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Anyone have experience, as player or designer with shifting victory conditions?

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Mosker
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Joined: 03/30/2014

Essentially, the player has two interweaving goals, strengthen his or own position, and make that position more advantageous in terms of scoring.

I've seen this in games where a producer of a product will also try to influence the market throughout, but I'm focused specifically on the endgame value.

An example (Note, for those thinking on an extended hot-topic metaphor, my game is not political.)

Players are citizens vying for leadership on an imaginary/stereotypical/amalgamated Greek island around just before the Peloponnesian war got going. The populace at the beginning cares little about war or rhetoric, representing oversimplified Spartan and Athenian ideals. So what players must do is not only develop their own attributes, but they must convince the populace that said attributes are what they want in a leader. (So while a player goes out hunting boar, operatives for that same player are convincing the populace that hunters are favored by the gods, and no rhetorician ever talked an animal into being dinner.)

Thanks.

FrankM
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How many attributes?

If there are only two attributes Warrior and Rhetoric, you can use a model called a Hotelling Square to represent opinions.

Picture a square box lid with a grid inside. On one edge (an "X coordinate") run the opinions toward Warrior and on the other edge (a "Y coordinate") run the opinions toward Rhetoric. A specific opinion leader can be placed somewhere on the grid, and in the simplest case just read potential victory points as a sum of the coordinates.

Starting conditions? Drop a big handful of pawns in the lid, then right them onto the nearest grid location. Then place additional pawns around the center space to weight opinions toward the middle.

Movement should probably get more expensive toward the edges (moving from +1 to +2 is easier than moving from +9 to +10) and the two can influence each other as well. It should be really hard to move a particular opinion leader to the +10,+10 corner or -10,-10 corner since those opinions aren't really coherent. Costs might be asymmetric, making it easier to get someone away from the extremes.

Some actions might target a specific opinion leader, while others might have a weaker effect trying to shift everyone. Broad actions wouldn't be strong enough to push anyone to an extreme.

This could theoretically be expended beyond two attributes, but then you need to build a 3D lattice, or simply use a distinct square for each pair of attributes.

Mosker
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Important reminder.

Thank you, Frank for telling me what I needed to hear, beyond the initial question.

While this is a highly thematic game (as I said, very unlike the example), you've made me realize that I need to get over my fear of premature balancing (convenient since my theme and story are thought out before the mechanics start to form) and start thinking about game theory and math models (learning more about both). So when things start blowing up in playtesting, I have a better idea why or at least where to look.

joebergmann
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Thank you for the post!

Hey Mosker!

Thank you for the post. Currently, I have been creating really simple games and shying from more complex ones for the very same reason. I just didn't realize it either! And thank you Frank for the technical info!

Can't wait to see what you come up with, please keep us posted!

Joe

Mosker
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joebergmann wrote:Hey

joebergmann wrote:
Hey Mosker!

[...] Currently, I have been creating really simple games and shying from more complex ones for the very same reason. [...]

Joe

Another response, another triggered thought, specifically the word "complex". I had not thought of the project as particularly complex (it may be cards only, with little data on them, some card-card interaction but no combos), because the complexity for me lay in the math of balancing.

But this is tabletop, not computer gaming, where a much higher percentage of players are expected to be focusing on the detailed mechanics rather than primarily letting story/the experience of playing, their previous experience with the specific game and others, and broad strategy determine their actions....Even in a casual game.

If I'm not careful, I could create a quagmire for even the non analysis paralysis prone players.

Thanks.

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