January 7, 2012

The Rules to Witchcraft plus Hyperbole

A week or so ago I wrote a post about my design progress on what was then known as Witch Trial. You can read it here. Since then, my brain has been very busy. I've answered many questions and I was able to draft a first pass set of Rules for the game. I was quite pleased with the rules immediately -- the game felt good, sound, tight, and interesting. This is a feeling I never gained from Frontier Scoundrels, but one I did have from Farmageddon. That's a good thing, to me.

I also created the character of the Witch, Abby Farnsworth, and mentioned it in a tweet. A co-worker of mine (who just so happens to be a designer) commented that I may have a name, and indeed I did. The game is now known as Poor Abby Farnsworth: A Salem Witch Trial.

Finally, I sent the rules to four peers, two of whom managed to find the time to provide me with excellent feedback. Thanks to Phil Kilcrease and AJ Porfirio for their time! I took full advantage of it.

I have not had a few hours to unplug to design the Objection and Evidence cards, though I plan to do that tonight or tomorrow. Nevertheless, I have a strong feeling that Poor Abby Farnsworth will eventually become a completed, fun game.

For those of you interested, here are the current full rules for Poor Abby Farnsworth. It is a dice and card based deckbuilding game for two players. I hope you take a chance to read them and share your thoughts. I feel like there's a solid core and a good foundation upon which to I can create fantastic content.


As a final note, a month or so ago I hired a friend of mine to design a logo and website for me. I plan to migrate all of my design blog posts there and use the site as a basis for all my design efforts. Note my focus on design. I don't intend to join the ranks of independent board game publishers. I don't think I have the know-how or talent for such a thing, so I'll leave that to those more clever than I.

The logo is nearing completion and I think we have a nearly final candidate. My friend managed to design something that I think is simple, sharp, and makes me laugh.  I wanted to share it. The site will be HyperboleGames.com.


DeadlyAccurate said...

That's an awesome logo. Your friend is very talented.

Nolan said...

I finally got around to reading the rules. It certainly sounds interesting, and I think that you captured the theme well.

A few thoughts:
* During the Present Evidence phase, I thought that the evidence type would determine which juror you could place influence tokens on. I'm guessing that you did it the way you did because it's possible that one evidence type could potentially be useless with the right mix of jurors? I guess it's never completely useless with the set scoring.
* Thematically, it seems odd that it's possible to have control over none of the jurors, but still win with sets of evidence. Maybe it's not mathematically possible.
* Speaking of the sets, can a single piece of evidence be scored in both a pair and a set of three unique? I.e., if you have 3xA, 2xB, and 1xC, is it only 7 points for AA and ABC; or is it 9 for AA, BB, and ABC?
* I want to see Objections as a way to stop the other player from doing something or lessen the effect of something they do -- i.e., something you do on their turn. They present evidence and you yell "OBJECTION!", slam the card down, and take glee in the fact that they don't get the full benefit of their action.:)
* Lastly, I'm not as concerned about the dice + draw deck randomness as I was earlier. It seems that hand management is probably more important than deck management. However, you have to be okay with the fact that a string of (un)lucky rolls could still sway the game. Say one player doesn't have to use a lot of influence cards to take useful actions. He is free to use his influence tokens to add influence tokens to the jurors. If the other player is constantly needing his influence cards to take useful actions, he is falling behind. In practice, it might not be as noticeable, but in the end you are forcing a player to decide between augmenting dice and scoring points. If they don't have to augment the dice, it's an easy decision. If they do, especially if they have to do it often, it could be frustrating if it causes them to fall behind.

As for the logo: sweet. I laughed. It's awesome.

Grant said...

Nolan -- Great comments. I appreciate the time you took. Here are some answers!

Comment 1: Set scoring makes it not useless. Also, since I wrote the rules, I've evolved the evidence slightly. There are the three Evidence types (Spiritual, Physical, Hearsay). Each type has cards played in 3 ways. Play in front of you. This is a permanent card that gives you a bonus of some sort. Play to discard. This is your typical deckbuilding mechanic where you play it for its one turn benefit, then it goes back to be shuffled and used again. Finally, the play to control juror card. You use these to target jurors and gain control of them.

This makes it so that, in addition to stack scoring, there's always a reason for all three decks. The three decks have a focus, which is Deck Manipulation, Countering your Opponent, and Increasing your Influence/Scoring potential.

Using all three well and having a balance will allow for stronger combos (I hope!).

Comment 2: Yes. I'll probably have a rule where if you don't control any jurors, you cannot win. It *should* be mathematically impossible as well.

Comment 3: One use only. I've actually added an example for this specific case in the updated rules (Not yet publicly posted).

Comment 4: Objections used to be for player counter moves. Now, they are going to be a way for players to choose how to modify a rule in a global fashion. The idea is that one player can activate an Objection that benefits him more than his opponent. Still fleshing this one out.

Comment 5: I think as the game moves on, the dice will play less of a role. I think that will somewhat lessen your concern. On the other hand, they need to still matter if they exist, so I'll probably tie them in more into the content. That will probably update as I test the game.

Thanks on the logo, that was the hope! I'll share the final one shortly!