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"Functional Operations" and calculations

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questccg
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It's been bugging me for a while now... I picture an elegant style of play that allows players to perform an equation to score points. The amount of points is determined by the equation itself.

The problem I am having is "HOW TO" making these "functional operations" work!

Some of my thoughts are like this:

  • Subtraction is sort of "useless", nobody wants to LOSE points or create a Negative outcome!

  • Multiplication is so "powerful", everyone would use multiplications such that the equations have very high valued outcomes.

  • Addition is your "in-the-middle", reliable operator most people would use along with the Multiplication operator to build higher scoring results other than from mere additions only!

Then there are other issues, like having operators "around" the cards like in each position: Top, Bottom, Left, and Right. And allowing OPPONENTS to "turn" cards to various positions as a way of manipulating the scoring under the right circumstances.

Lots of "dis-joint" ideas that all seem like cool "mechanics" but nothing that is complete and WORKS "together"...! And is not too convoluted either... Something simple and elegant!

Feedback/comments/ideas/question don't hesitate to reply.

Cheers.

questccg
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Some early thoughts

Instead of scoring some high points, maybe it could be the player closest to zero (0) is declared the winner.

If there is a tie, those players go a 2nd round and the winner is again the closest to zero (0)...

Obviously this means that the absolute value is taken into account in order to determine the winner... More thoughts to come.

Cheers!

questccg
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Another idea

Roll 1d20 and one custom 1d6 having 3 "+" and 3 "-" to determine score goal. With this variation, it leads to more challenging results.

Still early ideas. Keep you all notified!

X3M
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Looks like you are busy early

Looks like you are busy early in the morning (from my point of view) :)

Multiplications are indeed heavy. I can know, I even use involutions.

But to ease those. How about you use even numbers on all cards. And the multiplication is 1.5. In that case, it is +50%.

Subtracting is indeed anoying. Division is softer, since it doesn't reach 0 or a negative number.
With even numbers, only 2 would be the division number. -50%.

I don't know if this was of much help.

***

Trying to get close to 0 is a good idea. And perhaps, negative numbers are key now. Since +4 or -3 are good comparisons. How about, trying to get close to 0, but players are not allowed to get a negative number. (Very very negative effect on the player??)

questccg
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Some interesting points

But 2 x 1.5 = 3... 3 / 2 != integer (1.5)!

So I think I would have to do 2 x 2 = 4... 4 / 2 = 2!

However 1 / 2 != integer (0.5)!

I think I should FORGET about "calculations"... They are too "fiddly" and it doesn't look like I will get anywhere with them.

I really wanted something simple and mathematical... But then I need to determine how this integrates with the remainder of the game. And right now since I don' see it working - it is "blocking" my advancement on the original game ... and well that's not good either.

I guess I just need more time to think about it... And try to mend my original design. I need to figure out where I am going with the design.

Mosker
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Stepping (too far?) back

questccg wrote:

Feedback/comments/ideas/question don't hesitate to reply.

Cheers.

Looking at the simple, sample equations, what strikes me is the variety in shape of the symbols: combine that with your concerns about player action, player experience...I'm thinking this could become the unexpected party game, almost a sort of mathematical charades. Production costs (and yes, initial demand) would certainly be low.

Do you have party games in your notebook/file cabinet/etc.?

[This post is certified free of literary references from old men desperate to make themselves look well-read, if not smart]

Hop

Fri
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Zen master and Parade reduce some math

I think that zen master is a really interesting stay close to zero scoring mechanic. You collect ying and yang pieces and they cancel each other out. At the end of the round your score is the number of yings or yangs you have left

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/83197/zen-master.

Parade is also a try to stay close to zero game. You mostly try not to collect cards as they give you points, but if you have the most of a suit of cards at the end that entire stack is only worth one point instead of the value of each card. (I may have gotten some of the finer points wrong I have not played it that much)

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/56692/parade

I you could get players to complete (possibly more complicated) sets like this then to neutralize of simplify the scoring structure they would have to worry about the much of the fiddly math.

Why do you want to eliminate the math anyway? Math is fun :)

questccg
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It's my party and I'll cry if I want to... LOL

Mosker wrote:
...Do you have party games in your notebook/file cabinet/etc.?

