In this devblog, [Nuuh] talks about the work done on Krosmaster's keywords and more specifically those of Wild Realms! 

Hi, everyone!

Today, we'll be talking about the creation of the Wild Realms and, more particularly, about Track and Invasion, as well as what led to them being created.

Krosmaster is a complex game. Most of the people reading this article are seasoned players who no doubt think Krosmaster and its rules are simple. That's not the case: There are many rules you need to know, and the interactions between figurines tend to make the rules even more complex.

One source of this complexity is generic keywords, such as "Armor", "Strength ( )", or "Prospecting".

When examined individually, none of these keywords is particularly complex. It only gets complex when they start piling up. There are now actually around 30 generic keywords in the game, and you need to know what they all mean. For players who have been there right from the start, learning this was simpler because they didn't have to learn everything all at once. But for players who start playing the game now, the amount of information to absorb is quite substantial.

As you will have noticed, we've reduced the number of new generic keywords per expansion, partly because the game was becoming harder to learn with each addition.

Despite this, keywords do have their advantages:

  • They allow us to add effects for a reasonable amount of space on the cards in order to enrich the character sheets.
  • They can make learning the game easier if used sparingly. I'm learning to use the "Armor" power: In this case, I could potentially use the "Armor" power on any character.
  • They can help strengthen a theme or create an atmosphere in an expansion.

In season 1, the game was created with around 15 keywords (more, if you include areas of effect).

When season 2 was released, 10 more were added; that's when I arrived in the Game Design team.

And before the Wild Realms season, there were still two more ("Profanation" and "Wear and Tear", two keywords whose origins each deserve their own story…). We could also mention the addition of the "opponent's territory" concept in the Eternal 1 pack.

Since my arrival, this abundance of keywords has been one of the problems we have identified, which is why, after season 2, the rhythm slowed down.

Despite this, as mentioned above, we are aware of what keywords add to the game, but we needed to make them more approachable in order to make remembering them easier.

We therefore studied the possibility of adding new keywords while reducing their impact on how difficult it would be to learn the game.

We have determined several rules and objectives in order to make it possible to integrate the keywords into the game again:

  • Frugal use; each word must be duly considered. Integrating them must add something to the game, thematically and/or mechanically. Their rarity, in addition to limiting the rhythm of growth in complexity, allows us to better enhance each keyword.
  • Making remembering and learning these new keywords easier. From now on, each new keyword will come with a reminder, in parentheses, with the aim of learning and remembering it easier.
  • Finally, we wanted each new keyword to open design space up to us. Inflexible keywords such as Strength or Farmer still do the same things. Even though some inflexible keywords are useful to make easy little variations to profiles, it is more useful to have keywords that can be inflected.

So, where do Track and Invasion come into all this?

In relation to the "Wild Realms" theme, we wanted a rather aggressive mechanic that reflects a savage, combative nature. The Invasion mechanic encourages players to go conquer the opponent's half of the field, and in so doing, it indeed tells a story, while encouraging players to take into account not only their position relative to the other game pieces, but also their position on the field.

As for Track, it draws its strength from the flexibility it provides in terms of mechanics. It allows players to more easily combine ranged spells with cool effects, but which are also restrictive (cast in a straight line only). It opens a wide range of possibilities for future profiles: Certain effects that were too strong for ranged spells are now worth considering.

In the future, there will very probably be new keywords based on this way of doing things. We are quite pleased with the feedback regarding this aspect of the Wild Realms expansion.

I've already reached my quota for the week, so I'll be back in the second week of January 2018 to talk about another theme.