First off, I wanted to let you know that starting in July the updates from here on out will mostly focus on the specific changes that have been in the past month, and every post will now include a full change log.
Furthermore, the game will enter design lockdown on July 15. A new build will be posted for alpha testers shortly after that date, and from that point on all of my time will be spent collecting and making use of playtest feedback, iterating on/polishing what’s already in the game, and taking care of the final boring-but-necessary elements a game needs to ship (making sure the last bits of art make it in, programming an options screen, replacing placeholder text, graphics performance optimization, creating a final installer etc.).
The next update will be posted after we’ve hit the July 15 milestone, and from this point on I expect all future updates will go up mid-month-ish. Gonna keep this one short though so I can get back to programming.
We’ll pick things up in July with a lot of details – for now though we’ll wrap up the playtest report we started a couple months ago. Back soon!
March 5 Group Game Playtest – Turn Log Part 3/3
Where we left off.
61 … October … The horsemen assault Clan Ingel, which barely holds on and is now down to 70% health. I decide to roll the dice and send Clan Einar into the fray in hopes of breaking the enemy’s morale and crippling them, as the bandits’ power is equal to Einar’s (3.6) which won’t be the case for long after their morale recovers. The result is… victory! Einar is bloodied but successful in their attack. Much as I’d like the hobbled-but-still-standing Ingel to follow up and eliminate the vile riders their morale is too low and they refuse, so I instead reform my small army in preparation to finish the job next turn. I tuck Clan Adelbert (Farmer) under the army, as my willingness to take chances with them has lowered dramatically. Speaking of bandits, a captive Miner appears on the far eastern frontier, posing quite an opportunity. With the western bandit threat mitigated I steer Clan Ewout (Archer) back around in hopes of snatching them. My Timber supply is starting to dwindle fast, and even my Woodworks will only slow the bleed. I want to get an Apprentice there and on the Gold Mine, so I switch my research to Woodsplitters so I can start making my own rather than relying 100% on caravans. With only 15 Timber left and -11 per turn I disable both of my Coal Makers to reduce this to -2, which I can afford since I have a pretty healthy supply of Coal. I send the Settlement far to the west, leaving 1 move in order to unpack. I start training Clan Ulfert (Coal Maker) back to a Lorekeeper in order to get my Woodsplitters finished faster.
62 … The army finishes off the bandit horsemen once and for all, though I’m sure they have more friends lurking in the fog. The bandit-controlled Miner has disappeared so I send Clan Ewout (Archer) into the fog to hunt them down, and find them only a tile away.
63 … The captured Miners (Clan Valborg) move a bit further away and towards a bandit camp, but remain within range of Ewout, who I sacrifice to supply damage to use in capturing Valborg. Losing 10% of HP is definitely worth a free trained clan! Unfortunately, Ewout is now in range of 2 bandits on a nearby camp that the Miners were probably heading towards, which is a bit risky. We’ll see what happens. My Woodworks is now online, producing 6 Timber per turn, but not the 9 I was hoping for since Clan Habel is efficient (+50% resource production). Hmmm. At first I thought this might be a design issue, but it was in fact a bug, which I spent a bit of time fixing (using the fancy command console to remove and re-apply the Efficient trait). I resume Clan Roehl’s Timber-to-Coal conversion, and begin training Clan Ahlert (unemployed but in Metalworking) in Crafting, as I think I’ll make them into my Logger Apprentice in order to increase my Woodworks’ output (particularly important since they’re impatient and take 50% longer to train if the task is at least 3 turns long). While not eager to send my army back west, especially in its weakened state and now facing very-much-angry bandits, I’m the gambling sort and don’t want to have my Farmer waiting around doing nothing. Let’s figure out what all of those plants are!
64 … The bandits launch an all-out assault on Clan Ewout (Archer) and… wipe them out! The bandits suffer losses, but the combined effects of being outnumbered and weakened from supply loss is too much for Ewout to withstand, and my bold play at grabbing a free Miner instead costs me one of my clans. Ouch. Not only that, but my eastern flank is now wide open, my new Woodworks completely exposed to rampaging bandits. I opt to send Clan Warren (Hunter) back to the Settlement for immediate retraining as a Lancer, and also pull back my western expedition. Time to start playing things a bit more safe. I pack up my Settlement this turn in order to shift them 1 tile NE, allowing me to immediately start training my Lancer next turn (while keeping captured Clan Everard (Farmer) within my control in order to start constructing a Wheat Farm soon).
