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Xelto

Rune golems

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From a different thread:

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4.  Glaring in a different way is the Rune Golem, which everyone on the forums seems to agree on as well.  A 1x1 or a couple of 1x1s in the right list are very nice and amazing.  The problem is that as you scale up, they are just less so.  But at this point, I'm not sure what we can do and might not get much agreement.  This is really what you write off as a design flub and then try to introduce something new later on.  But without something new coming...   They really need a pretty thorough redesign, but as that is far more contentious than what I'm comfortable, that pretty much leaves recosting downwards.  But despite being glaring, I'm much more comfortable with movement from the OP items downward than I am with increasing the power level of something.   If there's no FAQ/ERRATA in six months, then that's about the time to look seriously at more comprehensive changes to the game.

That thread had some brilliant observations, and I didn't want to sidetrack it. But Rune Golems have been on my mind, so I wanted to take a closer look at them.

The Rune Golem is actually the unit that kept me in  the game. I was one of the alpha testers for the original game, and somehow, I seemed to always play Waiqar. I was underwhelmed by the game. All the units seemed to be the same... a similar set of marches, turns, attacks, rallies, and so forth for every unit (except that as Waiqar, my units were slower and later)... except for the Rune Golem. Looking at its dial, I could see that there was potential for something more here. I wasn't doing anything better when the Latari went on test, so I said "Why not?" and joined that test.

It turns out that I'm a natural-born Latari player, and I never looked back.

OK, enough personal digression. I like Rune Golems. But I understand why a lot of people think they're weak. Overall, they're slow. There's the potential for a burst of speed at initiative 4, but only if you get all the unstable runes to show.  And since it's at initiative 4, some units can even clear out of your way before you get that speed burst: with no turns on their dial, you know precisely where they're going if they march. It's also possible that the golems won't be able to move at all until initiative 7, which absolutely sucks.

On the other hand, with brutal [stable], if they do connect, they're going to hurt. And while they're vulnerable to mortal strikes, they're very resistant to chip damage.

This is a combination that makes the easy and ideal fix (simply adjusting their points) problematic: if they're cheaper, you run the risk of people spamming them as either hard-to-hurt fire rune platforms, or just going with a large but slow army. I could see changing prices working with the larger builds where their lack of maneuverability is magnified, but not the single-unit forces.

I also can't think of anything that fits into the less-easy but still not bad fix category (adjusting their abilities), because they don't have many abilities. Maybe if they got a unit-specific upgrade or two, that might work, but I'm having troubles thinking of any right now. And I prefer units to be able to stand on their own without requiring upgrades to be viable.

Which moves me to the not-easy fix category (playing with their dials). Which I know isn't ideal. But if they got a blue, [natural runes] march at initiative 3 or 4 (which initiative determined after testing), it would complement their initiative-4 march [unstable]. The Daqan player wouldn't have to worry about being unable to move during the early-phase movement, but at the same time it wouldn't increase the units average speed much, since it can always get a late-turn march-2, so it should, in theory, keep the unit's "slow and clunky, but hard hitting" feel intact.

 

I'm interested in hearing other people's opinions and alternate ideas. I like the idea I came up with, but I know that changing command tools isn't something to do lightly.

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Yeah, their dial really lacks options, and a new dial would have been really nice, but I agree that is pretty much impossible for a community to fix due to the physical nature of them. A 10-15% lower cost, at least for the larger tray configurations would be really nice. Otherwise, I think that card fixes are the way to go, the unit card being the easiest.

20 minutes ago, TallGiraffe said:

I always thought they could use an extra wound in general along with some small adjustments to their dial and they would be fine.

This is certainly in the "easy unit card fix" category. But I wonder if it is too much?

 

I'm just brainstorming now, but what about if it had

[Melee Attack]: The targeted enemy recieves a Stun token.

[Special Action]: Each enemy at range [Stable] recieves a Stun token

 

And/Or, you get a Stun token when charging or being charged by Golems.

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those stun changes look nice, but one of them would be enough to justify present cost. 

To give unit more options, each unit could pick one of those three before activation for entire game. 

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How about this?

iEEOqVE.jpg

It amplifies it's flavour ability (ground smash), it's powered by the same rune as it's attack and it scales with the number of trays (which I think was lacking in the original).

