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Author Topic: The problems with team play and how to fix them  (Read 2743 times)

Sailor Vulcan

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The problems with team play and how to fix them
« on: May 05, 2015, 12:13:20 PM »
Team play is really fun but people rarely want to play it, and there is no unofficial organized team play anywhere. When people play on teams the spellbooks they use are just 1v1 spellbooks. There is no unified strategy. The metagame of 2v2 is entirely dependent on the metagame of 1v1. It does not have its own metagame. As for 3v3, I had never seen or heard of any 3v3 games mage wars having ever been played. There are some possible reasons for this, the main ones I'm aware of being:

1. Coordination problems with spellbook building.

2. Time length of game

To solve 1, the best solution I can think of is to designate one player on the team as the main spellbook builder and pregame strategic coordinator. They wouldn't necessarily be the team leader, just the person who does most of the coordinating of and building of their teammates' spellbooks and strategies pregame.

As for 2, I'm not entirely sure. I was thinking of something like having all players take simultaneous action phases and have conflicts of priority between opposing players determined by the player whose team has initiative and conflicts of priority between teammates determined by their team.

So for instance, if two enemy creatures are going to attack each other when player A's team has initiative:

1. Both activate at the same time.
2. Both declare attack at same time, etc.
3. If both creatures have damage barrier the player whose team has initiative both rolls and applies damage and effects first, unless they have fewer unused actions left, in which case the player whose team has initiative gets to choose the order. The same holds true if two creatures are attacking each other at the same time.

And a player can still pass as normal.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: May 05, 2015, 01:39:32 PM by Sailor Vulcan »
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iNano78

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Re: The problems with team play and how to fix them
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2015, 12:26:50 PM »
I think Battlegrounds will include instructions for team play. At least, I hope so.
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Ganpot

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Re: The problems with team play and how to fix them
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2015, 06:36:50 PM »
I've played a 4v4 game of Mage Wars (I was curious how it would go).  If you're still looking for advice about this, I can give you some. 

Coordinated spellbooks are definitely a problem.  For professional matches, I agree that a coordinator should be designated (or at the very least, the group needs to agree on Mages and some strategies before-hand).  However, that might not be ideal for more casual matches (since having to rebuild everyone's spell books before the game will just add to the already massive amount of time the game will take).  My group just used a selection of normal pre-built books (with admittedly mixed results). 

The real killer for team games is definitely the time commitment.  My group didn't actually finish our game (people had to leave), but we did play for a solid 4.5 hours (I estimate the game would have been over in 5.5 to 6 hours total).  Now, a lot of the people involved were not very experienced with Mage Wars, and we were playing with 8 people, but even playing with 4 people is still going to take a decent amount of time. 

That being said, I disagree with your idea of having simultaneous turns.  That sounds like a recipe for chaos and confusion, even with just 4 players (I shudder to even think of what would happen with 6-8).  I think a preferable method would be for each individual player to simply use all of their actions in a row.  Then a player from the other team gets to do the same.  The pattern then repeats until all players have acted.  However, every player can still use their quick-cast at any normally valid time.  Initiative gets traded between teams like normal, and determines which team goes first.  That way, the back-and-forth gameplay of standard Mage Wars is preserved in the team variant, without dragging the game out unnecessarily. 

For example, Team 1 consists of Players A, B, and C.  Team 2 consists of Players D, E, and F.  Team 1 starts with the initiative, so Player A goes first.  Then Player D goes, followed by Player B, then Player E, and so on.  The next round, Team 2 has initiative, so Player D goes first, followed by Player B.  On turn 3, Player B goes first, followed by Player E. 

Another way to save time would be to have individual life totals instead of shared team life.  If a Mage dies, that player is out, all active spells by that Mage end, and the team will inevitably lose unless they can kill an opposing Mage really quickly (due to loss of channeling and actions).  That will unfortunately lead to the end of most games being lopsided, but it will also massively cut down on game duration. 

Also, for balance reasons, I think it should be mandated that each team can only have one version of any single Mage.  Otherwise, you'd just see teams running with all Forcemasters and focusing on cutting a single enemy Mage to shreds before he/she could do anything. 

jhaelen

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Re: The problems with team play and how to fix them
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2015, 03:12:00 AM »
The real killer for team games is definitely the time commitment.  My group didn't actually finish our game (people had to leave), but we did play for a solid 4.5 hours (I estimate the game would have been over in 5.5 to 6 hours total).
I'm hardly surprised. Considering how long a 2 vs. 2 already takes (~ 4-5h), I'd not even consider playing with more players.

iNano78

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Re: The problems with team play and how to fix them
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2015, 10:20:51 AM »
Given 4 vs 4 takes as long is it does, and given you have 8 players, why not just play a 3-round 1-on-1 tournament?  It probably wouldn't take as long (1.5 hours per match = 4.5 hours total + a few minutes between matches).  At least, that's what I'd do if I had 8 players willing to play for 5 hours.
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Ganpot

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Re: The problems with team play and how to fix them
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2015, 11:17:38 AM »
Given 4 vs 4 takes as long is it does, and given you have 8 players, why not just play a 3-round 1-on-1 tournament?  It probably wouldn't take as long (1.5 hours per match = 4.5 hours total + a few minutes between matches).  At least, that's what I'd do if I had 8 players willing to play for 5 hours.
Honestly, I think a 4v4 game is more fun than a tournament.  That way, everyone gets to be involved at the same time, a lot more exciting and unexpected things can happen, and game takes on a drastically different feel.  It actually starts to feel like a war at that point, and flanking, battle lines, etc. become incredibly important. 

For example, in our game, the Forcemaster took the left flank and charged right into the nearest enemy Mage.  In response, another one of the enemy Mages tried to double up and overwhelm the Forcemaster, forcing him to retreat after being heavily damaged.  But in the meantime, the right flank was a 2 on 3 encounter.  Their Warlord tried to create a fortress of pike walls and ranged units in towers to slow us down, but we bombarded their bunched up forces with area attacks until they had to scatter.  Then the Forcemaster came back to the center of the field to mind-control the Warlord's Grimson Deadeye in order to temporarily gain map control, while our other two teammates rotated to defend the left flank from the 2 advancing enemy Mages.  Meanwhile, I (the Priestess) hurriedly patched up the Forcemaster as best I could. 

iNano78

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Re: The problems with team play and how to fix them
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2015, 11:38:21 AM »
Given 4 vs 4 takes as long is it does, and given you have 8 players, why not just play a 3-round 1-on-1 tournament?  It probably wouldn't take as long (1.5 hours per match = 4.5 hours total + a few minutes between matches).  At least, that's what I'd do if I had 8 players willing to play for 5 hours.
Honestly, I think a 4v4 game is more fun than a tournament.  That way, everyone gets to be involved at the same time, a lot more exciting and unexpected things can happen, and game takes on a drastically different feel.  It actually starts to feel like a war at that point, and flanking, battle lines, etc. become incredibly important. 

I agree that everyone gets to be involved in a match that includes all the other players in a 4 vs 4 game - but it seems unlikely that each player gets to actually interact with many of the other players; more likely a player might interact with 1 or 2 opposing mages and 1 or 2 friendlies.  I'd argue that all the players are involved in a tournament since they're always playing a 1-on-1 match (but only interacting with 3 other players over the course of tournament), whereas a 4-on-4 match is going to involve a lot of down-time for all players while each waits for all the other players to act.
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