Crimson Company - A Board-Drafting Game

#21
I like the suggestion very much. But I would say: Start with 3 Coins each. Each player puts Coins in his hand. The player with more Coins ist Start player and the other player gets this amount from the bank. This happens after initial cards are revealed.
 

Nachtfischer

Moderator
Staff member
#22
It took us a while to figure out a proper card layout and streamline the rules until our designer minds were satisfied. But today I'm happy to present a first print-and-play version of Crimson Company: PDF Download

Of course it would be awesome if you actually took the time to put together a version and play the game, but even if you just have feedback based on the PDF alone, it would be highly appreciated!

As a disclaimer: The text of the game rules is basically "what we would print if we went into production right now" (except it'll be layouted in A6 format later). The same goes for the character, castle and turn overview cards. The coins however are placeholders and will be replaced by proper designs in the future.

Have fun! :)
 
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Nomorebirds

Moderator
Staff member
#23
This game looks really awesome! In my unexperienced opinion, I see no way a kickstarter for this could fail! Just reading through the rules and I'm excited to try it out. Good job Nachtfischer and whoever else is working on this with you!

Printing it out right now, though I'm not sure when I'll find the time to play. Mainly I'll have to convince my girlfriend to play and who knows if she'll go for it.
 

Zera

New member
#24
@Nachtfischer Could you make a less... saturated version of the manual? My printer's low on ink and toner, as it always is. I'd like to try this with my brother and see how he (and myself) react to it.
 

Nomorebirds

Moderator
Staff member
#26
Played one game, my girlfriend was impatient so I only got to play the one, and we made a few major rule mistakes which weakened the testing feedback. Really feels like a snappy quick game though that you can play match after match, which is cool. I want to play more, which is always a good sign.

The big mistake we made, just in case you're curious, is that we didn't realize that when there is a tie in the lane you automatically resolve again at the end of the next turn. So my girlfriend spent all her money on the sellsword to tie the lane, and never really recovered from that because then I just won the lane next turn (after we reread the rules).

The thing that is super cool about this game though, in my opinion, is that none of the cards have a set price. You bid on all of them against your opponent, which is kind of like this really clever way to have a self-balancing system. If one card is stronger, players will naturally start putting more money into it to get it. The downside though is that early play is very "stab in the dark", but I suppose that happens with every game anyways.

Really excited to play more, it seems really promising. Hopefully I can find more opponents. Good work Nacht!
 
#27
Very interesting! What did the both of you expect, how a tie would be resolved in scoring phase? Very cool, you liked it! My girlfriend does not want to play it anymore with me... So you should let yours win some times. ;) Did you play or consider the beginners version without card effects?
 

Nomorebirds

Moderator
Staff member
#28
My first interpretation of a tie was that the "score trigger" happened as soon as you placed a 4th card, not that it was a repeating effect if there were 4 cards in a lane at the end of the turn. So I thought of it like a battlecry effect in Hearthstone basically, it happens once when you play a 4th card, and then never reactivates without another battlecry effect. So if there's a tie, then you just sit there with 4 cards and it either waits until the other player plays a 4th card, or if you play a 5th card into that lane.

It was when I was thinking about playing a 5th card into the lane that I started to think I was misinterpreting the rules, and I went back to reread and it made a ton more sense. The rule how it is written is a really good rule for resolving ties I think, it just took me a minute to really wrap my head around it.

We decided not to do the beginner's version without card effects because it seemed a little too flat perhaps. I also had a hunch that I would only get one game in, so I wanted the "real experience", which of course wasn't even that because we were learning the rules and made silly mistakes.
-------------------

Also we had a few questions about flipped cards. All relating the alchemist really.

If the Alchemist destroys a flipped card, do you get the card's power in coins or 0 coins because it's flipped and thus has 0 power? My guess is that it's the latter but I just want to make sure.

And also relating to that, if you have the Alchemist destroy a flipped card that was powered up by the Plague Doctor (makes flipped cards have 3 power) do you get 3 coins or the 0? My guess here is the former, but you never know!
 

Nachtfischer

Moderator
Staff member
#29
@Nomorebirds: In practice our rule for ties often comes down to the same thing. If nothing changes in a lane you just run into another tie next turn. The Sellsword is an interesting example though cause coin supplies vary between turns as well.

You're right about flipped cards giving 0 coins via the Alchemist. We'll probably add that to the FAQ.

The Plague Doctor's effect only triggers during the scoring phase. So when the Alchemist destroys a face-down card (typically deployment phase), it'll always be 0 strength.

