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Battle Bash - how to make it more interesting?

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Squinshee
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Hey Guys!

I've been trying to make a game called Suit Up! for some time. After finding an interesting new mechanic, I've restructured my game a lot. It's now called Battle Bash (tentatively). I playtested it yesterday and it went well. Very few roadbumps, easily the best mechanic I've yet to build upon.

It ain't perfect by any means though. At its current state, it's a little boring. The "pile" should be an interesting place for synergies and strategies but it's not doing a whole lot right now. Perhaps it's too rigid - maybe players should draw X cards and be able to place cards in the pile in an order they'd prefer.

Please take a look at my design document. It's super easy to read at only 3 pages, including a reiteration of the turn structure. Any comments, questions, concerns, ideas, etc. are really appreciated. A link follows:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Jjt5oFnJEKQ-Kn4CFY49-fDTcN3sUFz_51F5...

Thanks!

MarkD1733
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I can see the game working...

Nice job. Here are some general comments and questions for your consideration.

1) Substitute "letters" (i.e., letter cards) for something more thematic. Represent the theme with icons. For example...you could use the elements, or the seasons...and have logical iconography to aid in gameplay and resolution. Similarly, you probably want to spruce up the terminology to suit the theme--e.g., instead o "Pre-Action Phase" maybe something like "Energize Phase" or simply "Power Phase." You probably already thought of this for the future.

2) I like the blind decision action. It's got that Rock-Paper-Scissors feel which is familiar, plays fast, and still feels like combat. But R-P-S is best when random, and no player acts randomly. I think there is more to do here...I explain furhter below.

How may of each DICE (attack and grab) are there per player? My only thought is that if you have special dice per character, you could end up with a lot of dice. This is maybe where you standard your dice with icons, but relate your results more specifically to the character...in other words a result of "4" (or a "lightning bolt") is not the same for one character to the next. Only the player knows the power per result. Do you even need the dice if the card mechanics work out well enough? Also, I note that you call out "Attack" and "Grab" dice but then also "Speed" dice. Clarify.

3) How are you keeping track of VPs/scoring to know who gets to their VP target first? Is there a track or something? It also seems like you need a scoring pile separate from the letter cards for use in combat. Also, does anything work to set opponent's VP backwards (lose VP)?

4) It seems to me that some player information you make known should remain hidden or otherwise unknown. Is the player's character card exposed? If so, I think you should consider dividing up some power to give some depth and replayability to each character. Think Smallworld and how the race and power go together...but keep one aspect unknown until you activate it.

5) Help me understand the Letter Cards. I am fuzzy on how they really play out. The letter cards are played face up? There is only one showing at any time, right? First, I don't like drawing a single card and adding it to the top of the pile. No choice there. I would rather create a card drafting mechanic out of the Letter Cards. Then use my Decision cards as part of that drafting mechanism.

This is partly because I feel that they contain VP, attack and hit information, which could be a giveaway to either player's strategy depending on the two cards showing? I couldn't tell from the description, but I thought, for example, "why would I expose that my future action is worth 2 hits and 3 VP?" If there is only 1 card, then my potential strategy is easier to spot. However, if you like face up I feel that it would be better to see an array of results. In other words, keep the results of the DECISION cards strictly to the LETTER cards but apply my DECISION to only one of them in the array. Maybe that would make it more interesting. Some suggested ideas:
- Each "letter card" shows three possible results, one result for each of the 3 possible decisions played. So the other player sees my array of choices, but really doesn't know if I am going for the Block on Card A vs the Grab on Card B, etc. Maybe the Block on A has more VP, but the Grab on B discards more opponent's cards. I think there is suspense if I know which card they are going after, but not exactly which result. For example, I go for Card B which says: ATTACK - Gain 3 VP; BLOCK - Opponent loses 2 VP; GRAB- take top card from Opponent's Scoring Pile.

Now let's take that another step by laying out more than one card to choose from. Let's say 3 letter cards--A, B, C (ignore having a D card for now). Now if each ATTACK, BLOCK, and GRAB result is different, this arrangement gives a player 9 choices rather than 3. You can still apply the same original mechanic, but the choices feel like I have more to do. The results are simply how you which to play off the other aspects of the game.

Another way would be to play the cards head-to-head. Each player deals out an A, a B and a C card. Each player then plays a DECISION on each card--ATTACK, BLOCK, or GRAB. Resolve the cards in order. Again...you have 9 choices total, but you decide 3 times rather than just once. There is more player interaction either way. I think that would help with fixing the "boring" you said. Also, you might not even need the dice in this case.

If you can use a common set of card that you deal out you can make each character's deck thematically/mechanically unique.

I think you could abandon some of the preset VP awards for more interaction based on the card results. If you keep the preprogrammed VP results, it seems like Blocking could do more to be more interesting or at least more rewarding, unless of course you both block at the same time--which is boring.

Lastly, why play VP each round, but then make winning depending on rounds? Why not simply VP? Does something "reset" with each round? Just the cards?

Wow! Your game got me really thinking! Good luck! I look forward to the next iteration.

MarkD1733
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One more thought

Since this game is driven off the Attack, Block, and Grab...can you make a selection of Attacks, Blocks and Grabs such that each player is dealt one of each to make a unique combat arrangement? This would be better than having a static character as this does not feel like it is intended to play as a long strategy game.

