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  #277  
Old November 5th, 2019, 02:42 PM
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Re: Astro's Custom Units [Update 11/4/19: Seishin Samurai]

@SuperSamyon Thanks for the encouragement! I do still intend to clean up M.A.R.S. and resubmit him at some point, though since he's from an already announced pack, I've been focusing on other customs like the Seishin Samurai that are dwindling in availability. He's still on my to-do list, though, so don't worry.
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  #278  
Old November 5th, 2019, 04:00 PM
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Re: Astro's Custom Units [Update 11/4/19: Seishin Samurai]

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Originally Posted by Astroking112 View Post
@SuperSamyon Thanks for the encouragement! I do still intend to clean up M.A.R.S. and resubmit him at some point, though since he's from an already announced pack, I've been focusing on other customs like the Seishin Samurai that are dwindling in availability. He's still on my to-do list, though, so don't worry.
Awesome! I was just about to write a post on the forum to help encourage development on the last two mechs in the pack and then I saw your design. Seeing your past history I'm confident that you can deliver!

I know your focus is elsewhere at the moment but just to throw my 2 cents on bonding, you already made a case on why you wouldn't bond with the Valkrill Vulcans, but it would be neat if they had some passive synergy at the least like how Vydar, Jandar, and Utgar mechs work together. Just something to think about.
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  #279  
Old November 5th, 2019, 05:32 PM
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Re: Astro's Custom Units [Update 11/4/19: Seishin Samurai]

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperSamyon View Post
Awesome! I was just about to write a post on the forum to help encourage development on the last two mechs in the pack and then I saw your design. Seeing your past history I'm confident that you can deliver!

I know your focus is elsewhere at the moment but just to throw my 2 cents on bonding, you already made a case on why you wouldn't bond with the Valkrill Vulcans, but it would be neat if they had some passive synergy at the least like how Vydar, Jandar, and Utgar mechs work together. Just something to think about.
Thank you very much for the kind words!

As to synergy with the Vulcanmech Incendiborgs, I'm hesitant to design anything there on account of how powerful they are. I'm perfectly content with making a fun standalone figure that is only thematically linked to them (much like how Utgar's SoulBorgs used to work), even if it's a little bit less competitive as a result.

Ironically, one of the main things holding this design back right now is that I need to test it out with Hoplitron Bonding to see if I can live with 1 range on his normal attack. I keep going back and forth on whether I want him to be fully standalone or if I like the leg stomp attack too much to avoid synergy, and other tests keep taking priority. I'll get to it one day.
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  #280  
Old November 5th, 2019, 05:52 PM
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Re: Astro's Custom Units [Update 11/4/19: Seishin Samurai]

Checking in early to help with Round 2 of the Seishin Samurai, if my assistance is welcome.

Question that may have been answered already, but it just popped into my head: Is there any significance to the word "Seishin"?

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  #281  
Old November 5th, 2019, 07:17 PM
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Re: Astro's Custom Units [Update 11/4/19: Seishin Samurai]

Well, after using my Google-fu and bypassing some company called Seishin International (apparently they make gis) it seems to mean 'spirit' or 'mind'. Looking up a meaning it came up in connection with the phrase ninniku seishin, which means:

'It's (sic) two words: 忍辱 (ninniku), which literally translates to “forbearance”, means “unyielding” or “resilient” and 精神 (seishin) means “spirit” or “mind” Basically, it means “strong spirit”, but more than it, it hints at having a spirit that is unrelenting to the pressures of life's difficultly.'

...Which would actually be an awesome name for the spawning power...


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  #282  
Old November 5th, 2019, 07:20 PM
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Re: Astro's Custom Units [Update 11/4/19: Seishin Samurai]

What is this "Google-fu" you speak of, sensei?

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  #283  
Old November 5th, 2019, 08:38 PM
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Re: Astro's Custom Units [Update 11/4/19: Seishin Samurai]

Your assistance is of course welcome, @Dad_Scaper ! "Seishin" was suggested to me by BiggaBullfrog with the following explanation:

Quote:
Originally Posted by BiggaBullfrog View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Astroking112
"Shinda Samurai" was the current name.
That name is odd, meaning Samurai That Died, which doesn't really have an undead feel to it at all. Maybe Seishin? It's more of an individual spiritual essence/power/aura that seems more appropriate to carry a warrior on beyond death.
@Lazy Orang also seems to have done an excellent job of describing it.

-----

For those unaware, I nominated the Seishin Samurai for review recently, which led to a lot of extra eyes landing on the design that hadn't been able to see it before. There was a lot of good feedback given behind the scenes on this design, so I'm making some changes to improve it before resubmitting.

