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avatar8481



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PostSubject: ex illis new game   Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:28 pm

Interesting game we heard about at GCS tonight.

I have developed a whole series of thoughts on this, but want to hear more people's thoughts.

Watch this one first:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJ9oztrkSBs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cesIn49Knp8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTn3rh7CNy0
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Jonny

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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:01 pm

I won't know for sure unless I play a game of it, but from what I've seen, I do not have any desire to play it. The models look mediocre and generic, and the game itself seems inconvenient and uninteresting. To force two players to have a computer with internet access limits the possibilities of pick up games. For now, I will stick with miniature games.
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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Wed Mar 31, 2010 3:32 am

i don't see a game that requirers a computer to catch on, but the concept is interesting
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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:36 pm

Here's my long ass thoughts:

This is somewhat disorganized and got super-long:

Cliff notes version:

* Gameplay seems extremely uncompelling with too few options and not enough interesting decision making, as a miniatures game I'm disappointed by the lack of analog positioning and relevance of the tabletop figure and as a videogame it's woefully inadequate in comparison to modern products.
* Game seems to have an identity crisis in terms of its target audience. Too esoteric for mainsteam gamers, too fanciful for historics and too much like a minis/videogame for the boardgamer (their target audience I believe).
* Business model is to sell product codes, not minis and as a result you get into a licensing arrangement with the company where you might own the object but you don't own any of it's rules, stats or usefulness. You can't sell or trade without also giving money to the company and because of the complete irrelevance of the minis to the actual gameplay the closest analogy is you're buying 60% of a videogame for 2x the price and each unit represents downloadable content that enables in-game features.

TL/DR version:

There are as I see it 3 major category of problem with the game/system: the actual gameplay; the marketing position and targeting of the game; the security/business model.

Gameplay

In order to attract players beyond the initial purchase the game has to be strategically deep, engaging and full of interesting decisions. I haven't played it obviously but on the face of it I would say that it appears not nearly as 'deep' as a wargame like WM or even 40k/fantasy and arguably 'deeper' than an average boardgame (but even then arguably not). It all depends on which community you're seeing it from (which relates to my second set of issues. The main dimension of this that I see is the board and the very (arguably inherently given the system) binary nature of positioning. Even a large table seemed have at most 24 distinct zones. Chess has 64, Go has 361, Mini-games by definition have an infinite number. It's a design decision I don't understand given that the computer could easily track the game state across more granularity than that.

I could understand that decision if the unit interactions were especially complex, and you derive the strategic complexity from that but from the videos on-line it seems very rock paper scissors. Somewhat historically accurate in that there are heavy cav, light cav, heavy and light infantry, and range (magic or otherwise). Those roles combined with limited positional options seems not compelling as a generalship exercise.

As either a factor of gameplay or targeting you could argue that having the unit interactions be opaque (or nearly so) to the user also discourages strategy and tactics since you're not sure (from the videos) what it is about each unit that matters, other than their defined role. From their website: "A major advantage of combining software with miniature games is the increased depth of gameplay mechanics. Because computers are so good at remembering vast amounts of data and crunching difficult algorithms, you'll experience in Ex illis a level of realism and complexity that was simply not possible before!" But if I don't understand what's happening why do I care? Computers are great for that I concede, but does it make the experience of a miniatures game better to not understand why 5 of your guys died? (This ties back to the marketing/target audience thing).

(There's more to say here as I think of it).

Marketing

It's clearly a 'European' (even though it's made in Canada) game with an identity crisis. There's the issue of setting, which while it might be compelling to Paul is going to be completely uninteresting to most american gamers below a certain age (whatever that age may be). I do not believe that there is a rational game builder who would intentionally make a game targeted at young american gamers, set it in the 100 Years War (which none of them will know about) and then insist (where applicable) on historically accurate unit names. Show me a 25 year old Warhammer Fantasy player who calls their knights "Chevaliers" and I'll eat my hat. This is typified by one of the video reviews I saw where even the European reviewer stopped trying to say "the arbalestiers" and just said "archers". The setting, and the insistence on historical names makes the game inaccessible to the average american gamer. "Ah" you say, "what about the unaverage american gamer, the wizened grognards and their simulations of 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'" (I actually saw this played at Cold Wars). To that I say, how many obsessive historical gamers to you know you are satisfied with the printed rules, ever, and more so, would want to play a game where they couldn't adjust the rules? Also, I suspect the setting won't be historical *enough* for those people, given the angels and monsters etc. I'm not suggesting that there won't be buyers, but it doesn't seem to appeal to either of the major wargaming 'factions'.

