Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Joust! (First Draft)

So for a while I've  had a board game bouncing around in my head. I'm not really sure what caused me to come up with it - I think that I must have been looking through my papercraft miniature collection and  wandered across a knight or two.

So yes, a game built up in my head - a bit of a bidding game where two knights charged towards each other in an attempt to knock each other off of their horses.

I'm really struggling to describe it more then that at the moment - But one thing I DO have is some pictures of the stuff I've come up with so far on my first playtest with the guys:

The basic set-up of the game.
This was the very first draft of the game - where all the cards that could be put into your hand were in one deck. We were using one knight each just so I could explain the basic idea of the game.
Down the centre of the game table is 'The List' - the big bit of fence where two jousters lunge at each other wildly from horseback. Each joust is in three parts represented by the three face down cards on the list. On the first flip both players turn over the card closest to them which will have 'Attack', 'Defence' 'Attack x2', 'Immovable Object' or 'Irresistable Force'. These increase the attack and defence of the jousting knight. They can then take an action (equip a non jousting knight, replace an unflipped card from the list with one from the hand, discard a card from the hand and draw a new card or change your Block  and Strike targets (more on those later...)
Also in this first deck was a number of equipment cards which replaced the knights basic starting equipment: Helmets, Lances (Heavy and Light), Steeds and Armour.
We noticed that hands got bogged down with crap  really fucking fast and using equipment cards  as attack and defence cards was too complicated.
Just to the right of The List are the 'Block and Strike' cards. Essentially this was a bit of a way to get  around some of your opponant's equipment  and protect your own - at the beginning of each joust each player  choses  an area to strike on their opponent  and block  on  their own knight... If a knight strikes a location  and there was no corresponding block,  the piece of equipment is destroyed before calculating 'The Clash' (more later!)

And then finally the third card will be flipped and The Clash is calculated. Unlike many traditional RPG combats where initiative is a thing, everything happens to both knights regardless of what happens. All of a knight's Attack Score (from their equipment or from cards on the list) are added up and compared to the opponant's Defence Score. Scoring happens as follows:

Attack is less than half of the opponant's Defence: Miss (0 Points)
Attack is more then half of the opponant's Defence but less then equal: Hit (1 Point)
Attack is equal or more then the opponant's defence but less than double: Broken Lance (3 Points)
Attack is double or greater than an opponant's defence: Unhorsed (5 points)
And... well, that's the basic premise of the game. We noticed several glaring problems straight away:
1) My original plan was to use equipment cards instead of attack and defence cards on the list if you didn't have enough. This got complicated as hell and was discarded with the second draft.
2) The game requires a lot of table space. Knight cards being surrounded by equipment cards took up half the available play area.
3) Non-deck cards like the Blocks, Strikes and Knights had the same  backs as everything else did. While this is essentially just  a 'could have been better prepared but eh, it was a first  draft mock up...' whine it did make  us  get frustrated more  than once.
4) I hadn't printed enough Attack x2 cards. Which essentially meant that both players often got identical scores each round and there wasn't enough variation in points per turn.
From  this, the game  evolved a little more. But more on that  another time!