The original submission for context:
Spoiler Alert!

Here's a brief summary of some of the criticisms levied against the design behind the scenes from a variety of people:
  1. It bears too many similarities to the Ebon Armor on account of it replacing dead humans, even if there are differences elsewhere in the design.

  2. There is a concern that it will effectively replace the Ebon Armor in Unique Samurai builds. The concern is that just 2x of these guys + 1x TSA will be more effective than the Ebon Armor, despite 4x Seishin not working well.

  3. As an extension of this, 1-2x of them is cheap enough that it could be considered an auto-include in Samurai armies.

  4. Compared to the Ebon Armor, Honor Beyond Death's larger scope raises too many corner cases with different powers.

  5. The design will limit future common Samurai squads through its existence.

  6. A Unique Hero would be more exciting than the Common angle.

  7. The activation power feels like a squad rather than a hero.

  8. Honor Beyond Death is much easier to activate than any other revival power in the game. Things like Elementals and Marro Warriors rely on an element of chance, while the Ebon Armor limit you through relying upon Unique Army Cards. Having them instead able to replace any killed Samurai, let alone multiple times, is concerning in the lack of counterplay and its own passivity in being guaranteed and requiring less work to activate.

  9. The unlimited activation power forces the other player to target the Seishin, feeding into their repeated returns to the battlefield to create an unfun playing experience for the opponent. Capping the number of activations will require more actively taking turns with the Seishin, instead of trying to let them build up to 6+ on the field.

  10. This will be exacerbated against melee, considering that they have Counter Strike (and so do the Samurai that they replaced). Coupled with the movement power upon placement, it feels like there is little way to escape them.

If anyone feels like I missed anything, then please feel free to point it out again. I'm willing to listen to any criticisms, even if I can't guarantee that I'll agree with them.

-----

So, those are some hefty criticisms that had a lot of good arguments made for them. After having played both as and against the Seishin, I disagree on some of them (namely that they create an unfun experience or leave no chances for counterplay), but I do think that these points reveal some flaws in the design that can be addressed. Essentially, this is where I'm at right now:


Rules Problems and Passivity
Honor Beyond Death needs to better match the Ebon Armor template, namely by limiting it to normal, special, and leaving engagement attacks and dropping the "immediately" from the power. This should fix any of the rules issues and corner cases.

Prototype wording (I'd appreciate if @Scytale , @dok , or @quozl could verify that this doesn't stray far enough to create new issues):
Quote:
HONOR BEYOND DEATH
Seishin Samurai do not start the game on the battlefield normally. For the entire game, when a Human Samurai that you control is destroyed by a normal or special attack or a leaving engagement attack by an opponent's figure, you may replace it with any Seishin Samurai not currently on the field, if possible, and then move that figure up to 4 spaces.
This is the main thing that I'm confident about right now. The mechanic of spawning in to replace the Tagawa Samurai Archers has proven to be a very fun addition that really fleshes them out more, and the initial movement is a big part of what makes it all click together. Even if the Seishin Samurai end up pretty drastically different, I think that this is pretty core to the design.

Similarly, I'm reluctant to drop Counter Strike. It is not only a staple of the Samurai (the only ones without it are Hatamoto Taro and potentially Masha Shingai, who has a similar-feeling power), but also ties into this initial movement to define their playstyle as guards for the TSA. Part of the differences from the Ebon Armor are the Seishin's more defensive role, and the movement and CS are what really fostered that playstyle.


Reviving Multiple Times
There was some confusion as to whether previously destroyed Seishin can return multiple times, and once this was confirmed it became a point of contention. I'm sympathetic to these concerns, because I think that a slightly cheaper Seishin Samurai that only has one use could be really interesting, but the availability for the Skeletal Samurai sculpt quite frankly isn't there for that kind of a change. It would probably double the number of Seishin needed per person to 4-6 or even higher, which would probably kill the design on the grounds of availability alone.

It's unfortunate, because there really are typically only 2-3 Seishin on the board at a time and that is an interesting design space that I'd like to explore. I don't think that telling people to pretend that they have 6 and only buy three sculpts would fly very far, though, especially with roughly 120 figures on the market.

The main way that I could see giving each Seishin just one spawn still working is if they became individually much tougher, probably changing to an Uncommon Hero. This would justify a higher price (I'm thinking around 50 points or so) which drives back down the number of sculpts each player will want to buy. Of course, then you have a 1L/3D TSA basically evolving into a buff undead warrior, but I guess that it makes more sense than a zombified robotic rat.