But there are the boardgamers. I would actually suggest based on what I've seen that this is more properly a boardgame than a minis game or even a wargame. It's a boardgame with a war theme. Will the boardgamers want to play it? And are there enough of them to support it? They support Descent and Heroscape, and that has figures in it that you can paint but it's also a different style of game, and it doesn't have the trappings of a miniature wargame (more like a game that uses tokens).

What about the hobbyist? I looked at the figures and thought they looked like nice, if average fantasy figures. None of the models impressed me, though I'm only one person with strange taste. Everything looked like a figure from a brettonian fantasy army. Frankly the most impressive thing about them was that they were in plastic given the start up costs and the presumed print run. The box will be very expensive I would think ($100+), and even then they admit they have to sell at a loss. When you reduce it down the figures are completely irrelevant to the game, so I'm not clear what the draw is for a hobbyist. Paul's argument that any mini game is reducible to to tokens is true, but in say Warmachine the location and position of the token on the table is extremely relevant. In this, the only positional information is a bit on a 24 space grid. You could fundamentally play with graph paper (or only on the computer) and the actual decision making and gameplay is unaffected. I challenge you to play Warmachine without at least appropriately sized bases marked with facings (i.e. the physical objects are the exclusive source of game-state information, which isn't the case in this game). Therefore, what's my motivation to hobby my army up? Again, unless the level of authenticity is a lot higher than what I saw in the demo videos it won't attract the guys interested only in the historical dimension of it, since they'd complain about the length of the coats or the size of the buckles or something.

Business Model

They touch on these issues somewhat in their very interesting FAQ: http://ex-illis.com/en/faq.xml they acknowledge the question of what you need to play: "While someone could technically play without the board in front of them (hey, some people play chess by e-mail, right?), you're kind of missing the point if you do it that way. And someone could try to play without the software... but Ex illis needs so much calculation it would take days and days just for a single game." They admit the miniatures are irrelevant to the gameplay (save for the 'point') and that the game is effectively too complicated for people to play. Essentially it's a computer game trying to justify it's existence with miniatures. Given that you can buy new boxes of minis and use them in the game they're analogous to downloadable content on any video game. Essentially I can buy a 100 dollar computer game and get 60% of the units for the game. To get the rest I have to buy minis (at $25 a box) I don't need to get a code to unlock additional units. The DLC analogy is stronger too when you consider the sharing and resale issues:

"Can I buy more than one starter kit per account?

No. We've put so much in the starter kits that it costs us more to make them than it costs for you, the players, to buy them. We're doing this so that you'll have a chance to try out Ex illis at a low price... but at the same time, we have to have our limits if we want to stay in business!

Can I share miniatures with someone?

Each player can select another player as his 'brother-in-arms'. Two brothers-in-arms can exchange miniatures without having to pay a transfer fee. Other accounts must pay a nominal fee if they want to transfer their miniatures. This precaution greatly limits certain potential abuse in the system and frees us up to support second-hand trade on auctioning websites.

Obviously, the brothers-in-arms system doesn't work with starter kit units. You can still exchange starter kit miniatures, but you'll have to pay the transfer fee like everyone else. "

So they sell the codes in the starter kit at a loss, so they only let you use them one time. If I'm tired of the game I can give away the software, but in order for my buddy to use my models he has to pay me AND them to use them. I bet GW wishes they could figure out how to get 5 bucks off every second hand sale. As a business it's not a bad idea at all, but what's to stop me from just giving my account to a friend who wants to pick up the game?

Furthermore, from a gameplay perspective what you're actually buying is a 25 digit product ID code (further cementing in my mind the virtualization of the whole game and the redundancy of the minis). How much do you want to bet that they aren't the world's only company with an uncrackable product code system. It's like buying a license for software, you might own the physical objects, but they own the gameplay element of them, and you can't even try to use them as intended without their servers, because all the data and rules are on the company's side of the table. Actually, what's to stop somebody from walking through the store, writing down all the codes out of the boxes and running out logging all those codes to their account and rendering your entire inventory worthless?

Interestingly, the corporate site: http://bastionstudio.com/en/index.xml has an odd description of "Bastion’s use of technology allows us to offer our partners a unique, innovative business model, part of the truly revolutionary philosophy that supports our company’s mission and vision. Henceforth, under Bastion’s business partnership model, running a game store will no longer be synonymous with excessive risk and the cumbersome management of rooms and heavy inventory." I'm not sure what that means, but I bet there's a system where you'll be able to sell just the codes, since that's the product they care about.

Which begs the question of what they're thinking, because the minis aren't cheap to make, and yet they've designed a system where they're irrelevant to everybody in the system except the hobbyists and the historical modelers (and I'm not sure how they'll react to it). But while they've done that they've gone through the exercise of making a full featured videogame, which barring some interface issues and the fact that the graphics look like Heroes of Might and Magic circa-2001, could just as easily be an online game (but you'd have a hard time charging $100 and then a further $25 each for the last 10 units you actually need to play).