Squinshee
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WOW! Thanks for so much

WOW! Thanks for so much feedback. I'm glad my design got you thinking. That makes me feel like I have something here. To answer some questions about the current design:

• Letter cards enter the pile face-up and are never face-down
• after you reach your character's VP requirement, you win and the game resets.
• Speed dice for attacks and grabs are there for tie-breaker purposes.
• My theme is quite nebulous right now, so I'm not trying to settle on one. I'm shooting for clarity right now, and letters seemed like an easy way to point to other cards for synergies.

I like your ideas. The system is definitely too rigid as of right now and making the top cards in the pile dictate so much of the turn that it simplifies it too much. I like the idea of having letter decision cards in your hand too, letting you choose certain abilities in your pile. Because decisions are like fun and stuff.

I'm not sure if I want to stray from selecting characters. In ways it simplifies the design but it does simplify the game. I'd hope to make characters nuanced enough to make learning them fun. I'm open to not doing this if I makes my game better.

Really, once I solidify my mechanics I'll explore what's the best way to design around the gameplay.

What I do like in my design, at least what it strives to do, is increase complexity as the game progresses due to the pile. As it increases it further influences your options and synergies, making you stronger in ways but also somewhat more predictable.

Having cards tha aren't known to your opponent is also something to consider. An initial thought I had was that you could organize and structure your pile from cards in your hand.

Again, thanks for the feedback! This has got me thinking...

Squinshee
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I didn't answer all your

I didn't answer all your questions:

• Character cards are known
• There are two dice per player for attack and grab tie breakers
• VPs are counted on dice or paper since the deck needs to be shuffled due to small size
• VPs are never lost

I think VPs are probably not interactive enough too.

MarkD1733
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good luck...looking forward to the next iteration

Squinshee wrote:
WOW! Thanks for so much feedback. I'm glad my design got you thinking. That makes me feel like I have something here. To answer some questions about the current design:

• Letter cards enter the pile face-up and are never face-down
• after you reach your character's VP requirement, you win and the game resets.
• Speed dice for attacks and grabs are there for tie-breaker purposes.
• My theme is quite nebulous right now, so I'm not trying to settle on one. I'm shooting for clarity right now, and letters seemed like an easy way to point to other cards for synergies. ...

Having the letter cards face-up is okay, you just don't want to give up strategy if the information is known. Also, depending on the mechanics, decide if you need the added mechanic of tie-breaking.

Squinshee wrote:
I like your ideas. The system is definitely too rigid as of right now and making the top cards in the pile dictate so much of the turn that it simplifies it too much. I like the idea of having letter decision cards in your hand too, letting you choose certain abilities in your pile. Because decisions are like fun and stuff.

Just to clarify my examples in the earlier post. First, let's assume each Letter card can resolve 3 ways, based on the 3 decisions. Using 3 letter cards (A,B,and C) face-up as you would like, you could place either 1 of the decision cards on one of those letter cards which gives 3 Letter card choices x 3 Decision choices = 9 choices to compare. That is reasonable set of choices each turn. The other alternative example I proposed was use all 3 of your decision cards...one on each of the 3 letter cards. So you Attack with one letter card, Block with another, and Grab with another. You can add dimension to this mechanic by decided how they resolve...attacker vs defender goes first? Or Attacks first, Blocks second, Grabs third? or A, then B, then C? Lots of ways to work this. Also, I like the simplicity of your hand being only 3 cards--the Decisions. But the letter cards might be their own deck(s) which you draft and then make the decision(s) on. I don't think you need a "hand of cards."

Squinshee wrote:
I'm not sure if I want to stray from selecting characters. In ways it simplifies the design but it does simplify the game. I'd hope to make characters nuanced enough to make learning them fun. I'm open to not doing this if I makes my game better.

I wasn't proposing that you don't have character selection. I was suggesting that you consider a way to keep character from being static.

Squinshee wrote:
Really, once I solidify my mechanics I'll explore what's the best way to design around the gameplay.

What I do like in my design, at least what it strives to do, is increase complexity as the game progresses due to the pile. As it increases it further influences your options and synergies, making you stronger in ways but also somewhat more predictable.

Having cards tha aren't known to your opponent is also something to consider. An initial thought I had was that you could organize and structure your pile from cards in your hand...

I think knowing your opponents cards is okay...just as long as they really cannot tell what your decision will be. Just be carefull you are not making something akin to "deck building." I thought your concept was more original than that.

Good luck!

Squinshee
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Have you seen the game Yomi?

Have you seen the game Yomi? My game is similar to it (atk, block, grab) where cards in your hand dictate which of these actions you can perform, depending on the orientation you place the card face down.

I want to avoid making a game too similar to it. Checking Yomi out can give you an idea how a game like this plays. Generally, I want to make a game like it, that's a tad lighter but has more natural progression, rather than just forming a hand with a killer combo.

Jeez, thanks again for your input.

NomadArtisan
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Wow you have changed this a

Wow you have changed this a lot. Before it was very similar to a game design Im working on, not anymore! I think I see where you're going with the pile. I had an idea for a game where players have rps like cards in hand, each turn players simultaneously select there action, the winner leaves there card face up in play as momentum, the loser takes there card back to their hand. In this way, the winner has less options next round, but potentially a boost from the momentum.
I could see you doing the reverse of this. What if your letter cards were in your hand and used as your move type. Whenever you won a round, the letter card is added to your pile. So the more you win, the more obvious your strategy, but you have stronger abilities and potential.

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