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Winning makes player too strong

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asgloki
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Hi, I am working on a card based game that I have been messing around with for a while now. Two players choose 6 cards each and battle it out on a board. My problem is that when one player has lost a few cards he becomes very week with not much chance of winning the game. So my question is, do you guys think that is ok?

Sorry I don't have much details on the actual game but I am still working out the mechanics but when I think its ready I will show you more.

Best regards

Anthony

questccg
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In my opinion...

What matters is how *difficult* it was/is to lose those cards.

Is it an all out *Battle royale* where one survives painstakingly or is it just a quick loss? If it's a real battle, well then I would guess the losing player still gets his "money worth" even though he is on the defensive.

You want such a scenario to feel as if combat was a real struggle. Otherwise losing a few cards quickly may mean that combat mechanic you are using is too simple if the losing player is at a loss...

NOTE: Think about chess, at first you try to mount an offensive, then you exchange pieces and hopefully you manage to have the advantage by having 1 or 2 pieces more than your opponent... If you lose an important piece like a Queen, well it makes your attack much more harder (harder to win).

GreyGnomeGames
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There are many ways to build

There are many ways to build in a "catch up" mechanic. Basically, either make the losing player stronger of hinder the winning player a bit. The real issue is balance. You want players to want to win after all.

asgloki
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Some good replies there

Some good replies there thanx, well my game is not easy to kill the other players cards. Like the other day I played my son and he had lost three cards but he wouldn't give up lol

lewpuls
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A more important question is,

A more important question is, does the game end when it's clear who will win? If losing three cards means the player will lose (or, say, losing two more than the other player), shouldn't the game end at that point? Then there's no problem.

asgloki
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Well there is a type of card

Well there is a type of card that a player must pick, The Lord, if he gets killed then the game ends, but I was thinking that if he is also the only card left then the game ends.

kpres
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Examples of games with balance

Here are two famous games that are unbalanced: Risk and Monopoly.

In Risk, the objective is to take over the world (or a big portion of it (everybody plays by house rules anyways)). By taking over more territory, you are rewarded with more troops per turn, making you more powerful than the other players. You're already winning, and you're being rewarded.

Monopoly does the same thing but with property. The more property you have, the better the chances that someone's going to land on something and owe you money. The more money you have, the more you can charge people for landing on stuff.

In Monopoly and Risk, winning is fun, but it sucks to be one of the four other losers getting dominated for the remaining two hours of the game. Just flip the board and end the agony!

Now, for the games with balance. My two examples are Dominion and Magic: the Gathering.

In Dominion, you start out with ten crappy cards that you have to use to somehow buy the good victory cards that help you win the game. The game ends when all of the most expensive victory cards, the Provinces, are gone. While you're playing, money and action cards accelerate your ability to buy better and better things like the Provinces, but victory cards slow you down by clogging up your hand. Dominion achieves balance by rewarding players with victory points only when they slow down. You want to spend just the right number of turns buying cards to accelerate you so that you can start buying the expensive victory cards that slow you down, yet still manage to get more points than your opponents.

Magic: the Gathering is so successful that they've printed over 10,000 cards so far and have been around for 20 years. They are the masters of achieving balance in their designs. The most basic way that balance is achieved is by making powerful cards cost more, in terms of the card's mana cost or by adding a painful drawback to the card.

Every turn, you get to play one land, and a land produces mana. This system acts as a clock. For example, a card that costs 4 mana can't be played on turn 3 because you only have 3 lands, which gives you access to 3 mana. This reserves the most powerful cards for later in the game.

Players are tasked with building decks out of these ten thousand cards that they think they can use to beat their opponents. Why not choose only the most powerful spells? Because by turn 10 when you can start casting them, you'll already have been defeated by an opponent who chose to build a deck out of weaker cards that can be played earlier.

Magic and Dominion are based around the same principles. With this, I present the idea of balance: A game situation is balanced when the deciding player is indifferent to all available options; ie. each option can be a good option, and there is no option that is strictly better than any other option.

munio
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asgloki wrote:Hi, I am

asgloki wrote:
Hi, I am working on a card based game that I have been messing around with for a while now. Two players choose 6 cards each and battle it out on a board. My problem is that when one player has lost a few cards he becomes very week with not much chance of winning the game. So my question is, do you guys think that is ok?

Sorry I don't have much details on the actual game but I am still working out the mechanics but when I think its ready I will show you more.

Best regards

Anthony

For your game i would suggest that the winner picks one of his cards to set aside as VP

RGaffney
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Munio has a great idea you

Munio has a great idea

you want winning to be rewarded (because that way the game ends) but you don't want whoever is ahead to be ahead forever (because then the game is over before it ends)

asgloki
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Interesting, thanx allot

Interesting, thanx allot guys, I have lots to think about. Atm I am a little bit in limbo, I need to do some more game testing then I will decide how to proceed. I am going to a game developers meetup group to test my game next week as I only have my sons to help me test and is hard to drag them away from Computer games to help me test.

Thanx for all your support

Best regards
Anthony

lewpuls
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Victory conditions, not balance

kpres, your complaint isn't about balance, it's about elimination of all other players in a multiplayer game as a victory condition. Yes, that makes any game take a long time, and leaves players in hopeless positions. Dominion has a time limit, in effect. Magic also has what amounts to a time limit as one player or the other accumulates too many hits.

Risk and Monopoly are not good designs, but if you don't provide some reward for success, no one will be interested in being successful. Even in games with effective time limits, success is rewarded.

asgloki
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Well I had a good idea after

Well I had a good idea after I read the replies. What I decided to do is for a player to kill another card he has to sacrifice one of his dice, and this will make it a little more difficult for him to win but, it will balance as he has the card advantage. This I think will make the game allot better and look forward to testing it out.

Best Regards
Anthony

questccg
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Tell us more about your game

asgloki wrote:
What I decided to do is for a player to kill another card he has to sacrifice one of his dice, and this will make it a little more difficult for him to win but, it will balance as he has the card advantage.

Not knowing more about your game makes it difficult to comment about this *solution*. Obviously you will need some kind of mechanic that allows you to EARN that die back... So it would be like a temporary disadvantage. This could be until the opponent has killed a player's card (think like having a penalty in hockey. If you have the advantage and then you draw a penalty, the game is played 4 vs. 4... As an example).

drktron
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What if some (or all) of the

What if some (or all) of the cards had a second function that only activated when the player was down to a few cards. Something like "if <3 cards then X". Call it desperation, survival instincts, adrenaline or whatever. You could even put more powerful desperation powers on weaker cards and weaker desperation powers on stronger ones.

Not sure if this could apply to your game but good luck!

eviljohs
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A catch up mechanic. Or more

A catch up mechanic. Or more victory conditions. Perhaps victory can be achieved by only having one specific card at the end. or something to that effect. I agree that winning should be rewarded. However it is discouraging for a losing player to have no chance to come back. Why continue to play if you know you are going to lose and have no recourse. That is where some king of "catch up" mechanic comes in. special abilities or greater power or different conditions. That also keeps the person who gain the advantage in the beginning a bit more on his toes.

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