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Re: Bill King Questions & Answers Part 1

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  • manowarplayer
    ... an ... questions. ... AND THE REST OF HIS ANSWERS... Q: How do you design a game like this? The ships must be enough apart to give all the different fleets
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 1, 2008
      --- In theseaofclaws@yahoogroups.com, manowarplayer <no_reply@...>
      > I heard back from Bill at the beginning of March after I sent him
      > inquiry about the questions I sent him. Here is the reply:
      > "Hi Scott,
      > Thanks for the nudge. I have been slowly working my way through the
      > questions but have not completed them yet. I am currently on a
      > deadline and a few other things have cropped up so time is in short
      > supply. I do have them as an item in my to do list though.
      > One thing I have to say is that there are most likely going to be
      > people disappointed by my answers, particularly the rules
      > I did not work on some of the projects that people have referred to
      > here, and TBH (to be honest) I am loathe to comment on the rules
      > questions for a system I have not looked in over a decade.
      > Actually I just realised I can cut and paste the answers to the
      > questions I have already done into this email and let you have them.
      > Here's what I have already answered below.
      > All the best,
      > Bill King"


      Q: How do you design a game like this? The ships must be enough apart
      to give all the different fleets their own "flavor" - but at the same
      time they must also be equally powerful and playable. (Asked by:

      A: "Nigel did the basic design. This consisted of getting down the
      basics of the rules. Andy and I did the development work. This meant
      taking the rules and making them as polished as we could. It also
      involved a lot of simplification of what Nigel had written. We
      started with a very strong idea of what we wanted each fleet to be.
      It was an odd combination of the image of a historical fleet combined
      with something that would suggest something that related to the main
      Warhammer Fantasy Battle game. This involved us taking lots of
      historical ideas that are essentially unrelated and shoehorning them
      into the background. We used trireme's circa about Lepanto as the
      image for the Empire. We gave the Brettonians ships that would not
      have been out of place in a Patrick O'Brian novel. The dwarves got
      simple ironclads from the 19th century. The elves got new improved,
      magically enhanced clipper ships. The Dark Elves got monsters, and
      what are effectively sea chariots. We tried to make the magic system
      interact with the ship designs in ways that would make certain types
      of magic work better for certain fleets."

      Q: When designing ships, did they just make something up on a whim
      and then play test it or did they have some kind of "design tool" (a
      value calculator or something) to make the ships and then tinkered
      with the designs during play test? (Asked by: Rasmus)

      A:Nigel did the original designs. I suspect he made them up on a
      whim. Andy and I played dozens of games trying to get them balanced.
      Mostly it was holding a finger in the wind kind of stuff.

      Q: How would Bill handle the Skaven Doom Bell attacks with regard to
      the range of the attack versus the sum of the dice values rolled?

      A: Sadly I have not the slightest idea. The Skaven fleet was after my
      time, and I can't remember a thing about the rules. Again my

      Q: Skaven spell text:
      "This spell may be cast on any friendly ship or squadron, driving them
      into a mindless all-consuming rage. From now on, the affected ship or
      ships may move or attack twice each turn."

      When the Skaven player casts "Death Frenzy" on an allied Dark Elf
      Doomreaver squadron, (which are frenzied creatures), what happens?
      The Dark Elf and Skaven players of that game both agreed that the
      squadron in question could either do as the spell directs or as the
      creatures would normally act, moving and then attacking and that it
      was a choice because of the "or" directive. I disagreed and pointed
      out the "mindless all-consuming" portion of the spell which meant
      that there was no choice in the matter except either moving twice or
      attacking twice. How do you interpret this? (Asked by: Bill)

      (Bill, the question is basically this:)

      Q: Does the spell FORCE a player to give up the normal movement &
      fire sequence and instead they may ONLY either Move Twice or Attack
      twice? i.e - If they elect to move twice for example, are they then
      NOT allowed to attack?

      A: I confess that if it was me interpreting this I would take the
      view that saying may move or attack as making it optional. If
      something forces you to do something I would write must.

      Q: What do you think about the Citadel Journal additions, how
      balanced do you think they are, how well do they fit in and how much
      a part of the game do you see them? (Asked by: "xensyria")

      A: I haven't actually seen any.

      Q: Did you ever see the Pirate fleet as anything other than
      a "learning the rules" demo fleet, were there any plans to turn it
      into a full fleet? (Asked by: "xensyria")

      A: I've never seen any Pirate fleet at any time. Given the success of
      the Pirates of the Caribbean movies it would seem like a smart move

      Q: What do you most like about Man O War and what do you most wish
      would have been in there that didn't end up in the game? (Asked
      by: "xensyria")

      A: I liked the system of activating units which I thought was a big
      improvement on the "You move all your units and then I move all mine"
      system that we were using at GW at the time. I liked the templates a
      lot and the way fires could spread. That seemed to me to be something
      that had a lot of atmosphere. I honestly can't remember anything that
      I would have put in but didn't, but that's probably more of a failure
      of memory than anything else.

      Q: The eternal Skaven riddle: they have a 4" attack range (stated in
      the rules) but the game came with a 3" template, which is correct???
      (Asked by: Victor)

      A: See my comments on Skaven above. Personally I would go with the
      template. It's a lot easier to miss a line of text in a rulebook or
      to write 4" instead of 3" than it is to accidentally produce and
      print a 3" template. I'm not saying its impossible however. Mistakes
      do happen.

      Q: Were there other rules thought up for fliers? They seem overpriced
      and ineffective - was their role imagined differently, or were they
      down powered too much from a previous incarnation? (Asked by: Zak)

      A: I have not the slightest recollection of any of this. Once again
      my apologies.

      Q: With the campaign rules, did he ever envisage a mighty empires
      crossover? (Asked by: Zak)

      A: can say that we most definitely did because they were under
      discussion at around the same time.

      Q: I have some very general questions about the Too Powerful High Elf
      magic and the ineffective and cumbersome Orc magic? For example, did
      they make any further play testing or other corrections after they
      where published that may not have seen the light of day?

      A: I don't remember Elf Magic being too powerful during the
      playtesting but then I was mostly the person who played elves so I am
      probably the worst person to ask. It was intended to interact with
      elvish sailing ships in a certain way and it did.


      So there you have it. I think that a lot of his answers go to show
      how things change drastically change from the initial design to the
      final product and many of those changes are not even mentioned to the
      original designer!

      It's too bad we couldn't get some more definitive answers to some of
      those nagging questions, but I think we've done pretty well at
      answering most of them collectively here at the Sea of Claws.

      Anyways, Thanks a TON to Bill for taking the time out of his busy
      work schedule to answer what he could - it was great to just let him
      know how much we appreciate his creative work and how awesome the
      game is.

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