I've mentioned my Rond-cala game about the Knights Templar a bit recently. Playing Trajan again just made me want to work on this game. So I pored over my most recent posts and rules for the game, brought it to our monthly Gamesmiths meeting, and have been giving it a lot of thought. Here are some of the questions that have come up and decisions that I've made about the game:
- Title: I'm now leaning toward the simple title Templar. Order of the Temple, Knights Templar, and Templar Knights are decent titles, but the word Templar is almost iconic and relatively unique, so maybe cutting the chaff and just using that word alone is the way to go.
- A communal coffer containing funds for players to use will be problematic. When players are not spending their own resources, there's no reason to budget - and when spending resources leaves less for the next guy that becomes an even bigger concern! Therefore I am considering 2 options:
Option 1) Remove currency from the game. This makes things simpler, you just do the action according to how many tokens are in the action bin, period. No need to manage another resource.
Option 2) Have an "infinitely large" communal coffer, and whenever you spend you actually take the money out of the coffer and keep it. This record of how much of the Order's money you have spent could be referenced at game end, and there could be penalties for players who spent the most/2nd most, etc. This may encourage budgeting, even in light of player "not having personal holdings." Then again, at some point why not just have personal holdings after all?
- Along the lines of simplifying things, I am reconsidering how Troops ought to work. Currently they are a currency in the game - you use the Muster action to collect Troops, and the Crusade action to spend Troops to "buy" enemy tokens (and the VP they provide). On top of spending that currency, there must be enough tokens in the Crusade bin to defeat the enemies. That seems cumbersome and redundant. The strength of the action is supposed to be based on the number of tokens in that action's bin. Perhaps Troops should add to that in the way Buildings add to other actions. Thus, Troops act the same way Buildings do, but you get them with a different action. The rules I'm considering now is this:
CRUSADE: The crusade action allows you to fight Enemies, scoring influence and clearing regions to make space for more buildings.
1. Choose 1 region containing one of your (any player's?) Knight figures and an Enemy token.
2. Determine the Enemy Strength by checking the Enemy Strength track for the appropriate enemy type.
3. Each Troop token adds 1 to the number of action tokens in the Crusade bin. If the Enemy Strength is less than or equal to the number of action tokens in the Crusade bin, you have won the Crusade. Otherwise you have not.
4. When you win a Crusade, collect Influence tokens equal to the Enemy Strength and move the Enemy token to the appropriate Enemy Strength track. When you lose a Crusade, do nothing.
MUSTER: The muster action allows you to muster troops to take crusading with your knights.Each Farm you have erected adds 1 to the number of action tokens in the Muster bin. Collect the next Troop token from your supply - its level must be less than or equal to the number of action tokens in the Muster bin. Your board has 3 spaces to hold Troops. Each Farm you have erected confers an additional space to hold a Troop token.
- That said, the building wording would need to be adjusted for Banks - they should add 1 to the number of action tokens in the Build bin. For that to work, the Buildings would have to "cost" something like 3/5/7/9 rather than 1/2/3/4. Similarly, each player would have a supply of 7 Troop tokens with levels something like 3/4/5/6/7/8/9.
- I like the idea of the End Game Phase, where destruction radiates from Paris and Knights flee to safe havens. I like it thematically, and mechanically I like how buildings can score that way, making building score values sort of interesting and variable from game to game. Other than that mechanism, I don't currently have a reason to build a particular building in one location over another, or a reason to build one building over another in a particular location. However, I'm not sure I like having to change the rules for the last 20% or so of the game. Perhaps better is to simply end the game when the Influence pool runs out. This was suggested at Gamesmiths, and in some ways I like the idea while in other ways I don't. Historically, the arrest order for the Knights Templar was given in 1307, but the Knights weren't gone until 1312, so there were a few years there where things kept going. Maybe it would be OK to keep the End Game Phase, but NOT change the rules? Let people build and Crusade as normal. Maybe offer a bonus for each Knight that's in a Safe Haven at game end (or a penalty for each Knight on the board that isn't).
- There were some additional comments at Gamesmiths about making the Rondel do more stuff, like a benefit for having the most action tokens in a particular bin - maybe to encourage saving them up in different bins? This may add a layer of player interaction, which could be a welcome thing, but at the same time it adds a whole layer of complexity that I'm not sure I want. I think I prefer a simple, straightforward implementation of the Rond-cala, at least for now.
- One more comment that came up at Gamesmiths was about the Crusade action. Matt wanted to see more focus on the Crusades - specifically on an individual Crusade. I think it was a difference in scope - I am looking at the whole thing from a more 'zoomed out' perspective, where the crusades moving across the land are represented by you moving your Knight from region to region, and the culmination of the Crusade is the Crusade action where you defeat an Enemy. I think Matt wanted to zoom in more and watch a Crusade actually move across the board.