Wesnoth as a board game

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Czestmyr
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Re: Wesnoth as a board game - prototype 0.1

Post by Czestmyr »

AI wrote:A small modification to the XP system: units of level X count as X kills. More like wesnoth without seriously complicating things.
I think that's exactly what I meant and if it isn't, it's exactly what I mean now :wink:

ADmiral-N:
Gold: I still don't like the idea of playing with coins. Even if you needed a maximum of "only" 50 coins per player would a two-player game imply 100 coins, which is a lot. I don't have problem with money. If you don't want to print the banknotes out, you can simply write the transactions and ammounts of money down on a piece of paper.
Attacks: I agree with the remark about abundance of 6-sided dice in people's homes :) Although I like the 10-sided dice for the variety they provide (and simple correspondence with %) So what exactly do you mean by the "system used in original Wesnoth"?
Board: Good idea
HP: I'm not sure about the "damage tokens". It is easier to see which of your units are near death if you have the "HP left" system instead of "damage tokens".
XP: I absolutely agree
Movement: Not a bad idea, but it's only a slight modification of my original system (which was already near-perfect by itself :P ) I'd only rather have the level numbers corresponding with number of steps needed to traverse the land hex. I.e. you'd need 1 MP to move on level-1 terrain, 2 for level-2 etc...
Creating game material: NP, I can handle that (and possibly others, who would be willing to help). You could start thinking about the different factions and their units and stats. If you made a table with all unit types (let's start just with two to four faction, each with maximum of 6 unit types or so to keep things simple - we can make more if the system proves ok), that would be great.

Regarding the game material - I don't think it's tedious to create colored cardboard tokens. You just have to be patient enough :) I can easily imagine an army of bored people creating the tokens for me (during our lectures :D ) To create the tokens, you just need to buy a paper-sized colored sticker, stick it to the cardboard and then cut out tokens out of the cardboard.

Also, what do we do if the player wants to recruit a mage and there are no more mages? I'd say that the number of a certain unit type would be limited by the number of available cards for that type, what do you think?

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Re: Wesnoth as a board game - prototype 0.1

Post by ADmiral-N »

Czestmyr wrote:I still don't like the idea of playing with coins.
I didn't exactly expect players to have 200 coins at home for 4 players to start with. ;) They could, of course, use the actual values, like 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 cent. Sounds reasonable to me, and should also be enough for the game. I'm against writing down all the money on paper because I feel it disrupts the atmosphere of the game. In games like Monopoly it's okay because you're supposed to feel like the rich modern-day capitalist with their numbers and lots of zeroes on paper. But in Wesnoth your wealth is supposed to resemble more of a treasure chamber: The more shiny gold pieces, the richer you are :)
Czestmyr wrote:So what exactly do you mean by the "system used in original Wesnoth"?
X attacks for Y damage each. You throw X dice and see how many of them hit your target.

