Just in case I don’t get time online this weekend, I wanted to post a quick summary of where I’m at with DS comments.
To start with, I’d like to say a big thank you for all your comments both here, on the Kickstarter, and on the Mantic blog. Loads of useful and interesting thoughts and suggestions for me to consider. I haven’t had a chance to answer all of them individually, though I have read all the ones posted here and on the forum (I try but can’t keep up with the KS!). Please do carry on posting your thoughts.
It seems to me that the comments mainly fall into two related themes. The first is that you want more detail, and the second is that some people don’t think the current structure allows for enough expansion.
I’m here to tell you that I agree: what you see in the bare bones of the Alpha does indeed need more detail, and the current structure needs a small amount of expansion (though I would argue that it does not need to be fundamentally changed). The question is where do these changes go. The answer is largely in the Advanced rules.
My thinking is probably best illustrated with an example:
I think that the fixed turn structure of move then act is fine for the Core game. It allows turns to be done quickly whilst still allowing for some tactics, planning and discussion. My current approach for the Advanced game is to essentially give each model 2 actions in a turn, and not allow any single action to be repeated. Moving would become a type of action. This is similar to Deadzone, and works fine there. I have also thought of a few ways to improve on that basic principle.
This expanded and more flexible approach to the turn structure comes at a cost in time. With more options comes more thinking time to consider them, and though each turn may not add a lot it does mount up over the course of a whole game. This is doubly true when you have co-operative play as there are more options for others to suggest and discuss. This additional time isn’t really something I want to include in the Core game as that needs to remain a quick and simple game you can pick up and play (ideally) in under an hour (for all but the largest of the scenarios).
This sort of simpler, but tweaked change is the sort of variation you can expect between the two approaches. The Core is defined and less variable than the Advanced, and by being this it is also quicker to play and leaves less room for question, confusions and misinterpretation. This is the difference between a game you want to pick up and get straight into, and one where you dig around in the detail of designing bespoke adventures, managing experience and so on. Both are equally valid, but both need different approaches.
Thanks again for your comments, and do keep them coming 🙂
PS: did you notice this tease on the last Kickstarter update:
“Speaking of playability, it would be nice to add some great new game modes to Dungeon Saga, wouldn’t it? We’re building up to a milestone $300,000 and we’ve got something we think you’ll like lined up.”