At the Indy Open a few weeks back, I was invited to come down and demo the game to a club of 20+ guys that meets on the south side of Indy at a private home. I didn't take any pictures (because it was a private home), but I did get in two good test games with some players at the lower end of the competitiveness scale. They enjoyed themselves, and it was interesting to see what they appreciated the most about the game compared to the more hard core competitive types.
I played a full game (all 9 test units) with Nate, who runs an online 40K shop here in Indy. Where we tried a version of the visibility rules that I came up with last week.
Nate, who's competitive, but tends to run very casual tournaments, enjoyed the game, but felt 'bogged down' by the visibility system. Measure... look at table... meh. He thought that the rules for visibility were really interesting, and liked the effects on-table. But they just didn't quite click with him, and it really impacted his perception of the game.
I felt exactly the same way. So... nix that idea. I'm going back to the drawing board.
Game two was between Ryan, master of the club, and Jason. They didn't want a full-on game, so I gave them each a Lieutenant, 4 Knight Legios, a unit of LaansGuard, and the Paladin suppressor. They then played on half of the table, with one objective in the middle.
We used the rules as currently written for visibility, and the difference from the first game was very profound. Both players enjoyed themselves quite a bit, and Nate had more fun watching their game than he'd had playing ours.
Being casual players who aren't that into tournaments (they cared not one bit about the balance in the new Daemon codex), it was interesting to see what they liked about WarStrike.
1) How hard Knights were to kill.One hour games at 1000 points? Jason was all over that. It made him REALLY happy. :)
2) That the game played really fast.
3) That losing most of your force meant it might run away.
They both chaffed a little bit at the auto-pass nature of the comparison chart's low end. They understood the reasons for it, but didn't quite like that knights auto-hit each other at short range.
That was their only real complaint though. They're firmly on board and ready to help with additional testing.
There was one more thing that they really liked, and that was the plans I talked about for how armies would be built and customized. But I'll talk about that later. Needless to say though, if we're gonna appeal to these guys, they need the ability to seriously customize their forces. Even more so than in 40K. You know what? I think that we can do that.
We did uncover some other issues:
1) If you have to fall back away from any enemy that you can see, how is that worked out in the new visibility system?
Yeah, that needs to be considered as part of the re-worked system.
2) Consolidation After Combat
I'd thought that we'd fixed this problem, but the tank allowed Nate to slingshot his Lieutenant across the table into 2 more units. Since fighting a tank (rightly) involves getting out of its way and popping it in the rear with a plasma pistol until it dies. :)
The problem came from his victory consolidation combined with the 3 rounds of move-shoot in the combat. But dis-allowing that consolidation would (if the assault happened on his turn) leave him in the open for my shooting. So we decided that a victory consolidation should be allowed only for the player whose turn it is. And then only if it doesn't draw a new unit into combat. If its not your turn, you'll be moving next anyhow.
3) Removal of Nerve Markers/Hit-Die For Successful Combat?
We've been removing Nerve Markers, but not the Hit-Die (which indicates suppression) after a unit wins a combat. Nate and I decided that it should really be the opposite. Remove the suppression (hit-die), and leave the Nerve Markers instead. Leaving the unit able to act in their action phase, but at a reduced nerve. Which would encourage them to lay low and lick their wounds before charging back out into the fray.
4) Swarming Models?
The guys at the club have played a lot of other games. From which they pulled the following suggestion: If a model has multiple models swarming it, its WS should be reduced by one for each model that's in base contact with it.
Neat idea, and a logical one. I'll have to think on it. The idea came from a D10 game though, and we might not have the die range to do it exactly as they suggest.
Speaking of D10, they really wanted me to consider it. But they also understood that it would seriously limit WarStrike's potential audience. Maybe in V2 or V3 we could switch it up. :)
5) Wound Allocation
Everyone consistently loves the 2D6 wound allocation (roll two dice, pick the dead guy on each 6, or the leader for 2 6's). It's fast, easy, and doesn't cause arguments.
But in the 10 games that I've played or watched where we used this system, I've only seen wounds successfully allocated maybe 2-3 times. So we need to increase the odds. Currently, you have a 1 in 6 chance of allocating one model, and a 1 in 36 chance of allocating either 2 models or the leader.
I'm going to change the roll to a 5+ instead. So that you have a 1 in 3 chance of allocating one model, and a 1 in 9 chance of getting 2 models or a leader. We'll see how that goes.
6) Paladin RoF
Needs to go from 6 to 4-ish with the current rules. Since he's getting full RoF on the move, and a teardrop template when standing still. Where each model under the template adds +1 to his RoF.
This was a very good set of tests. In that a bad idea was shown to be bad, and discarded. I also got to hear some views/ideas from the less competitive end of the player spectrum.
While WarStrike is a competitively focused ruleset, that shouldn't exclude the casual crowd at all. They might not understand or care about the mathhammer behind the rules. But they do care about fair play, fast games, and not having to argue during a game.
As I and others in the competitive community have always said:
"Good Rules Benefit Everyone. Good Rules Bring Folks Together. Bad Rules Break Us Apart."