I'm already starting to see the next problem:
In the computer game, assume a fencer (4-4) attacks a goblin (6-3). The fencer hits, then the goblin hits, then the fencer hits again and the goblin dies. The goblin had 3 attacks available, but was only able to execute one of them before he died. Now for the board game, assume that the fencer player throws 3 hits and 1 miss, and the goblin player throws 2 hits and 1 miss. How are they supposed to know in which order these attacks happened? If the fencer gets the miss first and the hits last, the goblin has 2 strikes instead of just one. Now did the goblin hit twice or just once?
Possible solutions:
a) First the attacker gets all strikes, then the defender. This is good because it's easy and encourages attacking. It's bad because if you have a 2HP drake burner and you need 1 hit to kill a lich, there's almost no risk for you, whereas in the computer game it's actually a huge risk.
b) Attacker and Defender hit everything at once, and only then units can die. This is good because it's also easy and it encourages proper strategy (putting units up against the correct opponents). It's bad because it gets much riskier to weaken a strong enemy and finish it off with a low-damage unit of your own for levelling.
c) Units take turns hitting each other one at a time, like in the original. But hits always come before misses. Therefore, the players can still both throw all their dice at once. This method has the advantage that it's still relatively easy and balance is also ok. In the example, it's clear that the goblin gets 1 strike before it dies (because the fencer has the required 2 or more hits to kill it) and this strike will be a hit because the goblin has at least one hit in their throw. The disadvantage is that it vastly increases the chances of a dying unit to hit (and possibly kill) an attacker on high-defense terrain before it dies. It's also not as easy as a) and b).
d) Players take turns rolling their dice, simulating every single attack just like in real Wesnoth. This method just works, but it takes a long time in fights with a great number of strikes.
e) We require players to have dice of different colors/sizes. Then they would know that the yellow strike goes before the red one, and if their unit still lives they also get the blue strike, for example. This is straightforward and easy, but the huge disadvantage is that the games which come with several dice often have them all in the same color and size :?
Czestmyr wrote:I'm not sure about the "damage tokens".
Especially in the very beginning of the game, you have *lots* of units all at full health! You'd need a huge amount of tokens. Injured units usually get killed or healed soon, and it's rare for both opponents to have many units all low on health. I believe that there would be less than half as many damage tokens on the table at most times than there would be health tokens.
Czestmyr wrote:Not a bad idea, but it's only a slight modification of my original system (which was already near-perfect by itself :P )
What I was trying to do with the terrain levels was make the terrain cost more variable from unit to unit. Look at how Humans move vs. how Dwarves move vs. how Drakes move. But maybe for a board game one single terrain speciality is enough.
Czestmyr wrote:You could start thinking about the different factions and their units and stats.
I'd do that, but to be balanced the units should correspond to their actual Wesnoth computer game counterparts. I'll have to read up on unit "roles" some time (yeah, units actually have such an attribute, it's used by the AI afaik).
Czestmyr wrote:I'd say that the number of a certain unit type would be limited by the number of available cards for that type, what do you think?
Yeah, that's what I thought :) This limit is especially useful for the WCs and goblins.
Also, if you have already recruited the intelligent mage and the quick mage, I know that my chances for getting the resilent one are much higher. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

What happens to dead units? Do they get recycled at the bottom of their deck? Or is there a point when there just are no more units available to recruit (would put a limit on game length)...
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Re: Wesnoth as a board game - prototype 0.1

Post by Czestmyr »

But in Wesnoth your wealth is supposed to resemble more of a treasure chamber: The more shiny gold pieces, the richer you are :)
You're right, I didn't think about it this way, but still, I don't like playing the game with something that was not supposed to be played with - it looks provisory IMHO. Maybe the gold could be crafted from cardboard as well :)
X attacks for Y damage each. You throw X dice and see how many of them hit your target.
I'd vote for C or D, but my favourite at this time is one attack per unit, because it simplifies things, which is good.
Especially in the very beginning of the game, you have *lots* of units all at full health! You'd need a huge amount of tokens. Injured units usually get killed or healed soon, and it's rare for both opponents to have many units all low on health. I believe that there would be less than half as many damage tokens on the table at most times than there would be health tokens.
Actually, my remark was not about the high number of tokens needed but about the difficulty with seeing which of your units is near death, which is immediately visible with HP tokens.
I'd do that, but to be balanced the units should correspond to their actual Wesnoth computer game counterparts. I'll have to read up on unit "roles" some time (yeah, units actually have such an attribute, it's used by the AI afaik).
If we try to keep the spirit of the units from the game, it shouldn't be such a big deal, IMHO. We can test-play the game and see if it is unbalanced in any way.
Also, if you have already recruited the intelligent mage and the quick mage, I know that my chances for getting the resilent one are much higher.
I thought that each player should have his/her own deck. Because if one player has all the mages, it's unfair to forbid the second player (if he/she is the same faction) to have any more.
What happens to dead units?
I'd put them under the bottom of the deck. The game shouldn't last forever if the players know what they're doing :)

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Re: Wesnoth as a board game - prototype 0.1

Post by Czestmyr »

Also another issue - how do we handle unit upgrades? Having a card for each unit level would mean approximately three times so many unit cards and I don't like that thought.

