Build Your Own Heroes

The latest update announced a rather exciting upgrade to the Advanced rules if we get to $600k: build your own Heroes. This is a big expansion and one that I’m really excited about. It’s certainly something I’ve been itching to get included, and I’m very happy to see it on the near horizon, fast approaching. 

Obviously this means you can pick from a wide variety of races, professions, stats, feats and so on. That’s not where it stops. It also means being able to choose what kind of Dwarf fighter you have – there’s more than one. The whole process can also be merged nicely into the progression tracks and options for the Heroes so that they advance logically along the path you set out of them at their “birth”. 

Naturally, balancing this will be a challenge. However, the wider array of abilities and specialisms I can get into the rules the less it’s about being a direct comparison between one Hero and another, and more about how to assemble a group of Heroes whose unique abilities complement each other best. Adventuring parties won’t want several duplicates, they’ll want a group of highly skilled individuals. 

And yes, all these rules apply to both evil Heroes and Monstrous Heroes too. No reason they should miss out on all the fun, and no reason to stick to “good” Heroes and “bad” Monsters :)

So what sort of options do you want to see when you generate your Heroes?


Posted in Dungeon Sagas, Kickstarter | 72 Comments

DZ FAQ Tomorrow

I’ve done some work on the DZ FAQ today and would like to do some more on it tomorrow. Rather than putting up two updates within 24 hours of each other (and confusing everyone) I’m going to do a slightly larger one tomorrow.

I know I said I’d put it up today, but I think this makes more sense.

Thanks for your patience.

Posted in Deadzone, FAQ | 2 Comments

Bad Guy AI In Dungeon Sagas

753ac589e0aa4aa66c5b475a7cc1c194_largeI’ve had a few questions about this, mostly focussing on whether the different factions in the expansion packs will have different AI behaviour or not.

The answer is simple: yes, they will.

Don’t worry about that. Goblins will be sneaky and cowardly, zombies will be dumb, the guy at the top of the page will be burny. It would be strange if they weren’t.

I’m not entirely sure how this will work in detail, so I can’t tell you for sure yet. However, I can say that I won’t be happy with AI being the same for everything. Getting the character of the different races in there is important. Essential, in fact. For me, being able to add more character into the faction is the main benefit of an AI deck. Might as well turn that one up to 11 ;)

MortibrisNow there are a number of approaches I can try for this. Some involve more stats, most involve being clever with cards. (Well, the latter could be replaced with tables in the book, though I think that’s a second best option.)

At the core is likely to be a deck of cards to turn one/some of when it is the AI’s go. This will define its reaction(s). At least, this will be the core piece of working out its reaction(s). The clever bit is in how the different types of model interact with the different cards, and this is where the important design choices come in. It’s tempting to get complex with this, and so I’ll be resisting that urge and searching for a more elegant way to get varied behaviours into a simple process. Having just done zombie and Martian AIs for Deadzone and Mars Attacks I have an idea of what I want to do here. The DS AI is rather more complex than either of those systems in what it needs to simulate as they were both monocultural systems. Still, they were useful practice.

In order to decide which if the options fits best I’ll try several on the table. There’s no substitute for playing these things through. And, being AI, I can always be sure of an opponent when I need to test something ;)

Posted in Dungeon Sagas, Kickstarter | 19 Comments

Numbers Always Lie

Ben dug out an interesting report on the value of gaming as a whole (in the US). It’s interesting stuff.

For me, the most troubling thought is not that CCGs are worth almost twice the total of other types of gaming put together (though that does trouble me). No, for me the most sobering notion comes when you compare those numbers to this report.

Can you say “niche”?

Posted in The Business of Games | 15 Comments

A Brief DS Alpha Update

I’ve been a bit overrun with various craziness for the last week, so haven’t posted as much as I’d like. The following is a sort of roundup of answers to common questions. There’s so much discussion and suggestions on the FAQ page (thank you everyone!) that my answers are getting lost. This should make things easier to find.


