Re: Bill King Questions & Answers Part 1
- --- In email@example.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:questions.
> "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 toAND THE REST OF HIS ANSWERS...
> 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
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
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
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
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