Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Death Mesa: Patch 1.03 and Zombie Renegade Playtest

I know you love all of these lovely patches to the game, especially when I haven't updated the player aid or Guidebook yet. I have a bit of an excuse with getting my computer stolen, but I really should have gotten to this already. Anyway, here are the latest changes, all of which will be included in the updated Guidebook.

  1. Discarding to play another Dead Men's Deck card required only after a successful Death Mesa cards is played. The patched rules (1.02) claimed that after a ghost had played a Dead Men's Deck (DMD) card, they must discard a DMD card if they wish to play another. However, this seems to include both successfully played DMD cards and unsuccessfully played DMD cards (ones that were negated). Now, it only applies to successfully played DMD cards. This way a ghost may still feel like they can act each turn, and it will make the other ghostly team evaluate the card being played. Do they want to use their negation now, and risk not having negation for the next card?

  2. Color Duel System is the new negation system. I decided this was the simplest and speediest method. If you are not familiar with this system, check out point #4 in Death Mesa Patch 1.02.

  3. Optional Redraw for some Dead Men's Deck cards when only 1 ghost/1 ghost team is in play. Some of the DMD cards (Desecrate Grave, Syphon, Rob Grave) only affect other ghosts, which is good and fine when many ghosts are around. But what about when there is only 1 ghost or 1 ghost team around? They do not wish to hurt each other, and they cannot use them for negation since they would not want to negate one another's plans. The solution for these cards is to allow the ghost to immediately discard such cards when he draws them and draw others instead. Future versions of Death Mesa will have an icon in the bottom right to indicate this.

Zombie Renegade

The last item of business is the need to playtest a new element to Death Mesa, "zombifying the Renegade." During my interview on Giant Firebreathing Robot, I noted that I was still not satisfied with the Renegade's position in Death Mesa. While he can still influence the ghosts strongly in Death Mesa, his actual potential to succeed in his role seemed slim. Even the Scofflaw victory that I describe in the Guidebook is pretty difficult to do (where he kills the living Sheriff, and becomes the new one). I have thought of an alternative, which I know complicate things, but I want the Renegade involved in the game.

This alternative allows the Renegade to return to life without having to eliminate and become the new Sheriff (the Scofflaw victory). The path to resurrection that I want playtested at the moment is:
  1. When the Renegade dies, place his role card on top of his life point counter, so that all of the bullets are covered.

  2. At the beginning of each future turn, move the role card down so that a new bullet is shown. After 3 bullets are shown, do not move the role card down anymore. He may choose to resurrect if:

  3. He possesses a certain amount of "buried goods." At the moment, I want 6 buried goods to be the tested amount. Too many will make it too hard for the Renegade to resurrect (especially given the cards that deplete "buried goods"), and defeat the purpose. But he shouldn't get a shoe in to resurrect after 3 turns. To help him accumulate buried goods, instead of being able to discard any 2 DMD cards to Spook!, he can discard any 2 to draw a buried good instead. If the drawn card's suit is black, he may show it to draw another buried good.

  4. With the 3 bullets showing and 6 buried goods accumulated, the Renegade may opt to resurrect as a Zombie on his turn if he has not yet drawn cards for the turn (otherwise, he waits until his next turn). This resurrection has the following stipulations:
    • The Zombie Renegade has no character ability, but has distance constraints and can die like any of the living characters.

    • He resurrects with up to 3 life points max, but he never resurrects with more life points than the living player with the most health. Thus, if the player with the most health has 2 life points, the Zombie Renegade resurrects with 2 life points.

    • He discards half of his buried goods (his choice). The others become a part of his hand. He then draws 2 card from the normal deck and continues his turn like normal.

    • His max amount of life points is always 3.

    • His victory condition is the same as when he was alive: Be the last man standing, killing the Sheriff last.

    If this is still seen as too strong, the Zombie Renegade may also have a card limit -1.

If all goes well with the playtesting, this will replace the Scofflaw victory currently described in the guidebook. Any thoughts or feedback?

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