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Weird Ideas: Summoned Troops

Every once in a while I meditate a bit on game mechanics that don’t feel quite right, twisting the rules a bit to see where it leads. One of those game mechanics is summoned troops. The changes for 2.0 look very promising, unfortunately they don’t address the parts I dislike most:

  • One of your troops needs to have died for summoning to work.

There’s no I in team, and apparently just four letters. Summoning only gets useful once there’s room for an additional member, which makes summoners mostly useless for half of the fight. Sure, most of them have a weak secondary effect tacked on to compensate, I’d still prefer them to be viable for the whole fight though.

  • Summoned troop tends to get in the way.

What’s better than a Spider Swarm in first position? A Spider Swarm that ends up in a position where it doesn’t volunteer for dealing weak skull damage while hogging all red mana. Sometimes it would be nice to have a little more control over where your summoned troop will end up, especially when building defense teams.

So, getting to the Weird Ideas part, how could this be changed? There’s actually just one simple change that would make a huge difference:

  • Summoned troop temporarily replaces summoner, in same position.

Master takes a break, slave does the dirty work. The summoner is taken out of play, with all conditions frozen. Once the summoned troop dies, the summoner is returned in former glory, all stats, positive and negative effects the same as before.

Speaking just for me, I’d definitely like that behavior, it feels like a perfect fit. It makes summoners useful throughout the fight, while also giving me control where the summoned troop will show up. As a slight nerf, it prevents summoners from having multiple summoned troops in play at the same time. As a slight buff, it makes summoners more durable, due to being out of the line of fire while the summoned troop is around.

Just my 2 gold coins, back to counting treasure maps.

4 Likes

i also hate the spider swarm on first place thing - especially when i use my KoS/Valkyrie Team…

low skull damage and taking red mana away from valk^^

I like this idea. The main reason I don’t use summoners is the fact they take up the first slot and wreck my teams flow.

Solution: Black Beast in addition to your summoner.

3 Likes

So from what i read, what about dokkalfar? He takes a break summons a giant spider then giant spider takes a break summoning a spider swarm? So the ai has to kill swarm>giant spider>dokkalfar for me to lose my best summoner?

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For that matter, the OP’s suggestion would render Giant Spider useless as a purple generator.

2 Likes

my tyri team and daemon team would be affected by this.

What if instead of “summoning” the card “transformed”? Think werewolf. Starts out human, turns into the were (which cannot be killed but could be swallowed) but if you beat it up enough it turns back human and vulnerable.

Heck, you could add a whole mechanic for troops that have forms that are temporarily invulnerable. Of course you’d just save up your damage for after they shifted back from that cloud of mist, but can you make it that long?

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My concern would be UI complexity. You’d need to make it clear to the player what exactly is going on. Right now, troop death is mostly “simple.” They die and they don’t come back. Having to maintain a “state stack” is hard to indicate in the limited real estate given to the card slots (especially true on mobile).

Two cards “occupying” the same slot really add to the cognitive load on the user, and increase the UI complexity a lot. How can I tell how much life, for example, the “covered” card has? Sure, the problems are solvable, but they’re actually quite difficult to solve in a manner that is unambiguous and concise.

Where in doubt, Gems of War has always leaned on the side of elegance and simplicity over complexity (though I’d argue that this week’s troop has a spell that verges on “too complicated”). I suspect they’ll maintain that path going forward.

3 Likes

Complexity would indeed be an issue with the spider trio. I had considered trying to split screen the cards to allow folks to play either the summoner or the summoned, but that existing combo pretty much kills that idea.

1 Like