Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tannhauser and Power-Creep

Power Creep is a concept, more often discussed about online video games such as Starcraft and World of Warcraft then in board games, but with Tannhauser’s latest releases we’re seeing the some extreme examples of Power Creep in a board game. First I’d like you all to take a look at Extra Credits’, excellent episode on Power Creep: what it is and why it exists. Then we’ll come back look the evolution of Tannhauser and the Power Creep it has seen, and how this has affected the game or if it has at all.

Well now that you have a better under standing of Power Creep, what it is and how it effects game play; I’m sure you can already begin to think of a few examples in the already available TH line, that make previous characters not necessary unplayable, but perhaps less desirable. Think about the Union for instance, when Hoax was released was there really a reason to ever bring Tala to combat focused game again, if it weren’t for her skills, and sometimes necessary stamina abilities, she’d rarely see any play here, because she’s just so much less powerful then your other options.

The same is true of all the other factions, save the Shogunate. Then there are the Epics and near Epics like Edison, these characters are so powerful that if destroying the enemy is your goal why would you dare bring anyone else. But the real question here is, do they break the game?

Well it’s a very hard to answer question because TH has so many modes of play, and while these ultra-powerfuls are going to be great in most situations, there may still be times when they’re not the best. For instance: as powerful as Edison is, he has a rather limited skill set (he has one less skill then MacNeal, and his skills are not the most common). So would you still bring him to a game where the skills matter most, even if he doesn’t have the ones you need? This is where I think the designers have done a good job trying to balance TH, while the Power Creep is noticeable, these really powerful characters still have some limits that may encourage an alternate choice.

This is just a short article to get you thinking, a good place to start a discussion. So what do you folks think?