Edited by Maktorius

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1 hour ago, Maktorius said:

How about this?

iEEOqVE.jpg

It amplifies it's flavour ability (ground smash), it's powered by the same rune as it's attack and it scales with the number of trays (which I think was lacking in the original).

That seems too good. 

 

I wouldnt mind adding a simple Scion-Like ability that enemies who collide with the Golem or who the Golem collided with receive a stun.

 

It leaves the Golem still clumsy and slow, but a bit more of a “want to go around” obstacle than a “just go through.”

 

Adding a wound was an option before BaronZ. I think it would be too much to see a convenient 16+ HP Rune Golem as a blocker. That makes a single Golem able to stop most Death Stars for 2 turns when charged

Edited by Church14

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I agree that adding a wound is too much now that Vitality is a thing.  Rune Golems did get quite a bit better having one more wound.  I would like to see something that gives them a bit more utility for their cost, similar to what you get out of Lancers and Scions.

How about this change:

[Skill]  Choose an enemy at range 1-[Natural Runes] and in line of sight.  That enemy receives a stun token.

This way they would be utilizing all three rune types, which is both thematic and balancing.   If you have no red runes and only one blue rune, you have at least 2 green runes.  If you have no green runes, then you have at least 2 red runes and 2 blue runes.  This creates a sweet spot for the Golem at around range 2-3 where if you can't out-charge the thing you are squaring off with you can potentially still get a stun on it at init 3, making their charge fail. 

Not sure how to scale them up though.  I honestly think a points change for the larger formations is the best option here.  Making abilities that give banes scale up is a slippery slope. Especially with stuns which can be devastating to units that have rally on the second dial, which is most units.  The only other option is to add a useful upgrade slot on the larger formations.  The only thing that I think would be good on them is Training... what's good for them there...

Maybe if they could take Training upgrades at 2 trays and up?  This opens up Rank Discipline, Coiled Stance, Simultaneous Orders + an equipment upgrade, Moment of Inspiration... Could get pretty good. 

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I curbed the power of the initially posted suggestion into the one below. I realized that it already had some scaling with the number of trays due to the physical size, i.e. the range, of the unit, which increases.

iMkeq4T.jpg

Edited by Maktorius

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I've thought a lot about Golems. They do feel weak, but I have used them to good effect, and I really like a lot of their design. It forces fairly unique gameplay, which is cool and interesting. Some things:

  • They have trouble moving across the board. Three out of four turns, they can only move 2, so they simply can't cover ground well. One thing I have considered is along the lines of "when you reveal your dial, if you have a charge modifier selected, you may cancel that modifier to increase the speed of your first march this activation by one." Doesn't increase their charge range, just lets them get across the board more reliably.
  • They are awkward to move, but reform modifier is always strong. As support units, they're good at setting up flank charges, and the initiative 7 shift + reform is an excellent defensive tool.
  • The choice of stun vs attack is very interesting. Attacking usually means not having your defense modifier active when you're being attacked, which often means taking an additional wound. It can feel bad to be forced to play defensively, but I do like the mechanic.
  • Between their speed and the above offense vs defense, getting them into a favourable position to attack is pretty challenging, and should probably be more rewarding. Their average damage is good, but very inconsistent. A straight damage buff is on the boring side, but it might be the best way to improve the feel of their play - if you can navigate their shortcomings, you will be rewarded. The easy implementation is "if [natural runes] is 2 or more, gain Precise (1)" but I'm still thinking on this.
  • I don't think they should get any more durable without a points INCREASE. 4/3 with the possibility of 6/3 is incredible, and having played with Vitality tokens, feels great. It could be a reasonable way to get them to feel more elite though. I've also considered Protected, but I think it's actively bad for the game to lock smaller units out of being able to damage things.
  • A unique slot could also introduce lots of very cool and thematic stuff, but we should just ignore that for now.

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15 minutes ago, Maktorius said:

@Bhelliom so... what do you think about the tweak i posted above? :)

I don't immediately love it. I think it's fairly rare that I get more than one unit at range 2 of a golem, so I think this is closer to a nerf than a buff. That said, it's an interesting direction to take them, with more utility. 

Something I'm also trying to keep in mind is the theme of the unit. Golems look like they're slow, tough, and devastating in melee, so those are the areas I'm currently concentrating.