Dungeon Sagas Alpha Update 1

  • Doors
    • The Necromancer cannot open doors.
    • When you are smashing a door, it cannot outnumber the Hero and Heroes cannot outnumber doors.
    • Doors do not suffer the modifier for being attacked from behind.
  • Piles of Bones (PoB)
    • A model (from either side) can stand on top of a PoB. A PoB cannot be used to resurrect a model if a model is standing on top of it.
    • PoBs are removed when they are used to resurrect a Skeleton Warrior (whether the model survives or not).
    • PoBs always produce a Skeleton Warrior, regardless of what may have crumbled to leave the PoB. I may be able to include different “flavours” of PoB later that can raise different things. But that’s for later.
    • PoBs can stack on top of each other in the same square.
  • Scenarios
    • In all scenarios, the Necromancer cannot have more than 4 Skeleton Warriors on the board at one time. Mortibris really has better things to be doing than faffing about with Skeletons. He’s trying to decipher the Book of Valedor so he can conquer the world!
    • If a scenario has a set of doors, place the tiles with the Heroes on and all tiles on their side of the doors. Place any models and counters on these tiles. Do not place any tiles or models that lie beyond the closed doors.
    • Models that lie on the other side of a closed door are not in play.
    • The Journeys are not intended to be balanced. They are training scenarios designed primarily to give you practice with the core mechanics. This worked better when the battle was lopsided. Don’t worry if the Necromancer struggles a bit. He’ll have his revenge!
  • Dwarf Feat
    • He may still take Free Strikes while using his Feat. 
  • Outnumbered
    • A model is outnumbered if it is in the front arc of more than one standing enemy model.
  • Range Rulers
    • The short one measures 4.5 inches.
    • The long one measures 8.5 inches.
    • Width isn’t critical.
    • Spells say which one they use.
    • Bows use the long ruler.
  • Shooting
    • You can shoot a model that is adjacent to an enemy model, assuming you have a clear line to see it.
  • Feet of Stone
    • A model with this spell effect on them still has a front arc and may still make Free Strikes as normal.
    • The negative modifier for this spell does not apply when resisting Burn.
  • Wizard Feat
    • Cast any two different spells (either Minor or Major).
  • Necro cards
    • Cards that allow you to act with a number of models also allow you to raise Piles of Bones. Each PoB counts as 1 model for these purposes.
    • You cannot interrupt the Heroes before one has had a Turn.
    • You can raise a Skeleton as an interrupt and then act with that model during a subsequent interrupt or your turn. You may not raise and act with a model in the same interrupt/turn.
  • Break Away
    • This is a consequence of a model’s movement, not a separate action.

In addition to this I need to update the Hero cards as I’ve been improving them. That will be in a later post.

There have also been a lot of more general comments about adding detail in various ways. I’ll just point you at my previous answer to this.

Posted in Dungeon Sagas, FAQ, Kickstarter | 71 Comments

Is There An Echo?

It may be my imagination, but it seems to me that the backers of the Dungeon Sagas Kickstarter are a chattier bunch than normal. Or, if not chattier, perhaps more wordy. Now I’m the last person to suggest that this is a bad thing: my posts are routinely long blocks of text. However, it’s interesting to see the difference in you guys.

In theory, I would expect there to be differences in the audience for, say, Deadzone and Kings of War, so it’s not surprising. However, I’d have been hard pressed to guess how that difference might have manifested itself in terms of comments. This morning though, I’ve been going through the last couple of week’s posts , trying to catch up on answering all the comments (I’ll be doing that for a little while longer too). The amount of people who have written long and well-considered suggestions and thoughts just seemed pleasingly and unusually high :)

Like I said, maybe it’s all in my imagination. Maybe I’ve just been staring at a screen too long and I’m hallucinating. What does anyone else think? Different crowd? Different tone?

Posted in Dungeon Sagas, Random Thoughts | 148 Comments

Live Dungeon Sagas Interview Tonight

FyD posterFrom 6.30pm UK time (7.30pm CET) tonight I’ll be doing another one of those Google hangouts thingamajigs live on Youtube. If you’re in a different timezone then there’s a handy countdown timer on there so you can see how long you have to wait.

If you can make it during the interview then I’ll be happy to answer questions. Just post them in the comments under the video or here. I expect that if you can’t make it during the live broadcast it will be etherically immortalised so you can listen to us natter at your leisure.

The interview will be with the crazy Spanish gamers at Forja y Desván who seem to spend their lives interviewing some gamer or other. You can check out their Facebook page or YouTube channel for more.

See you then :)

Posted in Dungeon Sagas, Kickstarter | 14 Comments