65 … December … New Clan Sorrel (Gregorious and Thorough, which basically means they really, really want to be in a social profession) joins the tribe. I spend a Parchment increasing Clan Warren (Hunter)’s level in Honor in order to get that Lancer out another turn sooner. The bandits haven’t advanced, so I’m in some luck there. Strangely enough though some of their captives are now wandering into my lands, which I’ll happily take advantage of when I can. Clan Waldemar (Trapper) has depleted the Sheep herd, so I send them up towards the Deer I had been hunting.
I have a lot of flexibility in training clans in new professions at this point in the game.
66 … I finally hit 20 Stone Blocks and Clan Everard (Farmer) is able to start constructing my Wheat Plantation. I start training my Lancer as well, which will be wrapped up in 2 turns.
67 … The bandit captives seem intent on a death march in the winter through my lands, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to grab them with my returned army before they bite the dust. It’ll be close.
68 … And I make it! I grab Clan Valborg (Miner) as well as newcomer Clan Herrick (Logger) both in the same turn with my two remaining Archers, and the Gothic family is suddenly a lot bigger. I manage to grab both clans within my own control as well, ensuring they won’t take any further supply damage. The AI behind the units’ behavior was incredibly wonky and something I’ll need to look into, but in this game I’ll simply consider myself fortunate and move on! Clan Warren is now a Lancer, and with a whopping 16 Power it’s THREE times stronger than my existing army combined. So, yeah, it’s definitely time to rumble. I decide to wipe out the threat to the east first, once spring returns. I opt to dig in my Lancer in a centralized location for now for defensive purposes, and I’ll have it join my Archers to the east once it’s time to begin campaigning again. I start training Clan Ottokar (Wood Bundler) as a Woodsplitter, finally giving them something productive to do again. Having captured both a Miner and a Logger I now need to find new roles for unemployed Clans Ahlert and Ivo, who had been tabbed for the job, but I can decide on this later. Another warrior would probably make sense, although none of the candidates are particularly well-suited and I’d really rather be training Spearman than Archers at this point – I queue them up next after researching Bakers. There aren’t a ton of other great options, which starts to show the limitations of the game’s current profession/tech lineup, and why it needs a refresh.
69 … Clan Ottokar is now online as a Woodsplitter, and it’s now time for me to decide how to prioritize my apprentice assignment. More wealth honestly wouldn’t help me all that much, as the current design of the caravan doesn’t really allow me to spend much more than I’m already making (soon to be resolved – this is why I playtest so extensively!). Given that I can always buy more timber and food is extremely hard to come by I decide to go for buffing my Wheat Plantation first (I like how difficult this decision is). I start switching Clan Ahlert to Metalworking in preparation for training them as a Coal Maker, as I’ll need more once my Baker comes online. I also decide to send my new Miner and Lancer up a bit to the NE to investigate a lone mineral deposit that’s escaped investigation thus far. This isn’t too risky, is it? Right?
70 … The increased supply cost of my Lancer has caught up to me a bit, as since it’s not spring yet I can only acquire enough supply on tiles within my control at present – a fun wrinkle in the use of these units that isn’t really the case in a lot of other strategy games. I withdraw them to the tile just north of my Woodworks, which is still well-positioned for their mission. My Archers creep SE through the dense forest, and once they team up with my Lancer in a few turns will be ready to wipe out the eastern bandits, hopefully once and for all. I train Clan Ahlert in Metalworking one more time in order to surmount the ‘Impatient’ trait training time penalty.
Mounted units like the Lancer are very powerful, but tricky to use because of their supply cost.
71 … March … As my small Archer army marches SE through the forest they uncover a grisly scene of 3 bandit units including a mounted rider having completely decimated one of my hapless neighbors. Having a camp only 2 tiles away from your starting tile is no fun at all! Clan Warren (Lancer) sweeps northwards ahead of Clan Valborg (Miner), and the coast in this direction at least seems clear. I finally start training Clan Ahlert as a Coal Maker, which will keep me at -1 per turn once I train Clan Wilmot (Farmer) as a Baker the following turn.