Actually no I don't have any party games in my "repertoire". I'm not really a fan of party games... And my initial goal was to design a "Micro" game that could be played between "heavier" games.

@Fri I know MATH is fun... That's why I wanted the equations to be a part of the game. Maybe instead of making the math as "the game", maybe it can be a "mini" game instead.

Like take for example the problem of TURN-ORDER. Given five (5) cards, you play three and compute the "Valor" points. The player with the lowest "Valor" points goes first and the player with the highest "Valor" points goes last.

Just using the math to determine the turn-order.

And then let the RPS-9, 2 "Resource" cards do the rest for that round.

Hmm... maybe you could modify the "formulation" such that after all players play their turn, the player with the HIGHEST "Valor" points wins.

TBD ...

questccg
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MATH is used to compute turn-order ONLY!

questccg wrote:
Like take for example the problem of TURN-ORDER. Given five (5) cards, you play three and compute the "Valor" points. The player with the lowest "Valor" points goes first and the player with the highest "Valor" points goes last.

Just using the math to determine the turn-order.

That's where the MATH should "stop" in my opinion. If you WANT to go FIRST, you'll try to score a real low score with your cards, if you WANT to go LAST, you'll probably have some super high score that is "out of the park"!

My guess is that MOST players will want to go FIRST or earlier and therefore the "Valor" points (VPs) will be lower-type values to TRY to pull in somewhere in the middle and if lucky at the start.

Now I need to figure out what happens next (LOL)...!

Cheers.

questccg
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Some observational notes

If you managed to set something up like this: -2 +2 x8.

That means the lowest value is 0. Do the -2 +2 math first = 0 x8 = 0... And most likely you will be going FIRST.

But your minions have 20, 20 and 80 HP (respectively). Which seems reasonable, even if two (2) of them are reasonably weak and can be killed rather easy (of course still dependent on the RPS-9). But since you go FIRST, you can maybe do some EARLY damage to some of your opponents!

I would state that minions from the SAME Faction refuse to attack each other.

So the goal would be to see how many POINTS you score after the various attacks that occur.

Let's say your two (2) 20 HP minions are killed. You still score 8 Points for the remaining one still left standing... Hmm... Starting to seem more interesting.

Is there anything that I might have overlooked???

Example #2: -4 /4 +4 = 3 "Valor" points. It's very close to 0... So high odds of going FIRST too.

But the HP distribution is equal: 40 HP each. And let's say one (1) of these takes 20 HP Damage... The "VPs" awarded to this player are ten (10) points!

Definitely getting very interesting. The operations and calculations are use to determine the turn-order and the operands/value are used to compute the "VPs" (Victory Points) - at the end of the round.

X3M
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I see some "new" potential in this

What if killing a minion changes the equation?

For example, killing the -2 in +2-2x8 would change the equation into 2 x 8 = 16.
The other 2 minions are left alone! But knowing that this might happen. The player who placed the minions might have placed the VVP on the 2 minions that will survive. The VVP could be used for subtracting the other VP that are bad.

Either way, some minions will now survive all the time. And since there is a limit of 3. This could bite back the player who placed the minion in the first place.

***

Special abilities for minions:
- isolation.
+2-2X8 could be used as (+2-2)x8 = 0. But, the special ability could be that the minions are kept alive. The isolation is placed on -2. So that this one is used last in the equation. You get (+2x8)-2=14
- binding.
Again +2-2x8. The binding takes place on +2x8 which gives the same as above, 14.
- effect removal.
While the minion remains with VVP. The effect for the equation is nullified. Removing -2 will result in +2x8. =16. Ow the humanity!!!

Of course, some effects could be used by the player on itself.
I see only merrit for this with effect removal. Where another effect is already in place like binding. Then the player can remove an unwanted factor.
(+2x8)-2 might get x8 removed. Now the player is left with (+2)-2 again.

Math can be fun! :)

Fri
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Turn order/Score calculation/Random Concern

Turn order.
Even though math is fun, but it's not for everyone. More importantly it may not be the best tool for determine turn order. I think that you should have to lose something to gain something. Like a gambit in chess. (Maybe the game is doing this and I missed it in the nuances.) I think an auction of VP to determine who go first would be interesting solution use. Can anyone think of any others?

