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  #361  
Old September 11th, 2021, 11:59 AM
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Re: [Pod 0] Honored Soul-Guides (Lantern Geists) - Design

I'm going to go ahead and call this vote to move back to Design.

At the very least, I'd like for us to remove negation from the card so that we don't need to be referencing it in our Master Set. Something along these lines should work with minimal changes:
Quote:
LAST WILL
At the start of any round Once per game, before placing Order Markers, you may choose one of your previously destroyed small or medium Unique Heroes. Place or remove wounds from that Hero's Army Card so that it has 1 Life remaining, then destroy an Honored Soul Guide you control and replace it with the chosen Hero. At the end of the round, negate that Hero's powers for the entire game and destroy that Hero.

STEALTH FLYING
When counting spaces for an Honored Soul-Guide's movement, ignore elevations. An Honored Soul-Guide may fly over water without stopping, pass over figures without becoming engaged, and fly over obstacles such as ruins. If an Honored Soul-Guide is engaged when it starts to fly, it will not take any leaving engagement attacks.
I would imagine that this change could also be paired with removing the "sacrifice a Soul-Guide" aspect of the power, since the number of revivals is strictly limited to one. If we really want to outright remove bonding from the revived hero, we could also do that pretty easily by changing the leftbox stats (something akin to "Spirit / Specter / Loyal"), though this is adding complexity roughly equivalent to the Werewolf Lord.

That said, I'm not opposed to removing fiddliness in the power even more. The life mechanic doesn't feel strictly necessary now that destruction at the end of the round is guaranteed--I know that there's been support for how it synergizes with the MacDirks and Evar Scarcarver, but I think that we should consider dropping the mechanic to further streamline the power. This would also make it work considerably better with standalone Unique Heroes, since placing Order Markers on them during their revival round is no longer a significant risk.
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  #362  
Old September 11th, 2021, 04:28 PM
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Re: [Pod 0] Honored Soul-Guides (Lantern Geists) - Design

One thing that stood out with the previous version (including making it once per game and/or removing the destruction of an HSG) was it didn't give the opponent any interesting choices beyond maybe trying to kill them before they brought a Hero back. That's where our further redesign comes in. I will post it shortly...




Captain Stupendous and I spent some time discussing the issues with the current/soon-to-be-previous (we hope) version and working on a new power(s). Here are the highlights of what this new card accomplishes (he can chime in if I leave anything out, but I'm sure he'll share his thoughts either way).

Guiding Lights: The power name speaks to the guiding (pun intended) thematic principle behind the redesign. In no way, shape, or form did the previous version feel like it was guiding anything.

Once per game: Although the previous version had a limit (usually 2, sometimes more with glyphs that bring figures back), it necessitated a negation clause, which by and large was disliked. This change gets rid of that text and sets a hard limit.

Unique Human Heroes: As I'll note with other changes, some figures would be problematic with this version. Restricting it to Humans solves that, and also lets us remove the small or medium limitation, making Sir Dupuis happy!

Revenant: Giving the figure a designation helps streamline some of the other text and is a nice callback to the ancient artifact glyph.

Remove all wound markers: Leaving the figure with 1 Life was a wordy patch to previous issues, while simultaneously leaving the revived figure vulnerable to being killed easily and making the whole affair pointless. Since this figure is now at full health, Raelin reared her ugly head, hence the aforementioned Human-only. In some way it's sort of sad to lose the Alastair/MacDirks and Scarcarver synergy, but at the same time with full life you can better make use of the full figure and all its powers, so they're not actually left out in the cold.

Place the Revenant adjacent to a Soul Guide: Since the power is once-per-game, it's not necessary to sacrifice a Guide. More on this below.

After revealing an Order Marker...: Bonding! HSGs move first, then the Hero, who they're actually guiding now. Again, more below.

Last Will: Splitting the power into two helps it flow better and it's easier to make sense of the timing and intent of this particular sentence.

After taking a turn...: Here's where the last two points about Guiding Lights come in. By not sacrificing a Soul Guide, you keep both as the place for the OMs for bonding as well as options for where your Revenant can end its turn. If it doesn't do so safely, well, its Last Will was fulfilled and the whole crew fades away into the æther. This applies to any turns the Hero takes, whether it's through Guiding Lights, some other form of Bonding, or just getting its own OMs. This is also what gives the opponent some agency in disrupting your plans. If the Hero is too tough, taking out the two Soul Guides means it will follow them after its next turn. If you could somehow separate them and lock them down, that would also do the trick!

Levitation: This was floated as a possibility before and we think it helps this version for a few reasons. First, it removes a bunch of words from the card, which is always nice, especially in this Master Set. Second, Velkhor is already looking like one Stealth Flying unit for the set, we don't necessarily need two. Third, along with once-per-game and the Revenant needing to actually be guided by the HSGs, keeping them terrestrial helps keep their points in check.