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Re: Wesnoth as a board game - prototype 0.1

Post by ADmiral-N »

Czestmyr wrote:Maybe the gold could be crafted from cardboard as well :)
If you don't want your game to look provisory, then this will be the only option.
Suggestion: Let's have bronze coins worth 1 unit, silver coins worth 3 units and gold coins worth 10 units of money :)
Czestmyr wrote:I'd vote for C or D, but my favourite at this time is one attack per unit, because it simplifies things, which is good.
Agreed, it's simpler, but: I gave this topic some more thought. Now I don't think we should choose the one-hit-system for it's simplicity. We ought to have all familiar ideas from the original Wesnoth in the board game, and the X damage Y strikes concept is a very Wesnoth-unique one. Also, it saves us from having to think about other implications: What's the chance to slow or poison an enemy if there is only one attack? Can the orcish assassin's throwing knife poison an enemy even if it misses? Or are we going to drastically weaken those abilities by keeping the "poison on hit" idea? Less strikes means less chances and worse odds for the ability to take effect. Finishing kills would also be a lot harder and the gameplay focus would shift from increasing the odds for single kills to distributing the damage in a way that wastes the least damage points.
Czestmyr wrote:Actually, my remark was not about the high number of tokens needed but about the difficulty with seeing which of your units is near death, which is immediately visible with HP tokens.
Sorry! :oops:
Didn't mean to completely ignore and dismiss your argument.
Still, I believe that what you want to gain in visibility will turn out to be a rather tedious activity when someone accidentially pushes the table and the HP tokens get scattered all over the place. :lol2:
Also, the gained visibility only applies for almost dead units. When you have a goblin with 15 HP left next to a troll with 15 HP left, the HP tokens don't really give you much information without looking at the context. Damage tokens are not any better in that regard, but they also are not any worse. Regardless of the kind of token used, whenever there are few tokens on a unit, it is easier to understand that unit's status at first glance without counting tokens.
Summary: HP tokens are more helpful for units on low health, damage tokens are more helpful for units on high/full health.
Since units will generally be on full health most of the time, I think we should opt for the damage tokens.
Czestmyr wrote:If we try to keep the spirit of the units from the game, it shouldn't be such a big deal, IMHO. We can test-play the game and see if it is unbalanced in any way.
Keeping the spirit of the original game is our most important goal imo. :) We can't go out and say "let's create a board game based on Wesnoth", then make up new stuff until we have a completely different game. ;)
About myself and playtesting: Not in the near future, I'm afraid. Aside from the no doubts difficult task of convincing a bunch of other real life people to try a self made board game, I also don't have the time and/or motivation to do it myself. I'll have to see how much time I actually want to invest in this :)
Czestmyr wrote:I thought that each player should have his/her own deck. Because if one player has all the mages, it's unfair to forbid the second player (if he/she is the same faction) to have any more.
Hmm. You got a point there. But should we duplicate all the material for all the factions in case 2 players want the same one? I think it should be either
a) every faction exists only once, and players can recruit stuff away from each other. This shouldn't be too bad if we create enough material to discourage e.g. one Undead player from buying out the majority of Dark Adepts because the other player will still get two or three of them, plus all the ghouls they can get. :D
b) faction decks are like decks from trading card games in that all of them are unique and no player can have the same faction as any other. I like this approach because we don't need to worry about what happens when three players all want to have the same faction. :) I understand that this is basically what you wrote, except that we should discourage players from creating more than one deck of the same faction and playing these against each other. Less balancing work, and mirrors have always been the most boring matchups. :)
Czestmyr wrote:I'd put them under the bottom of the deck.
Okay :) Alternatively: Put them face-up besides the original deck and shuffle them when the cards run out.
Czestmyr wrote:Also another issue - how do we handle unit upgrades?
A difficult question. We can't just make more cards because units retain some information between levels - their name and their traits. We basically have two options:
a) Every single unit has cards for all it's different levels, and when it levels up, the card is replaced. This requires much more game material, and I don't like the idea.
b) Level ups are done with "upgrade cards" which you put on top of the old card. It would leave the name, traits, original stats etc. visible from the original unit card underneath, but it would replace the pic with a levelled one and give bonuses to all the stats. e.g. Simon the resilent mage has 35 HP and does 7 - 3 fire damage. Put the level up card on top of it and it becomes Simon the resilent red mage with 35 + 10 HP and 7 +1 - 3 +1 fire damage. I don't like this idea very much either because the game material becomes too complex to handle.
c)Throw the traits out of the deck of cards and make separate trait tokens. Have only a few cards for every unit type + level ups, and they are all the same. I don't actually like this idea one bit. I really like the personalized unit cards :)
Last edited by ADmiral-N on August 27th, 2008, 11:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Wesnoth as a board game - prototype 0.1

