Re: [piecepack] Wand of Odin (long)

Kirt Dankmyer wrote:
> Excellent. Well, I tried out Wand of Odin, and I have a lot of comments,
> questions, and suggestions. If I repeat anything someone else has already
> said, I apologize.

Let me start by thanking you for your interest and the time you took to
comment.  It's major egoboo for an author to know people are actually
_playing_ his brainchild.  You know I stole the name, right?  :)  Seemed
fair, I'm still looking for my pants.

> My first suggestion is wherever one of the world names or Art names are
> mentioned, that you put the suit in parenthesis, such as Alfheim (crowns)
> and Stealth (moons). This allows one to read a rule or example without a
> lot of flipping back... "Which suit was Niflheim again?"

Good point.

> It was unclear to me what you meant by "only placements with legal
> orthogonal movement paths are legal". Take the seemingly (at least to me)
> possible board configuration below. In this example, a * represents a sun,
> a C represents a moon, a ^ represents a crown, and a ! represents the suit
> of Arms. I'm using the numberal "0" to represent a blank.
>            !0 C0
>            *0 ^0 ^1
>            *1 ^3 ^2
>            *2 *3 *4
> Now, obviously, this board configuration shouldn't be possible, as there is
>   no place to put the ^4 (4 of Crowns) tile. But to me, that configuration
> has "legal orthogonal movement paths". Perhaps that rule to should be
> clarified, or maybe I need to brush up on my math terms or something. Or
> maybe that example *is* legal... I'm just not sure, from the rules as written.

I meant "Don't put the tiles diagonal to the next lowest or highest tile
of their world."  Put ^2 beside (N, S, E, or W of) ^1, for instance. 
And yes, if you wall off ^3, you will have no place to put ^4, unless
you happen to be on another 4 tile when you draw it.  If you aren't,
then although the rules don't say it (not yet), it should become
legendary, and you can place it if and when ^5 gets placed.

> (As a quick aside, I assume if we remove the ^3 from the example above,
> that not only is the above legal, but it is possible for the Questor to
> move from Asgard (suns) to Alfheim (crowns) by going from the *4 to the ^2,
> but that a moving, woken critter won't do that -- they only change worlds
> in the complex of blank tiles.)

Correct, the Quester can move anywhere two tiles touch at a side.  But
as for Critters, they don't only cross worlds in the '0 complex', they
may also jump from their world to another when a world tile is placed
'equal to' the quester's tile.  A three beside a three, for instance. 
If the quester moved just before the tile was placed, the critter
pounces, revealing the path between the worlds.  (If the quester hadn't
moved, the quester discovers the path on their own, and the critter is

> Okay, while we're talking about tile placement, I assume it's possible to
> build up a "queue" of tiles that haven't been placed. That is, for example,
> you draw a 3 of Arms on your first turn, and can't place it, as it doesn't
> go next to 0. And then you draw a 2 of Arms, and can't place that either.
> Now you have two tiles with sleeping creatures on them. Then you draw the 1
> of Arms. You put that next to the blank, and then the other two go down as
> well, yes?

Right.  I'll make that clear in my next revision.

> I'm also a touch confused by the rules that call on sleeping critters.
> According to the rules: "If a critter is called for by the tile placement
> rules, and neither critters nor chips are available, the nearest sleeping
> critter is called to the scene, and awakened."
> Now, another example. At the start of the game, there are six critters. I
> draw a 5 of Arms. A sleeping critter is put on that tile and the tile is
> put aside. Then the 4 of Arms is drawn. Another critter gone. Then the 4 of
> Arms is drawn, then the 3 of Arms, then the 5 of Suns, and then the 4 of
> Suns. So, we're out of critters, and we have six "lost" tiles. Then we draw
> the 5 of Crowns. Well, the rules call for a sleeping critter to be placed
> there. We don't have any spare parts, so we need to move the nearest
> critter to the scene and wake them... but which one is nearest? After all,
> the critters are on lost, legendary lands that have yet to come to light.
> They're not near or far to *anything* yet. (This happened to me, by the
> way, so it isn't 100% theorhetical.)

The one on the numerically nearest legendary land of the same world, or
the numerically nearest land of any other world, with number of 'steps'
needed breaking ties.

> Okay, after reading them a couple times, I understood the conflict rules. I
> had a question: If I defeat a sleeping creature by Guile, and they don't
> have a Shard, do they persue? I haven't tricked anything awayfrom them, so
> they don't have a reason to chase the Questor, so do they go back to sleep?
> The rules only say what to do if you use Guile to trick the monster into
> giving away its Shard.

Any awakened Critter will pursue until it is slain.  Questers who are
weak in Magic and War make a lot of use of those paths between worlds,
to shake pursuing critters.  :)  But any critter that's asleep, will
remain asleep, unless you attack it with War or Magic, or blow a Stealth
roll where the critter then chooses War or Magic, or steal a Shard.

Said more simply, once you've drawn blood or runes, it's to the death.