I saw that the units could level up and b/c you don't own them and they're actually persistent objects on the server that works. What's to stop me from buying two starter sets and setting up two accounts and grinding my guys against each other for XP and them taking them to a tournament and breaking the game? (I'm sure there's an answer actually, but my point is that's an inherently videogame issue, further underlying the digital nature of the actual game product as such).

There's more, but you stopped reading a while ago.

Michael
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spartakus



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:20 am

I do agree with some of the points above, The game is not perfect at this stage but it improves almost every week. At least these guys seem to listen to their gamers!
i'm not a typical forum crawler but I decided to share my opinion on the matter; why? Few people seem to have actually played Ex illis still they build strong arguments aginst the game. Now don't get me wrong, my first reaction was something like : No rulebook, no dice,... WTF?
but I'm a curious guy and decided somehow to give it a try! I don't know if this would be your case but me, I actually liked my first battles...now I love this game ;-)
Why?
I'm a stats freak (a min-maxer if you like); I love to know everything, every number, every little detail... Believe me, when you hear or read somewhere that the gameplay in Ex illis is much deeper than in any other mini-game you know, it's not a bold statement at all! I'll explain myself in DETAILS later, but before, just wanna let you know that other than the fact that I'm a rule-freak, I do like Ex illis cos it's the only wargame that I can actually play with my wife and my 12 years son! I love the stats but they don't give a #$%@# about all these numbers; they just wanna play little dudes. There is something for everyone!

To give you a little idea about the reasons why I love Ex illis and I think its gameplay is just great, here is what the software calculates for a signle action (a charge). This information is available at all time and with little practice (actually A LOT of practice) you get to use it all in your decision making process as a general... you don't have to, but you may...

Let’s say for this example that 4 Franc Chevalers (Elite Heavy Cavalry) executed a “Ravaging Charge” (one of many types of charge this unit can perform given the situation and the level) against 8 Billmen (Halberdiers) and their leader: a Decurion (Archangel Hero).


Each unit in the charged zone will have a chance to perform a free attack called “Charge reaction”:

The odds of attacking is based on a comparison of the attacker's Charge Priority (CP) and the defender’s Reaction Priority (RP). The Knights have a CP of 4, the Billmen have a RP of 2 and Decurion a RP of 1. By comparing these values, the Billmen would have 25% chances of performing a charge reaction attack and the Decurion only 10%. And since RP is lower than CP in this case, the reaction attacks will only be performed after the knights’ attacks.

Target picking:

Each single miniature has its own Aggressiveness value (AV), which is used to see who will be attacked.
Billmen have an AV of 3 and the Decurion an AV of 6
Each of the 4 knights will draw a random target as follow:
The total Aggressiveness in the zone is 30:
Billman1: 3 / 30 10%
Billman2: 3 / 30 10%
Billman3: 3 / 30 10%
Billman4: 3 / 30 10%
Billman5: 3 / 30 10%
Billman6: 3 / 30 10%
Billman7: 3 / 30 10%
Billman8: 3 / 30 10%
Decurion: 6 / 30 20%

In this example, let's say Billman 2, Billman 3, Billman 6 & The Decurion were attacked by the 4 knights.

Here's how Knights' attacks on Billmen are calculated:

Ravaging Charge Accuracy: 20 vs Billmen’s Evasion: 10
Each unit’s Fatigue total is applied to their fighting capacities...
Let's say in this case that Billmen were very tired and knights were just tired a little and then apply this adjustment to accuracy:
The Knights’ Fatigue: 10% vs Billmen’s Fatigue 50%
Ravaging Charge adjusted Accuracy:18 vs Billmen’s adjusted Evasion: 5

These values are simply compared to form percentages as follow:

Attack: 78% (18 / 23)
Miss: 22% (05 / 23)

With added Luck & Bad Luck (Which are always 5%), we crunch the percentages proportionally as follow:

Luck 5%
Hit 70%
Miss 20%
Bad Luck 5%

Due to Heavy Armour, the Decurion cannot Evade attacks, but only deflect them with his weapon (Great sword). Cavalry charge attacks cannot be deflected due to their very fast nature.

