Design Review: Final Character Evaluations
04-05-2013, 10:45 AM
Post: #1
Design Review: Final Character Evaluations
So I'm iterating on GDC feedback before alpha testing games start. I'd really like to get the (game) design finalized.

The question of the day is, which (if any) characters do you think don't fit the bill?

Reference List (Alphabetical, sorry)

I realize that asking this question primarily about roles you have never yet played with seems asinine, but understand that the real focus here is on clarity: clarity of the role purpose, clarity of the mechanism functionality, clarity of the rules language, clarity of the aesthetic.

You can speculate on how well the role works in gameplay, and I'll discuss my playtesting experience if something important is raised.

I am not concerned with power level speculations, unless you are convinced something feels totally useless and underwhelming for a particular player type.

I will pitch in my feelings after giving people a chance to comment. Feel free to discuss each other's opinions, but I'd suggest making your initial evaluation before reading anyone else's.
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04-05-2013, 12:56 PM
Post: #2
RE: Design Review: Final Character Evaluations
Are the travelers restricted to using their abilities on each other, or are they allowed to use them on any living player? Does their meeting involve any private communication between them at all, or is that just flavor?

Tumblr/Steam
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04-05-2013, 02:00 PM
Post: #3
RE: Design Review: Final Character Evaluations
(04-05-2013 12:56 PM)Coldblooded Wrote:  Are the travelers restricted to using their abilities on each other, or are they allowed to use them on any living player? Does their meeting involve any private communication between them at all, or is that just flavor?

Any legal target. (Living player) They observe each others' actions, including seeing their identities. In an online game, they can chat (privately, as a group) for the duration of the night.
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04-05-2013, 04:04 PM
Post: #4
RE: Design Review: Final Character Evaluations
I am going to rate every card from 0-11 - 11 being perfect, 0 being a strong advocate for changing. As in, change it now, its terrible. (i doubt anything will get 11 or 0) Halfway through, i realised that i was arbitrarily giving "good" cards 9s or 10s (well, not quite arbitrarily: the 9s were given to cards that depended on other cards for clarity: acolyte gets to learn who the priest is, but why's that important? Oh, so THAT's why its important). Anything less than a 9 is likely some slight peeve to do with wording. A nitpick, more than anything. i mean, most - all, even - of the cards are fine and perfectly servicable.

Disclaimer: As i am already at least a little familiar with the gametype, i am probably a little biased, and i will likely find the cards easier to understand than someone new to the genre.


1) Priest - Easiest, most simple to understand role. There's...like, no way to misunderstand this role. Gasp. A perfect 11

2) Survivalist - Wait, did i say Priest was the easiest and simplest role??? 11 (I know to you it must be funny seeing the first two as 11s, but bear in mind i did these in alphabetical order)

3) Judge - I don't know why a /judge/ ends up being our dictator, but hey, the role's pretty straight forward. 10

4) Dirty Old Bastard - Exceedingly simple. A miserable miser whose nastiness and bitterness towards the world is exemplified by his final action - "taking one of you fuckers with me". 9

5) Benevolent Old Dame - Exceedingly simple. A nice old woman who lives fondly in your heart after she passes (by giving you an extra life). 9

6) Inquisitor - Simple. 10

7) Acolyte - I like this card, i like the name, and it is simplicity defined (once you know what a priest is). *It kinda depends on knowledge of just how useful a priest really is, but that's easy enough to explain. 9

8) Gambler - Simple, easy, clear. 10

9) Recluse - Simple, easy, clear. 10

10) Gravedigger - exceedingly simple. You only need to know the basic rules to know how he works. The man in the picture is suitably dour, too. 10

11) Fanatic - pretty easy to understand why you'd want more lives. The semantics of how to go about getting checked by a priest without getting lynched is a Thing, but thats gameplay stuff not card-clarity stuff. 9

12) Loose Cannon - Yea, exceedingly simple. 10.

13) Bishop - Pretty cool card, really straightforward. Is a gold-role so its importance is already clear. Even has a "the scum want you dead." warning so you know to not flaunt your role. 10

14) Hunter - Name seems arbitrary and not really linked to card. Role itself is pretty simple, tho. 8

15) Magician - Once you got the basic mechanics down - what is death, and when is halftime - this role is really rather easy to understand. 9

16) Investigator - Simple. 10

17) Innkeeper - Ah, the "I" alliteration. I like this role grouping a lot for that reason, and the role is rather simple. 9

18) Entertainer - Explanation feels a little...clunky...because of the specification of "non-self target", but i cannot think of any other way to make this clear.

