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  #61  
Old 12-09-2017, 10:53 AM
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turtle versus the Uberkobolds

This is one encounter that's getting toned back down. The Kobolds left him at death's door.

After some deliberation, I'm reducing the damage of Raging Blow and Smash by 1 each. Raging Blow is still abusable, but Smash is kind of a big deal, given that it's part of the Warrior's basic toolkit. This is part of an ongoing effort to make enemies survive a little bit longer, which is why the nerfs are hitting the Warrior and not the Ranger. I think the Warrior remains highly competitive given that Strike is the best guaranteed one-turn damage in the game. It only has Mind Probe to compete with, but both attacks are invaluable over the course of a normal game, whether it's as a guaranteed finisher or just getting the first hit on a Stone Golem.

Other mechanical changes:
  • Confusion goes from B3 for 2 damage to BX for X-1 damage. I already think Confusion is good, but now it's quite good, and it makes the Bard a credible damage dealer. He's still better used elsewhere most of the time, though, and that's good.
  • Precision Shot from *A A? to GA A?, Trick Shot from *A *A to GA *A. This is less about making these cards more difficult and more about making green cards relevant.
  • Rebuke from Y? Y? to Y? B?. This is again about shifting the relevance of these colors, though it has the side benefit of making Rebuke a bit more accessible.
  • Entangle from G? G? G? to B? G? G?. I mean, you're still not going to take it, but at least it's there.
  • Rally from R? to B?, and the base damage is now 2 instead of 1. It still struggles to keep up with Cheer, but it does perform better than Cheer alongside multihit attacks like Prismatic Missile and Rain of Arrows.

This is a relatively long list, and yet the adjustments are all very small at this point. The game is in a pretty good spot already.
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  #62  
Old 12-09-2017, 02:55 PM
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No buffs to Ms. Mage's tank knight?
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  #63  
Old 12-09-2017, 03:29 PM
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Buffs to everybody! Game still too easy.

Major bosses are now out for blood.
  • Stheno: Snake Swarm deals 4 damage to all party members, Constrict deals X+3 and stuns. Petrifying Gaze is still the real enemy of this battle.
  • Arion: Not that anyone's fought him, but he got similar buffs to Stheno.
  • Celia/Rowan: Celia's attacks go from (X+2, 4, X to all) to (X+4, 5, X+1 to all), and Rowan deals 4 damage per round. Celia's health bumped from 12 to 14. Rowan's health bumped from 23 to 25.
  • Memnes: Starts with 3 Zombies, and Animate Dead adds 3 more (was 2 and 2). Zombies deal 3 damage instead of 2. Arcane Assault deals 6 damage to two heroes (was X), Drain Life deals and heals X+2 (was X+2 and X). Memnes's health bumped from 22 to 24.

Minor bosses are a bit tougher.
  • Ninjas: You no longer discard an action card when you kill a ninja.
  • Witch: Curse of Weakness reduces damage by 2 (was 1). Curse of Cowardice forbids the hero from receiving action cards whose rank isn't more than twice their number of curses (instead of 1x the number of curses). Witch's health bumped from 23 to 26.
  • Myconid: Health bumped from 12 to 14.
  • Ambush might get scrapped. I pulled Summoner + Kobolds in my last game, and there's no way you'll be able to scrounge up that many spare cards. If you have an idea for another minor boss, this is your big chance.

Regular enemies get another round of buffs. Everyone hits a bit harder. Game might be possible to lose now.
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  #64  
Old 12-09-2017, 04:24 PM
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Hmm. I know Ninjas and Witch, but I've never actually seen the Myconid card. What does that boss even do?
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  #65  
Old 12-09-2017, 04:42 PM
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They create spores that can explode or combine into extra Myconids. They gave JBear a run for his money on his first run.
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  #66  
Old 12-09-2017, 04:54 PM
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Something that could be interesting for a minor boss is some kind of doppelganger or mimic that takes its action card from the Hero Deck. What would be real fun is if its attacks depended on the heroes that were fighting it, but that seems a bit complex.