> While I'm at it, I should probably mention my 2nd edition Mesomorph
> piecepack uses a sworl for a coin with a value of 1, so you may want to
> remove the "if you cheaped out like I did" comment. (And while I'm talking
> about coins, I agree with the other poster who said it's less confusing if
> you say "coin" rather than "chip", tho I think chip is a valid synonym,
> since I'd hardly consider the tiles to be chips. Plus, the term "coin"
> emphasizes the "treasure" nature of sworl coins and the Shard (blank) coins.)

You're absolutely correct.

> Also, I was unclear on some things in the "Treasure" section: When using a
> Shard to re-roll a die, it doesn't matter if the Shard is the same suit as
> the die being rolled, right? It might be good to explicitly note this,
> since the suit is so important otherwise.

Good point.  No, the suit of the Shard doesn't matter, any Shard has the
power to re-roll any stat die.  My dice are just solid normal 'pip' dice
in the appropriate colors, so lacking any suit mark, this didn't occur
to me.  I think I'll make use of that, though...  Thanks!

> Another thing: When you use a Shard for a re-roll, you always put it under
> the die re-rolled, right? Since the rule for putting the Shard coin under
> the die is right after you mention that a re-rolled blank is good and not
> bad, some people might think you put the Shard under the die ONLY if you
> roll a blank. Or was that the intent? I wasn't sure.

You put the shard under the die to prevent accidentally using it again. 
:)  So you always put the shard under the die.  It just coincidentally
helps to mark a 'super' blank versus a 'wimpy' blank.  Not that you'd
ever _forget_ you were the Master of War, or whatever.

> In addition, if you start with a blank, and re-roll with a Shard, and you
> roll a blank -- do you keep it or re-roll, since you're supposed to re-roll
> if you match the old value... but a new blank isn't really the same "value"
> as the old blank (depends on how you look at it), so I wasn't sure what to
> do in that situation...

Keep the 'super' roll.

> Going away from the things that confused me, you may want to have an
> optional point-buy rule, where instead of rolling the four dice, a player
> gets X number of points (14, say) and can divide them between the four Arts
> as he chooses, max of 5, minimum of 0 (blank), setting the dice
> appropriately. You roll as normal when using a Shard or dying. I bring this
> up not because as a roleplayer I prefer point-buy systems, but because I
> noticed that if you, say, roll all ones, your best strategy is to get
> yourself killed so you can re-roll everything. It might be nice if the
> Great Champion wasn't guaranteed instant death from the get-go...

If you roll all ones, you aren't the Great Champion.  Your _only_
strategy is to get killed, in that case.  "I am not the Great
Champion...  But I play one on TV."  :)  I left it as an exercise for
the player to figure that out.  And yes, you can keep dying hoping for
mega stats, but once you have that first Shard, you kind of want to keep
it, not toss it back in the chip pool.

> And a final suggestion: I notice that while the idea is to save the world,
> that you actually can't fail. Eventually, through luck or strategy, you
> will get all four Shards and win the game, excepting, I guess, a critter
> that has all four Shards and is supreme in every Art. It would be nice if
> there was some sort of optional rule that allowed for the chance for the
> world to end before the Questor finishes. That is, a way to "lose".

Well, the Norse mythos is pretty dark, with Fimbulvintr, Ragnorok, and
all that.  But I've always read that eventually Oak and Ash, like Adam
and Eve, will start it all over again.  I _like_ that you'll eventually
get through it.  Well, 624 times out of 625, anyway.  :)  For me, the
fun is in the images I get of conning a Shard from the Niflheimer Master
of War, then running for the nearest path back to Midgard.

> Perhaps
> you only get so many "lives" (the traditional "three lives" of a video
> game, perhaps, or some number important in Nordic myth) and after the
> Questor dies that many times, then the world is swallowed up by chaos.

Well, there are 25 Runes...  :)  But seriously, it's a good option for
folk who want it, and I'll add it to the next revision.  I think I would
make it more of a creeping chaos than a number of quester lives, though.

> (This also prevents the rather twinkish strategy I mention above.) Or
> perhaps some highly unlikely critter configuration indicates the end, like
> a critter with all the sworls. ("The birth of such an unfit creature
> heralded the end of the world...")

Just like the birth of such an unfit Quester would, if you couldn't
reincarnate.  And again, I don't think the reincarnating is twinkish, or
at least, nobody's forcing twinkishness.  Play as weak a character as
you think you can win with, you're your own judge; it's a solitaire
game.  The twinks will get the game they deserve; they always do.

> Anyway, I really liked Wand of Odin, so I hope you take all my suggestions
> in the vein.

I got them in the spoon cooking, now.

> I just wanted to make sure the rules were as clear as
> possible, so that one can just pick up the rules and play.

Thank you very much.  I will try to get a new revision out in a week or

>         -Loki

LOKI?!  :)

BTW, if you like it, try it with a 9yr-old.  Multiplayer is a hoot.  He
just loves it when he can con all the shards my big brute has gathered. 
I make him actually come up with a line.  My favorite was, "Hey LOOK!"
<pointing past my shoulder>  :)