The outcomes for the Knight attacking the Decurion goes as follow:

Luck 5%
Hit 90%
Bad Luck 5%

We make a separate roll for each knight

Now for damage calculations:
The Knight’s lance have 60 Base Damage and Billmen 40 Hit Points.
But before applying damage, some factors can modulate the final damage:

First, the attacker’s Strength and the defender’s Toughness are compared and a ratio is established:
Knights’ Strength = 24 vs Billmen’s Toughness = 19
24 : 19
1.26
Converted by our Asymptote to cap the ratio between 0.33 and 2.5 in a more progressive fashion
Final Damage Modifier = *1.14

Secondly, the attacker’s Armour Piercing and the Defender’s Armour are compared and a ratio is established in a similar way:
Knight’s Armour Piercing = 30 vs Billmen’s Armour = 24
30 : 24
1.25
Armour is only applied to reduce damage. The ratio can only go from 0.33 to 1, which means that in the case the attacker has more Armour Piercing than the defender’s Armour, the overflow is ignored and the damage simply multiplied by 1.
Final Damage Modifier = *1.00

Then, final damage is calculated:

Base Damage * Strength Modifier * Armour Modifier
60 * 1.14 * 1.00 = 68.4

A random of +/- 20% is then applied to the damage
Final Damage 55 – 82

The Billmen having only 40 HP means one hit will always be one kill since the game keeps track of every miniature’s HP independantly.

Now about the attack targeting the Decurion Angel Hero:

Knights’ Strength = 24 vs Decurion’s Toughness = 30
24 : 30
0.8
Converted by our Asymptote
Final Damage Modifier = *0.87

Knight’s Armour Piercing = 30 vs Decurion’s Armour = 36
30 : 36
0.83
Converted by our Asymptote
Final Damage Modifier = *0.89

Final Damage Calculation:
Base Damage * Strength Modifier * Armour Modifier
60 * 0.87 * 0.89 = 46.4

A random of +/- 20% is then applied to the damage
Final Damage 37 – 56

Having 120 Hit Points means it will usually take 3 heavy cavalry hits to take down the Decurion.

Billman 2 and Billman 6 were slain

After resolving the first 4 attacks, the Ravaging Charge allows a second one for each hit.
Let's say 3 of the 4 initial ones scored hits: One on the Decurion and 2 on the Billmen.

Ravaging charge would then trigger 3 more attacks and a new round of targetting taking deaths into account would be made as follow:

Billman1 3 / 24 12,5%
Billman3 3 / 24 12,5%
Billman4 3 / 24 12,5%
Billman5 3 / 24 12,5%
Billman7 3 / 24 12,5%
Billman8 3 / 24 12,5%
Decurion 6 / 24 25%

Let's say the second targeting would pick 2 Billmen and the Decurion this time...
The second round of attack having the same odds than the first one, it would go as follow:

One Billman was Hit
One Knight scored a Bad Luck
The Decurion was Hit

Bad lucks are rare occurrences in which the attack utterly fails and the soldier even injures himself in the process, losing 10% of his maximum life.

So again, another Billman would die and the Decurion would be around 1/3 of his maximum HP, close to die, but having prevented 2 other Billmen from dying in the charge since his huge amount of Toughness, Armour and Hit Points.

Now let's say one of the Billmen had a charge reaction attack to resolve:
But beware, the Billmen were on their most offensive defensive stance called Rancour.
This stance allow the Billmen to take a swing of their poleaxes instead of only poking with them.

Targeting:
Franc Chevaler1 10 / 40 25%
Franc Chevaler2 10 / 40 25%
Franc Chevaler3 10 / 40 25%
Franc Chevaler4 10 / 40 25%

Let's say he targeted the Franc Chevaler 3

Attack and defences values are compared as in the first example:
Billman's Attack 24, adjusted by the 50% Fatigue modifier = 12
Knights' Block 20, adjusted by the 10% Fatigue modifier = 18
Knights' Block 10, adjusted by the 10% Fatigue modifier = 9

Attack: 31% (12 / 39)
Blocked: 46% (18 / 39)
Deflected: 23% (09 / 39)

No Luck or Bad Luck can be scored on reaction attacks such as this one.

Damage calculations Billman vs Knight

Billman's Base Damage is 36

Billman’s Strength = 21 vs Franc Chevaler's Toughness = 22
21: 22
0.95
Converted by our Asymptote
Final Damage Modifier = *0.96

Billman's Armour Piercing = 25 vs Franc Chevaler's Armour = 36
25 : 36
0.69
Converted by our Asymptote
Final Damage Modifier = *0.80

Final Damage Calculation:
Base Damage * Strength Modifier * Armour Modifier
36 * 0.96 * 0.80 = 27,6

The Decurion possess a Heroic Power named Avenger. This power makes him and his unit more and more powerful as it loses members. So for this attack, the unit lost 3 out of 8 Billmen, so all damage are increased by 37,5% (27,6 x 1,375)

A random of +/- 20% is then applied to the damage
Final Damage 30 – 46 - This would remove about two third of the Knight's 60 HP.

The shield would simply have divided the damage by 3 if the Knight blocked the attack.

The Software then tell the players to remove 3 miniatures from the Billmen unit.