Post by Czestmyr »

Just wanted to share the current unit card prototype design.
The highlited text (light green) means that this is special for this particular unit.
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Prototype of an elvish fighter unit card for the board game
Prototype of an elvish fighter unit card for the board game

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Re: Wesnoth as a board game - prototype 0.1

Post by ADmiral-N »

Czestmyr wrote:Just wanted to share the current unit card prototype design.
The highlited text (light green) means that this is special for this particular unit.
:arrow: AWESOME!! Full of pure win! :D

Please note that I have edited my previous post to adress that unit upgrade thing.

Edit: And perhaps the cards could use the damage icons from the game. (sword and bow)
Edit2: The moon (or what's visible of it) looks like the death star to me. :hmm:
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Re: Wesnoth as a board game - prototype 0.1

Post by Czestmyr »

Let's have bronze coins worth 1 unit, silver coins worth 3 units and gold coins worth 10 units of money
Why not. After all, if anyone does not want to create money for the game, they can use your approach and use coins.

ad Attacks and HP: You have made some good points regarding the special attacks and I totally agree. But adopting the nxm attack concept would imply increasing the number of hit points for all units with all its implications - larger numbers mean more chaos, more tokens and less feasibility.
A possible way out are damage sheets - small sheets with printed circles, corresponding to various HP numbers. You would then have just one token which would mark the current number of hit points for the unit. This would be very prone to accidental movement, but I guess that all of the board games are, especially the more complex ones. A good thing about this is that you immediately see, which units are near death or which ones have full health.

ad Card Decks: b) Is a good solution. It shouldn't also be a problem if two players want to play the same faction if they have two decks of cards for the faction. I simply think that sharing one deck wouldn't do good - it would also halve the maximum number of units in the game.

ad Unit Deaths: Yay! Shuffling all dead units at once when there are no more cards sounds better because it provides the game with randomness even after all the cards have been played.
I also don't have the time and/or motivation to do it myself. I'll have to see how much time I actually want to invest in this
Feel free to bail out. You can see that I also didn't give this idea much attention in the last half-year. My enthusiasm comes in waves that are unpredictable and not very long-lasting, which means that I have to work quick before it's gone ;)

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Re: Wesnoth as a board game - prototype 0.1

Post by Czestmyr »

ad Upgrades: I agree that all the options are bad. But the least bad one - at least for me - is c). I know, I probably have a token fetish, but before you replied with your post, I was also thinking in the similar direction (tokens). If you look at my card prototype, you can see the large circles denoting attack types. These circles can be the only thing (together with HP and XP, which can be on another circle) that changes with a level-up. This would reduce the need for a lot of unit cards or upgrade cards (both would be huge and we'd need a lot of them).

Damn, I don't know, what the time is wherever you live, but it's 1:30am here and I really should get some sleep :D See ya.

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Re: Wesnoth as a board game - prototype 0.1

Post by ADmiral-N »

Czestmyr wrote:A possible way out are damage sheets - small sheets with printed circles, corresponding to various HP numbers. You would then have just one token which would mark the current number of hit points for the unit.
This is an absolutely awesome idea! :) A 10x10 HP sheet covers all the HP values a player could ever want. Every player would have such a sheet to prevent cluttering one of them with too many units. Every unit in the game would have a representative token on the HP sheet which shows its health status. The circles would have to grow larger for smaller numbers because in dire situations, units tend to aggregate around the 1-10 HP range. This way, you can fit more unit tokens in the 3 HP circle than in the 40 HP circle.