19) Angel Worshipper - Pretty straightforward. Perhaps the "you will be shown who the angels protected" should go above "you can be protected multiple times" cos i feel the latter describes the purpose of the card more. 7

20) Nun - As long as you know what "Bishop" means, job's a good'un. 9

21) Zealot - An exceedingly powerful role, for either faction. Perhaps the importance is understated? A good card nonetheness. 9

22) Oracle - As long as you know what halftime is, you're alright. And seeing as Halftime is a Game Term, should be all good. 9

23) Assassin - I like this card, and i like the name. Assassin implies secrecy, and so does Spy. It creates a link between the two roles, which is good for the sake of clarity. (if you change Spy, Assassin might make less sense, tho 10

24) Wizard - Perhaps "this can be done any number of times until you are wrong" to avoid any "but i thought...!" moments. 8

25) King - s are awesome, courts are awesome, card is awesome. "The first night?" At the start of it, the end of it...?

26) Queen - Does it really need to emphasise "both types of witches"? It seems to me that in terms of Game Terms, "Coven" refers to the coven, "Juniors" refers to the Juniors and "Witches" refers to all of em. 8

27) Anarchist - Pretty simple. Tied in with the simplest mechanic in the game - killing. The name describes it aptly: the anarchist wants the end of the king's court in order to earn kills, and will kill those in power (the court) to further empower himself (2nd kill). 9

28) Paladin - Pretty straightforward, so long as you know about the court and haftime. 9

29) Vigilante - I feel as though the wording could be improved. Perhaps "You may kill a target the night after the King's Court kills a member of your team"? It makes it immediately apparent that you're a killing role and gives the conditions after. 8

30) Pauper - lol he's shovelling dung. Pauper is a pretty simple to udnerstand role. 9

31) Deacon - This role is OP O_O. Pretty straightforward though. 9

32) Groundskeeper - Aha, Deacon is slightly less OP. Another acolyte-esque role, pretty clear as long as you know what the Deacon is. 9

33) Traveling Medic - Its Travelling you American D: Do this trio really need "Traveling..." before their names? Why Traveling Medic and not just Medic? I feel as though the first line should be rewritten to "On the third night, you will meet the other travellers." To keep the 2nd person theme up. Furthermore, the top line is not in keeping with the other 2 travellers: Put "You may select a target" on the 2nd line. I do like the Four Ms tho - Medic, Mercenary, Minstrel, Mortician.

34) Traveling Mercenary - SEE: Traveling Medic

35) Traveling Minstrel - SEE: Traveling Medic

36) Traveling Mortician - SEE: Traveling Medic

37) Cupid - very simple, very elegant, has a little joke on it to boot. Fantastic card. 10

38) Sunlight Pagan - The little quip at the bottom makes this card pretty much ideal. It tells you what it does rather succintly and provides gameplay hints in a sassy form. I like. 10

39) Twilight Pagan - Pretty simple. 10

40) Moonlight Pagan - There must be something wrong here when i wasnt sure what the card meant by "inverted". 5

41) Templar - Once you know what the Pagans are and what they do, the Templar is a pretty straightforward role. 9

42) Lookout - SEE: King. (I think the whole alarm system sounds like a really cool concept!)

43) Captain - Really simple. Oh no, alarm has gone off, panicpanicpanic NO NEED TO WORRY GUYS, THE CAPTAIN SHALL LEAD US INTO PROSPERITY! either "no, we dont trust you" > dead or "yay saviour" > extra lives. 10

44) Blacksmith - The explanation feels a bit clunky. I feel like it could be explained better. Perhaps, "The night after the alarm sounds, you may select two players. If the selected players are not holy, they may kill a target." Including "weapons" in the explanation kinda feels like needless complication. 5

45) Mercutio - Pretty simple and straightforward, as long as you know what lovers are. 9

46) SEE: Brave Musketeer. 7+

47) Brave Musketeer - I'd change the first line to "at the start of the game, you will meet the other musketeers", to keep it in line with the rest of the card being in 2nd person. Other than that its a pretty straightforward card - ingenious use of "museketeer" for this set of cards, btw. 7 - would be higher if the first line was changed to 2nd person.

