Axes and Acres Patch 1.05

Patch 1.05 is live on Steam! It features a ton of balance tweaks and quality of life reworks, as well as a big leaderboard update and a second major end-game win condition in the Castle! Go forth and spread your buildings far and wide, and bask in the grandeur of your kingdom.

A mighty kingdom with you as king (or queen :) ).
A mighty kingdom with you as king (or queen 🙂 ).

Balance Changes:
-Chopped trees give 3 wood (from 2)
-Barbarians don’t walk on bridges at all
-Castle reworked:
-Gives 1VP/Worker die on construction
-Royalty VP face gives 1VP/5 player buildings
-Town hall card now gives 1VP/7 resources (from 1VP/6)
-Farms give 6/5/4/3 food, and are depleted at 3 rather than 2 (still gives 1 wood)
-Hunter’s Hut card “Move 2” -> “Move 5”
-Hunter’s Hut Spawn Rabbit ability now spawns a Rabbit within 3-4 spaces of a Hunter’s Hut (previously within 6-8 of a Home space)
-Killing Barbarian Spawners now gives 1VP
-Have a Church VPs: 4->5
-Have 2 Woodsmen VPs: 4->5
-Have 2 Masons VPs: 6->7
-Have 5 Roads VPs: 5->6
-Have 3 Farms: 7 -> Have 2 Farms: 5
-Fountain reworked:
-Added new ability to reroll “action objective” with Crusade face
-Fixed issue with Lumberyard Card (“Work then set to Gather”) rerolling die on board
-Reworked first phase scaling to cap out at 18 points (from 17)

Bugs/Quality of Life
-Added “Current BGG Update” link to Main Menu
-Added save corruption support
-High scores separated into two tables (“Current” and “All Time”)
-Rank updates on both tables when you win or lose, but “All Time” rank will never go down
-Top players page will show your global ranking
-Fixed a bug where quit popup would open multiple times if ESC was pressed again
-“Learn 0/3” text disabled if you’re past rank 1
-Fixed a bug where barbarian spawners would crash the game if there was no room to make a new one

As always, thank you so much for your help and support. Special thanks to Allan, Kenbutsu and K-Rez for awesome balance feedback, and to Gutsman and doiron5 on the Steam forums for submitting bug reports.

Leave a comment below or shoot me an email at braingoodgames@gmail.com with your thoughts and feedback. I’d love to hear it! Onwards and upwards!

Axes and Acres – Age of Myth Patch 1.04 Notes

Welcome to the Age of Myth! Now kings can pore over the ancient manuscripts to learn about the Kingdoms of Olde. Each time you win a game, a screenshot will be saved and preserved so you can marvel at your past exploits, and look for patterns to further hone your strategy!

oct-13-past-kingdoms-for-patch-1_04

Full Patch Notes:

  • Added “Past Kingdoms” gallery to main page, allowing you to view previously finished games
  • Farm wood cost decreased by one (now 1)
  • Farm starting yield increased by one (now 6)
  • Hunters hut now spawns a rabbit between 6 and 8 spaces away from your starting location, if possible
  • Marketplace card actions swapped (gain one of each resource now takes a worker)
  • Buffed castle build action, card ability, and royalty to all give 2VP
  • Fixed bug with marketplace allowing you to go to negative food if there was something to gather on the space
  • Leaf animations now update on the title screen when you click the option in settings
  • If quick move is off, number of steps display is disabled

Let us know about any bugs, or any feedback you have about the building balance after the changes! We’re listening, and want to make as many buildings and strategies viable as possible. Congrats to Allan, mawendt and Kenbutsu for achieving some absolutely crazy ranks (62, 50 and 45!!)

Thanks as always, you guys are amazing.

-Brett

Axes and Acres – Age of Legends Patch 1.03 Notes

Axes and Acres patch 1.03 is live today! We are bringing some new and exciting changes that we think you guys will love. Patch 1.03 brings the Rank Leaderboard to Axes and Acres. Now you can see how your rank stacks up compared to the very best strategists playing Axes and Acres. If this sort of pressure bothers you, don’t worry, we are also introducing a practice mode so players can fool around and try out new tactics without worrying about their rank.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 10.10.35 AM

With all this focus on the ranking system we have also made a couple changes to the way rank difficulty scales. As you make your way into the highest ranks phase 1 will now have a cap on the number of Victory Points required to get to phase 2. To compensate for this phase 2 and 3 will increase in difficulty at a faster rate than before. We feel that these changes will help deal with phase 1 being the most difficult and that all phases of the game will now being equally challenging.

