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Map Design

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lodus
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Joined: 10/22/2011

Currently I'm working on a war game with a risk style map movement system. I've been testing it for a while and have made changes many times, but what I'm wondering now is whether there's a system to designing this type of map that will assure the different starting positions are balanced.

For example, mountains aren't able to be crossed. How are people planning where to put them on the map?

Thanks for any feedback!

Edit: thanks for all the replies guys, and sorry for the slow response.

larienna: thanks, your design progression is actually very helpful. the way i was originally looking at mountains was as a way to slow down certain players, so it took them longer to reach a certain point then anyone else. the problem with that was there's only two resources in the game (dominance and gold) and gold is obtained through towns. so it's hard to design the board so that a player can be provided defense at the expense of resources.

Orangebeard and omni: that's a great idea i've never thought of before. I never thought to try to evaluate locations that way. I've been trying to balance the game so everyone has the same exact starting stuff a bit too much I think and with that suggestion I'll try making it so everyone is balanced, but are all weaker in one area and stronger in another, as sliv suggested.

bonsaigames: the only problem with the defensive bonus idea is that I already have hills that provide those. What does everyone think of the idea that mountains can be crossed, but not if there's an enemy army stationed on the opposite side? for example, there's a territory on the left, a territory on the right, and a mountain in the middle. if there's an army on the left side, no army from the right can cross over the mountain.

MondaysHero
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Joined: 07/08/2011
I would need quite a bit more

I would need quite a bit more information to determine what consistues as a fair starting position. Are their resources being gathered? Is their water's edge and can it be crossed?

If you have one starting position that is flanked by mountains but provides less resourrces, then to one player this WOULD be an advantage, becaue that player wants protection of the homeland. While another player would feel robed, because they would have to trek much farther in order to gather resources.

Let's take Risk as a good example. Both Asia and Europe are VERY hard to defend, and thus, no matter what resources they offer, it's just too hard to defend. Some player prefer Australia because its an insurmountable fortress, but offers so little. But the player that can control both north and or south america has it easy when then pushing into the other continents.

SLiV
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Joined: 10/21/2011
I agree with MondaysHero

I agree with MondaysHero, the different locations should balance eachother out. More protection by mountains and water should mean less resources gathered (or armies produced), and vice versa.

I think you should try and make some differences between the locations, i.e. have some more sheltered areas, and some open areas. A bit of playtesting should let you know if there are any overpowered locations.

Maaartin
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Joined: 05/15/2011
Simply make it nice

lodus wrote:
For example, mountains aren't able to be crossed. How are people planning where to put them on the map?

IMHO, you don't need to think about balancing when drawing the map. Place the mountains the way you find most beautiful and compensate the imbalance by resources.

This could be a case for an auction, even if you hate auctions. Let the testers bid for the starting place (the highest bidding player chooses a place and the remaining players continue bidding for the remaining places), write down the bids and use them to balance the places. As an example imagine there are three starting places A. B, and C, and one player paid $10 for getting place B, and another one paid $3 for getting place A. So adding bonuses like A:-3, B:-10, C:0 would balance the starting position. Probably nobody wants negative bonuses, so change it into A:+7, B:0, C:+10.

larienna
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Joined: 07/28/2008
It's all a matter of how many

It's all a matter of how many connections you have to each territory. When designing fallen KIngdoms, my first maps where made of territories. In average, each territory had between 4-5 connections. I realized that it was too much and prevented blocking areas with a single territory. So I decided to change it to cities connected by road which each had between 3 and 4 connections.

Here is the historical evolution of the map for my game Fallen Kingdoms, it could give you ideas:

http://bgd.lariennalibrary.com/games/fallen_kingdoms/index.php?n=History...

Orangebeard
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Joined: 10/13/2011
Numeric Values?

Hi Lodus,

Would it be possible to assign the spaces/territories on your map a numeric value? For example, a waste land may have a value of 1 whereas a resource rich land may have a value of 5. If the starting territory and immediate expansion areas are added together, you may be able to compare the starting areas to each other from a numeric standpoint.

Good Luck with your design!

bonsaigames
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Joined: 12/20/2010
Defense Bonus

The mountains could provide a defense bonus rather than being impassable.

Hope that helps,
Levi Mote
Bonsai Entertainment
www.bonsaigames.net

omni989
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Joined: 04/30/2011
Orangebeard wrote:Hi

Orangebeard wrote:
Hi Lodus,

Would it be possible to assign the spaces/territories on your map a numeric value? For example, a waste land may have a value of 1 whereas a resource rich land may have a value of 5. If the starting territory and immediate expansion areas are added together, you may be able to compare the starting areas to each other from a numeric standpoint.

Good Luck with your design!

I agree. It seems a sensible option to apply a numerical value to the different elements based on how valuable they will be to players during the game.

Defensive bonus - 1 through to 5
Resource rich - 1 through to 5

Adding the two together a balanced total would be something around the 6 mark. You can continue to value advantages and disadvantages and total them up ensuring nothing has a value much higher than the average.

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