Another idea that could work is a monster that attacks the Hero Deck. Something like "When this monster deals damage, the player must discard cards from the Hero Deck equal to the damage dealt at the start of their next Draw Phase." Not sure how that could work flavor-wise, though.
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  #67  
Old 12-09-2017, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aturtledoesbite View Post
Another idea that could work is a monster that attacks the Hero Deck. Something like "When this monster deals damage, the player must discard cards from the Hero Deck equal to the damage dealt at the start of their next Draw Phase." Not sure how that could work flavor-wise, though.
Maybe something like a wight or some other monster that saps strength?
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  #68  
Old 12-10-2017, 07:48 PM
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Early look at the Bard. Basically this is perfect. I can't imagine a better Bard.

Speaking of the Bard, I'm thinking of changing Inspiration to allow storing up to two cards. Our man doesn't really pull his weight until he learns something new, and it's not likely to change his late game much.
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  #69  
Old 12-11-2017, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
After some deliberation, I'm reducing the damage of Raging Blow and Smash by 1 each. Raging Blow is still abusable, but Smash is kind of a big deal, given that it's part of the Warrior's basic toolkit.
Aaaaaand suddenly Slime is super not worth fighting without Ranger until you get some kind of ability. Rather than rebalance everything else so that this encounter works slightly better for certain party combinations, I'm changing Slime's ability to bring the copy into play with two more damage than the original. You're still in for it if you're playing a solo game with Warrior-Bard-Paladin, but even that's still a lot better.

Before:
  • Warrior hits for 5. Slimes @ 7, 7
  • Warrior hits for 5. Paladin hits for 2. Slimes @ 7, 2
  • Warrior hits for 5. Paladin hits for 2. Slime @ 2
  • If the Slimes used Split or Recombine at any point, you'll wish you fled outright

After:
  • Warrior hits for 5. Slimes @ 7, 5
  • Warrior hits for 5. Slime @ 7
  • Warrior hits for 5. Paladin hits for 2. Slimes dead.

Of course, this is all best-case, but you take what you can get when you're running 2/3 support heroes. Getting the cards to line up for Rebuke and a 5-damage Smash is not easy, and you're punished much less by New Slime for failing to make that happen. (We're not even going to talk about Mage-Bard-Paladin. Let's forget that's a party combination that exists.)

The outlook is a lot better if you brought a Mage with your Warrior:
  • Warrior hits for 5. Mage hits for 3/3. Slime @ 7
  • Warrior hits for 4-5. Mage hits for 3/3. Slimes dead.

You'll need to get pretty lucky to make that happen, but at least you have a Paladin or Bard bringing up the rear.


So this is a great solution for the Rangerless, no-learned-ability Slime encounter, except that it makes the ability wording unnecessarily tricky:
Dissolution: When a Slime is dealt damage, add a copy of that Slime to the enemy group. Add 2 damage to the copy.
Hopefully, it's common sense that the damage added to the copy doesn't cause recursive Dissolution, but I added a note to the appendix as well.
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  #70  
Old 12-11-2017, 10:21 AM
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add a copy of that Slime, with an extra 2 damage added, to the enemy group?
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  #71  
Old 12-11-2017, 10:21 AM
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If you want to avoid having to rely on common sense, this wording could work?

"Dissolution: When a Slime is dealt damage, add a copy of that Slime to the enemy group with 2 additional damage."
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  #72  
Old 12-11-2017, 10:23 AM
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My only worry is that when I read "Add 2 damage"/"extra 2 damage added"/"2 additional damage", my first thought is that you mean that the new copy hits harder.

ETA: Dissolution: When a Slime is dealt damage, add a copy of that Slime to the enemy group with X-2 HP, where X = the original Slime's remaining HP after being dealt that damage.
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  #73  
Old 12-11-2017, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aturtledoesbite
Dissolution: When a Slime is dealt damage, add a copy of that Slime to the enemy group with 2 additional damage.
The big problem with this wording is that it's not clear what's the antecedent of the "with 2 additional damage" clause. You can figure it out by process of elimination -- there's no such thing as "the enemy group with 2 additional damage" -- but it's still less clear than...

