Arcane Wonders Forum

Mage Wars => Spellbook Design and Construction => Topic started by: Borg on August 04, 2012, 09:02:49 AM

Title: 120pts vs spellbook design
Post by: Borg on August 04, 2012, 09:02:49 AM
I was wondering if the designer ( or any other long term playtester ) could elaborate somewhat on the decision to go with 120 build points.
Why exactly that number, not less or more.

I'm asking because I'm wondering at how much "decision making" these 120 pts wil bring to spellbook-building. Will it be easy to get spells from other schools in your spellbook ? Even going with triple cost spells ? Will there be any advantages to staying in 1 school, besides being able to put more spells in your spellbook ?

Let's add a few things up :
From what I've picked up so far from various readings :
- spell levels seem to range from 1 to 5 ( have I missed any higher level spells ? )
- a regular game will take about 15 rounds to finish

Now :
- let's say you play both your spells each round ( I know, it's possible to play more then 2, but ok .. you'll probably not play 2 spells EVERY round )
- this brings us to about 30 spells used per game.

If you were going with what I would call "a focused spellbook" of about 40 cards, that means your spells can have an average level of 3 ( 3x40=120 ) to make a "legal" spellbook.
Since you're probably going to have somewhat more 1-3 lvl spells in your spellbook then 3-5 lvl spells, I reckon there's considerable room to add spells from other schools.

My questions :
- How much cards would a "focused" or "well tuned" spellbook have in your experience ?
- How many cards from other schools would/did you use on average ?
- How many cards from "opposite" schools would/did you use regularly in your spellbooks ?
Title: Re: 120pts vs spellbook design
Post by: Klaxas on August 04, 2012, 11:15:12 AM
many of those questions i cannot answer as i am not a playtester.  however there is a level 6 spell (adramelech, lord of fire, dark 4, fire 2, total level 6)

although some things seem universal.  you will want your mage to generate more mana usually.  so mana crystals for a Wizard or mana flowers for a beastmaster but the other mages dont have it so easily so you might want to add that into those.  also from what ive heard things like disolve, heal etc are so necessary (and cheap) you want to throw some of thoses in anyway even if they arnt your school.

also i think the idea of a "focused" spellbook at 40 cards is a concept your bringing over from magic.  the reason its concidered focused in magic is you are more likely to draw the cards you need, but here drawing is irrevelent.  in Mage wars it seems you can have a well tuned spellbook at any number of cards.

also ive been thinking.  even if you only use 30 spells in 15 turns (or lets say 40) as you cast the spells you start to lower your own options.  is 3 fireball spells enough to take out the other mage? or do you need 4?  even if you dont run out of cards completely as you play you start to limit your own options for later as you use spells causing the game to get tense as you run out of good options.  a well tuned deck will have plenty of options to deal with various attacks and enough of those options to see you through the battle.

also as a side note, the lord of fire for a priestess would cost 16 points from your spellbook ( dark (4*3) + fire (2*2) = 12+4 = 16)  so that leaves plenty of room for other things even if you have a really nasty out of school surprise.
Title: Re: 120pts vs spellbook design
Post by: stadi on August 04, 2012, 11:43:20 AM
I also think that limiting the deck to 40 probably won't work in some circumstances. You won't always know who you will be fighting against, so you'll have to prepare for a lot of scenarios.
Title: Re: 120pts vs spellbook design
Post by: thuzl on August 04, 2012, 12:22:26 PM
Hey guys,

During design and playtesting over the last few years, we have tried a number point values for the spellbooks. We found that 120 was the number that offered the most flexibility to work both in and out of your school, while not allowing the player to include an answer for every single problem. At 120 points you have to focus your book on what it does well, but you still have a little room to meta against particular matchups.

An average spell level of three is a little high. I have found that most of my books are between 50 - 65 cards, with something like 65% being in school, 25-30% being out of school, and about 5-10% being in the opposing school. Most of the spells that are out of your school are going to be pretty low level, such as Dispel or Heal. If you want to run Adramelech in your Priestess deck, you can, but at 18 points you better have a really good reason. Actually, that was one of the very first truly broken decks we came across very early in the design. Needless to say we took care of it. :D
Title: Re: 120pts vs spellbook design
Post by: Klaxas on August 04, 2012, 12:47:45 PM
18 ponts?  i thought it should be 16?  as the fire school is doubled and not trippled.
Title: Re: 120pts vs spellbook design
Post by: Arcanus on August 04, 2012, 01:11:29 PM
Ha!  Good catch Klaxus.  Yes, 16 pts.

TJ said it well, 120 points is fairly tight.  You'll want to stay in school as much a spossible, but will find you can still have some nasty surprises for your foe.

I'd like to point out too that FAMILIARS are creatures which can cast spells, and SPAWNPOINTS are conjurations which can cast spells.  When you add those in, you could cast a lot more than 30 spells in 15 rounds.