Unlimited Activations
I don't believe that unlimited activations are gamebreaking after testing them. The build-up of the Seishin is slow enough that it looks much worse on paper than it really is.

I'm also loathe to limit it to an arbitrary number, as that makes them feel even more like a squad. The fact that you can potentially activate all of the Seishin is a big distinction from normal squads, as it lets you strike the ratio yourself. If that is removed, then I see little reason to not take X Seishin.

Rather than going for a limited number of activations, then, I'm considering dropping the power entirely. That would at the very least ease concerns about the massive undead horde that players can let their opponents build up, although it does remove some of what makes the design so exciting.


Restrictions on Future Common Samurai Squads
To be frank, I have no faith that VC will ever be able to produce another common Samurai squad. I'd love to see it, but I don't think that we should ignore the TSA under the hopes of one day making a completely different squad that is more competitive.

If we do end up with the miniatures for another common squad in the future, then I really don't think that it's too unreasonable to design it to be roughly on par with the TSA competitively. If they're a melee squad, then they'll benefit less from the Seishin than the TSA anyway and can be a little stronger. If they're cavalry, then the high price will be a major deterrent.

I do understand the fear of limiting the design space for future Samurai here, but I think that the direction is at the very least workable.


Creating a Unique Hero
For some context, I actually started this design out as a Unique Hero. That draft is buried somewhere deep within the bowels of @Pumpkin_King 's Discord server, but I simply never really got it to a point where I was happy with the design.

Part of the reason behind this was that it never really felt like something that the Samurai wanted. Powerful uniques spawning on death was already fulfilled by the Ebon Armor, and the TSA suffered from having too many numbers to really take advantage of a single hero spawning. The move to Uncommon and then Common really made the unit stand on its own apart from the other Samurai, I feel, and with the added movement upon placement, having multiples of these guys with the TSA is a lot of fun.

I am already ruminating on some Unique Hero drafts because I have a problem when it comes to Samurai I can see where it might ease comparisons with the Ebon Armor, but I'd really prefer to try and make the Common or Uncommon idea work first because of what it brings to the table for the Samurai.


Replacing the Ebon Armor
Like I said in the SoV Nomination Thread, I really don't think that the Ebon Armor are at risk of becoming obsolete. Even if they were limited to just Unique Samurai builds, they have a different purpose and a playstyle from the Seishin Samurai.

That said, pretty much all of the directions I'm considering above will make the two designs even more distinct, so I hope that this is good there. I could always limit the Seishin Samurai to Common Human Samurai to remove the Uniques' synergy entirely if needed, but I'd prefer to avoid that unless absolutely necessary (and I really don't think it will be).

Last edited by Astroking112; November 5th, 2019 at 08:41 PM. Reason: I really should start keeping track of my longest posts... I sometimes wonder what my record is.
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  #284  
Old November 5th, 2019, 09:21 PM
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Re: Astro's Custom Units [Update 11/4/19: Seishin Samurai]

I don't think you should think of the Seishin as a fighting force. They are a problematic appearance on the front lines which disrupt momentum. I liked the design just where it is at with only a single spawn. The unstoppable resurrection, plus the bonus movement, plus counterstrike, plus the dangerous possibility of Wave of Fear makes them a real hindrance to an enemy. Every bit worth 30pts (or at least close to that) without buffing their defense.
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  #285  
Old November 5th, 2019, 09:37 PM
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Re: Astro's Custom Units [Update 11/4/19: Seishin Samurai]

I just wanted to chime in and say I liked the unique hero direction that was suggested by some.


edit: I see you addressed that, I'm sorry, I didn't see at first. It's something I think you should consider.
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  #286  
Old November 5th, 2019, 11:14 PM
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Re: Astro's Custom Units [Update 11/4/19: Seishin Samurai]

That's interesting that you considered uncommon in this role. It's one of the few times when I think such a decision would be truly justified by the concept.

I won't press the point (too hard), but I think that an Uncommon Hero might be an unusual opportunity lost here.

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  #287  
Old November 6th, 2019, 12:39 AM
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Re: Astro's Custom Units [Update 11/4/19: Seishin Samurai]

Just to lessen confusion, here's my rewording of Honor Beyond Death so that you can only spawn each Seishin once:

Quote:
HONOR BEYOND DEATH
Seishin Samurai do not start the game on the battlefield. When a Human Samurai that you control is destroyed by a normal or special attack or a leaving engagement attack by an opponent's figure, you may replace it with a Seishin Samurai in your army that has not been destroyed, if possible, and then move that Seishin Samurai up to 4 spaces.
I do suggest taking out the movement as it's unnecessary and complicates things. I also suggest limiting the bonding to just one other Seishin Samurai.