Quote:
Originally Posted by YangusKhan
add a copy of that Slime, with an extra 2 damage added, to the enemy group?
And yet it's not obvious that this phrasing is any less awkward. To be maximally specific, we need something like...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBear View Post
ETA: Dissolution: When a Slime is dealt damage, add a copy of that Slime to the enemy group with X-2 HP, where X = the original Slime's remaining HP after being dealt that damage.
That's a lot of words, though, and the original text I posted barely fits in the box. There's precedent for bigger boxes and smaller text, but Dissolution isn't meant to be a fundamentally complicated ability!

Another possible workaround:
Dissolution: When a Slime takes damage, increase that damage by 1, then add a copy of the Slime to the enemy group.
This is much clearer, has more or less the same effect, and just barely fits the box. It also makes Mage-Paladin-Bard not completely infeasible. But is it better than just reducing the Slime's health to 10? If I use this wording, I'll probably also change Split to add a copy directly instead of using self-damage, which would be a great loss as far as I'm concerned -- no more suicide Slime strats.

The Moral: It's very difficult to be concise and clear on these cards, and there are many more ways to screw it up than to get it right.
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  #74  
Old 12-11-2017, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
If I use this wording, I'll probably also change Split to add a copy directly instead of using self-damage, which would be a great loss as far as I'm concerned -- no more suicide Slime strats.
The clear answer is to change Split to say "[Each Slime || The Slime with the highest HP] deals 0 damage to itself," counting on the +1 from Dissolution to boost it to real damage. Though I suppose that would get into "does 0 damage even count as damage" in the first place to trigger the +1.

(I forget whether it was one or all Slimes that split)


...Say, I'm wondering. As the card is now, where Split does 1 damage...if a Paladin Rebuked the Slime, would it hit itself for 0 and therefore fail to split?
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  #75  
Old 12-11-2017, 12:45 PM
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Yeah, so changing Split to zero damage would make it do nothing.

Also in "interesting Slime interactions": the Bard's Rally increases all damage dealt to the target it hits for the round, so you can Rally a Slime to make it deal 2 damage to itself. Under the new Slime rules, you take a Slime at 4 HP and hit it with Rally for 2, it attempts to clone but the clone dies, and then it kills itself with Split.

It's not the most practical strategy, but we're talking about Suicide Slime here.
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  #76  
Old 12-11-2017, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBear View Post
BTW, any thought to including a score guide of some nature? Just a vague indicator as to what a "good" score looks like, if nothing else. That was always my favourite part of Hanabi's instructions.
Meanwhile: This is a thing that has happened!
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  #77  
Old 12-11-2017, 08:56 PM
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Say hello to our fourth minor boss. I'm a little sad to see Ambush go -- if I weren't component-constrained, there would be five boss cards anyway, and Ambush would've made the cut. Cryohydra fills the bruiser role that was missing in the minor boss lineup, so we at least get a good new challenge out of the exchange as well as an interesting tradeoff implicit in Frostbreath.

I got a couple of opportunities to give the newly-balanced game a run today. The first go ended ignominiously when I lost a character before the first boss, but the second was a Hero-difficulty win that eked out a narrow victory with Warrior, Ranger, and Bard. I got Ninjas as my minor boss, teaching Critical to the Warrior, and managed to put three cards into the deck as fodder. I had Arion as the second boss, and I took him as a wild attack card, which let me defeat Stheno in two rounds. She didn't go down before taking the Ranger with her, though.

