Hello Golem Knights! Brian Poel here. Just wanted to open with an apology for such a late update on the results of the Story Scenarios. The second chapter of Realm of Cinders finished on June 30th. Yes, that was LONG ago, but unfortunately between finishing work on Chapter 3, then preparing for and attending GenCon and then right after GenCon flying to China to supervise the final stages of manufacturing for the next releases — I’m only just now able to catch my breath and get this all down on paper.
As you know, all game results are uploaded to our servers, which lets us investigate the data and analyze which factions won the most games, and also, more importantly, HOW they won those games. As you’ve seen in Chapter 1, it’s not just victory we’re looking at, but the choices along the way to victory or defeat, that are making a difference in the eventual aftermath of the Realm of Cinders.
Don’t worry — even though it’s taken us this long to publish an update here on the Web site, we were watching the data the whole time and the results from Chapter 2 did, in fact, directly affect some of the mechanics of Chapter 3, as you’ll see below!
OVERVIEW OF THE SCENARIO
If you need a refresher of the set-up and victory conditions for Chapter 2, please read this blog post.
Unlike in Chapter 1, there was a single 2-player map in Chapter 2. Since this allowed for unequal representation of the 3 factions, we looked at two angles for wins: 1) the most total wins and 2) the best winning %. As it turned out the Dominion won the most and within the margin-of-error for a Tie on Win %.
- % of Total Wins
- Winning %
All that said, simply “Winning” in this scenario wasn’t really the primary goal! It’s true that when the various Faction armies met in the Vinewood, the Dominion won more of those battles — but as explained in the scenario briefings, the true goal was collecting as many Victory Points worth of Charms as possible. More on that below!
Here’s a reminder of the layout of the map for the Chapter 2 scenario. Each of the objective markers on the map represented a possible location of a Zikia Elder, from which the player could acquire a Charm — and such Charms would allow that Faction to navigate more quickly through the mystical labyrinth protecting the sacred First Tree of the Mahatavi.
As the players quickly discovered, however, the fires of burning Zikia villages from Chapter 1 have quickly spread — and the destabilized Mana Wells have brought forth the furious wrath of the Wildwood’s Forest Spirits in the form of Cinderborn! As the Scenario progressed, automatic Fire Damage on the map increased, both in scope (spreading from Heavy and Medium Cover regions to Ground Cover region) but also in severity (from 5 damage a turn to 10 damage a turn).
But players could also accelerate this damage — or repair it — by interacting with the Mana Wells on the map. The Durani Empire had the option of further damaging the Mana Wells, increasing the Fire Damage for everyone. The Mercenary Kings had the option of repairing the Mana Wells, resetting the progression of Fire Damage, but not eliminating it completely. And the Gudanna Dominion could choose to do either, in the service of investigating this strange Cinderborn phenomena for their curious masters back home.
As mentioned above, the goal of this Scenario was collecting Charms — not only for that single game, but also to contribute to the total Charms collected for that Faction across ALL games. Savvy players tried to collect as many Charms as possible and eliminate enemy Golems carrying charms. Even armies that technically lost a battle, but collected a lot of Charms in the process contributed to the success of their Faction.
- Ave. Charm VP / game
- Ave. Carrier Kill VP / game
For those who played the 3-Player version of Realm of Cinders: Chapter 3, you’ll know that the Durani Empire deployed first and deployed at the center of the map, surrounding the giant root of the Mahatavi, with its beneficial healing properties. Story-wise, the Empire used their advantage in Charms to navigate the labyrinth more quickly, granting them time to heal up from all their fire damage before the other armies arrived, and the opportunity to attack first.
While the Mercenary Kings collected the fewest Charms from the Zikia Elders, the Mercs did kill the most Charm Carriers — fitting, when you think of how the enemy Golems acquired these charms. So in the story, the Mercenary forces, so enraged by the violence against the fleeing Zikia Elders, lost sight of the goal of collecting Charms for themselves and instead focused on exacting revenge on those Empire or Dominion forces who harmed the Elders. A righteous cause perhaps, but strategically not as useful.
THE MANA WELLS
We also kept a close eye on what each Faction did with the Mana Wells. Both the Empire and the Mercs had the option to do nothing when entering the Mana Wells, or to Damage (Empire) or Repair (Mercs) the Wells. The Dominion, however, had to choose to do something when entering a Well, Damage or Repair.
- % Damage
- % Repair
- Ch 3 Spirit Bonus
- 10 HP / 10 DMG
- 15 HP / 5 DMG
- 20 HP
For the Empire, when one of their Golems saved a Spirit in the Chapter 3 it gained an equal amount of Healing (10 HP per turn) and increased Damage (+10 DMG), and the framing of the interaction with the Spirits was that the Golems were saving the Spirits. If the Empire had damaged more Wells, this would have changed that interaction with the Spirits to something a lot more unpleasant, and the bonuses would have been more heavily weighted to Damage bonuses. This tone of the relationship with the Forest Spirits is especially important for the Durani commmander Kopa Vahni, to whom the players reported — their actions are a proxy for Kopa Vahni’s decisions and the overall fate of the invading Durani armies in the Wildwood.
For the Dominion, player decisions also set the tone for the Dominion’s interaction with the Forest Spirits in Chapter 3. With the large majority of opportunities dedicated to Repairing the Wells, Dominion Golems saved Forest Spirits in the next Chapter and gained mostly healing (15 HP per turn) and a small amount of increased Damage (+5 DMG).
For the Mercenary Kings, they were always going to get all-healing from their Spirit interactions in the next Chapter — but all that Mana Well repairing was still an important action to offset any Well-damaging that the Dominion and Empire were doing. While this area of the Wildwood is still devastated with Cinderborn, there are now some Forest Spirits that remain uncorrupted, and available to help the Zikia of the Wildwood brave enough to venture into the Realm of Cinders in the future.
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