Then fatigue is added for the Ravaging Charge and Morale is recalculated taking into account new morale modifiers that the close combat added. If any of the unit falls in the “Routing” morale state because it accumulated too much morale penalties from the close combat, it's turn occurs and it flees right away.

So this is how a single charge works in Ex illis, but from this point on, the close combat is far from over since every single unit has its own choice of actions and can turn combat around by choosing well what to do in each situation.


Congratulations if you are still reading, I'm impressed! This should give you an idea on how deep you can go in terms of gameplay... And by the way, all this data is available on demand. I just print and read the Tactica articles (free on Ex illis.com)...

I guess now you know why and how your guys died :-)
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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:38 am

Interesting, but to me, part of the point of playing a game is abstracting certain elements in order to focus on the more interesting (to me) elements. Typical minis games focus on maneuver and positioning, planning and combos rather than minutia of unit performance (which they abstract and collapse to a single die roll). Ex Illis makes the valid choice of going in the other direction, it abstracts the movement and positioning (to only 24 possible positions) but adds back all the complexity and interactions of units performance (by the process described above). My point was, if you have to use a computer to handle all the complexity you've added back to the game system (as compared to any d6 system) why not go all the way, and allow the computer to handle all the positioning, movement etc too at a much higher level of simulation (lower level of abstraction)...my rhetorical answer is because to do that would be to push the game even farther from the minis and more towards a purely digital game.

From a marketing perspective and a gameplay perspective I think they've made a valid (but wrong to my mind) choice about what to abstract and what to simulate with respect to a normal mini game (and the expectation of a normal minis gamer). While at the same time NOT making an attractive choice along the same dimensions for a digital gamer. It's an interesting idea, and may be the first draft of a compelling idea in game design (though I personally don't think so), but this gameplay implementation doesn't have the right mix of abstraction and simulation to be compelling (to me, and suspect others).

I'd also note that NOTHING in what you said above presented a compelling case for the MINIATURES as such. It's not a miniatures game, it's a computer game that uses minis to represent the gamestate, but the minis are NOT informative to any of the gameplay or any decision making.
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spartakus



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:01 am

I get your point of view and do respect that.
Just one thing I wanna add: an Ex illis game is not limited to 24 possible positions; you can actually use as many positions (squares) you want/can... my son and I often play on 2 official boards (40 positions). There is nothing but the size of your gaming room to limit your fun Very Happy

All I did above is try and explain why your 5 guys died... did not cover any other aspect of the game... maybe another day!

Till then, take care!
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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:24 am

Any finite number of positions is a substantial abstraction from a pure minis game where there are an infinite number of possible gamestates (even with only two models), as compared to only 1600 gamestates (of position) with two models/units and 40 spaces.

Also, isn't a 40 space board just bigger? The spaces aren't smaller/denser right? And a unit can still only be in one space at a time? One approach that might have made sense would be to have say 1" squares and units occupies 6 squares a time. That would give you (assume a default ex illis square is 6"x6", and you have 40 on a table and there are no restrictions on overlapping) 1.8 million combinations, still not infinite, but probably close enough.

I watched somebody fail a charge this weekend by 1/2" and as frustrating as it was for them, I suspect that the possibility of that is a part of the attractiveness of miniature games, i.e. that because the miniatures themselves convey and contain the exclusive source of game-state information in an ANALOG way, the game feels and plays and contains decision-making demonstratively different from ANY grid based system.

If I wanted to have the computer do all the calculations you described above (and I would) but I wanted to preserve the 'analog' positioning information why wouldn't I just play Total War (as an example), or any number of other unit/army based tactics games?

Fundamentally I don't see what Ex Illis offers as a value proposition to me as a gamer since it's too abstract for the things I care about in minis and not well executed enough to stand alone as an attractive computer game (outside of a narrow universe of casual browser based games [which, as an aside I think it could be fun to play as]).
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spartakus



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:36 am

You seem to have a pretty "rigid" position for someone who never even tried a game or saw it in demonstration... You seem to worry about not having enough options (unlimited possible positions) but chess use a limited positions system without limiting in any way the strategic aspects of the game...

I'm just saying, I was skeptical as you at first... just try it, you've got not much to lose, but a lot to discover Wink
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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:05 pm

I agree that I haven't demoed the game and would very much like too. Hence my suggestion of making an online version of the game engine available (since the gameplay is entirely digital I can experience the full depth of the game remotely).

To refute your chess analogy, 64 spaces is more than the 40 you've suggested (an irrelevant distinction for these purposes frankly) and is a complete abstraction of combat. Chess's elegance as a game is in the way that it matches the level of abstraction for 'movement' with the 'combat' abstraction (I take your space I kill your guy being markedly more abstract a representation than what was described for ex illis).