The difficulty is in a good spot now. I'm going to open the game for public playtesting later this week -- I just need to finish writing the "Hero Abilities" section of the rulebook and generate a low-ink version of the cards for the print-and-play crowd.
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  #78  
Old 12-12-2017, 06:04 AM
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Ooh, I like the hydra. Too bad you can't really fit a second half to Regeneration with something like "If the damage a Warrior deals would not defeat the Cryohydra, that damage is reduced to 1." to represent slashing weapons being a bad idea. :P
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  #79  
Old 12-13-2017, 09:59 AM
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Deck of Many Dungeons is now publicly available. The game is not final, but it is complete, and if you were hoping to play the game but don't have access to TTS, now's your chance.

I'm still looking for playtester feedback, and anyone who so much as tries to play the game will be immortalized in the credits.
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  #80  
Old 12-16-2017, 08:12 AM
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I managed to find a bit of free time and I read through the rule sheets. Here are my thoughts.

Quote:
The two sides of each Hero card are identical aside from the artwork. Place the remaining Hero card(s) aside -- they won’t be used this game. Set the Boss cards aside for now, too -- you’ll use them later (if you don’t die before then).
Flip an unused Hero card to the Damage Tracker side and place it near the center of the playing area. Place your Hero cards below and to the right of the Damage Tracker to show that they haven’t taken any damage.
This part confused me. At first I thought the front and back of the Hero cards are exactly the same, but the second paragraph implies the that back side is a damage tracker? Also it is kind of odd that you set aside the hero card and then use it in the next paragraph as the tracker. I feel like that could be worded better.

I think having the "Exploring the Dungeon" and "Damage Tracker" sections before the "Turn Overview" would cause the rules to read better. I thought I was going to get into the turn order explanations and instead learned about other game mechanics.

I like that you have the overview outline for how a turn progresses. I could see adding setup as the first step in the combat encounter list, especially since you have that as the first item under the combat encounter header. It also could be good to have all of the headings in the outline be represented in the descriptions below, by breaking the event encounters into the two headers you have in the outline.

Quote:
Event Encounters
Event encounters represent things that happen to your heroes as they travel through the dungeon. Sometimes, they represent dangers; other times, they’re opportunities.

Resolve
Follow the instructions on the card. If an event asks you to draw a card from the Hero Deck, use the suit of the card you drew to determine the outcome of the event, then shuffle that card back into the Hero Deck. All events affect only living heroes unless they explicitly state otherwise.
Some events allow you to choose whether to participate. Events with the text “If you choose to…” can be skipped entirely at your discretion; however, if you decide to use the event, you can’t later change your mind. In a two-player game, both players must agree to participate -- you can’t split the party.
Some events grant themselves or another card as spoils. Refer to Spoils on how to proceed. In most cases, when the event has resolved, you then place it in the Encounter Discard.

Discard the top card of the Encounter Deck
After resolving an event encounter, discard the top card of the Encounter Deck (to represent the time spent in the encounter) unless the event text instructs you not to discard an extra card. When an event instructs you to discard from the Encounter Deck, it is in addition to this.
In reading through the combat encounter rules, I really think that some visual aids would be helpful in showing the way cards are to be splayed. I also think having a diagram of an enemy card like you showed in this thread would be very helpful. (I'm aware that you might just be waiting on finished art, but better to not assume).

Quote:
Each hero is limited to using a single ability in each round of combat, and heroes that receive no cards can't use any abilities.
This just reads oddly to me. My suggestion would be:

Quote:
Each hero is limited to using a single ability in each round of combat. Heroes that are not assigned cards cannot use an ability.
For the hero's abilities part, I think you should include this line from the enemy phase part, but changed for the hero deck cards and abilities.

Quote:
If the ability description or cost includes X, the value of X is the rank of the Hero Deck Card.
I also think having an actual example of a hand and showing what cards would work with the Smash ability would be helpful. Something like:

Quote:
Bobby has the cards 1 Water, 3 Fire, and 3 Earth in his hand. Bobby want to use the Smash ability, which as seen in the sample ability above, requires 2 cards of the same rank in any suit. In order to use the Smash ability, Bobby must assign the 3 Fire and 3 Earth to the Warrior, as they match in rank. Assigning the 1 Water instead of 3 Fire or 3 Earth would render Bobby unable to use the Smash ability. Smash deals X damage to the target of Bobby's choice. In this example, Smash would deal 3 damage since the two cards assigned are of rank 3.
I think the ranger arrow icon also could use an example as well. You could include them both in a little example encounter. The line about <arrow icon> costs is really confusing. My suggestion would be something like

