August 14, 2018, 01:12:44 PM

Poll

Are the rules too convoluted and is this MW biggest problem?

Yes, too convoluted and MW biggest problem
Yes, too convoluted but not the biggest problem
No, rules are not too convoluted but it is still the biggest problem
No, rules are neither too convoluted nor is it the biggest problem

Author Topic: The biggest problem MW has: rule-uncertainty  (Read 1980 times)

Enti

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The biggest problem MW has: rule-uncertainty
« on: May 24, 2018, 10:26:16 PM »
Most people I know, maybe every one (now that I think about it) who are considering stopping to play MW or already stopped playing it did so because the rules get more convoluted with every further expansion.

Even I have sometimes problems figuring out what the rules are. And I play pretty frequently, I read the forum, watch games on yt and octgn and I am still uncertain in some situations.

So I can understand the complains because I have similar albeit not as serious problems figuring out the rules.



There is a long list of "problems" that are not self-explanatory. For example until recently I presume 95% of the MW players weren't aware that cloak of shadows hinders the vine tree to tanglevine you if you are more than 1 field away from the tree.

But this kind of uncertainty is not easily eliminated because the root of this particular problem is the complexity of MW itself and the interaction between all the keywords there are.

What really drives people mad is the upkeep dilemma. What happens first. Do you get dmg first, or do you regenerate.
Most people know the rule "if your object is affected you decide".
Sounds simple at first glance. But what happens if your Pillar of Righteous Flame removes a Dissipate token and you want to attack the enemy creature, BEFORE it regenerates.
Some people even know the second rule, I think it's: "if there is a relative timing-issue initiative decides"

Well... again, the rule sounds easy but it's sooo hard to actually apply it. Especially if you don't play 5 times a month...

---

I was thinking of naming all the different problems but I presume you already encountered them yourself often enough. But if you want a convoluted scenario, check that out:
http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=18071.msg84446#msg84446

---

I rather save the space for my solution-proposal:

We should fix the order in which the effects happen. It might not be as "fair" or "logical" (although that is open for debate) but it would simplify the upkeep-drama significantly. Seriously. Please do give that proposal genuine consideration.


For example (no exhaustive list):

1. Regenerate
2. Heal (Healing Madrigal, Meridias Blessing, Theft of Life, Life Link, Death Link, ...)
3. Conditions & Effects (burn, rot, Drown, ...)
4. Damage-effects (Ghoul Rot, Plagued, Curse Item, Curse of Decay, Force Crush, Life Link, Death Link, Arcane Corruption, Malacoda, Colossal Crab, Consecrated Ground, Stranglevine, Poison Gas Cloud...)
5. Attacks (Goblin Bomber, ...)
6. Dissipate Token removal
7. Regenerate
8. Heal
9. Conditions (Lullaby, ...)
10. Damage-effects
11. Attacks (Telekinetic Bomb, PoRF, Whirlpool, ...)



As I said before, it's open to debate if that system is "fairer" but it is at least comprehensible for everyone.

And that way you always get 3 attacks with the Whirlpool and 2 chances of dazing/stunning with Lullaby because that's another thing that irks people. And they don't believe me even if I explain to them that initiative matters when you remove the second Dissipate token from Lullaby.. hehe, seriously, that regularly causes a dispute and normally we propose house rules in the beginning to avoid arguments about Whirlpool and Lullaby. Game is complicated enough as it is. And one single (important) rules-dispute can kill the mood for the entire evening, having someone going on about the "illogicality" of the game for hours... 

What do you think: Is my proposed solution easier to grasp than the current rules and do you agree that the convolution of the rules is the biggest problem for MW right now?

Enti

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Re: The biggest problem MW has: rule-uncertainty
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2018, 10:34:59 PM »
And to avoid the haters: I do not want to senselessly criticize and bash the game. Far from it. Purpose of this thread is to improve the game because I love it.

