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starting resources and replenishment

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MarkD1733
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Is there any information out there about how to figure out what is the right number of starting resources and how much/how often to replenish resources automatically? Or is this just a trial and error testing thing?

Thanks for the ideas.

X3M
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It entirely depends on the

It entirely depends on the game mechanics.

If you describe your game and tell us how the resources work. We could give pointers. What kind of game is it? Economic, war, race, etc.?
But for now, only trial and error is what you can do.

For that I might suggest making a test plan.
In which you start with "starting" resources and the "replenishment". Note these down and write down the effects on the game.

The starting resources are just enough to give the player 3 to 5 choices. If you give to much, a player can do any thing at the beginning. Which is no fun. But to low, and the player can only do 1 thing. Which is no choice at all.

Keep the starting resources constant while testing. And change the replenishment.
Is the replenishment to low? Double it.
Is it to high? Halve it.

Then depending on how things works out, you might double or halve it again. Or you go in between the 2 numbers that you tried.

Good luck.

MarkD1733
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It entirely depends on the...

X3M wrote:
It entirely depends on the game mechanics.

If you describe your game and tell us how the resources work. We could give pointers. What kind of game is it? Economic, war, race, etc.?
But for now, only trial and error is what you can do.

For that I might suggest making a test plan.
In which you start with "starting" resources and the "replenishment". Note these down and write down the effects on the game.

The starting resources are just enough to give the player 3 to 5 choices. If you give to much, a player can do any thing at the beginning. Which is no fun. But to low, and the player can only do 1 thing. Which is no choice at all.

Keep the starting resources constant while testing. And change the replenishment.
Is the replenishment to low? Double it.
Is it to high? Halve it.

Then depending on how things works out, you might double or halve it again. Or you go in between the 2 numbers that you tried.

Good luck.

This is a great starting point. This is the type of advice I was looking for.

Just to give some additional context of the mechanics in the game. Each player can "advance" a particular human resources by adding additional "manufactured resources". The "manufactured resources" are produced through combinations of "basic resources" provided there is the lowest level resource producing them. The game starts with some number of the human resources as the lowest and 2nd lowest levels, and basic and manufactured resources as some starting levels (to be determined). The human resources compete for the manufactured resources in order to progress, and the manufactured resources "compete" for the basic resources. The concept so far is that each player on each turn can manipulate some level of these resources, including the human resources...and this manipulation consumes combinations that are the basis for the game. The co-op part is that while getting points for advancing their human resources, the team has to collectively build up the human resources to the right levels and deploy them to meet or beat the needs of upcoming challenges.

X3M
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Sounds like an economic

Sounds like an economic game.
With several different resources.
Balancing those is the hardest.

MalthusX
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Interesting Concept

Unfortunately, as X3M has said, it is a play-testing thing. You can always dummy play test and play a few quick round with yourself to find a number you can start with when you do a real play-test.

With different resources feeding on each other, it seems like the ratios between them would be an important thing to experiment as well (i.e. 4 units of basic for one manufactured, and four units of manufactures for one human).

Its a neat concept. Id be interested in seeing hoe it plays.

richdurham
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spreadsheets for fun and profit

This actually sounds like an easy problem to solve with sprreeaddsheeeettssss.

Since you're describing a few levels of resources that combine to create other resources, that in turn combine to form even more resource...which I assume score points at some time.... what you're looking at is just measuring value and scarcity of resources.

For example, say 1 point is made from combining 3 resources. Each has a score value of 0.3 (ish). If one was more scarce, this value would be adjusted upwards by a factor of how scarce it is. Let's say this resource is Steel. Steel is combination of iron and energy, two other resources. So now we can say that iron has a point value equal to 50% of the Steel it makes up. So in the spreadsheet it's 0.3x0.5 = 0.15 of a point.

If in your game, starting players can take actions to gain resources, and do so earlier than their opponents, then yes - the other players DO need a balancing resource.