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  #288  
Old November 6th, 2019, 12:58 AM
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Re: Astro's Custom Units [Update 11/4/19: Seishin Samurai]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scytale View Post
I don't think you should think of the Seishin as a fighting force. They are a problematic appearance on the front lines which disrupt momentum. I liked the design just where it is at with only a single spawn. The unstoppable resurrection, plus the bonus movement, plus counterstrike, plus the dangerous possibility of Wave of Fear makes them a real hindrance to an enemy. Every bit worth 30pts (or at least close to that) without buffing their defense.
I agree that they shouldn't be a real fighting force. Most of their value in my tests has come from the ability to engage opposing figures, rather than the potential attacks from Wave of Fear. I'm pretty happy with that direction.

The more that I think about it, the more that I'm coming around to the idea of a single spawn (especially after the discussion today). There's nothing else quite like that since the Ebon Armor and Zombies can keep coming back, but it's still interesting to use for different reasons. I'll have to run more tests to really price them, though, because most of their value has come from the ability to keep coming back multiple times.

The boost to Uncommon would likely come with an extra life or two rather than extra defense, which I'm reluctant to increase. That's mostly to justify a slightly higher price for them, though, for the sake of the sculpt's availability. If they each can only spawn once and cost 30 points, then I suspect that players will start to want to own more than 2-3 of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumpkin_King View Post
I just wanted to chime in and say I liked the unique hero direction that was suggested by some.


edit: I see you addressed that, I'm sorry, I didn't see at first. It's something I think you should consider.
No worries. I ultimately found this direction to be much more compelling than a Unique Hero (I've since found my initial draft and remembered why I disliked it, but there's no need to drag that up again), and even now I think that this holds more promise than the various ideas that I've had for that version.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dad_Scaper View Post
That's interesting that you considered uncommon in this role. It's one of the few times when I think such a decision would be truly justified by the concept.

I won't press the point (too hard), but I think that an Uncommon Hero might be an unusual opportunity lost here.
Ironically, they used to be Uncommon for a good while. I changed them to become Common to streamline the concept, because it started getting messy to have three ~30 point cards in your army that generally won't get Order Markers. The direction is more manageable with Wave of Fear now, though it would return some of the issues that plagued the design earlier.

I am really considering it again with the above changes, though. I'd like to test out a single-spawning design, but right now that wouldn't scale well with the TSA and the sculpt's availability at ~30 points. A change to Uncommon would be the easiest way to subtly encourage people to take fewer of them.

EDIT:
Quote:
Originally Posted by quozl View Post
Just to lessen confusion, here's my rewording of Honor Beyond Death so that you can only spawn each Seishin once:

Quote:
HONOR BEYOND DEATH
Seishin Samurai do not start the game on the battlefield. When a Human Samurai that you control is destroyed by a normal or special attack or a leaving engagement attack by an opponent's figure, you may replace it with a Seishin Samurai in your army that has not been destroyed, if possible, and then move that Seishin Samurai up to 4 spaces.
Much appreciated. This does let a Seishin Samurai that is already on the board be teleported to another killed Human Samurai, though, does it not? Would saying "...that has not been placed yet..." work, or is that unfeasible?

Also worth noting is this kind of a revision, which was suggested to me privately. I'm no Editor, but if this direction is more workable for a single-spawning Seishin Samurai then I would have no qualms with adopting it.

Quote:
HONOR BEYOND DEATH
Seishin Samurai do not start on the battlefield normally. Instead, place any or all of them on any Samurai Army Cards that you control. For the entire game, when a Human Samurai that you control is destroyed by a normal or special attack or a leaving engagement attack, you may replace it with a Seishin Samurai from that figure's Army Card, if possible, and move that figure up to 4 spaces.
I kind of just winged that wording, but hopefully it's at least good enough to get the idea across.

Quote:
Originally Posted by quozl
I do suggest taking out the movement as it's unnecessary and complicates things. I also suggest limiting the bonding to just one other Seishin Samurai.
I really think that adding the movement was when the custom became so much fun to play, so I'm hesitant to drop it. I hope that it doesn't complicate the power too much from a rules perspective, because it really does add a lot to the fun factor for this design.

I'm not a big fan of limiting Wave of Fear to just 2 or 3 activations. I'll test for its effectiveness in higher point games again to make sure, but it didn't seem to be half as worrisome as I expected. If I do end up needing to change it, I'm more likely to drop the extra activations entirely.
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