Obsidian Soul

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Re: The biggest problem MW has: rule-uncertainty
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2018, 11:13:33 PM »
The rules are rather straightforward, at least compared to the majority of tabletop RPG games that I have played, so I do not see it as a problem.  When I was playing Mage Wars on a regular basis, I was playing with other tabletop RPG gamers, so they understood the rules after a couple of games (though I think that everyone likes to have a copy of the rules available).  Compared to the rules GURPS or Pathfinder, the rules of Mage Wars are simple, and I never knew of anyone who quit because they thought that Mage Wars was too complex.  When it comes to upkeep order, we always used Initiative order, with the person with Initiative deciding the effects for their objects first and then the other person deciding the effects for their objects.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 11:16:09 PM by Obsidian Soul »

Enti

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Re: The biggest problem MW has: rule-uncertainty
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2018, 11:21:52 PM »
The rules are rather straightforward
[...] 
When it comes to upkeep order, we always used Initiative order

Obsidian, you are a gem.

First you say the rules are not too complex and in the next sentence you say you made house-rules to simplify the official rules.


Isn't that exactly the point I just tried to make? That we need an easier system? Always using initiative would also be okay, that makes it probably even easier than my suggestion.


And also: You cannot compare Mage Wars complexity with that of a tabletop game because MW is NOT a table top game. And you are right, the tabletop players I know do not complain about the ambiguity of the rules, they are used to muuuch worse. Hehe. But not all MW players have played a tabletop game before they started with MW.

/edit: I am curious. I don't know a single person who stopped playing who did not at least partly blamed it on the rules. Why did the players you know stop playing?
« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 11:31:17 PM by Enti »

silverclawgrizzly

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Re: The biggest problem MW has: rule-uncertainty
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2018, 12:23:24 AM »
The wizard need. We had a very competitive wizard player who quit over the nerf. Also some have quit as it just wasn't their game, didn't have time to play, or have moved away.
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Obsidian Soul

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Re: The biggest problem MW has: rule-uncertainty
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2018, 12:31:33 AM »
The rulebook says that everything occurs in Initiative Order.  It says that the player with Initiative always goes first in the ordering of events and then the player without Initiative goes next.  In the case of a timing conflict in the upkeep phase, it says that the player with the Initiative decides the order of the events.

The primary reason why people stop playing in my experience is that they either get tired of the slow rate of expansions for Mage Wars or they move to an area without Mage Wars players.  In each case, it is not because of the complexity of the rules.

exid

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Re: The biggest problem MW has: rule-uncertainty
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2018, 01:10:59 AM »
i like complex rules. but the complexity have to bring fun.
i think a few MW rules are too detailed for the fun they bring (i mentioned for example the many conditions for the same "critical wound" or "loosing capacities" effect)... how to simplify them without loosing all the fun?

some rules should be clarified or rewritten (initiative, cards interactions,...).
there was an "official supplement", i think it's a necessary tool for MW. AW used to upgrade it, it disappeared with there investment in this game. I write my own, with items i find in the rules section and home made rules for what's left.

Borg

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Re: The biggest problem MW has: rule-uncertainty
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2018, 04:29:23 AM »
Hello Enti,

The order you propose certainly has merit but may have a few drawbacks of its own.

1. If any new effects are released in the future, they need their spot in that order as well which means potential errata, which should be avoided as much as possible imo.

2. Biggest potential problem : by giving a fixed order you may take away many potential tactics. I've always believed good game rules should be as simple as possible and give the players as many choices as possible.
A fixed ranking kind of takes away from the possibilities.

3. Barring any serious problems I'd be in favor to have 1 simple rule for this : Initiative decides the order in ALL situations where there are timing questions. It may not be 100% perfect but hopelly it would take care of nearly all timing problems.
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SharkBait

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Re: The biggest problem MW has: rule-uncertainty
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2018, 04:42:35 AM »
Maybe this is a bit too radical, and would change how the game is ultimately played, but what if I told you that the problem wasn't the order in which things happen being nebulous  8). I contend that the true root of the problem here ends up being the fact that the order changes, thus causing things to play out according to different priorities each turn.


What if we came up with a system in which initiative didn't pass automatically? Some examples from other games: Star wars armada gives initiative to the player who brought the fewest points to the fight (called the initiative bid).
Using a bid system (say someone brought 115 points vs a 120 point book) could make it so that the person with initiative would still get to decide the order of things, but would keep that priority the same.

Star wars destiny, on the other hand, allows you to claim the battlefield as an action to either keep "initiative", or the equivalent of, or take it. This allows priority and initiative to change, but it's done in an intentional manner.