I'm looking forward to discussion of this version of the card!


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  #363  
Old September 12th, 2021, 06:42 PM
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Re: [Pod 0] Honored Soul-Guides (Lantern Geists) - Design

Don't really have much to say on that version other than I like it, but it feels pretty wordy and complex for what we're aiming for. Although I can't think of much to simplify it. Maybe just removing Last Will?

Mechanically though I'm a big fan, I get what it's trying to do and it sells the theme well. I'm not super keen on Humans only but I get why you've gone for it. An issue that might crop up is Finn and Thorgrim and their spirits. Also wish they had Stealth Flying but again, I get why you've chosen Levitation instead and it's still fitting.
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  #364  
Old September 16th, 2021, 12:06 AM
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Re: [Pod 0] Honored Soul-Guides (Lantern Geists) - Design

Firstly, I apologize if this post seems a bit scattered: it's late where I am and I wanted to post these notes before shutting down my computer. Going through by points:
  1. I still don't think that the guiding part of the design is the core conceit that will appeal to players. It's fine for some designs to be passive, and I think that this is a case where it's justifiable to keep the focus on the hero, who will most likely be the reason they were drafted in the first place.

  2. In my eyes, the once-per-game limit is going to be a thing either way. This card should not need to negate anything.

  3. Restricting it to Unique Humans feels like it turns them into a Sgt. Drake machine to me. Sir Dupuis is "bad" not because he can't come back but because he lacks bonding or movement synergy with any knights, making him a niche draft. Given that he's the only large Unique Human hero, I don't see much appeal in adding him to the mix, given that the most noteworthy Human heroes were Sgt. Drake, Sir Gilbert, and perhaps Spartacus or other completely immobile figures. I think that people will be more excited if these figures can cast a wider net than that (which also works well with a limited collection!), especially in a box with lots of varied Unique Heroes that could otherwise be great fits beyond just Cyprien and Sonlen.

    I think that this unit is more or less like the Greenscales. What's cool and appealing about them is that they choose any dragon to bond with, even the less-competitive ones that players have nostalgia for. I'd like to hit a similar note here if possible, and just Human Heroes isn't very congruous with that approach (plus, most of my concerns would still be with Sir Gilbert, who gets much better in this case since he can move the HSGs while bonding anyway).

  4. I like calling the figure the Revenant well enough. My understanding of the term is that it's more of a negative connotation, though (mostly from myriad folklore). I do think that Scytale had a good point about these guys not feeling great as Jandar for an introductory set, and the more skeletal or monstrous that the revival becomes, the more I think that rings true.

  5. Like the once-per-game restriction, I want removing all wounds to be on the table in any case. The only thing that it really hurts is the MacDirks, which while unfortunate, isn't something that's critical to the design. Several people commented that the 1 life made the revived heroes a bit too risky, and we can certainly shore that up without a heavy redesign (in fact, automatically destroying the figure at the end of the round means that attacking the revived hero will be less common since the damage is "wasted," so it's more likely that they'll survive the full round).

    I think this is a very good change that addresses a lot of the feedback we've received.

  6. I also like not sacrificing a Soul-Guide while the power is once-per-game.

  7. If we're making two powers, then I'm definitely fine with the powers being separated akin to the Greenscales.

    It's worth noting that as written, I could also see a strong argument that Guiding Lights should also be two powers (or restructured to be a part of Last Will?). There's precedent with combining these sorts of things, but I see the bonding being an easy thing for a newer player to be surprised by.

  8. In theory I like the "guiding" aspect of the power where the figure will automatically be destroyed if both Soul-Guides are dead, but I don't see it panning out very well on the battlefield. Removing the time limit enables a lot of less satisfying experiences, I think, especially when the Soul-Guides can be protected from melee figures. Immobile figures are perfectly happy to get a second life, and the Soul-Guides can be spread out enough that it doesn't really matter even if one dies. Sir Gilbert is the prime problem-maker here, but I'm not confident that others don't exist. More critically, this would also cast a huge net over all future Human Heroes--the more limited the revival is, the easier it is to keep it constrained and reasonably balanced while still hitting those exhilarating notes.

  9. I don't like Levitation at all thematically. Stealth Flying is a well-established trope for HeroScape ghosts, and outside of the Specters of Aldorn (which I also dislike having Levitation, but it's at least justified there for the gameplay of Deathly Touch), I'm not aware of it being dropped very often. I get the gameplay necessity to avoid Sgt. Drake or someone swinging around with their two untouchable companions, but it feels very off thematically when contrasted with any of the other ghosts.

