Tracking the hit points of Heroes and their foes is a critical part of gameplay. It needs to be a simple, quick process, and it needs to provide immediate visual information on combatants current health.
Until a couple months ago, I'd been doing this with health tokens in denominations of 1, 3, and 5. This posed multiple issues; it was fiddly, took too long to upkeep every round, and to "read" a combatants health you had to tally coins and do a calculation.
It also made it hard for Heroes to know their allies health without asking them, then waiting for them to tally, calculate and respond. This was especially bad since round by round combat decisions want to be informed by the Heroes health states.
Thankfully, an astute playtester presented a better solution, and the health track was born! Much like a VP track in other boardgames, the health track is a common strip of values where all Heroes and Monsters track their health with different colored discs. In the middle image above, you can see it in action, with Bren's black disc, Sil's blue disc, and a single Monster's purple disc. This way, tracking health is fast, all the values are readily legible, and you see their relationship to each other at a glance. Brilliant!
forgotten depths now supports 3-player and a true solo 1-player mode! (without the need for automa!)
This won't come as a surprise to anyone who has played the game recently, but for those who haven't seen it in the last couple of months, the game has been modified to support 3 players, as well as a true solo 1 player mode.
Like many of the game's greatest aspects, this change was a direct response to player feedback. I'd hear, "there's three heroes, why can't I play 3-player?" A good question!
At the time, the way combat was designed didn't make that easy to do. Since, I was also hearing comments on what people liked and disliked about the combat, and had aspects I wanted to improve there, I took a couple weeks and really rearranged the combat mechanic. The result? Combat feels more satisfying to the player (more frequent, bigger successes), player agency increased (more ability to affect combat results in a given round), and scaling from 1 to 3 players is as simple as reading a different numeric value from the Monster of Feature you're facing. Slick!
As you can see in the example below, Monster's have three hit point values based on a 1-player, 2-player, or 3-player game. When Features introduce challenges that have numeric targets, the same thing appears. What's really cool, is this is the only thing that changes between a 1, 2, or 3 player game.
I had the great pleasure of presenting Forgotten Depths to the fine people of Boardgamegeek yesterday. Have a look!