Thanks a ton for playing! :)
 
#30
i got a chance to play a couple matches with my parents, and it was really fun! overall, i liked it a lot and it felt like there was a very high skill ceiling, the only specific feedback i could give is maybe have slightly more flip effects? just slightly more, i don't want everything to become flipping, but it's 1) a really interesting mechanism that allows for lots of strategy, and therefore you want to use it often, and 2) my dad thought it's slightly too permanent feeling right now (and i don't really have an opinion on that yet, haven't played enough), so logically, it seems like more flipping would be good for both of these things. these aren't strong complaints or anything though, if you think this stuff would be bad for the game, you're probably right (i've only played twice).

overall, i really liked it, and my parents did too (even though i kinda creamed them). it seems like the system would result in losses feeling very fair rather than the normal frustration they induce in most other games, although i don't know from experience if this is true. next time, we might try the coin handicap and see how that works.
 
#32
so i've played some more of the game, and the big thing i've noticed is that cards which interact with lanes are far worse when there's only 1 lane, and i think that's problematic. what if there were 4 or 5 lanes, but you still won upon getting 2? i don't know if that solution necessarily works, but i think this could be a pretty big problem that you need to analyze and figure out how to approach it (if at all), and i think it's important to stress this.

that said, i'm still really enjoying the game, i think you're definitely on a good track! unrelated side note, it seems like the sellsword is quite good, possibly too good, especially on the last lane where the money loss doesn't matter. problem is that there isn't much of a way to nerf him, just due to the way he works, so he ends up in a weird spot as a result.

also, it feels like there are a lot of strength-based cards without utility (e.g. paladin, berserker, fairy, necromancer, etc.), possibly too many, so maybe fairy could be cut? her ability is generally so neutral if your opponent is contesting the lane at all, she may as well not have it, as it'll generally only be a 1 or 2 point difference, sometimes not even in your favor. (and if your opponent isn't contesting the lane, then why do you want a strength card?)

also, a card suggestion: "score: destroy any number of your cards in other lanes and gain strength equal to the total strength of cards destroyed this way." might be too long to fit, but i figured there was no harm in putting it here. and i should say again that i really do like your game, it's really good as-is, but i also have some concerns and suggestions that i think are worth bringing up.
 

keithburgun

Administrator
Staff member
#33
Played some Crimson Company! Overall it's good, definitely among the best card games I've played, some really good stuff in it. Here are my thoughts.

Positive:
- I like that it's really easy to learn
- I love the lanes system overall
- I like most of the powers, they're simple but meaningful
- Nice art and graphic design
- Good uniform randomness mostly!

Negative:
- My main critique is that the lanes disappear as the game goes on. I really strongly believe that this game should never reach a state where it has only one lane. It's just too simple of a game overall to allow that to happen, and the basic core of the game is all about these lane-valuation things. I think it's probably good to have the units on a lane disappear when scored, but why not just either:
1). give players a victory point, clear off the units, and keep that lane there (it can be scored again), or
2). start the game out with 4 lanes instead of 3
- There shouldn't be a character who violates the information horizon. If you really want this character then I would increase the information horizon by 1 more card draw (have there be a "next card" AND a top-deck-flipped card). This creates some really bad topdecky situations.

On a slightly more philosophical and less actionable note, this game does still kinda have that "do you want to bid 8 or 9 coins?" weird, too-granular and direct valuation stuff going on. I also am not sure if the game is trying to lean on "yomi" stuff at all, but just generally without those two sources of noise I wonder if the game is like slightly, slightly not complicated enough.

Ideas:
- I like the four lanes idea, or even five lanes. Then you can also use some lane-adjacency bonuses "this card gives +1 to adjacent cards" and stuff like that.
- Also for a bit more complexity, maybe the lanes all have some "lane bonus" (i.e., when you deploy a card here, gain 1 gold. When you deploy a card here, unflip a card, etc etc).

Overall I love it, really awesome work and congrats to Nachtfischer for making one of the top 3 card games I've ever played. <3
 

Zera

New member
#34
Replacing a castle after it's captured or having more castles might reduce the complexity decay of the endgame, but since the final lane(s) will already have cards invested, I'm not sure if that would fix the problem.

An idea for variety I would try is making the castles different in some way. For example, a castle might grant a small advantage or ability to the player who has more strength on it... or less! As it is now, the castles are different colors but functionally identical.

I also have a card idea - a character that switches sides on their own every turn. That would be interesting. Or a terrible idea. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

keithburgun

Administrator
Staff member
#35
Yeah the fact that the castles are different colors is confusing to me if they don't do anything. If you're not going to make them mean different things, have them all be the same color.
 
#36
Hey guys. Thank you very much for playing the game and giving feedback! This is exactly the right time to do so because we still have the option to change game rules. You guys have suggested several times now to increase the lanes to 5 or keep a lane open after it was scored. I understand the wish to keep the meaning of lane placement as well as card effects to change lanes, active. But I disagree with the thesis that this would be beneficial for the game. This has three main reasons:

1. Supports change of card value: In order to be interesting, the values of cards recruited by the players should change based on the different game states. This effect forces the player to evaluate the value of a card always based on the individual situation - learning the value of a card by heart is not possible this way. This makes the game interesting and provides a high replayability. Having only two or even one lane dramatically changes the value of some card effects and supports this effect.