48) SEE: Brave Musketeer. 7+

#) Basic Villager - A sheep in a pumpkin being stabbed by a trident? wut.

#) The "Card Back Blue" and "Card Back Gold" cards are awesome, i like them a lot. They'll make a good back of your card; altho what dictates whether a card is blue or gold at its back?

#) Elder Witch - This time its a cat in a pumpkin flying on a broomstick. (it doesn't mention spies; should it?)

#) Holy Villager - Gold Sheep!

#) Junior Witch - Kitten!

#) Village Lover - Stabbed right through the heart! I think i prefer the red version.

#) Village Spy - Why is the spy a duck O_O.




Aaaaaaaand we're done! What, no Vampire Hunter? D:
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04-11-2013, 03:46 AM
Post: #5
RE: Design Review: Final Character Evaluations
Give me a minute and I'll definitely put my two cents in here

Doctor Who: The Forgotten Doctor
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Tweets?
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04-11-2013, 06:42 AM
Post: #6
RE: Design Review: Final Character Evaluations
I pretty much entirely agree with Tea.

Especially wrt the blacksmith.
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04-11-2013, 09:21 PM
Post: #7
RE: Design Review: Final Character Evaluations
I still have my own thoughts typed up, but am incentivized not to post them until other people do.

Interesting thoughts Tea, some things I wouldn't have expected.

Entertainer is the most complicated mechanical role outside of Cupid/Mercutio, but is probably about as good as it gets language-wise. It's only 25 words, which is quite impressive for what it does. It's also extremely memorable; everyone remembers what Entertainer does and there are almost never questions about it outside the initial, obligatory "type or team" clarification.

Zealot probably isn't nearly as good as you think it is. It's tons of info, but all too often a day too late. Still high potential though, for both sides.

I'm pretty surprised you didn't say much about Oracle.

As for Wizard, it shouldn't say "until you are wrong" because that isn't true; a Wizard can be wrong and continue guessing. The wrinkle is that he is killed when wrong, so unless he has an extra life he will be unable to continue only as a direct consequence of being dead.

For Queen, yes we absolutely positively must specify "both types of witches." In fact, with it written on the card, and a verbal reminder, I still get asked this like 3 times a game. It's probably the single biggest FAQ across all roles.

Vigilante's wording has always been trough to get right. I'll remember to go over this again.

It's interesting that you find Pauper so easy, but then again you have been exposed to it before. It takes people quite some time to "get" Pauper, but when they get it ("oh, he just has an extra life that makes him join the court") they have no more questions and never forget. Unlike Queen, the FAQs being on the card mostly eliminate them. I've always disliked how wordy Pauper is for its effect, but I feel it's the best possible state.

I find people's responses to Deacon fascinating.

Travelers will be brought into line and potentially renamed Travellers. Heh, Chrome spellcheck is mad at "Travellers."

Yeah, Moonlight Pagan is definitely needing to get written different. Literally no one but me likes or understood "inverted."

Of all the wordy cards, Blacksmith was the one I expected the least negative feedback on, so this is interesting. "You pick two other people to make kills, but there's a catch--it doesn't work on Holy guys." I actually thinking naming the ability ("weapon") helps clarify things a great deal. This is because Blacksmith is uniquely creating unexpected decisions for other players, and there is a very strict need for this to have the upmost clarity. To me:

"The Blacksmith has given you a weapon, so you may kill a target tonight."

...is much preferred to...

"The Blacksmith selected you as a target of his ability, so you may kill a target tonight."

It also makes it way, way, way, way more easy to understand+remember the restriction on Holies, which otherwise might seem random and arbitrary. ("Oh, so the Priest and such can't use a weapon. Okay, right, that makes sense.")

I am pretty shocked at your thoughts on Cupid and Mercutio.

You know what is fascinating? There seems to be a clear impact on your scores/reaction with the flavor text--both how funny it is and how directly it relates to the game mechanisms. This merits a lot of further thought and investigation!
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04-12-2013, 02:05 AM
Post: #8
RE: Design Review: Final Character Evaluations
Funniess and relation to game mechanics are memorable, i feel. Incidentally, this is why i think having the expansions was such a fantastic idea. You have here the TRAVELLERS expansion. Oh cool, so this expo is all about the travellers, im never going to forget the travellers ever cos, like, thats the whole point of the game we're playing. Oh, this is the LOVERS expo? Awesome, so there are these one or two really complicated lovers roles, but its not a big deal, cos they are at the forefront of everyone's attention cos the whole expansion is based on them! This helps keep people's attention when explaining roles.

