Introducing the game (Part II)
Updated: Oct 27, 2020
So, in the previous post, I've started to describe the rough foundations of the game we are developing, and I'm quite happy about the positive feed I've received from you!
Obviously, I can't consider statistically relevant the positive impression of about ten (handsome, that is statistically sure) followers of our community, but you know, sometimes it's important to enjoy even small things and use them as fuel for self-motivation!
So, without further delay, let's go more into detail of this embryonic glimpse of our game.
As I anticipated, my first goal is to create a game with simple (but not simplistic) mechanics, and indeed I had to bang my head against the wall many and many times, before finding something enough easy to learn, but also enough interesting to play.
During the first draws, I learned that it's easy to lose the right path, in search of easy mechanics: the main risk is to create something that depends too much on the die result, having a game where victory is only a matter of who throws more dice, or who is "able" to have better dice results!
On the other hand, when I tried to add more realistic factors in-game, I gained only a too much brainy game, in which before making a simple melee attack, players should calculate too many variables: nothing against accountants, but I don't want a game that requires a math degree, to be played.
So, after several tries, I came out with a quite easy structure that, in my opinion, is easy to learn but that doesn't castrate the game experience and my main goal: a game where players feel to have the control over the dice results.
As you may imagine, this is easy to say, but difficult to apply, and I hope that after reading the first mechanics of the game, you won't think "this guy is stupid".
THE CORE OF THE GAME
According to tradition, my game will be divided into rounds, too.
However, instead of creating a classic system where the two (or more) players have each their own round (so: round of the player A who activates his/her characters, then a round of the player B and so on...), my game has a single round, where both players activate their characters, alternating their activation (so: player A activates one of his/her characters, then player B activates one of his/her characters and so on, 'till both have activated all their characters).
There are two reasons behind this idea of mine:
1) I want to give the game a rapid pace and make the interaction between players more dynamic.
2) I want to avoid that a player has to wait too much, before being able to actively play.
In my past gaming experience, I really hated to wait for 10-20 minutes, before being able to play: ok, I had so much time to deeply think (or overthink!) about my next moves, but I think that a game where players don't have to stay 10-20-30 minutes only watching their opponents playing, it's funnier.
So, for these reasons, Into the Quest has an alternate structure.
As in many skirmish games, the core of the game is the activation phase of characters: for each round, a character may be activated once and during its activation, it can activate its Actions to actively interact with the game itself (so much acting!*).
For each activation round, a character has 3 Action Points to spend and to activate an Action, it must spend a single Action Point, again: a very traditional system.
Obviously, at the end of the activation phase, unused Action Points are simply lost (they do not accumulate).
There are three types of Actions: Common, Special and Combo actions.
Common Actions are, as the name itself clearly suggests, available for each character in-game, and represents those actions that almost any living being is able to perform: to move, to run, to use a weapon, to search for treasures, to regain strength.
Special Actions, on the other hands, are not available to any character, but they are specific actions that only specific characters can have (for example, Iron Crows characters can choose their Special Actions from their own list of Actions or from the generic Dwarf list, but can't choose Actions from the Bluecoat or generic Elf list).
Players can choose up to 4 Special Actions for each character.
Special Actions add lore flavour and unique mechanics to the game, in fact a lot of the uniqueness of Into the Quest is brought in-game by Special Actions: there is a Special Iron Crows Action that allows Iron Crow characters, for example, to unleash their Imperial Crows all around the board and gain significant bonuses to the line of sight, while Disciples of Vidarr, as you may easily imagine, have Special Actions that, when activated, really improve their (already impressive) melee-effectiveness, 'till literally transforming them into savage beasts!
In my mind, building your character by choosing the right assortment of Special Actions, according to your strategy, is probably the first step towards victory!
Then, there are the Combo Actions. Before going on, let me anticipate you that this type of Actions is still under investigation: I fear that they could make the game a bit brainy or complicated, but before deciding their fate, after a dedicated and intense playtest, let's talk a bit about them.
Into the Quest is a game where the movement and the wise interaction with the board and its scenic elements (I will talk about them in the next post) is crucial. The board is relatively small, and to enjoy properly the game, I will encourage you to fill it with scenic elements (don't worry, I have big plans for them, including a free-to-print version of scenic elements, specifically designed for our game).
In my ideal Into the Quest match, your characters should quickly move all around the board, overcoming obstacles, avoiding any kind of traps, climbing high surfaces to gain the higher ground (which gives you bonuses to ranged attacks) etc.
Many of these interactions will require to pass an Agility test, which represents the difficulty to perform such tiring moves!
The two Combo Actions I've imagined are meant to help the active character to interact with the board more easily, involving two characters (the "Helper" and the "Active character"):
1) With the first Combo Action ("Hop!"), the Helper can help its comrade to overcome an obstacle/climb a vertical surface, allowing the active characters to perform its move without having to pass the Agility test.
2) With the second Combo Action ("Toss me!"), the Helper can literally throw a comrade, giving it not only extra movement but allowing it (with a bit of luck!) to overcome obstacles!
Combo Actions, like Common Actions, can be activated by any character in-game, with a single, I think obvious, limitation: the Helper character must have the same size, or bigger size, than the Active character (indeed it would be difficult for a puny goblin, to toss a huge Troll!).
As mentioned before, Combo Actions are still not definitively approved, so let me know if this idea sounds interesting to you, or just too complicated.
No matter the type of Action you want to activate, a character can activate an Action only once per Activation: so you won't be able, for example, to spend 2 Action Points to activate "Run!" two times.
At this point, you surely have noticed that the Activation phase is not for irresolute players (like me...): your character has plenty of options to choose from, but it can pick only 3 of them per round and can't duplicate its choices!
I think that, in this way, players are encouraged to really think about what to do in a strategical way, possibly one/two rounds in advance. During the first draws I tried, for example, a 4 Action Points system, but I noticed that it was too easy to regularly perform complex and highly effective combos of actions. I tried also a system without the limitation "you can activate an Action only once per round", and it was a mess, with characters that, by investing 3 points to activate 3 "Run!" actions, could go across the board in a single round or characters that, in melee, could easily crush their opponents activating their attacks 3 times in a row.
The actual system is, in my opinion, more balanced and tactical.
That's enough for today
I don't want to overload your brain with too many details, above all because a wall of text is not ideal to keep things easy to understand, so that's enough for today.
As you've seen, the core of this game is quite easy and simple, with a linear structure. Of course, these are only the main rules, there are minor (but important) details that will influence the specific situations of the game (for example: "who starts first?" or "how to manage the alternated activation round when a player controls more characters than the other one?") but I think that for now, it's better not to put too much meat on the grill.
I really can't wait to show you more details about the game I'm developing, above all the Special Actions that I've created for the miniatures we have already sculpted (I don't want to seem too arrogant, but the Goiko Demon Hunter special actions are so much fun, including a wide amount of secret techniques, each belonging to one of the most renowned Goiko clans!).
In the next post, I will talk about one of the most important elements of the game: the scenic elements (and how to interact with them!).
*don't worry, rules will be written clearly and in proper English.