While the above examples are both star wars games, the point is more to highlight different systems that don't have as much of a resolution problem as Mage Wars seems to have. I'm also not advocating for either system specifically,or even that we HAVE to change something, just giving some examples of other systems in hopes of inspiring discussion about what the real problem is and how we might solve it.
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Puddnhead

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Re: The biggest problem MW has: rule-uncertainty
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2018, 08:55:29 AM »
The solution I propose for "the initiative problem" keeps the control of your stuff in your hands:

New Upkeep Phase:
1) Pay all costs.
     This includes life (sardonyx), Seal tokens (need reword), Upkeep +X
2) Trigger all effects
     All of the triggered effects go on a "stack" per creature. At this time your Deathlink triggers 2 damage on an enemy creature and 2 healing on your mage, you whirlpool triggers damage and your pillar triggers an attack. Here we follow the rule that all effects triggered on your own creatures are resolved in whatever order you choose
3) Remove Dissipates
     This is when Pillar, lullaby, madrigal, etc are destroyed.

Enchantments may not be revealed during upkeep. (EXCEPTION: if an attack occurs during the upkeep then only enchantments that affect that particular attack sequence may be revealed)
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Borg

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Re: The biggest problem MW has: rule-uncertainty
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2018, 10:16:00 AM »
New Upkeep Phase:
1) Pay all costs.
     This includes life (sardonyx), Seal tokens (need reword), Upkeep +X
2) Trigger all effects
     All of the triggered effects go on a "stack" per creature. At this time your Deathlink triggers 2 damage on an enemy creature and 2 healing on your mage, you whirlpool triggers damage and your pillar triggers an attack. Here we follow the rule that all effects triggered on your own creatures are resolved in whatever order you choose
3) Remove Dissipates
     This is when Pillar, lullaby, madrigal, etc are destroyed.

This is clear, effective and as simple as possible.
I'd be definitely in favor of this suggestion.
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jacksmack

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Re: The biggest problem MW has: rule-uncertainty
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2018, 10:31:43 AM »
Have anyone played Epic?

I really like the rules they use for resolving conflicts..
And fhat game certainly can have heavy interactions.


Obsidian Soul

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Re: The biggest problem MW has: rule-uncertainty
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2018, 11:12:57 AM »
I think that this is a false problem, at least when it comes to upkeep, as the rulebook has simple and straightforward rules.  First, effects always occur in Initiative Order.  Second, players always decide the order of the effects on their objects unless there is a timing conflict between the effects of objects controlled by the player with the Initiative and the effects of objects controlled by the player without the Initiative.  Third, since effects always occur in Initiative Order, the player with Initiative decides the order when a timing conflict exists.

Puddnhead

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Re: The biggest problem MW has: rule-uncertainty
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2018, 04:06:53 PM »
I think that this is a false problem, at least when it comes to upkeep, as the rulebook has simple and straightforward rules.  First, effects always occur in Initiative Order.  Second, players always decide the order of the effects on their objects unless there is a timing conflict between the effects of objects controlled by the player with the Initiative and the effects of objects controlled by the player without the Initiative.  Third, since effects always occur in Initiative Order, the player with Initiative decides the order when a timing conflict exists.

I'm in the camp that thinks the other guy shouldn't be able to decide whether MY creature regens or takes damage first.  The "Initiative Decides" rule causes so many pauses and hiccups between players on what triggers when and who decides stuff and is, ultimately, a capital 'S' Stupid rule.

The Fact that I can lose a dissipate off of something just by playing it on the wrong initiative is a PROBLEM.

Deathlink, Whirlpool, Lullaby are all significantly affected by this timing issue thing.  That's really what needs to be cleaned up.  It may have been fine in the original core set, but there's been too much bloat that hasn't had a robust follow-up with rules changes.

Movement got a significant change in the 4th edition update to solve some movement interaction issues.  I think Upkeep should have the same--a breakdown into steps.  I also think that it's more than a little important to restrict enchantment reveals during upkeep otherwise you create even more problems.
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DevilsVendetta

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Re: The biggest problem MW has: rule-uncertainty
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2018, 05:43:42 PM »
I've always hated the reveal ghoul rot during upkeep ruling. If you didn't have enough mana to reveal before the end of final quickcast, you can reveal after channeling but I shouldn't have to take the damage. I know there needs to be steps to make things clear but I've always thought of everything happening during upkeep as simultaneous so the damage couldn't happen unless the card was revealed previously.