Further, i feel that roles that have dependance on other roles ("The last musketeer" or "The acolyte knows the priest" or even "Cupid knows who the lovers are and protects them every night") are easier to remember BECAUSE of the link.

When you put it like that RE: Blacksmith, I can kinda see the "point" of having the kill distinguished as a weapon, but surely you get a lot of questions about this one arbitrary keyword-esque article that only appears once? (I'd've thought). Maybe if you made the 2nd line "Holy Villagers may not use Weapons" would help avoid that, but that'd prolly mean you'd have to change the first paragraph to "...with which they can kill someone." ...but then its just getting needlessly complicated isnt it. The way it currently is is probably the best way to handle it, i'll give it some thought and come back to it for you.



One last thing i could do is introduce these cards to someone who doesn't have a clue what theya re looking at and see how they react/understand the game. Basically, i'd be introducing the game to someone who's seeing ot for the first time as if they had just bought the game off the shelf.
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04-14-2013, 05:05 PM (This post was last modified: 04-14-2013 05:07 PM by YoungsterJoey.)
Post: #9
RE: Design Review: Final Character Evaluations
(04-12-2013 02:05 AM)A Killer Cuppa Tea Wrote:  One last thing i could do is introduce these cards to someone who doesn't have a clue what theya re looking at and see how they react/understand the game. Basically, i'd be introducing the game to someone who's seeing ot for the first time as if they had just bought the game off the shelf.

He does conduct real-world playtests every week at a university group, and in September there will be quite a few (maybe 10?) newbies to introduce the game to along with the veterans.
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04-17-2013, 09:54 AM
Post: #10
RE: Design Review: Final Character Evaluations
Is it just me or is the groundskeeper too important for a role available to both teams? It feels like whether or not he is in the coven shifts the balance between the two teams too much. Also: was the deacon and the groundskeeper created as a direct response to what happened in Witch hunt 5 on the mspa forums? ;)
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04-18-2013, 10:18 AM
Post: #11
RE: Design Review: Final Character Evaluations
(04-17-2013 09:54 AM)Druplesnubb Wrote:  Is it just me or is the groundskeeper too important for a role available to both teams? It feels like whether or not he is in the coven shifts the balance between the two teams too much. Also: was the deacon and the groundskeeper created as a direct response to what happened in Witch hunt 5 on the mspa forums? ;)

The Deacon was created because the King's Court set needed another holy role, preferably one that made the King's Court more stable (aka make sure the King survives to make his picks). There was motivation to mitigate the impact of novice players getting holy roles (particularly Priest) and getting themselves lynched without putting up a fight. It needed to be a relatively weak holy role. (The King's Court is already a massive pro-town shift.) Finally and most importantly, we didn't have anything that started with the letter D.

The Deacon is the weakest, least important ability in the game given optimal play. While it does have the incredible implicit power of being a pseudo town-confirmed, the actual ability seems outrageous while being meaningless. No holy player should ever let themselves be lynched.

The only time the Deacon's ability has actual mechanical relevance to the game is A) testing dualing holy claims and B) blocking scum loose cannon kills on holies. These are non-trivial perks for town, but not really a big deal--just a cherry on top of being town-firmed.

So Groundskeeper's information is "this guy is pseudo-town-confirmable." How valuable is that? It's a good question. It almost certainly feels more powerful than it is, but that doesn't answer the question.

The more pressing concern is "Do Elder Groundskeepers immediately kill the Deacon? (And does fear of this make playing Deacon lame?)" I've polled players and gotten widely variable answers. What do you think?
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04-19-2013, 06:00 PM
Post: #12
RE: Design Review: Final Character Evaluations
Well of course no holy player should let themselves get lynched. Nobody wants to get lynched, yet it seems to happen anyway for some reason.
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06-01-2013, 03:54 AM
Post: #13
RE: Design Review: Final Character Evaluations
I haven't given your deck a thorough look around, so I'm not sure if there is a third party and/or you ever plan on adding third parties in add-on expansions, but the entertainer's description doesn't exactly permit the existence of extra factions. Maybe you could clarify it to permit modifications to your game?
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