AoT Dev: Update 3
In my last forum post, I spoke about the not-so-democratic politics of Heraldsham, the home of the city of Bleakpyre and setting for Amulet of Thrayax – you can find that post here.
In today’s post, I’ll be providing you with an update on the progress of the game…
With Amulet of Thrayax our first major project, Vincent and I learned the hard way that before you start working on the art, you should have the mechanics and graphic design of the game locked in place (something I still subject him to to this day!).
Getting the new build ready is doubly important, because we also can’t make the new prototypes without the new updates implemented and any essential art ready. As a result, I’m currently averaging four group playtests a week, and planning to keep that pace for the foreseeable as we start to enter pre-launch territory.
This has led to some great leaps in balancing the game, and locking in the changes I’ve been making. In particular, this week I’ve been testing a range of improvements, including two major ones – 1), Nobles being the only way to score and having different point values on their reverse, and 2), the introduction of Actions.
What costs an Action:
– Moving 1 District
– Playing a card (meaning you’re no longer limited to playing just two cards per turn)
– Placing your Infiltrator (which now sits on the board and is used to look at Noble’s values in that District – their points ranging from a common 6, to a unique 14)
– Placing an Indebted Noble
– Placing an Inconvenience
This new mechanic means players are required to think about how many Peasants they are earning and spending each turn, whilst also planning out in which order they enact their plans. Playtesters have noted that whilst Peasants no longer contribute to the end of game score, they’ve now become as important as Nobles in terms of planning out their strategies.
If you remember, at the start of the month I mentioned that the cards were changing to help move the strategy from luck of the draw, to the situation on the board. The original idea – a hand of five cards, with three outcomes on each card (one always doable, one location dependent, and one amulet dependent) – sounded great on paper, but in practice, actually took the game further in the wrong direction.
With the addition of Actions, the cards themselves no longer needed such a drastic change, just the way they were drawn and used. Now, at the end of your turn, you can choose to discard as many cards as you like from your hand, and then one by one you can draw up to your hand size from either deck. This means you are in control of whether you want a balanced hand, or want to prioritise either Murder or Counter cards for a turn.
The current cards have changed, with the Outcomes reduced to two and a clear function for each card. With Actions possibly costing Peasants, I also included a Peasant price for certain, more powerful Outcomes:
So far, the new cards and the new rules have created a really exciting version of the game – where Players have more control and are more cautious, generally requiring more than one turn to harvest the Noble they want. Players can still engage in take-that, but it is done in a far more strategic way.
With the introduction of Actions, there was a chance it might slow the game down, but actually it has had the reverse effect, meaning the default Rounds in a game will likely increase. Veteran players of the game has said that this version of Amulet is their best experience so far.
Oh, and for anyone worried that we might be losing the wackiness and chaos that some people love about the game, don’t forget the cult specific abilities will be the next thing to be added in, which will keep that element of madness.
All in all, I’m really happy with where the game is now headed, and that brings us to my final update…
I’m excited to say that the pre-launch Kickstarter page is on the horizon!
There are a number of small things that need to resolved before it goes up, but I can confirm it is incoming. I’ll be banging my drum and posting its arrival on all of our platforms, including here.
For this campaign I will be utilising far more previewers and reviewers, and have a long list of reviewers who I plan to reach out to, or have already reached out to me.
If you are a reviewer/previewer, and you’d be interested in playing the game and posting a video or article about it, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – you can email [email protected].
THANKS FOR READING
If you’ve reached this point, thank you so much – it’s very warming to know that you’re reading (and hopefully enjoying) these posts.
If you’d like to stay in touch, here are all the platforms you can find us on if you aren’t already part of our growing community:
On a more somber note, I’d like to give a special mention to Mike, AKA Gae Bolga, a friend who recently and suddenly passed away. He embodied everything good about the LARP community and will be missed by myself and everyone else who knew him.
As always, your support is much appreciated and catch you next time.