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I've always wanted them to get protected=natural runes.  Thematically it works, as all runes should affect the golem.  Playwise, I dont see it being too much, while still making the golem extra beefy (max armor 6 + protected 2).  The golem effectively sits between 8-20 hp with vitality taken into account.  The swingyness of its armor would make a much more interesting playstyle.

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17 minutes ago, Jukey said:

I've always wanted them to get protected=natural runes.  Thematically it works, as all runes should affect the golem.  Playwise, I dont see it being too much, while still making the golem extra beefy (max armor 6 + protected 2).  The golem effectively sits between 8-20 hp with vitality taken into account.  The swingyness of its armor would make a much more interesting playstyle.

You can get up to 3 natural runes. And some Latari units have enough trouble scratching even a 4-toughness opponent.

Of the ideas others have mentioned so far, my favorite is the collide=stun token. It doesn't require setting it up to use (something golems aren't great at), is thematic, and is simple to integrate. And it's not like golems need a large buff to be competitive, just a minor tweak.

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8 minutes ago, Xelto said:

You can get up to 3 natural runes.

I should have clarified, in my example, the golem armored 2 for stable runes, which meant 1 green was flipped down.

The impenetrable golem could be a problem, thinking from experiences with lord V.  I think it works on a single tray but becomes a problem with more.

For the record I like the stunner golems too.

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Ok. I’m still setting up the community data tracker and using worlds data to set up the analysis.

 

I’m going to add a few columns for players to indicate if they are using a particular community suggested errata. With enough games in, we should have enough data to see if average scores go up or down with particular changes. If we get a few more players signing on and saying they like the Stun-Golem errata, I will add it to the tracker. 

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Hm, when the golem charges it makes fine sense, but I feel less good about the theme of the golem being charged and handing out a stun. Plus, it feels weirdly doubled up with the skill action and copy/pasted from Scions... 

As for gameplay, it certainly wouldn't hurt, though if a golem is getting charged it almost assuredly needs to armor up next turn. Nice on the charge, but those are tough to set up.

Overall, I think I prefer a pure damage buff in the vein of reroll 1 die if there are at least two natural runes. Loops that third rune in like it seems it should. 

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Adding a stun effect doesn't make we want to run more golems, it just makes a single golem I run a little better.  Would still never run the 4 or 6 block.

What about giving them a skill slot?  Opens up a lot of options that are decent (coiled stance, moment of inspiration, rank discipline, know your enemy (spend inspiration to re-roll a die) simul order with wind rune so you can wind rune into combat and then stomp).

Any one of those would make we want to run golems, and I don't see a combo that looks too good.

 

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Coiled Stance reminds me: how many points would you pay for Visored Helms? It's kinda perfect for Golems. 5? 4?

Training would be nice, it just doesn't fit thematically very well. Similarly, Scout would really help Golems do what they want to do, but makes no sense.

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1 hour ago, Darth Matthew said:

Adding a stun effect doesn't make we want to run more golems, it just makes a single golem I run a little better.  Would still never run the 4 or 6 block.

I think the general thoughts, if they came up, were that the larger formations needed to drop in price a bit.

Quote

What about giving them a skill slot?  Opens up a lot of options that are decent (coiled stance, moment of inspiration, rank discipline, know your enemy (spend inspiration to re-roll a die) simul order with wind rune so you can wind rune into combat and then stomp).

It doesn't fit thematically very well. If anything, I think that a unique upgrade slot would be better.

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On 1/19/2019 at 2:29 AM, Xelto said:
Quote

What about giving them a skill slot?  Opens up a lot of options that are decent (coiled stance, moment of inspiration, rank discipline, know your enemy (spend inspiration to re-roll a die) simul order with wind rune so you can wind rune into combat and then stomp).

It doesn't fit thematically very well. If anything, I think that a unique upgrade slot would be better.

From the lore: Elemental runes may also impart some of their nature to the golem's temperament: aggression for fire, stoicism for ice, or cleverness for lightning.

If they can be clever they shuld be able to lern a skill? Also thought there were something somewhere about the golems needing the minds of warroiurs to be animated to life?

Besides spearmen dont get a skill but shuld be able to lern them, so i dont think thematic restrictsions shuld be to hard...

Do like the idea of having rank or know your ennemy on golems

Edited by Datskor

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