What would these HP sheet tokens look like? We need an obvious way to identify a unit from its token and also the other way around. Would they have numbers on them? Color code by unit type is important for sure.
Czestmyr wrote:Feel free to bail out.
At the time, I like simply hanging around in this thread, talking you out of all your ideas :lol2: :eng:
In fact, I want to turn this into the kind of Wesnoth board game I'd like to play myself. :)


What about the licensing? I'd suggest you license all of your mockups, the rule text and other material under Creative Commons + Attribution + ShareAlike, but I don't know if that is compatible with the GPL'd Kitty images. Are they under GPL? Someone please clear this up! :)

Edit:
Czestmyr wrote:But the least bad one - at least for me - is c).
Oh well. No personalized unit cards then. The best I can do now is categorize the info on the card.
Persistent (does not change with level up)
  • General card layout, background etc.
  • Name
  • Traits
Variable (may/does change with level up)
  • Unit type
  • HP
  • XP
  • Movement (think Elvish Scouts)
  • Alignment (think Red Mage)
  • Picture
  • Weapons arsenal (Loyalist Swordsman, Drake Clasher)
  • Weapons damage
  • Resistances
  • Specialities
Since the card background is not unit-specific but type-specific, this is not a problem.
The traits can be represented with tokens.
The name is a problem. We can't change the unit's name when it levels up! No suggestions though.

Time: We live in the same time zone. It's 1:57 AM here :lol2:
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Re: Wesnoth as a board game - prototype 0.1

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Yes, all of the in-game images are under the same GPL that the game itself is.
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Re: Wesnoth as a board game - prototype 0.1

Post by Czestmyr »

Regarding licensing - I've already thought about this. Everything is and will be under GPL, so that everyone can freely modify the game if they want.
Edit: We even have no other choice if we're going to use Kitty's GPL'd images.
Last edited by Czestmyr on August 28th, 2008, 9:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Wesnoth as a board game - prototype 0.1

Post by Czestmyr »

Persistent (does not change with level up)
[...]
Variable (may/does change with level up)
[...]
On a second thought, if we have so many things that change, wouldn't it be easier to just have a new card? Now let me do some math: If we have 6 unit types per faction, each of them with an average of, let's say, three level-ups. Now we need at least four units per unit type. That would be 4x4x6=96 cards!!! That sounds horrible :) We can make 16 of them fit into a letter/A4-sized paper, which would mean 6 sheets of A4s. But that's an absolute minimum. Printing out will also be a problem, because we want the cards to look the same when observed from the back (even different units should be similar because a modification of the game may recruit the units randomly in the order in which they appear on the deck).

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Re: Wesnoth as a board game - prototype 0.1

Post by ArtillaryGoat »

Hey Guys, I may be able to offer play testing.

A good mate of mine both enjoy playing Wesnoth and wargaming (Warhammer Fantasy), although my mate is convinced that the RNG hates him, though using dice instead may bring him back in.

Although I have not yet played, may I suggest you don't get rid of the 'n'Attacks X 'm'Damage system? In my experience people's eyes tend to light up whenever they start tossing around those dice in their hands mumbling, "fives, fives, c'mon baby gimme fives...". I like the system where you roll them all at once and the hits come first, though I will have to play.

Also, why all the arguments about damage tokens? When I used to play the Pokemon trading card game everyone used different items for their tokens. Also, if Czestmyr keeps making really cool cards (or even just use the Wesnoth sprites), you want them to be as uncluttered as possible. People want to see their fighter's portrait, to be able to picture it fighting the evil (or good) enemy's portrait. So to add a psychological point of view, adding damage counters covers up the card, making it hard to see, and therefore bad. Though I understand having 9 damage counters can be a lot, I used to keep polished stones (maybe they were glass beads?), where blue represented 1 damage, and gold was worth 3 damage. Also, tokens can draw your attention faster than a flat card, helping you focus on damaged units.

Also like the movement specialty and the terrain levels. Having a particular terrain affinity adds individuality/personality, promotes altering of strategy and adds little complexity to the rules.