72 … Clan Valborg finally starts identifying the unknown mineral, and I send Clan Warren (Lancer) back towards the SE to link up with my Archers. I hate spreading my military so thin and leave both my western and northern flanks completely exposed, but I really want to eliminate the known threat and move on. With 10 turns of food left and -0.4 per I finally add an apprentice slot to my Wheat Plantation, add the apprentice and climb back up to a modest +0.3 per turn. The first caravan of the year has finally shown up, and it’s a painful one, as coal is in short supply, and I’m only able to purchase 2 (!). I purchase various other commodities and drain my treasury back to 0.
73 … Clan Bader (Curious and Rowdy, so easy to train but prone to stir up trouble and commit crimes) joins the tribe and seems well-suited to becoming a Surveyor to help scout out the lands to the west once I finally wrap things up in this part of the map. My grand army finally combines and prepares to lay siege to the bandit HQ. The supply cost of my Lancer is such that positioning the army for the siege is a bit tricky, but thanks to a wheat field 1 tile N of the camp it’s not too problematic, although it certainly could be in other scenarios.
74 … The nearly-crippled bandit rider makes a suicide charge, which I repel with zero casualties, leaving two half-strength infantry units remaining. I settle in for a siege to ensure my losses remain minimized. I again have the 10 Boards necessary to add an apprentice slot, and do so for my Woodworks, bringing me all the way up to +3 timber per turn from -6 (thanks to comboing with Clan Habel’s awesome Efficient trait bonus). Clan Wilmot is now online as a Baker, bringing my food-per-turn up to 2.7, which is quite healthy. Feeling really good about my position right now – let’s see if I can avoid any surprise visits that ruin things before I can finish training Clan Ivo as a Spearman.
75 … I spend a Parchment to level up Clan Ivo in Honor once more. That’s about it for this turn – a rare break!
76 … Clan Valborg (Miner) discovers a stone deposit to the NE. Interesting. I’m not really set up to take advantage of it right now, but maybe down the road. I send Valborg towards my Gold Mine, which will double its already-formidable output once I can add Valborg to it. I finish researching Spearmen, but only have 12 of the 15 Weapons I need to train one, so I opt to finally pack up and head west. It’s obviously dangerous to do so without escort, but I did a sweep through the area not too long ago and summers are usually safer than winters. Plus, moving while the weather is nice makes a lot of sense, as trudging through the snow is no fun at all.
77 … June … The siege in the East continues as my Settlement starts moving west. No enemies spotted yet.
78 … The bandit camp is only now starting to feel the sting of my siege (the price of fighting patiently in a hospitable part of the world). At the caravan weapons are on sale, allowing me to add 10 to my stockpile for only 20 wealth. Nice deal! My settlement arrives at its final destination, but lacks enough moves to unpack. I’ve also just hit 25 Parchment this turn thanks to Clan Waldemar (Trapper) turning plenty of deer into the handy resource, so I’ll be able to, next turn, at last, found the Kingdom of the Goths!
79 … I switch Clan Waldemar over to foraging for cloth so that I can plan ahead for expanding my popcap, as with a huge fame bonus incoming I’ll need this sooner rather than later. I add an apprentice slot to my Gold Mine and then slot Clan Valborg in, bringing me up to +20 wealth per turn. A nearly-dead bandit appears just to the north of my settlement, so before spending the turn founding my kingdom I start training Clan Ivo as a Spearman, which will take 2 turns. Fingers crossed.
80 … The bandit stays put, but another in the camp to the East launches a suicide charge of its own against my army, while the other runs to the southeast. I follow up by charging through the camp, freeing a captured farmer (Clan Edlef) and wiping out the final bandit. Phew. I send Edlef towards a large field of flax near my settlement.
81 … Clan Ivo is now trained as a Spearman and destroys the bandit hanging around in the West. In the East I split my army up, sending my Archers back towards home and my Lancer around the area to scout, as I haven’t seen much of this area yet. To wrap up I push the declare kingdom button, which takes a turn to take effect, and…
82 … The Kingdom of the Goths has been founded!
The Kingdom of the Goths!