Friday, October 29, 2010

Big swings

It has been a long time since I have talked about FMB because I pretty much felt like the game was in a finished state - aside from marketing and large scale production there wasn't much to do.  I had an idea this week though that seemed like it would make the game better by removing big swings.  Right now the way things work is that you draw 1 spell each turn; some of them buff your units and some smash your opponent's units.  The way it used to work is that the buff spells were reasonably balanced on their own but some of them multiplied together in very powerful ways so if they were combined they could be extremely devastating.  Example:

Flaming Swords:  Pick two units to get + 3 to attack this turn.
Berserk:  Pick one unit to attack 2 extra times this turn.

Each one individually worked fine but when both were played on the same unit at once that unit attacked 3 times with + 3 which was extremely overpowered.  It was even possible to Berserk both of the units that received Flaming Swords with two Berserk spells and end up with an absolutely outrageous turn.  There are two problems with this.  The first is that if you draw these spells together and your opponent has no answers you probably win the game with such a combo, assuming the game was close at the time.  The second problem is that some of the spells just flat out prevented a unit from acting for a turn so you could end up using multiple spells to power up your units and then have your opponent negate everything with a single spell.  Example:

Wave of Force:  Pick one unit to not get any actions this turn.

If you managed to get your combo off it would be absolutely dominating and if you failed to get it off you probably just lost the game.  There was an element of skill in figuring out when to try for combos and when to wait it out but in the end there were definitely games where you just got wrecked and there was little to be done about it.  The bigger problem was that buff spells didn't feel very fun.  Knowing that you stand a good chance of using your spell and getting wrecked takes a lot out of the enjoyment of it, especially since you simply can't know what your opponent has.  I came up with a solution, which is that any unit targetted by a spell cannot be targetted by another spell this turn.  This accomplishes two things.  Firstly it completely removes the super combo possibilities from the buff spell and secondly it prevents your opponent from using a spell to stop a unit you have just powered up.  This means that you never have to worry about getting completely blown out by a lucky spell draw from your opponent and you also can cast spells to power up your units strategically to prevent a spell being used against them later.  I am confident that some strange things will come of this and I will probably have to rewrite some spells a little but I think it will give me a lot more flexibility in designing effects since I don't have to worry about them conflicting with each other nearly so much.


  1. On the surface I like this, as I both hated combo spells and getting countered.

    Is the same true for artifact effects? Only some of them? Shooting something with a rod of pestilence and then having the opponent unable to pump its armor seems weird, but then giving something a sword of courage and berserk/flaming swords is absurd with no chance of stopping it.

  2. Hey Sky, any plans on changing the name of your game? I feel like the name FMB might sound a little to D&D for some people. Your thoughts on this?

  3. @Pat

    Making the game have a different name than Fantasy Monster Beatdown is probably a good idea in the long run if I want to publish. At the moment I am not doing so so I don't have a lot of incentive to change it. I don't have a good idea yet though, so feel free to suggest one!

  4. @Ziggyny

    Yeah, there are complications to work out. I am confident in the long run this style will make things better, but figuring out the interactions with Sword of Courage and potentially other artifacts is very important. I don't want to create more problems than I solve.

  5. Sounds like a sensible change. One side effect is that it gives the buff spells an added effect: "targeted unit cannot be wave of forced". There are times when you have a single unit which can cap a node and preventing it from being attacked might be useful.

  6. Is there a place where I could see more of this game? - (Waka)

    my friends and I (Baninor you may remember) and many others who never played with ogt. every friday night and saturday night we get together and make rpg's or board games.

    if you're interested you can email me during 5pm-12pm pst or 8-5pm pst to
    perhaps we could try it out for you as our next game and come up with any bugs that we find. or things that are blaringly overpowered. we're always "beta testing" for online games and offline games that we make.

    and if you and a group of friends are interested .. maybe you'd be interested in trying out one of ours? has more content than D&D 4th Edition. it's a RPG with a single storyline. but the gamesystem could be used on any storyline for sure.