Welcome in a new Development Diary post of the adventure game – The Descendants of Volos!
If you haven’t read the previous posts yet, here they are:
Post 1 – Game announcement
Post 2 – World map and Tutorial
Post 3 – Event cards
Post 4 – Equipment
Post 5 – Enemies and Combat
Post 6 – Dungeons
Post 7 – Setting up a player character
Post 8 – Character Portraits
Post 9 – Grand Changes
Post 10 – Intellect and Snaaga
Post 11 – Generated Quest Sequence
Post 12 – New Old Cards
Today we’re going to talk about the changes done to the main goal of the game.
Long, long time ago, the main goal was to defeat the most powerful boss in the game before the time is up. Whoever defeated that boss first, was the winner. The problem with this approach was that it was difficult to react if a player suddenly decided to rush towards a specific dungeon in order to defeat that boss. You never knew when a particular player would decide to go for that boss. Should you always follow him just in case? The problem was partially solved by runestones – teleportation devices that appeared on the board in a growing number, as you played longer and longer. As a result, at the beginning the mobility is very low, but at a late stage of the game, travelling to another part of the world is possible in no time. Yet, sometimes it was still not enough, if you wanted to prevent a player from being first. We had plenty of debates about that, and finally agreed that this was simply not fun enough. We needed to do better. So the next iteration was about collecting victory points in the form of influence tokens. Whoever had the most VP was the winner. In addition, whoever would be the first one to defeat the main boss would get extra VP and would stop the game immediately. That’s it, the time stopped and the game was over. The positive thing about it was that a player who was losing by VPs still had a chance to win by defeating the main boss and finishing the game. However, the general impression was a bit negative. Other players, who were on their journey to achieve an exciting goal, would be stopped in the middle of it. To end the game suddenly is not as fun as to see what is going on and be able to prepare for it. Therefore, the next iteration of the game mechanics will no longer end the game when someone defeats the main boss. Even better – there is no main boss at all – there are only regular bosses in the dungeons now. Instead…
Yep, we’ve decided to introduce an achievement system. When the session starts, you place a couple of achievement tokens somewhere on the table. Every achievement is different and is worth different amount of VPs.
You can see the initial ideas in the above image. We’re still thinking of the number of tokens per achievement.
So, we have achievements that basically are your victory points. And then we have another thing – influence tokens.
Spoiler alert: the above picture shows one extra faction from a day-one expansion. Can you figure out which one is that?
Faction tokens act as multipliers of your VPs. Each player picks their unique faction at the beginning of the game and collects tokens only from their faction. You can collect them in a few ways. The only way that will surely give you an influence point is to perform the ABC quest sequence. We talked about it in the past developer diary post. If you remember it, at the end of an ABC sequence, you must choose your prize, and usually it’s either 1 influence token or another higly valuable prize (for example A LOT of experience, or tons of money, etc.).
Another method for collecting faction influence tokens is to find a random adventure card with an event or a side quest that can offer you an additional influence token if you complete it.
To summarize, the total number of your victory points is:
Total VP = ACHIEVEMENTS * ( INFLUENCE + 1 )
Achievement VPs are multiplied by the number of influence tokens plus one. Why plus one? So that if you’re completely out of influence tokens, you don’t have zero VPs even if you’ve fulfilled lots of achievements.
Each influence token has a faction-specific skill on another side: the skill is the same on all tokens for a particular faction, but differs across factions. The idea is that the more tokens you have, the stronger that skill becomes.
In the above example, the biggest strength of the Flying Spears faction is their wealth. They control most of the trading routes and have shares in most of the businesses on the peninsula. Being their member gives you the ability to earn gold more quickly. So imagine having 4 tokens of that faction. Just stand on a field with the store, and get 12 gold in total! Overpower? Not really, because it’s very hard and time consuming to get 4 tokens. Also, towards the end of the game, gold is not as important as at the beginning. The best loot can’t be bought. It can only be found in the dungeons. But it doesn’t mean that your gold will be worthless – there are plenty of very expensive services (regarding your talents) that you can buy for example in the academy of magic 😉
Only one player can have 4 influence tokens.
If you’re about to get the 4th token, but there is already one player that has 4, then you simply can’t get it – you must discard it. That’s because there is only one player that can dominate in terms of influence. If you want to have 4 tokens yourself, you must defeat that player and humiliate him/her in order to take over his/her influence point. This rule exists because of how the session usually progresses. Over the very first couple of in-game weeks, players usually avoids fighting each other. That’s mainly because there is not much benefit from defeating them. They still have 3 souls, but they don’t have any influence tokens or any nice gear to loot. Yet, the longer you play, the more powerful you are. We’d like to encourage players to try out how powerful they are against other players’ characters. And hence the 4/3/3/3 rule. However, you may still win without the influence-based domination. You can grind the hardest achievements and dominate with the total VP.
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading, and stay with us to see more of the Descendants of Volos board game posts.