Quote:
If an ability cost has the <arrow icon> as the suit, the assigned card must have the same suit as the stored card. If the ability cost has the <arrow icon> as the rank, the assigned card must have the same rank as the stored card.
In the cleanup part, it says you start with the draw phase for the next round of combat, but earlier in the fleeing phase it says you can flee after any round of combat, which is before the draw phase in the turn order.

I don't understand how the Boss encounter works if you are in the middle of another encounter when the deck runs out. I get that it waits until the encounter ends, but its not clear if you reshuffle the deck again after finishing the previous encounter but before starting the boss encounter. Some clarity on that would be very good.

Overall I feel like I understand how this game is played, but I also was spoiled a little bit by reading your previous posts. I'd be happy to read through it again if you decide to make any revisions. I hope this feedback is helpful.
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  #81  
Old 12-16-2017, 08:24 AM
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Those are very helpful comments! With all of the revisions the game has gone through, I knew I was going to miss changing a thing or two. Your clarifications are good ideas, too.
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  #82  
Old 12-16-2017, 10:36 AM
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I've updated the rules based on your suggestions. I decided to move only "Using the Damage Tracker" before the Overview, since the "Exploring the Dungeon" section expands on the first bullet of the Overview. I haven't added diagrams or additional card breakdowns yet, but I imagine I'll have to do that at some point.

Let me know how you'd like to be credited. I really appreciate you taking the time to do this.
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  #83  
Old 12-26-2017, 01:39 PM
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Changin' Things:
  • Kobolds changed again:
    • Pack Attack from "Each Kobold deals 2 damage" to "The X Kobolds with the least damage each deal 2 damage."
    • Furious Reprisal from "The two weakest Kobolds each deal 3 damage" to "Each Kobold deals 5-X damage, where X is the number of undamaged Kobolds."
    Moral: it is hard to balance a five-monster encounter. I'm happy with this version now, since Pack Attack remains threatening without usually being overwhelming, while Furious Reprisal is very manageable.
  • Prismatic Missile from "B? G? P? R?: For each card used to pay for this attack, X damage, where X is the card's rank" to "B? G? P? R?: 5 damage. 4 damage. 3 damage. An enemy damaged by the final attack of Prismatic Missile deals 1 less damage on each attack this round."

    Prismatic Missile was overwhelmingly strong. The last time you saw the game, it was doing X+1 damage per card, and it was one-shotting bosses. 12 damage for 4 cards gives it the same damage-to-card ratio as Magic Missile, which is already better than it sounds given that Magic Missile's 6 damage for 3 cards is the most efficient basic ability (aside from Aimed Shot, which takes an extra round), but I decided to add the Rebuke-style damage reduction as a little bonus. New Prismatic Missile doesn't care about card ranks, so this might still be too good. Needs testing.
  • Intervention from "G? G? Y?" to "G3 Y3." Effect unchanged: "Remove 2 damage from one hero. That hero cannot be targeted or damaged by enemy attacks this round."

    I'm always reluctant to make healing cheaper, but the side effect on Intervention doesn't really justify it being a harder-to-cast Minor Heal. New Intervention is actually quite a bit harder to cast, but it's a much easier pill to swallow at two cards rather than three. As with Bless and Minor Heal, this is the sort of ability that you're going to use anytime you can afford to, and while that will happen less often post-change, when the opportunity does arise, you'll be more inclined to use it.
  • Cursed Shield from "If the equipped hero has an attack card of the same suit as the action card, then damage dealt to that hero is reduced by 1" to "The first time an enemy attack damages the equipped hero each round, reduce that damage by 1." Additionally, you can now remove the Cursed Shield at any time at the cost of 1 damage.