2. Limited match size: Closing the lanes after a Castle was scored controls and limits the playtime of the game. Imagine having 5 lanes: Worst case scenario would be that each player has 3 cards in each of the three lanes and all the 30 cards are on the board. Of course, we could do more cards. But is it really better, if the game is much longer?

3. Climax: The 3 lanes provide kind of an endgame and also forces players to concentrate on the still remaining lanes. This leads to a real heads up a situation and makes it reasonable to prepare lanes for later. With five lanes, prepared lanes could be easily ignored by the enemy.

What do you think of this arguments? Am I am wrong and those do not count for some reason?
 

Zera

New member
#37
I think adding more lanes is a bad idea. The more lanes there are, the more arbitrary lane placement becomes. Three is almost certainly the best maximum number. I also concede that having a climactic endgame is important.

The issue is, if one player has a head start on the final lane and isn't behind on coins, it can be nearly impossible to make a comeback. Many eurogames have hidden end-bonuses or other tricks to stop players from quitting early, so maybe a similar mechanism would work for CC.

Or maybe the answer is to "deal with it" and plan better in the earlygame. In that case, I would just make sure the first and second players are balanced with regards to coins and tempo.
 

keithburgun

Administrator
Staff member
#38
1. Supports change of card value: In order to be interesting, the values of cards recruited by the players should change based on the different game states. This effect forces the player to evaluate the value of a card always based on the individual situation - learning the value of a card by heart is not possible this way. This makes the game interesting and provides a high replayability. Having only two or even one lane dramatically changes the value of some card effects and supports this effect.
The game in general does this. As you're adding more cards into play, the valuation of any particular card changes. All proposed versions of this game still have this quality.

I actually would advise 4 lanes, not 5. 4 is the smallest number that guarantees that you'll always have at least 2 lanes to use, which seems really important to the game! For your point #2, I think yeah 5 is too many for the reason you talked about. What about 4?

My latest proposal after a convo with Nacht on the discord:

- 3 lanes
- When you score a lane: discard down to 1 cards on that lane (all cards except the card closest to the castle). The winner of the lane takes one of these face down in your Points Area to show that you got 1 point. (Outermost is important because it means that the entire match length maintains an identity and isn't just like a long list of transient stuff that got drawn). Other than that play as normal, you can score this lane again if you want (it just starts with 1 card down).

Something like that anyway.
 

Nachtfischer

Moderator
Staff member
#39
When you score a lane: discard down to 1 cards on that lane (all cards except the card closest to the castle).
I think this comes with a few weird and non-intuitive implications though:
- The first card you put into a lane gets a huge boost in importance as it'll stay there forever and can fight for 2 lanes essentially.
- You might want to always play in this 1 lane, cause you get to keep the first card for free, i.e. it could become a 1-lane game.
- It becomes hard to deliberately "give up" a lane and just not play anything in it, cause you're missing out on 1 free card.
- The Fanatic and the Undead get this implicit weird exception rule of "You never want to play them as the first card in a lane". Right now they clearly communicate that they're good early cards cause you can re-use them.

Overall, I'm not sure it's worth the complexity / rules learning / heuristics obfuscation cost.

Do you guys really feel the 1-lane game is totally trivial? From our playtests it regularly was a moment of great tension and difficult choices. Sure, you don't decide where to place a card anymore, but you still decide what do buy and for how much. And if your game is decided already when it comes to 1 lane, then you were actually outplayed before that point anyway (like @Zera said).
 

Zera

New member
#40
I've actually changed my mind about the endgame. Right now my concerns are -

1. All information, visible and invisible (order or remaining cards), is global. Sometimes my brother and I have Analysis Paralysis, simply because we can, in fact, plan multiple turns ahead. It's not like the other player has cards we don't know about. Some of our most clever and impressive plays only happened because the other player didn't see and prevent it ahead of time.

I could be wrong, but I think adding a tiny bit of local information (ex: hidden hands) could mitigate this (eurogame end bonuses are often local as well). However, this would go against your establishment of not having hands like other card games.

2. The strength of cards is somewhat arbitrary. For example, if the Necromancer had 3 or 4 strength instead of 5, it wouldn't necessarily be under powered. But since its base strength is static, it's average or expected value can be calculated/estimated and used for all games.

I'd add variation by making each card's base strength -1/ +0/ +1 at random each game (Min would be 0 or 1 and Max would be 5). However, this is easier to implement digitally than physically. What do you think?

3. I think the Alchemist is worse than the Grave Robber, since it only synergises with the Zombie and Fanatic. I think there should be one more card with a Destruction effect (or just put more Zombie/Fanatic in the deck :p). Alternatively, make the Plague Doctor's effect continuous (instead of used at scoring), so the Alchemist can benefit from them.
 
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