Thursday, October 10, 2013

Commander, Cardhunter, Golem Arcana

The undercurrent for this week is miniatures-style play. 

The Commander for 13th Age
I've been working on what we used to be called the 'battle captain' class for the 13 True Ways supplement for 13th Age. I got tired of the battle-captain mouthful and renamed the class "commander." It's more direct, dodges the adjective-generated question of how many other types of captain you can play, and describes the current mechanics better. 

When I'm happy with internal playtests the commander will join the monk in wider playtest. Jonathan thinks that this version of a commander is more like a miniatures game thing than he would expect a 13th Age class to be, but I'm arguing for the fact that the ongoing carefully weighted options are a play pattern beloved by the people who want to play the commander class in the first place, so at the moment, yes, this is another class that plays unlike any of the others. 

Meanwhile in the world of spending time pushing electrons on a game board instead of typing electrons into design files, I've been playing a lot of Cardhunter, the deck-based minis-style dungeon-fight game from Blue Manchu. I like this game a lot. Playing is free though they may find ways of attracting you as a Paypal. If you enjoy crunchy minis games, tactical puzzle-solving, or comedy-of-genre riffing on the cheesiest conventions of early D&D roleplaying, definitely check it out. It's been a long time since I worked with Skaff Elias on Chainmail and D&D Miniatures and I'm happy to see that he got involved as an advisor on a game that's so much fun. 

Where Cardhunter tickles old school memories with newfangled deckbuilding TCG design, Golem Arcana is the next big idea pulled from Jordan Weisman's hat. People have talked about using digital media to make a tactical miniatures game faster and easier to play. Jordan & Co. are trying to pull off the first ambitious version of such a design with an epic fantasy setting and big and beautiful 'miniatures.' The Kickstarter runs another four days and even if you're not likely to support it, you should look at the video, which does a good job of explaining some core concepts miniatures fans and game designers are going to want to keep track of. 

[[below, Golem Foundry by Kekai Kotaki]]

Golem Foundry, by Kekai Kotaki


  1. Looking forward to seeing the Commander when it's ready!

  2. Eagerly awaiting the Commander playtest. I like the name change.

    Please do the Druid playtest next ;)

  3. Given that I already see the various classes of 13th Age supporting a variety of playstyles (low-complexity Barbarian, resource-tracking Bard, complex and maneuverable Rogue, flowing and variable Fighter), I had assumed that supporting varying playstyles was a goal from the beginning.

    As such, I am highly in favour of the Commander playing differently from everything else. The monk does, too, and I'm hoping the rest of 13 True Ways brings similar uniqueness.

  4. Jonathan has been a touch surprise by the lengths I'm going to on this quest. Yes, so far the new classes are extremely distinct. I love this part of the process.

  5. It will always be the Battle Captain in my heart, but I'm glad to hear it's going well. I'll be excited to see it hit external playtesting.

  6. Will the Commander Playtest be available to everyone or will it be the same as the Monk?