These changes should make the tier 3 buildings even more important than before, and as such we have tweaked the numbers on the Castle. The Castle will now cost only 6 stone to build and will provide 8 VP when finished. Get building master masons!

artisan builder

We have also made a number of small quality of life tweaks, from the ability to undo moves, to altering the way some of the objectives appear after specific events. We have also added visual queues to assist with long distance movement, and to remind you which buildings provide you with points in the buildings tabs. Finally we changed the build farm objective to give one more point, and changed the bridge to provide a victory point on construction.

We hope everyone enjoys the patch, and can’t wait to see you all play! Feel free to let us know about any issues or bugs you find, or just to let us know what you think about the new patch!

PS SkyBoats is coming to Steam on August 23rd! You will be able to check it out here when the store page goes live: http://store.steampowered.com/app/510780

Single-Player Skillcap – Game Design

One of the tricky aspects of creating single-player games is that the game has to slowly get more and more difficult for a long period of time in order to keep the players challenged. In a multiplayer game, a good system can allow players to all increase in skill, and constantly provide a challenge for each other through competition. With single-player games we have to replace the competition provided by other players with rising difficulty. Where this might max out has been a concern for us. A game doesn’t necessarily have to scale forever, but we do want to provide great value to our players.

gif Apr 21, 2016 15:01 (And I thought rank 18 was high!)

A discussion about the skill cap in Axes and Acres came up a number of times during development, and of course in theory it has to cap somewhere. We eventually decided that the skill cap was high enough it wasn’t something we really needed to worry about. The vast majority of players would never get to a high enough rank for the game to be impossible. Recently we have implemented Steam stat-tracking features so we could get an idea of what ranks people have achieved. We were shocked to learn how high people have reached! I personally doubted that ranks lower than what people have achieved were possible. It really makes you wonder if there are strategies people have developed that as a game designer you never even dreamed of.

? rank

Considering all of this I feel that Axes and Acres was a success with regards to a skill cap. I’m sure it still exists, but it is so far away its existence feels trivial. Ideally, we would like to come up with a system that has no skill cap, but we are still debating whether such a thing is possible in a single-player game.

Anyone have opinions on this?

Axes and Acres and Single-Player Design Struggles – (Axes and Acres Sale June 13th!!!)

Hey Readers!

When we designed Axes and Acres we wanted to create a single-player game that could be enjoyed for many hours of play without relying on content. This is partially on principle and partially for practical reasons. A small studio like us couldn’t hope to make a game with even 10 hours of well done content. Here at BrainGoodGames we rely on systems which make games interesting even with repeated play. It is difficult to create a system which can stand up to a large amount of play. On top of this, we want the system to be as elegant as possible and to have a limited number of rules, such that the play can learn ALL of the rules and make strategically informed decisions.

The limit for rules or complexity probably varies from player to player. Certainly based on the feedback we received for Axes and Acres we had responses spanning from “its too easy” to “this is impossible to learn”. Perhaps that means we found a solid middle-ground – I’m still not sure. In either case, Brett and I both prefer a more complicated system to one which can be easily solved. Truly great games have systems which are both elegant and simple in their rules, but have incredible depth of strategy. I think Go is the classic example of this.

tabletop-players

This delicate balance becomes even more difficult however when you are making a single-player game. Removing the multiplayer element forces us as designers to come up with interesting and challenging replacements for other players. This ties back in to my previous discussion on Ambiguity (http://blog.braingoodgames.com/2016/05/19/a-discussion-on-ambiguity-in-games/) – other players provide a form of ambiguity that is difficult to replace. In Axes and Acres we tried to replace this with input randomness, and we felt that it was quite interesting and stayed interesting for a long period of time, but perhaps the learning was a little too difficult for the average player. However, if you can get past the early learning stage I think the game is great fun and provides tons of interesting strategic value.

tabletop-single-players

As always I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on all of this!

Finally to let everyone know Axes and Acres is coming to Linux and going on sale on June 13th! It’s a great time to pick it up for anyone who doesn’t have it yet!

“Age of Axes” Balance Patch 1.02 Coming Soon!

We’ll be revealing more information over the next couple days. One thing we can reveal though, is that the Barbarians and Woodsmen are pretty excited about what’s to come.

Subscribe to the blog to keep informed of the patch changes as they’re revealed! (We’ll also be posting about Game Design, Development, Marketing and the future of BrainGoodGames on this blog. We’d be thrilled to have you along for the ride! Subscribe via email or RSS!)