Haven't played yet but like the sound of cards with traits on them. If you have your new level card without traits, and place that on top of your old card, but have it still showing the name and title. Therefore players would see the name and go, "oh yeah, that's Grugg the Drunkard! That's right, he's my most resilient Orc *cough* 'cause he doesn't realize he's been stabbed *cough* and gets an extra 1 HP per lvl!" :lol2:

PS, IMHO this game sounds a lot more polished than just a mere version 0.1

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Re: Wesnoth as a board game - prototype 0.1

Post by Cernunnos »

Hi all,

This is a REALLY good idea.

A board game inspired of Wesnoth would be great. And to try to help you making it i will point out some remarks and maybe problems! :P (i'm no board game designer so you'll take or not what i'm saying)

If i get what you all said, dealing with a kind of GPL licence but for material stuff, anyone should be able to download a .pdf file, print it, cut the hex and units and then be able to play with some dices... whooo that's pretty hard, i like it! :D

OK, here i go: what you should firstly determine when making a board game is each player goal in the game, and you made that well: "defeat all enemy leaders", but what you should secondly determine is "How long the game takes?" (30 mins, 1 hour, a complete night...) making this you'll have answers to most of your questions, and at least you'll know what you can do and what you can't, you'll have a direction to go through. Because there's a huge gap between playing Sid Meyer's civilization (the original board game which is like 8h/game) and playing Monopoly (2h) or even if not a board game Magic the Gathering (10-30mins/game).

That was my first point, it's up to you (actually i think the Wesnoth computer game takes between 30mins to 1h (or more) for a good game between players of a same level).

Then, and i'm sorry to tell, you'll never be able to make a decent board game if players must count hit points, (and further if they have to count hp, xp and gold). Unless i'm wrong no board game uses hp cause it's nearly impossible to deal with. Imagine with only 5 units/player, with an average 5 hp/ unit (that's your spearman hp), that's already 5*5*2=50 counters if you work with a decrease hp system and 40 counters if you're thinking it the other way, it's to say when you put a counter each time a unit has been hit.
The only board games which use hp are the "Heroclix" likes, where a disc stands under each unit and where you can see hp etc... So, or you make a disc/scroll system for hp (and another for xp) that everybody can mount by himself, or you do something else with hp.

Suggestion :hmm: : You make all level 1 units with 2hp. This way you simplify most of things, first the question "What's the max hp for this unit?" is no more. Example, i'm playing elves, with a mage (4hp), 2 fighters (5hp each) a wose (6hp) and i recruit the mercenaries you were talking about. My opponent as no chance to remember all the max hp/ unit and me neither. So if you want to keep the idea of multiple hp/ unit, this should do the trick. The second questions players were asking was "How many points left for this one?" is no more, 1 counter = 1 hp left cause all units have now 2hp (at level 1). This way you can also keep the regeneration ability,: "at the beginning of your turn, the wose removes the damage counter from itself if there was"/ "at the beginning of your turn all units near a shaman removes the damage counter form themselves if there was".
(and for my example about counters that's now 1 counter max/unit (and 10 counters for 5 units/player is possible whereas 50 isn't imo).
But you'll have to change the defense system if you want to do that and the attack system too.

Anyway, i'm sorry but i have no more time right now to tell you others things i remarked at first sight. But i'll do that later :P .

Just something odd,
Lawful units add their level to the total damage during the day, and subtract their level during the night.
(in the rules): that means a lvl 1 unit dealing 1*X damages won't do any damages during 1/3 of the game (for example a spearman at night would do 0*4 damages, and that's not much :augh: )

Well, this wasn't to discourage you, it was just to try to help, and i'll try to help you better next time.
Anyway, Continue i'd like to play WBG!

Bye

EDIT: if you want to go further in the card game direction, then it's not as i said and you can actually go really deeper in the rules. But if you want to stay in the original idea of a board game, you should watch about "Demonworld" too (from "Hobby Products" i think) it's more a wargame than a board game but i think you'll find some good ideas too, cause it's already using the hex system and takes places in a similar heroic fantasy world). see ya!
"While portrait art may be where Wesnoth gets its glamour, and sprite art may be where Wesnoth gets its zest, it's the terrain art that's so crucial to Wesnoth's polish - it's the canvas that the rest goes on." Sangel

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