Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Ritual of Blood

Today, I'd like to show off some art and also tell you a little more about how specific discoveries work in Clockwork Wars.  Here's the current art for the sorcery discovery, Ritual of Blood.

Pretty grim! Purebreed technowizards conducting nefarious experiments on some poor Mongrel captives.  I find a lot of steampunk art, especially in games, cartoonish or whimsical. We aimed for a slightly more mature style with Clockwork Wars and think we've achieved it. I love this piece and can't wait to show you more from the same artist. He's got a unique eye.

So how does Ritual of Blood work?  First of all, it's a sorcery discovery, which means that you need to collect sorcery influence points (IP) by controlling towers on the map.  Each turn, every tower that you control generates 1 sorcery IP.  Ritual of Blood costs 7 sorcery IP to purchase, which is relatively expensive.

In addition, Ritual of Blood is not available to research until the Late Age.  A game of Clockwork Wars lasts for 7 turns.  Turns 1-2 are the Early Age, turns 3-4 are the Middle Age, and turns 5-7 are the Late Age.  At the end of each age, there's a scoring phase where players earn victory points for any resources territories (Forests and Lakes) that they control.  The ages also determine what discoveries are available to purchase.

Let's say you planned things just right.  It's turn 5, you've got the first player token, and you have 7 sorcery IP tokens. When the research phase comes around, you can declare that you're "discovering" Ritual of Blood and take the card and its associated discovery token.  That token must be placed in either your capital or any tower that you control.  Discovery tokens represent the discovery itself - and they can be captured by your opponents.  If you place Ritual of Blood in a tower under your control, but then one of your opponents captures that tower on a subsequent turn, you will need to hand over Ritual of Blood to your enemy. Brutal!  However, a discovery placed in your capital can never be captured.  Unfortunately, any single territory, including your capital, can only ever hold one discovery.

So now you own Ritual of Blood.  What does it do for you?  Every research phase, you can activate it for the following effect:  for each Tower you control, you may kill up to 2 Soldiers in a single territory and gain 1 VP per Solider killed.

In effect, Ritual of Blood lets you attack your opponents anywhere on the map - AND get VP's for doing so. The more towers you control, the more powerful it is.  Imagine if you controlled 3 towers! You could kill 6 enemy soldiers per turn and get 6 VP every time you did so:  18 VP just from late age use of Ritual of Blood.  Almost certainly a winning strategy.  But if your opponents let you pull this off (by ceding control of so many towers), they deserve to lose the game.

From the beginning, I wanted discoveries to be real "game-changers."  They're not supposed to be subtle or slight.  They should change the landscape of the conflict in a significant fashion, create drama, and provide enormous advantage to those who research them.  As such, you ignore research and discoveries in Clockwork Wars at your peril.

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