Score calculation.
Each minion could have a VP multiplier. Then the sum of the multipliers could be muliplied by the sum VP for each minion survives the round. If minions A, B and C survive. Total VP=(VP from A + VP from B + VP from C) * (multiplier from A + multiplier from B + multiplier from C) A simple implementation of this is all minions have a multiplier of 1.

Concern.

questccg wrote:

I would state that minions from the SAME Faction refuse to attack each other.

What if everyone playing are all playing the same Faction? This is of particular concern in a tournament.

questccg
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Keeping it as simple as possible

Fri wrote:
Even though math is fun, but it's not for everyone.

Well I think the calculations that are being done a rather simple. And that's what I wanted: a simple system that could be used by virtually anyone. See the problem was a question of "control".

By giving up "control" to the player and defining some simple rules (like the result of the equation must be an integer) and the solution "works"!

That's great because I wanted some kind of formula (think math) to be a PART (important) of the game. It didn't have to rule over all of the game. And that where I was getting blocked: trying to do too much with math and the formulas.

Fri wrote:
Each minion could have a VP multiplier... A simple implementation of this is all minions have a multiplier of 1.

That's what I am going for. Although I could add some more "complexity", it doesn't necessarily add more "depth" than the one (1) times multiplier.

I think this would affect scoring significantly and would affect one of the other simple rules (first one to 20 VPs wins) and make it more difficult to determine the winner.

Fri wrote:
What if everyone playing are all playing the same Faction? This is of particular concern in a tournament.

Well the idea is that players should have a "mix" of cards in their personal "Micro" Deck. Enough that some of their minions should be capable to do some damage to the opposing players.

While one could have an entire deck of one Faction, this is a very risky strategy. Say a Player constructs his deck with all "Human" (Order) minions. If no opponent has any "Gnome" (Tech) units, there is no chance for DOUBLE DAMAGE. Which is good. But it still opens him to be susceptible to SINGLE DAMAGE and MUTUAL DAMAGE.

So perhaps in trying to "control" the situation (again), I'll just state a simple rule: all decks must contain three (3) different Factions as the minimum!

Problem resolved, no decks solely of one (1) Faction.

Fri
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Starting player math.

I did not explain my point very well. With the starting player formula, you are introducing some complexity/fiddliness to your game. I cannot figure out what in terms of game play you are getting from it. IMO, even though the calculations are simple players will find this mechanism tedious and it will reduce the overall fun in your game. This is especially true for particularity those players that don't think math is fun. Not trying to be mean just trying to help.

questccg
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Been there, done that "before"

Fri wrote:
...With the starting player formula, you are introducing some complexity/fiddliness to your game. I cannot figure out what in terms of game play you are getting from it.

If you ever attempt to DESIGN a game where cards are the "core" mechanics in a duel system (and I know how challenging it can be; I've tried to design over 5 different duel "engines"... all failures and I'll explain why...) you'll find that one of the PROBLEMS in most duel system is "oversimplification".

This means that players are not given sufficient CHOICE when looking at the strategic depth of most duel systems.

Using math and operators has been something I knew would add a layer of decision making that adds depth to the overall game. But it's like a "mini" game... Only to determine the starting player.

Fri wrote:
IMO, even though the calculations are simple players will find this mechanism tedious and it will reduce the overall fun in your game. This is especially true for particularity those players that don't think math is fun.

Well you were the first to say "math is fun" and then turn around and say "math" is complexifying the game.

Again having been in the process of designing several FAILED "duel" systems... This one introduces a layer of strategy and is still rather simple. Agreed some players may not like it that they need to do some formulation to start off the game (and in secret too!) On the other hand, people who love partial or hidden information will really love the "figuring out how to use those five (5) cards to the most - and seeing if they can be #1 in the turn-order".

Not that being #1 is the best position to be in. You'll make enemies first and the try to mend those relationships later. It's just a game, nobody should take it too personally that they are the target of Player #1 strategy for winning the game.

Fri wrote:
Not trying to be mean just trying to help.