Chess is elegant, easy to learn and deep in large part because it's so abstracted in both critical dimensions (movement and combat, though far more abstracted in terms of combat).

My concern with Ex Illis is that it mismatches the level of abstraction between movement and combat by going even simpler on movement and massively more complex (towards simulation) than any comparable game in the marketplace. It abstracts the thing I can actually control (position) and simulates the thing I couldn't control in a d6 system (hits, damage, morale etc). It's takes away choice and where it adds complexity it adds it to an element of the game where I have no choices (a net loss of choice/decision making).

I'm curious to see it in action on the screen, and wonder why they don't make a demo available digitally.
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spartakus



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:12 pm

As I mentionned, nothing prevents you from playing on 100x100 zones in ex illis, nothing but rent Very Happy

I think they do have a couple of vidoes on their website; not the best if you didn't try the game in real yet, but still... you can see what it looks like!

www.ex-illis.com
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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:25 pm

Cool. Unless I misunderstand though, increase the number of tiles just increases the amount of space on the table, it doesn't increase the 'granularity' of the table (i.e. the tiles don't get smaller). I can play (and have) 40k on a very large table, it is interesting, but the test is how it holds up at 4'x6' or thereabouts, the comparable size to most other minis games (though WM/H is 4'x4' and Malifaux is only 3'x3').

I appreciate you're engaging in conversation about this, are you just a fan or do you have some relationship to the company (either is fine, I'm just curious).
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spartakus



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:41 pm

I just happen to like this new game; something that original and -in my humble opinion- that fun doesn't happen to our market often (at all). It's a bless to be able to invite anybody in our passion without the hassle and the hurdles...

It's also cool to see the there is someone out there that cares. The people behind Ex illis seem to care about changing things; they seem to listen... at least they try!

And yes, when I'm talking about rent, i mean that if you want to play larger games of Ex illis, you do need extra space... I wouldn't decrease the size of each zone since you get up to 3 friendly units per zone (6 units of 8 minis won't fit in much smaller zone!)

Thanks for your inputs!
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mikhaila



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:44 pm

Henceforth, under Bastion’s business partnership model, running a game store will no longer be synonymous with excessive risk and the cumbersome management of rooms and heavy inventory."

This sort of aggravates me, as it shows me where their heads are at, and how they veiw game stores. Always annoys me when someone wants to make their product look good by thowing out derogatory comments against a competitiors product. In this case they chose to sort of do the same but aim it at people they want to work with?

I've looked at the game some, but not played. They were going to come by and demo it, but never showed up that day. No one's asked for the game in the store. I'll be keeping an eye on it, but it has a couple of strikes against it so far.
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avatar8481



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:40 pm

Mikhaila (Mike right?):

I actually took that to mean that at some point in the future they'd move to an entirely digital model, where you're selling just the unlock codes for units (since the minis are irrelevant to the gameplay).

Or you'd sell the codes and they'd ship you product to fulfill orders as they came in. Either way doesn't really make sense.

I didn't see it as a put-down on games stores as such, though I don't own one, so I'm not sensitive to that.

I know GCS has been thinking about it, but so far hasn't actually brought any product into the store (maybe that's the new system they're referring too, not being able to stock the product Wink )
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mikhaila



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:24 pm

It's more how they say it rather than what they said.

They mean't to say "We have come up with a system where a store can push the product and have no risk, since you get a cut of the profits when someone buys from us."

What they said was "Game Store = Excessive risk and Cumbersome Management"

And I disagree with their assessment of game stores just a tad bit.)
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tchuck



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:46 am

Hi,
I saw your discussion and wanted to give some (positive) comments on a great game that I have been playing since it came out 6 months ago.

Gameplay

Gameplay is complex and offers a lot of option. The fact that it’s played on a few tiles doesn’t take away the strategy in the gameplay. In fact, I like the use of tiles as I don’t like games when ½ ‘’, mean your strategy will not work and you will lose the game.
Other advantages of Ex-Illis are in the use of the computer. With that you don’t need to know all the rules to play. This makes it a game that is easy to learn or try. Also, since the software gives you your options, you can’t make a illegal move. Thus, no need to search rulebooks and faqs during a game or no possibility of rulelawyers.

Bastion’s business model

They are a business that sells miniatures. Ex-Illis is a miniature wargame that uses a computer to; give you your options; calculate outcome; give you info on your units; make sure you don’t do illegal moves.
Ex-Illis’ figurine are, at least for human, based on a more historically accurate. This does make for some more plain figurines. But you have to keep in mind that this is their first figurines and that they are improving already nice figs. Personally, I find the extremely oversized shoulder pad to be too much.

The FAQ you quoted is very outdated and Bastion has changed their position to satisfy their customers.