    Velkhor also having Stealth Flying doesn't make much sense to me as a reason for dropping the power improving this card. Ultimately, it feels like Stealth Flying is dropped for Levitation because it's a shorter power. That's certainly true, but that doesn't mean it's the right power for this design, especially since it comes at the cost of them feeling like ghosts rather than another experiment like the Velnesh.
What goal is this draft trying to address other than making them actually guide the hero? I'm content with leaving that aspect of them to the theme conveyed by the card and bringing the hero back to the board, and I don't think that it's critical that they have a more active presence on the board itself. If anything, I think that it even muddles the simple appeal of the design, and there are other ways to make an interesting decision space for the opponent, as I alluded to in the points above.

A lot of the feedback has been that the card is cool but difficult to make full use of because it's so risky to place OMs on a 1-life Unique Hero, which naturally pushes them more towards bonding and weird edge cases. Making the hero revive at full life fully addresses that from my perspective, and the guaranteed destruction at the end of the round makes me suspect that the price bump won't be too bad even with the better compatibility with typical armies. I think that change, combined with the once-per-game revival, is a refined version of the card's existing vision that Pod 0 designed (note that I especially don't agree with every choice that was made, but we also don't want to reinvent the wheel that previous members made unless it's necessary--wanting the Guides to be more active doesn't hit the notes for me from what we've seen).

As an alternative suggestion that would still allow for the Guides to take a more active presence on the board throughout the game, we could let them choose the "Revenant" at the start of the game and still let them use the revival during one round later in the game. Then, to start advancing them throughout the entire game:
Quote:
GUIDING LIGHTS
After revealing an Order Marker on the Honored Soul-Guides' card and instead of taking a turn with them, you may move each Soul-Guide up to 2 spaces and then take a turn with their Revenant.
This would reward standalone Unique armies and the revival being placed adjacent to a Soul-Guide encourages moving them forward to maximize the time of the revived hero (but simultaneously placing them in danger from the enemy). It also gives them blocking utility during the actual revival round, especially with Stealth Flying. I don't actually like this change (mostly because I think that it's superfluous to the design's core), but it would give them a more active role while still placing the focus on one burst of a revival with the chosen hero.
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  #365  
Old September 16th, 2021, 09:31 AM
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Re: [Pod 0] Honored Soul-Guides (Lantern Geists) - Design

@Astroking112 I'm having a bit of a hard time visualizing exactly what your suggested alternative would look like, would you mind throwing together a quick draft?

Personally, I really like Necro's draft. The biggest loss in my mind is stealth flying, but I think the tradeoff is well worth it.
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  #366  
Old September 16th, 2021, 10:22 PM
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Re: [Pod 0] Honored Soul-Guides (Lantern Geists) - Design

I can respond in more detail to Astro's points later, but for now I'll just say that I still think the version that @NecroBlade and I came up with is the most fun, thematic, and intuitive iteration we've seen yet. I would prefer a couple small tweaks, as seen below:

Quote:
Honored Soul Guides
Jandar
Undead/Unique Squad/Protectors/Medium/Stoic
L1 M5 R1 A2 D4

Last Will
Once per game, before placing Order Markers at the start of any round, you may choose one of your previously destroyed Unique Human Heroes to be the Honored Soul Guides’ Revenant. Remove all wound markers from the Revenant’s Army Card and place the Revenant adjacent to a Soul Guide you control. Before revealing an Order Marker on a figure you control, if the Revenant is not adjacent to a Soul Guide you control, destroy the Revenant.

Guiding Lights
After revealing an Order Marker on this card and taking a turn with the Soul Guides, you may take a turn with the Revenant.

Phantom Walk
Honored Soul Guides can move through all figures and are never attacked when leaving an engagement.
Or alternately

Quote:
Honored Soul Guides
Jandar
Undead/Unique Squad/Protectors/Medium/Stoic
L1 M5 R1 A2 D4

Last Will
Once per game, before placing Order Markers at the start of any round, you may choose one of your previously destroyed Unique Human Heroes to be the Honored Soul Guides’ Revenant. Remove all wound markers from the Revenant’s Army Card and place the Revenant adjacent to a Soul Guide you control. After taking a turn with a figure you control, if the Revenant is not adjacent to a Soul Guide you control, destroy the Revenant.

Guiding Lights
After revealing an Order Marker on the Revenant's army card and before taking a turn with the Revenant, you may move each Honored Soul Guide up to 5 spaces.

Phantom Walk
Honored Soul Guides can move through all figures and are never attacked when leaving an engagement.
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  #367  
Old September 17th, 2021, 12:14 AM
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Re: [Pod 0] Honored Soul-Guides (Lantern Geists) - Design

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Stupendous View Post
@Astroking112 I'm having a bit of a hard time visualizing exactly what your suggested alternative would look like, would you mind throwing together a quick draft?
I think that this is the best route forward, since it addresses the concerns we've received:



The talk of adding movement bonding or something else to spice up the design was just further brainstorming to give them a more active role, even though I don't think that it's needed here.

