
Looking forward to hear the playtest results. If you draft up these rules more rigidly we could add a new wiki page for them.
If we're going trough with the change afterwards, we'll have some cards to review as well.

I think generally I'm all for it :-)
Good job!
Desttinghim
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 08:36
Location: Utah

Re: Removing VP from ARC and Improving Cities

Post by Desttinghim » Mon Nov 06, 2017 05:51

So far we've done one playtest, with the cities each at 15 defense points. That's too much - I'm thinking about 10 average, with about 2 points variation in general. Some day I'm going to spend some time playing against myself and figure out the adjustments that need to be made.
Alex
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 20:24

Re: Removing VP from ARC and Improving Cities

Post by Alex » Sat Apr 14, 2018 03:44

I have mixed feelings about it. It would require reworking a number of release-candidate cards, like Elvish Ambush, Elvish Archer, Undead Archer, Forgiving Vampire, Dark Portal, Deadly Shock, Misled Goblin, and Lobotomized Library. This would dramatically affect the flavor and gameplay of Dark Legion cards especially, which use VP as a resource.

I'm not against the change hypothetically. I agree that it would offer many benefits. The problem is, who will revise the cards? A lot of cards have been created with VP in mind. At this point, I'm more keen to see the game officially released than make this change.

With all that said, here is a possible solution: "Damage to a player may be redirected to any city that player controls. If a city you control would be destroyed, you may pay 5 victory points to regenerate it instead. If a player's VP reaches 0, that player does not lose the game."

Even still, this is not a minor change and would require a lot of additional playtesting, and might still require reworking cards. I think I'm ultimately against this just because of the excessive backtracking it would require.
Alex
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 20:24

Re: Removing VP from ARC and Improving Cities

Post by Alex » Tue Apr 24, 2018 23:51

I have to admit, after playtesting a few more times, I've changed my mind about this. I think it would likely be worth the investment to simplify the game.

Dark Legion cards can interact with a city's health instead of VP. Cards that do direct damage to a player can do direct damage to a city instead.
ngoeminne
Posts: 268
Joined: Mon Feb 29, 2016 15:34

Re: Removing VP from ARC and Improving Cities

Post by ngoeminne » Wed Apr 25, 2018 19:06

Hi Alex,

Alex wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 23:51
I have to admit, after playtesting a few more times, I've changed my mind about this. I think it would likely be worth the investment to simplify the game.

Dark Legion cards can interact with a city's health instead of VP. Cards that do direct damage to a player can do direct damage to a city instead.
Yep that's what I tought, change 'player' to 'target city' and you're done with it.

Kind regards,
Nico
ngoeminne
Posts: 268
Joined: Mon Feb 29, 2016 15:34

Re: Removing VP from ARC and Improving Cities

Post by ngoeminne » Fri Apr 27, 2018 17:47

Hi folks,

As suggested by Louis I went ahead and removed VP from the rules. I updated the cards of the release candidates so that they do not refer to VP's any longer.

I also changed the city cards defense points into X. And suggest in the rules that players agree upon a staring point (being 10 by default).

I also corrected the 'Farmland' being overpowered, as used resource cards are destroyed now. (Also suggested by Louis)

btw, Santi's back on creating artwork.

Cheers,
Nico
Alex
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 20:24

Re: Removing VP from ARC and Improving Cities

Post by Alex » Sun Apr 29, 2018 21:29

I also corrected the 'Farmland' being overpowered, as used resource cards are destroyed now.
Oh, good! I'd been meaning to bring this up. Before the red/black deck could not ever win against the green one. I'll test out this change.
Desttinghim
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2016 08:36
Location: Utah

Re: Removing VP from ARC and Improving Cities

Post by Desttinghim » Wed May 02, 2018 19:37

Hey, sorry it has been a while. I've been moving around and I have not managed to set up a playgroup to do any more testing of Arcmage.
Alex wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 23:51
I have to admit, after playtesting a few more times, I've changed my mind about this. I think it would likely be worth the investment to simplify the game.

Dark Legion cards can interact with a city's health instead of VP. Cards that do direct damage to a player can do direct damage to a city instead.
This is the most straightforward way to go. The flavor seems a little weird, but I agree that it is worth the investment to simplify the game.
ngoeminne wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 17:47
As suggested by Louis I went ahead and removed VP from the rules. I updated the cards of the release candidates so that they do not refer to VP's any longer.
Cool, I'll have to print those out and playtest sometime.
ngoeminne wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 17:47
I also changed the city cards defense points into X. And suggest in the rules that players agree upon a staring point (being 10 by default).
I'm not sure how this will affect the game. It wasn't quite what I meant, but it could work. What I was meaning was that 10 be the starting point for designers, and adding more or taking away some could be used to balance the individual cities.
ngoeminne wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 17:47
I also corrected the 'Farmland' being overpowered, as used resource cards are destroyed now. (Also suggested by Louis)
This could work, though I would suggest making it a may so that the player can decide if they want to blow up their resources for short-term gain. I would word the card like this: "Your Gaian resource cards have: Mark, Sacrifice this card: add 2 Gaian resources to the resource pool."

Or maybe not. That's a very M:tG way to word it.
ngoeminne wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 17:47
btw, Santi's back on creating artwork.
Awesome!



I should say that I did quite a bit of playtesting and talking a while ago with a friend of mine. I have a bunch of ideas written down and a prototype deck for goblins/orcs made up. The friend that I am talking about was very eager to push the game away from being a "magic clone." A lot of our focus went into (1) making the cities better and (2) making a goblin/orc deck with a focus on speed and numbers. I don't have time to go through all the notes I wrote down but here are a few of them:
  • Farmland had 8 Defense Points and it's Level 2 was changed to: Place a 0/1 plant token into play as my resident. It has "[M]: Add 1 Gaian resource to your resource pool."
  • Spirit Tree has 10 Defense Points
  • New city: Goblin Warren. Level 2: Put a 1/1 Red Banner Goblin Creature token into your army tapped. Level 5: Put a 3/3 Red Banner Orc Creature token into your army tapped.
  • This one is a little whacky but I like it. A new thematic subtype of unit (affectionately called "Idiots") that will automatically create problems in any city it is in, the idea being that you move it into an enemies city to wreak havoc. In general the idea of having units go into enemy seems like a good way to shake things up in this genre.
There's more (and plenty of it is just theorycrafting), but that's all I'm ready to write at the moment.
ngoeminne
Posts: 268
Joined: Mon Feb 29, 2016 15:34

Re: Removing VP from ARC and Improving Cities

Post by ngoeminne » Wed May 02, 2018 20:36

Hi Louis,

Just glad to see you back :-)
Desttinghim wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 19:37
This one is a little whacky but I like it. A new thematic subtype of unit (affectionately called "Idiots") that will automatically create problems in any city it is in, the idea being that you move it into an enemies city to wreak havoc. In general the idea of having units go into enemy seems like a good way to shake things up in this genre.
I love it. I was trying to make a red banner only deck and came up with a burn deck (called Ablaze, I hate it).
This idea is taking the "Shadow in the dark" and evolving it further.
Desttinghim wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 19:37
I would suggest making it a may so that the player can decide if they want to blow up their resources for short-term gain. I would word the card like this: "Your Gaian resource cards have: Mark, Sacrifice this card: add 2 Gaian resources to the resource pool."
That's way better phrasing than I could come up with, altough its a bit .... MTG like....
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