To measure, ask yourself how many fractions of a point ahead do the first players get on their turn that the others don't. Do they get to claim/push/advance one iron? in that case, give the later-starting players an iron so that at the end of the first turn they have the same "advantage."

Note that this matters more in games where a player can hijack turn order in their favour. Like worker placement games. Because in those cases only the first turn is different, since the earlier players are blocking actions the others are doing. If it's a strong euro game, and the players are pretty much independent, then it doesn't matter who goes first. In fact, I'd wonder why they're playing with other people at all. But that's just me commenting on simultaneous solitaire games.

RyanRay
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Joined: 03/27/2014
The Three Acts

Think of how you want the start of your game to feel. Do you want it to feel like everyone starts with essentially NOTHING, they start with a little bit, or they start with enough to essentially complete the game from there (rare)?

Catan has a fantastic Three Act system, which is part of why it became so popular in modern gaming.

Act 1- Everyone starts the game having already settled a little bit of land and an opportunity to grow based on their choices. From the very beginning they have a vested interest in seeing their settlers succeed.

Act 2- Everyone is growing their little empire, claiming area, and solidifying their endgame strategy slowly but surely.

Ac 3- Everyone sees that one player starts sneaking ahead in points, but it's rarely a runaway since players can still effect others. Eventually someone pulls ahead and wins.

Each Act has a distinctly different feeling in 9/10 games of Catan.

This, and...
PLAYTEST PLAYTEST PLAYTEST!!

jvallerand
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Joined: 10/12/2013
I would playtest it. Try it

I would playtest it. Try it starting with no resources for a few games, and look for the point at which players start diverging: if in all games, players fight for the same resources for the first 4-5 turns, give them the starting resources of what you'd get in 4-5 turns. I'd also err on the side of more resources, rather than less, to get your players to start the game with decisions to make on how to use them.

Another thing you might want to think about is making the starting resources customizable. Like Rich said, you first have to understand what the relative value of each resource is. You can then go multiple ways: give players a straight up choice (either start with 10 gold and 5 food, or 8 food and 5 gold, or even X resources of your choice, if they're all equal), or you can do like in T'zolkin and deal cards representing starting situations, and players select 2 of the 5 to start the game with. Another possibility is, if you have variable player power/character/races, to associate each power/character/race to a certain set-up.

Customizing set-up should, however, come after you've decided HOW MUCH resources you want players to start with, but before (and instead) of deciding WHAT resources they'll start with.

MarkD1733
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great ideas, everyone...thanks!

I like a combination of techniques mentioned. The easiest for me to comprehend is how many choices do I want my players to have at the start of the game. If I constraint it to 2 or 3, then I simply ensure there are enough resources around to ensure that each player will have 2-3 choices. No doubt that ultimately playtesting will determine effective resource levels.

Just to explain this set of mechanics even further, part of this economics is worker placement. The workers are placed (initial placement concept is still being worked out) to generate several of the resources (maybe all, maybe not). They are the replenishment mechanic...as long as they stay, they produce each round, turn, etc. Then a worker can be moved into another "advanced" role that are also needed for winning the game, but in doing so, it will no longer produce the resource they once did. More than one worker can be placed on a resource to produce more of them each round or simply to ensure continued production levels. This is very similar to Terra Mystica income mechanic where you add structures and they give you income, but you upgrade the structure and that income gets lost when the lesser structure comes back "home"...but you gain whatever advantage the upgraded structure gave you. My thought on the points however, is centered around the players who control the specific worker upgrades. In order to for me to do my upgrading, I need to use a worker upgraded by Joey...Joey would get a point. Only Joey can upgrade workers to that type, and at least one player will need that upgraded worker if not more than one. I can certainly tinker with the points on the upgrading mechanism, because the higher advancements cost more and take longer to achieve...therefore, the points should probably be more--2 or 3 depending on how things play out.

After hearing that, any additional ideas or comments?

jvallerand
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In the end, my advice stays

In the end, my advice stays the same:
-wing it;
-err on the side of too many;
-playtest it.

Rinse and repeat.

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