So after a month or so of beta-testing with a build that I was really happy with, I can see that there are various problems requiring what looks like a major overhaul. Except it isn't really a major overhaul. The game is still based on Titans made up of systems, which players activate to change the state of the board.
What's new is introducing a Game Track, so that players only have a limited number of rounds in which to finish the game. The rounds themselves are going to be composed of a limited set of turns, where players take turns activating systems, or forgo their turns to react with systems. Then when a player passes on a turn to activate, that ends the round and the Deadline token is moved along one square on the Game Track. When the Deadline token reaches the 0 square on the Game Track, the game ends and players add up points. Players get points for destroying enemy buildings, and systems on enemy Titans. This ensures that the game ends in a timely manner, prevents turtling up from being a viable strategy, and encourages peoples to have a go at the landscape around their Titans. The scoring system follows as a progressive scoring system.
While I had 2.5" by 3.5" cards using 1x1 flat Lego bits to track system charging, it occurred to me that this just wasn't going to fly in terms of how I wanted to minimise tokens like that. It also didn't work for gentlemen without my tiny, elf-like hands. So I've been working on 2.5" by 2.5" cards whereby the players rotate the cards by the amount the system requires to fully charge, flipping them in the case of Charge 4 systems, and then letting them tick back during a charging phase if they weren't used to act or react. Much like the dial of a rotary phone... They don't need to be square, technically. I'll see how the existing cards work with the system.
I've changed the Weapon System Effect vs Armour interaction. Weapon System Effect is now the damage dice rolled. An Effect 4 Weapon System will roll 4D6 damage dice, for example. Each shield marker in that square of the System Diagram cancels one of the highest dice in that roll, and is discarded as well. The remaining damage dice are compared to the topmost System's Armour, and if they're higher then they cause 1 point of damage. That 1 point is Light Damage, forcing the system to be rotated clockwise 90 degrees to delay its charge.
Armour Piercing weapons still reduce the armour of a System. That's good, and I like how it changes the armour of a system so it's more easily damaged even if the attack does nothing else.
Shock weapons force a system to be rotated clockwise 90 degrees for each point of Shock. Again, even if the attack causes no damage a system will be affected.
High Explosive continues to essentially pile-driver through Systems in a System Diagram square.
Ignore Shields cancels shield markers before those shield markers can cancel damage dice. I think I should call it 'Disrupt Shields.'
Ammo Dependent is removed in favour of Hard Rounds, where each Hard Round indicates an extra dice that is rolled when rolling to see which System Diagram square is affected by an attack. In effect it means that weapons like the Gun Battery (nee Cannon Battery) is more accurate without direct intervention by the crew, and adds to the accuracy of the crew. The Vulcan Mega-Gun is the stand-out with Hard Rounds (2).
Sensors continue to lay down terrain, but I've essentially made size 0 terrain the default, so Titans don't need to lay it down as they move. Likewise I've returned the Sensor reaction to increasing a Titan's Initiative, but the effect of doing so has been muted to the order in which a Titan gets to act in the round, and the cost of all reactions is the same as that of actions. So players have some defensive options, but they're as costly as the more pro-active options of activating a system. Conversely, using terrain to block an opponent comes at the cost of essentially offering up a slightly different target in lieu of getting smashed, hopefully meaning that players will occasionally feel the pinch between shooting at their opponent, and smashing up the city-scape.
In addition to the system cards, I've worked up some Titan cards. These include information like the System Diagram, the Size of the Titan. So players don't have to worry about keeping their system cards in an awkward system-diagram configuration.
So as I mentioned the concept and basic game-play is still there, but hopefully in a way that's more transparent to the players, and rigged so that they're more inclined to get in there and mix it up, and spend more time playing with the game and less time spent on upkeep.
Titanomachia Beta 3