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Reducing Randomness

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Gideonbob
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Hi All,

I made a card game that I have play tested a lot and have gotten a good response out of, but I am having one sticking point. The winner feels a bit too random. I think there is some small tweak to cure this, rather than it being a fundamental flaw, but I'll let you all judge that.

The game is a simple spacial card game, called Windpower. Player lay cards (either Windmills, Wind, or Direction-changing) on a table in a grid. You win if you have more wind going into your 3 windmills than anyone else. The main tension in the game comes from 2 rules:

1) The cards have a hierarchy. Any card may be played on bare table, but 'higher' cards can also be played on lower ones. Wind is bottom, then Directionals, then Windmills as top (can be played on either Wind or Directionals

2) Wind goes through windmills, but is reduced by 1. Windmills in a line may get multiple energy for the same wind cards. However, if blocked by a directional, it's all lost.

That's basically it. It's playable for 2-4 players, though I have only played with 2 players a few times and I think the problem is less there. But with 3 or 4, predicting what plays lead to a win seems impossible.

Any ideas? Thanks!
-Gideon

feNix
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Just off the top of my head.

But are there any restrictions, besides the hierarchy, as to how cards can be placed? If not then introducing a few restrictions, such as only a certain number of windmills in a row or something, could create more strategy and, hopefully, lessen the random factor.

alvae64
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Call me slow...

I am having a hard time visualizing your game. You have a wind source card... a direction changing card... and then a windmill card. wind source has directionality to it, direction change deflects the direction, and windmill can receive wind from the four borders. That's where I am at :)

Cheers,
Eric

Gideonbob
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Sounds like you got it..

What you have there is all correct. Everyone plays on an imagined grid on the table. You take turns playing cards, and at the end of the game the player with the most wind going into their mills wins. it might help to know that each player gets 9 wind cards, 4 directionals, and 3 windmills (1 of which is on the board at the beginning of the game).

If you also got the part about the hierarchy of card types (being able to play windmills on top of directionals or wind cards, etc, as explained in original post), then you should have it all down.

That is actually helpful too, because I still need to write down the rules, so the more I explain it in writing, the better. Thanks for the practice!

alvae64
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Ok... now...

Got all of that... so do you get your entire hand 15 cards all at once? Do winds sum up if they are going in the same direction? Are there rules preventing windmills from being adjacent to each other? How are the windmills initially laid out?

Just trying to get my mind around the game :)

Cheers,
Eric

Gideonbob
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Great

No worries, like I said, I seriously appreciate you trying to get a vision of it. You do get all your cards at once and can play them in any order. Originally I had it set at a shuffled deck with 3 card hands, but changed that to make it more strategic.. which is what I am still trying to do.

The wind cards do sum in the same direction, and subtract if opposing each other. There are, as is, no rules about which cards can be next to each other. Indeed, one of the interesting parts is if you put them together or not. Putting windmills next to each other allows for an efficient, though 'eggs in 1 basket' approach.

The initial layout is flexible. With 2 players they are diagonal from each other (the game only works in the 4 cardinal directions). With 4 players I've done a square with a space between each card. 3 players is tough, but I've had success with each windmill not sharing a line with any other. It's hard to describe in words.. basically the 2 player set up, but a third windmill diagonal to the space adjacent to the 2 others.

OK, hopefully that is filling it out for you. Thanks again for the questions!
Gideon

alvae64
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Interesting...

Are you always going clockwise... or do you do a Settlers style place clockwise then counter-clockwise? I can see how the first player gets a jump on things... but the last player gets the advantage after seeing how thing play out. Let me know if you need playtesting. Sounds neat!

I don't think it is too random. Although, it might be more interesting if you were trying to get to a target windspeed (secret of course). The one closest to their target is the winner. Just a thought.

Cheers,
Eric

Gideonbob
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On to something

In terms of turn order, I have just played clockwise. This definitely gives an edge to the player who goes last because of the ability to place cards on top of other ones. I added the restriction that you must play all your windmills before the final 2 turns in order to dampen this advantage, and it has been seemingly effective.

I think your other suggestion about a target windspeed as opposed to just highest possible is VERY interesting. It makes the game more unique, and allows players to choose what type of game they want to play: you could go for a clever aim-for-weakness game, or a more classic get-the-most style. I am definitely going to try it out.

Also, I could definitely use some playtesting. I made my protoype deck in about 20 minutes, just taping paper squares over cheap playing cards and drawing quick designs with a sharpie. So if you want to test it out, I could give more specific directions (mostly for how the directionals work) for making the cards yourself. Or, probably better is I could create a print and play version (which I want to have anyway).

Thanks again for the help!
Gideon

alvae64
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Joined: 11/14/2009
Great... Let me know what to print

Let me know what you want me to print. I use a paper slicer and card sleeves for my play tests. I have mini euro and standard sleeves for Magic Cards. I am meeting my group on Monday. I use Apple Pages for my designs, but have access to Adobe Creative Suite... still learning how to use the software rapidly.

Just keep me posted.

Cheers,
Eric

Cogentesque
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Heya Gideonbob, I like simple

Heya Gideonbob,

I like simple and elegant games but they are hard to come across and even harder to balance and get right.
What I would recomend is doing a little .doc or a .pdf file and posting it up here that us lot can simply print out and cut to try out your game, I think your game sounds like one that is best explained as it is played :)

Cog

Gideonbob
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Image Posted!

Cog,

Thanks for the idea. I have created an image with all the rules and a PDF file to print and play. Looking forward to feedback!

-Gideon

alvae64
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Where is it?

Let me know where I can find it so I can print it out for play testing Monday.

Cheers,
Eric

Gideonbob
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Saved as an image

Yep, should have included this:

http://www.bgdf.com/node/5238

The files is attached at the bottom of the page.
Enjoy,
Gideon

alvae64
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So...

Without reading the rules... I presume the cards can go in any direction?

Cheers,
Eric

Gideonbob
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Yep.

You got it. They are/will be card shaped for ease of production and playing, but they can be played as if they were squares, facing any of the 4 directions.

There has been some feedback about maybe producing square cards, but generally after 1 game everyone says the normal poker cards are better.

Keep the questions coming.

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