Last note:  Long before you run out of spells, you will run out of options.  Having limited options starts affecting your tactics and play style, and your opponent will see this and react accordingly.
Title: Re: 120pts vs spellbook design
Post by: Hekireky on August 04, 2012, 06:10:21 PM
I've noticed that that on every single mage card description there is a number 120 shown at how much spell points you can allocate to your spellbook. However, I was wondering if there will be other mages, who will be able to "scribe"/"remember"/"learn" etc. etc. spells, for e.g. an arch-magus, who will be able to learn a total of 140 spell book points. Will that be possible to see for us in the future expansions? :)
Title: Re: 120pts vs spellbook design
Post by: Klaxas on August 05, 2012, 12:54:17 AM
if i recall correctly i think i heard mention of a future arch mage who was powerful enough to take on 3 other mages (as in 4 player game, 3v1) and that they would come out with a new arch mage every year or so.

again dont quote me on this thats just something i think i remember hearing somewhere (and my memory isnt always good lol)
Title: Re: 120pts vs spellbook design
Post by: 1unatic on August 05, 2012, 03:26:50 AM
Hi Hekireky,

We absolutely would like to see mages with varying spell point pools for spellbook construction.  One of the issues we struggled with is how you deal with this in custom scenarios where players mutually agree beforehand to build spellbooks with an alternate number of spell points.  If players decide to play by a 'house rule' and use, say, 125% of the prescribed spell points, then each mage would have 150 spell points to spend.  However, if they have different totals, the scaling has changed, and mages that naturally have more or fewer spell points will receive more or less additional spells, respectively.  If players decide to use a flat spell point modification, such as +20 spells for each mage, it still isn't entirely fair because going from 80 points to 100 points is of greater benefit than growing from 140 to 160.  This last issue also presents itself in our ideas for 'campaign modes', where a mage can advance and improve over the course of a campaign (perhaps lasting a few weeks), and acquire bonus spell points to add to their pool.

These issues are minor though and not part of the core game.  I would definitely expect to see mages with a different number of spell points in the future - though it is unlikely to deviate far from 120 since this value has been fine-tuned over years of playtesting.

On a side note, Klaxas is right about the "Arch-Mages".  These are being planned for future expansions that allow unconventional arena scenarios that support 2v1 or 3v1 play.  Though I am unable to say at this time how far down the road to expect something such as this.
Title: Re: 120pts vs spellbook design
Post by: Hekireky on August 05, 2012, 04:06:43 AM
That sounds really great, I am really surprised how well you prepared this game, I have a hunch that this could become a really popular board/card game, but on the other hand, I don't care whether it is going to be popular or not, because all I want from games like these is to see it grow and become something complex and really fun.

Staying to the topic, I thought about one thing. The idea of a spellbook was already a great thing and I am happy you took it to its living, but once you mentioned an arch-mage and 2vs1/3vs1 battles, I thought: " What spell book will arch-mage use?", so since he is going to be more powerful it would be more reasonable for him to have a more powerful spellbook, for example, he could have more slots in it, OR have like one frame per page and in those frames would be framed one card, that would be really powerful, so it would look like this: you open up your spellbook and you only see one spell per page (like 4 pages would have that many looks) and those spells would have impact on you, because you would think: "Ahh my most malevolent spell waiting for me in his page, I shall use to wipe-out all those who dare to rise a hand a against me" or something :D
Title: Re: 120pts vs spellbook design
Post by: Borg on August 05, 2012, 04:53:42 AM
Quote from: "1unatic" post=68
I would definitely expect to see mages with a different number of spell points in the future - though it is unlikely to deviate far from 120 since this value has been fine-tuned over years of playtesting.

A possible way to decrease the number of spellpoints for certain mages from 120 to let's say 100 or even 90 is to make them proficient in more then 1 school of Magic like for instance a Holy/Nature Mage with 100 spellpoints ( though I'm sure you've thought of this already and these types of mages or somewhere down the pipeline.
I guess we'll get at least a couple of single school mages for each school first.
Title: Re: 120pts vs spellbook design
Post by: Dragkin on August 05, 2012, 05:04:43 AM
Yeah, looking at the card pool selection so far I think 120 is pretty good number. Not to low and not too high, and I can see how it allows a lot of customization too actually. For me, I don't really see it all that different when you compare it to other miniature wargames. I think with this we'll see a lot of creativity come out from players once they get the hang of the mechanics and such. I'm already trying to work out some unconventional things to throw together :)
Title: Re: 120pts vs spellbook design
Post by: Mgrancey on August 05, 2012, 02:17:55 PM
Knowing how the spell books are built this gives me an idea, similar to a Thunderstone tourney idea we had. After each round the mages who advance get say 10 more spellbook points, they can't remove any spells but can add new ones in. If a double elimination, losers get 5 points.

Title: Re: 120pts vs spellbook design
Post by: Laddinfance on August 05, 2012, 02:39:05 PM
To comment on the archmages,  I don't know if you need to increase their spellpoints.  There are a plethora of options available to make them quite lethal.  They could get additional special abilities and archmage specific spells, the sky is really the limit.  Right now as the game starts is the perfect time to see just what they will need to be challenging, and what can be added to make them interesting.  Needless to say I do enjoy "raiding" aspects in games.  In the end, there are too many good options open right now to know exactly what the Archmages will end up using.
Title: Re: 120pts vs spellbook design
Post by: Klaxas on August 05, 2012, 03:45:05 PM
i beleave the plan was to have powerful abilities, powerful arch mage spells and increased spell points for the spellbook.  as you start to lose options as you cast spells, it would make sence the arch mages would take a lot longer to run out of options.  they could also increase the limit of how many cards of each you could have.  maybe arch mages can have 6 each of all level 3 and lower spells instead of just level 1 spells.