Monday, January 30, 2017

Battle Report: 2nd Divine Right Vassal Game

This past Saturday we played our second game of Divine Right on Vassal, this time joined by the great Were-Puppy. It was my turn to get good early rolls, and succeeded in allying myself to two nuetral kingdoms. This was good, because I spent the rest of the game fighting a war on two fronts. HereAndNow executed an audacious head fake with his mobile seaborne units around my peninsular forces, but I was able to protect my valuable real estate nonetheless. Were-Puppy forgot to move his units his first turn (we're all getting used to Vassal), and I performed an effortless siege on one of his castles with one of my early allies.

The only hitch in the proceedings was realizing about 2/3rds of the way through the game that we were each reading from a different set of rules. Oops! It didn't really matter until my monarch was captured, but it was a valuable lesson. We concluded we'll have to confirm with Mr. Spudbox, producer on this project, about which ruleset we're using for the project. Good thing we discovered this now!

As the understanding the game, I'm starting to get a sense of what to expect. While it seems like the game swings wildly based in luck, it takes a lot to really damage your opponent, and along the way he might catch a lucky break and things will swing in his favor. Therefore it's important to realize that the game isn't quite as swingy as it appears. How that knowledge changes my approach to the game is not yet clear, because I haven't seen enough situations play out. But I can already glean from a game design perspective that the changing situation requires the players to react a lot as the game unfolds, and that the game does not steamroll uncontrollably. So if an opponent catches a break it doesn't mean you're suddenly way behind, but you do need to be ready to play differently. I would call that economical design. We'll see, though, because I don't understand the game well enough to anticipate the second order of decision making.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Method Acting

This past weekend a couple members of the Divine Right team got together and played a game of Divine Right on Vassal. If we're lucky, it might even become a regular thing. It's a good way for everybody to get a feel for the game during pre-production and bounce ideas off each other in an informal atmosphere.

So how did I go? Well, it was me versus one of the artists and I got completely wrecked. 100% blow out. I made basically every mistake available while my opponent played competently and got a couple good early rolls. The upshot is I need to learn the rules of the game better so I can exploit my options more. And this is good, because now I'm motivated to understand the rules.

I'll have my revenge!

As composer and artist we're also thinking about the pacing and vibe of the game as revealed through play, and how it informs our art and music. I don't have any particular insights yet, but this the kind of thing that doesn't always occur through a conscious process. In a way, we're just sort of living and breathing the game outside of development hours. It's a bit like method acting.

I am become Eater of Wisdom.