Changing the trigger for destruction to be after any turn rather than just the hero's turn does help a lot with reigning in cases like Dienekes or other passive heroes, but it doesn't really address the brunt of my concerns.
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Old September 17th, 2021, 07:49 AM
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Re: [Pod 0] Honored Soul-Guides (Lantern Geists) - Design

Quote:
Originally Posted by Astroking112 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Stupendous View Post
@Astroking112 I'm having a bit of a hard time visualizing exactly what your suggested alternative would look like, would you mind throwing together a quick draft?
I think that this is the best route forward, since it addresses the concerns we've received:



The talk of adding movement bonding or something else to spice up the design was just further brainstorming to give them a more active role, even though I don't think that it's needed here.

Changing the trigger for destruction to be after any turn rather than just the hero's turn does help a lot with reigning in cases like Dienekes or other passive heroes, but it doesn't really address the brunt of my concerns.
I like this (just trying to get caught up). It is simple and addresses the MacDirks quirk.

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  #369  
Old September 17th, 2021, 09:24 AM
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Re: [Pod 0] Honored Soul-Guides (Lantern Geists) - Design

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muskie View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Astroking112 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Stupendous View Post
@Astroking112 I'm having a bit of a hard time visualizing exactly what your suggested alternative would look like, would you mind throwing together a quick draft?
I think that this is the best route forward, since it addresses the concerns we've received:



The talk of adding movement bonding or something else to spice up the design was just further brainstorming to give them a more active role, even though I don't think that it's needed here.

Changing the trigger for destruction to be after any turn rather than just the hero's turn does help a lot with reigning in cases like Dienekes or other passive heroes, but it doesn't really address the brunt of my concerns.
I like this (just trying to get caught up). It is simple and addresses the MacDirks quirk.
One of my biggest issues with this iteration is the lack of counterplay available to the opponent. Since an opponent now has to kill both soul guides in order to prevent the revival, in most cases an opponent is far better off just targeting something else in your army to attack.

Also, since the hero now comes back with full life, there's not really much point in attacking the revived hero either. Basically, the best strategy when playing against the soul guides is to just ignore them and try to weather the damage from the returned hero as best you can by just playing very defensively/stay out of their way until the round is over. Which just doesn't sound like much fun to me.

With Necro's iteration, targeting and destroying the soul guides becomes critical to limiting their effectiveness. Opponents actually have a goal to pursue other than simple avoidance.
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  #370  
Old September 25th, 2021, 05:51 AM
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Re: [Pod 0] Honored Soul-Guides (Lantern Geists) - Design

What if we go with Astro's design but the Revenant Hero dies when the Soulguides do? Give them a fairly low base Defense for a unique squad of 2 (so maybe 3 or 4 as stated), so that they have to be protected? Then at least we can test them with screen. Maybe bump their points to make it less economical to use them with screens (without pricing them out of some degree of usefulness).

Quote:
Last Will
Once per game, before placing Order Markers at the start of any round, you may choose one of your previously destroyed small or medium Unique Heroes. Remove all wound markers from the Revenant’s Army Card and place the figure adjacent to a Soul Guide you control. When both Soul Guides have been destroyed, remove the chosen unique hero from the battlefield.

Still a fairly simple trigger, while keeping the Soul Guides relevant enough.

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  #371  
Old September 25th, 2021, 11:12 AM
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Re: [Pod 0] Honored Soul-Guides (Lantern Geists) - Design

Quote:
Originally Posted by flameslayer93 View Post
What if we go with Astro's design but the Revenant Hero dies when the Soulguides do? Give them a fairly low base Defense for a unique squad of 2 (so maybe 3 or 4 as stated), so that they have to be protected? Then at least we can test them with screen. Maybe bump their points to make it less economical to use them with screens (without pricing them out of some degree of usefulness).

Quote:
Last Will
Once per game, before placing Order Markers at the start of any round, you may choose one of your previously destroyed small or medium Unique Heroes. Remove all wound markers from the Revenant’s Army Card and place the figure adjacent to a Soul Guide you control. When both Soul Guides have been destroyed, remove the chosen unique hero from the battlefield.

Still a fairly simple trigger, while keeping the Soul Guides relevant enough.
I don't think that works. It lets you just keep the Soul Guides in the start zone (surrounded by rats?) while you get a free extra life with Heracles or Drake II. I like the idea of tying the hero's life to the Soul Guides', but I think that only works best with the adjacency mechanics that @NecroBlade and I have been exploring.
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Old September 25th, 2021, 11:35 AM
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Re: [Pod 0] Honored Soul-Guides (Lantern Geists) - Design

Haven't tried playing it, but I think the question is less of whether it will or won't work and whether Heracles/Drake can effectively win the game on their own. Rats/Soul Guides surely aint gonna do it after all

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