"Can I buy more than one starter kit per account?
yes, I got 2 and one guy has about 12, since he like the game so much and he like to play very big battles!!!

Can I share miniatures with someone?
Yes, but for now it can only be with one person, your bother in arm. Eventually, they said they would allow trading, without having to pay, between people from the same gaming store/group.

Grinding for level
You can do that if you want, but it’s just takes away from the experience. Since games are generally played by level bracket, level 1-10, 10-20, 20-30, etc, getting your units lvl 30 when your friends are lvl 10 will not give you a big advantage.

For the historically accurate unit name, I understand you. Thought, French speakers that play Warhammer will call knights, chevaliers.

Henceforth, under Bastion’s business partnership model, running a game store will no longer be synonymous with excessive risk and the cumbersome management of rooms and heavy inventory."

Their goal with this was that stores would not have to put capital to hold their product, thus less of a risk for the store. Players would order units from Bastion’s website and their orders would be ship to the game store, which would get a cut of the profits. This has also change since it was posted for a more regular business model.

Ex-illis is a very good game and I would recommend to try it out with 7-8 units on each side. It is different then what's on the market currently, but give it a try before dismissing it.
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avatar8481



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:02 am

Quote :
Their goal with this was that stores would not have to put capital to hold their product, thus less of a risk for the store. Players would order units from Bastion’s website and their orders would be ship to the game store, which would get a cut of the profits. This has also change since it was posted for a more regular business model.

This is interesting, and the best explanation of the proposal I've seen to date. Not sure how gamestores will feel about it, but on the surface it seems reasonable. Is it the case that as a result of this the game isn't available through normal distributors?

Quote :
Can I share miniatures with someone?
Yes, but for now it can only be with one person, your bother in arm. Eventually, they said they would allow trading, without having to pay, between people from the same gaming store/group.


This seems very counter to what I've seen previously (though I admit I don't stay up to date). If so it's a pretty radical departure from the older business model, and frankly doesn't make much sense given the way it erodes the necessity for the models/product key codes to play the game.

Quote :
"Can I buy more than one starter kit per account?
yes, I got 2 and one guy has about 12, since he like the game so much and he like to play very big battles!!!

I guess they decided that getting more players with more models was worth taking the production cost loss on the minis in the box. As lots of game companies have done.

Quote :
This makes it a game that is easy to learn or try. Also, since the software gives you your options, you can’t make a illegal move. Thus, no need to search rulebooks and faqs during a game or no possibility of rulelawyers.

I think you're underestimating the extent to which people who play games play them in part to understand and use the rules. Games fundamentally ARE the rules, so when you obscure the rules I think you're actually losing something critical from the fun of the hobby, not gaining ease. Plus, I also think that there are a fair number of game players that ENJOY the rules-lawyering part of it.

Just on a side note. I appreciate that you're participating in this discussion, are you affiliated with Bastion? I see you're registered from Montreal, which I think is the home base of the company. As I told Spartakus, it doesn't make a difference, just asking for the sake of transparency.

Final note, I think it's interesting that neither you or Spartakus have disputed my conclusion that the game is fundamentally a computer game. Bastion may be a miniature company, but they've made a computer game essentially.
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mikhaila



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:11 am

Their goal with this was that stores would not have to put capital to hold their product, thus less of a risk for the store. Players would order units from Bastion’s website and their orders would be ship to the game store, which would get a cut of the profits. This has also change since it was posted for a more regular business model.

Heh. I wasn't slamming their business model per se.

I was pissed that they were throwing crap at my store, and the industry I am in. My store is not "synonymous with excessive risk and the cumbersome management of rooms and heavy inventory". Starting a relationship by insulting the people you want to do business with is, in my mind, a poor strategy.

Ex-illis is a very good game and I would recommend to try it out with 7-8 units on each side. It is different then what's on the market currently, but give it a try before dismissing it.

Was going to, but the person who called and set up an appointment to demo the game never showed. I hear he did show up at a store nearby that does 1/20th of the business that I do. Maybe they are infiltrating the small shops first.

I'll try it if I get to a tradeshow where it's being demoed. Too many irons in the fire right now to activly seek out another game, when I've already got active leagues nights and tournaments running for 40k, wfb, Warmahordes, malifaux and FOW.
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spartakus



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:20 am

Thanks tchuck; it's great knowing people out there actually like this game. That's really ok if not everybody does; all I say is that maybe everybody that like wargaming should try at least once.

Avatar, I don't see why you talk about "obscuring the rules" !!! As you can see on my first post, everything is available (on the website and ingame). You get to know exactly what you are doing; to me, in Ex illis the rules are loud and clear Very Happy

Btw, I think that Bastion, the company that makes Ex illis is based in Quebec city, not in Montreal... is that right tchuck?
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tchuck



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:53 pm

Spartakus, you are right, Bastion is situated in Québec city.