I understand... And I can tell when a "design" is sufficiently mature enough to merit a "prototype". We'll see what the prototype says about the various mechanics of the game.

For now I see the "formulaic" portion as being very innovative and different while not "consuming" the entire game. So you're not the #1 Player... maybe in the middle. Go with your best strategy and the various cards on the table and try to influence the table in seeing the game in your fashion.

That's the essence of the game. The "formulaic" portion just adds some depth in a process which is fairly dumb-ed down: youngest first, nearest birthday, roll a die, etc. Instead you can use your cards and try to compute the best score (closest to 0). Rather neat in my book!

No worries mate!

questccg
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And not to mention

The "Valor" Points and later "Victory" Points are "intertwined". Meaning there is a relationship between both. This also adds a layer of strategy to this very simple, yet fully-packed "Micro" game.

It's got a real nice RPS-9 (which I am partial to) because I've always wanted to use that in one of my designs. It's got fantastic lore in that your "Lord" is vying to become "Lord of the Keep" and each "Lord" has his own asymmetric ability and "resource" bonus.

Each minion can be used a "resource" card instead of the minion, allowing players the choice to determine what "resource" they will have for that round of the game.

Subtle but interesting mechanics such as the "graveyard": when I minion is defeated, instead of going into the discard, it is sent to the "graveyard". Although the concept is not new, one Lord has the possibility of returning once per round, one (1) lost minion. A nice asymmetric ability which can help keep strong cards in your deck.

Unpredictable rounds seeing as you DRAW five (5) or 50% of your cards from your "Micro" Deck and use those cards for the remainder of the round including the round's turn-order.

What's left to do ... is re-design the cards for this version of the game.

For a "Micro" game, I am satisfied with the depth of the game. But playtesting the next prototype will determine if the project is a Go or No Go...

Keep you all posted about my progress. Cheers!

questccg
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And thanks for your insightful suggestion!

@Fri: Don't think that I'm ignoring your concerns. You were the original person who suggested getting rid on the "Deck-Building" engine since those seemed like extra cards that could be "replaced" with a stat on all of the minion cards.

And I remember saying there is not much space on the card as a reason that the idea would be difficult to implement.

But realizing that all I needed to do was add THREE (3) "Resource" icons (pretty small in size) and a number next to each one... I figured I could use HALF the space use by the "Basic Attack" and "Advanced Tactic". So this means that about 50% is used by the image (graphic) and 50% card related information. I remember saying it would be 40/60 instead of 60/40 and that from an appearance perspective 40/60 wouldn't look too good.

And that's fully true... But now that it's HALF the size 50/50 is just on the border of what is acceptable "appearance"-wise.

So I've noted your concerns and we'll see how the prototype plays.

Cheers... Oh yeah any other concerns, feel free to respond!

questccg
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That's what had me confused

@X3M: Ya that whole bit of "using" the calculations IN-GAME was what was messing with the design. I didn't want to whole game to be about "math".

I only thought that it might be cool for some "aspect" of the game. And when I determined that I could use it to decide the TURN-ORDER, I was rather excited about it... since I don't think many games do this. I know a couple were mentioned... but still.

I realize that fiddling around with the numbers you can get different scores... That's what had me "blinded" by the math... I was like so maybe I can do multiplication of some sort or compute the scores after and then use the operations then.

But that's what was holding the design hostage: too much math.

Now there is just enough for a quick 2 to 6 player game which should not last more than 30 minutes. Even with 6 players. Maybe like 5 minutes per player so for two (2) player maybe only like 10 minutes a game. IDK. Need to playtest a prototype.

Before that happens I need to design a NEW prototype and test it out.

Will be working on Design tomorrow and we'll see maybe on Sunday I'll have some time to physically make and cut the game... That's TBD!

Cheers.

Fri
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Its all good

@questccg - I'm trying to help out around here as best I can. I am enjoying the problem solving aspects of it. I not at all concerned or offended that not all of my thoughts and ideas get implemented. I am just trying to give everyone some ideas to consider for design. Hopefully, these ideas can be used as stepping stones find the best solution. You have already done this with the resources. (Never crossed my mind that a card could be worth more than one resource.)

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