    I found that Cursed Shield rarely justified its existence. The damage reduction was overpowered in the initial release, when the enemies were weaker and there was nothing needed to trigger it, but since basically nothing does 1 damage anymore, it just wasn't worth the effort to reserve a probably-useless card to get the effect. The shield is back to being automatic, although it isn't quite as good as its initial incarnation.

In other news: The pencils for all of the monsters are finished. They are, on the whole, really good. I am only dissatisfied with Stheno, and even then because "matronly but peeved" is not the angle I was going for. Shouts out to JBear for serving as a character model for the ninja crew. You have my blessing to use this photo as your profile pic on dating sites. ("That's right, ladies. I am five ninjas.")

Furthermore, the full-ink version of the game is available for download. Even if you have no intention of printing out the game in all of its colorful glory, give the PDF a look. The illustrations are well worth the price of admission.


I'm going to be doing more playtesting in the near future. If you are also interested in playing it, whether on your own or not, please reach out to me. I am especially looking for feedback from people who play the game without me coaching them (I am bad about this). I've had a near-perfect win rate on the standard difficulty level, but I expect that the game is harder when you're not intimately familiar with every last card.
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  #84  
Old 12-26-2017, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Even if you have no intention of printing out the game in all of its colorful glory, give the PDF a look. The illustrations are well worth the price of admission.
I'm really digging the stone golem. He is by far my favourite.

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Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Shouts out to JBear for serving as a character model for the ninja crew. You have my blessing to use this photo as your profile pic on dating sites. ("That's right, ladies. I am five ninjas.")
lol, you (and your brother) have made me very happy this day.
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  #85  
Old 02-26-2018, 02:45 PM
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We got arts! Feast your eyes on a small sampling below, or take a look at the full-color PDF for the complete set of card art.




The Ranger is one of the game's five playable heroes.


These Skeletons are among the many enemies you might face.


Deadly traps such as this Pitfall await an unwary party.
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  #86  
Old 02-26-2018, 06:11 PM
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Cool stuff! I love the Slime, and the Stone Golem is such a delightful, unexpected take on the concept. Guy just want to chill and eat some cows and why does that farmer look so upset?

Also, is the texturing on the backgrounds/basic cards new? Good stuff, either way.
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  #87  
Old 02-26-2018, 06:31 PM
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What JBear said. Also, are the artists credited anywhere?
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  #88  
Old 02-26-2018, 07:19 PM
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Posts: 15,274
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The artist, singular, is my brother, and he's credited in the rulebook. He got an art degree a lifetime ago, and this is, to my knowledge, his first commissioned work. Obviously, this isn't his career, and he's going to business school these days on top of working a full-time job, but he has been super psyched to realize that he can art good enough for professional work. (You may or may not be able to tell that some of this is a bit rushed, but even the rushed stuff ends up looking really good -- you won't notice the scribbled-looking rocks in the Pitfall illustration until you stare at it long enough.) I don't know if he's taking commissions at this exact moment, but if his client had a flexible schedule, I'm sure he'd be more than happy to take on more work. He's using his work on Deck of Many Dungeons to put together a portfolio. I'm not sure what he intends to do with it, but I'm super pleased with the art and especially happy to have given him the initiative he needed.

Aside from the illustrations, he also did the new card back. The iconography is creative commons, and the card backgrounds are my work. I am not what you might call an artist, but I can spin up a cool-looking texture with enough filters. For the red background, for instance, I took a microscope's view of a sponge and screwed with the colors. Blue and green are more obvious, but I don't even remember what purple was before I put it through the spin cycle.
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Old 02-26-2018, 07:25 PM
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JBear JBear is offline
Phantastic Oil
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Fredericton, NB, Canada
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Has this contest happened yet? If not, make sure to point us that way when it does!
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  #90  
Old 02-26-2018, 09:34 PM
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Mogri Mogri is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Austin, TX
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Everything needs to be finalized by end of month. My brother just sent me new Paladin art, so I'm glad I didn't declare everything finished just yet.
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