As for me, I am not an employee of Bastion, but I am what they call a Bleeding Edge Knight (BEK), which is a player that helps promote the game (demo, tournament, etc), much like pressgangers from PP.

I also had concern with the use of a computer to play when a friend first talked to me about the game. I still wanted to try it out and I participated in the beta for the software. Now Ex-Illis is my main miniature game.

Quote :

Is it the case that as a result of this the game isn't available through normal distributors?

I’m not sure why the game is not available through normal distributors. My guess is that they focused on presenting the game to gamestores to get players interested and not enough to distributors. Maybe, normal distributors weren’t interested in having such an edge game?

Quote :
I think you're underestimating the extent to which people who play games play them in part to understand and use the rules.

I would disagree with you on that, I love to understand the rules of the game. It’s not because it’s easy to play that you can’t understand the rules behind a simple click of the bottom. Bastion has released and will continue to release gaming aids for players that want to know the rules. They are also very active on their forum.


Mikhaila, can I ask you where you are and the name of the store. If you would like, I could see on the Ex-Illis forum if there is someone close by that could give you a demo. Bastion is still a small company and I think they have around 3 sales rep for the whole North America.
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mikhaila



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:25 pm

Showcase Comics, two hybrid comic/game stores in Philadelphia.
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Papa Nurgle

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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:11 pm

I would love a demo at our store too, as we are currently on the fence about the game.
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tchuck



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Thu May 13, 2010 8:51 pm

I posted on the forum, unfortunatly no one answered.
http://forum.ex-illis.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1909

I also contacted a sale rep, well one of the two for North America, hopefully he will be able to be in your region had give you a demo soon. Has anyone contact you?
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mikhaila



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Fri May 14, 2010 10:33 am

I had a call from on of the guys up in quebec. He sent down some links and files by email. The online video is nifty, especially with a big screen set up at the end of the table to see all the computerized moves. Unfortunately, what would also be useful and I didn't see is some step by step instructions, and how to play it without a computer and big screen in the store.

I'm thinking my stores are going to pass on the game. To really sell it, it looks like I need to buy a phone, ipade, etc, which I currently don't use, figure out how to use it and play the game, then teach others to play the game, without the benefit of big screen next to the gameboard. And obviously need the big green chessboard as well.) Lots of investment just to get to the demo stage. And as I haven't had 1 player in the store ask about it, it's only going to sell if I got involved, and ran the league, and pushed the game.

And currently, I'm working way too much overtime with no days off, to push our GW tourneys and GTs which are a large portion of the business. Adding a new time/money sink with unknown payoff isn't in the cards.

Still up for seeing a demo run for me. I may try to catch one at a convention if I ever get a weekend off to go to one.)
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Lincoln

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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Fri May 14, 2010 11:17 am

I like the originality of the game. someone was definitely thinking when they put this one together, unfortunately I'm not crazy about the computer interface (lol flying unit icons to represent combat), not rolling dice, or the terrain squares (seems like it would limit terrain you'd want to use). How would you put a castle on that board?

here's a link to a nice video demo of the gameplay.

Having said that, I could see a game store running 10 tables. LCDs at each one and a very strong following of players - I'd definitely go play it!

Just don't see taking the game home to play.


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tchuck



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Fri May 14, 2010 11:52 am

Lincoln wrote:

Just don't see taking the game home to play.

It's actually an easy game to bring home, you just need a computer, 2 mouses and a gaming table. The big screen is cool, but it's not necessary and puts more emphesis on the software, away from the actual board and miniatures. I'm pretty sure that in my gaming group, there has been more games played at home then a store.

As for the video, it's great to explain the gameplay, but doing so focuses more on the software than the minis.
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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Fri May 14, 2010 1:06 pm

Quote :
puts more emphesis on the software, away from the actual board and miniatures

I think the fact that it's fundamentally a computer game accomplishes that well enough.
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tchuck



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Sat Aug 14, 2010 2:10 pm

A little necromancie to see if you guys had the chance to try out Ex-Illis? Some of you might have see or tried it at Gencon.

If not, you can now try a 30 days free trial period. Just have to create an account, download the game, ask for the free trial and you can play. The trial gives you access to one of every unit that got out so far. You'll just have to proxy units with minis you already have or use paper cuttout that can be downloaded.
www.ex-illis.com
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avatar8481



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PostSubject: Re: ex illis new game   Sat Aug 14, 2010 3:36 pm

Interesting, I'll have to check it out. Interesting to note that they've moved to a tacit admission that the 'game' is totally distinct from the minis.

Thanks for the update though, and I appreciate you coming back to this thread.
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