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Feedback Request [GDS] Feb 2011 "King of the Nets"

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Sir William
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Joined: 02/19/2011

I'm following Seth's advice and starting a feedback thread for my game "KIng of the Nets." This is my first attempt at game design for a GDS contest. I'm looking for whatever feedback people have, specifically I'm curious about: rules/balance errors, what your first impression of the game was, and if it seems like something worth working on some more. Basically, I am new and trying to improve, so all feedback is appreciated.

GAME COPIED BELOW

King of the Nets or Love (with a Tennis Ball Symbol for the o)

King of the Nets is a game for two or four players which brings the strategy and pace of tennis anywhere.

Game Components

  • 24 (4 Sets of) PolyHedral Dice (4/6/8/10/12/20)
    • Yellow Dice, 1s Replaced with Tennis Ball Symbols
  • 18 Half-Size Cards
    • 4 Smash Cards (2 for each player)
    • 4 Volley Cards (2 for each player)
    • 4 Lob Cards (2 for each player)
    • 6 Rule Cards (covering: game rules, tennis, tennis scoring, singles play, doubles play, tournaments)

Overview

Players play individual or doubles tennis using traditional tennis scoring and six dice (4/6/8/10/12/20), or swings, to win each point. Players choose five Strategy Cards out of three types of cards – Volley, Smash, and Lob– which they can use each game to enhance their swings and offset their opponents strategy.

Instruction for Setup

Each players takes one set of PolyHedral Dice (4/6/8/10/12/20) and chooses 5 of their 6 Strategy Cards. Players each roll a die to decide who serves. High roll serves.

About the Cards

There are three types of strategy cards: the Volley, the Smash, and the Lob. Each card may be played after a swing (some on successful swing rolls, others on misses) to enhance players dice roll or to counter a previously played strategy card. Cancelling other players strategy cards works on Rock, Paper, Scissors relationship with no single card being the most powerful. Each player chooses five of the following six cards before the beginning of each game (cards are discarded after use and rechosen at the beginning of each new game).
- (2) SMASH: On a successful Swing +3 or Cancel Lob
- (2) VOLLEY: On an unsuccessful Swing +3 or Cancel Smash
- (2) LOB: On an unsuccessful swing you return with a 3 or Cancel Volley

Gameplay

  1. The server (decided by dice roll) starts play without a dice roll. The serve is considered successful swing of 0.
  2. The reciever then choose one of their dice to roll their return. The quality of their return swing is determined by their roll. Once a dice is used it can not be used again until the point is completed. (example: Recieveing Player Rolls 1d4=3)
  3. Play continues with the players exchanging swings until a player is unsuccessful with their swing roll. (example: Server returns 3 by rolling 1d8=6, reciever returns 6 by rolling 1d12=7, server misses by returning 7 with 1d10=6)
  4. Player who missed may choose to loose the point, or they may use one of their Strategy Cards (limited to one use each, per game). (example: server uses Volley Card to add +3 to their unsuccessful swing making it 6+3=9 and continuing play)
  5. Play continues with the players exchanging swings, and using Strategy Cards until a player wins the point. (example: reciever returns 9 by rolling 1d20=13, server returns 13 by rolling 1d20=16, the reciever believes they will miss so rolls their lowest remaining die 1d6=2 and plays their Lob Card, Server cancels their Lob with a Smash and wins the point)

The above is just one example of a possible point. Players may go for quick wins using their best dice early or they may play a slower game starting with their lowest dice and building up. If players run out of dice on a point they are considered exhausted and can no longer return the ball. At the end of each point players get their dice back for the next point. Cards are used through the game and are only replenished upon the start of a new game. .

Doubles and Tournament Play

Doubles Play is similar to single player matches except the d4 is not used and each player chooses only 2 strategy cards for each game. Players may hold tournaments following traditional tennis rules for multiple sets within matches.

Winning the Game

Players win games by scoring points following the traditional Love, 15, 30, 40 scoring format of tennis. Players may choose to play only one game, multiple games, or tournament format.

drktron
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In general I liked your

In general I liked your design and gave it a vote in the first round (probably helped that I like tennis.)

Pros: gameplay complements theme very well
Like your use of the cards as a RPS mechanic to enhance the dice
Simple easy to understand mechanics

Cons: I don't see any reason not to use the better dice first to go for the kill. There should be an optimal time to hit a big winner or hitting big shots should be riskier. Maybe some of the die faces should be unforced errors. Perhaps you can only play a die one better(or less) than the previous shot or you have to roll an error die.

Limited appeal-The game and scoring will only be familiar with those who like tennis.

The importance of serving isn't represented.

Hope this helps

loonoly
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Joined: 02/12/2011
I also liked the theme

I voted on this game in the first round as well. The serve is a non-start, however. Since a serve is a 0 there is no chance of a flub or ace. The server is at a distinct disadvantage. I also couldn't see why you wouldn't try for the highest die to start with. There needs to be some balancing reason why you need to use the lower valued dice. Perhaps the serve starts at a d4 and each return may only raise one step on the die or use any lower die.

For instance, Player 1 serves with a d4, Player 2 has the option to return with a d6 or lower. If they choose to raise to d6 and succeed at a volley, then Player 1 then has the option of raising again to d8 or going with d6 (can't use the d4 though because it has already been used). If they stick with a d6, then player 2 can only raise to a d8 on their turn. And so on.

kungfugeek
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I'm guessing

that the reason you wouldn't go for the big die early is the Lob card.

Consider:
1. Server serves at a 0. (I agree this is a weak point).
2. Receiver, as you said, goes for the kill and rolls his d20 right off the bat. Let's say his gamble pays off and he rolls a 19.
3. Server players his Lob card.
4. Receiver plays his Smash card to cancel the Lob.
5. Server plays his Volley card to cancel the Smash.
6. Lob stands and the server returns at a 3.
7. Now the receiver needs to return a 3, and his highest die is gone.

Ok, maybe it's a little convoluted of an example, but I think the reasoning in there somewhere. I might not be understanding the card play correctly.

kungfugeek
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My own question...

What was the purpose of replacing the 1's with tennis ball symbols?

Also -- this might be a nit -- with an 18-card limit, I don't see how it can it be for 4 players if each player gets 6 cards.

I did dock it a little for the limited number of players -- only 2 or 4. Purely technical.

drktron
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I think some of the problem

I think some of the problem is that the game doesn't consider by how much you beat the previous roll only that you beat it. If someone offers up a weak return not only should it be easy for me to successfully return it, it should enable me to finish off the point or ar least gain the upper hand. What if instead of beating the opponents die you had to beat the difference of the dice? For example: the opponent serves a 4 and I return with a 6 now the opponent must return with at least a 2. I think this would also allow you to scale back the dice. The disparity of values between a d4 and a d20 is too great. I might use closer dice and have some dice with a high probability of return but low values and other dice with higher values but a lower success rate (see the dog dice in died in the wool).

Anyway just a thought.

kungfugeek
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Another quick thought...

Could the numbers on the dice be changes, so that the d20 has the highest numbers, but also the lowest? Representing a riskier endeavor, with a potentially greater reward? Maybe the d4 could have numbers 8,9,10, and 11, for example, making it a more stable die...

drktron
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kungfugeek wrote:Could the

kungfugeek wrote:
Could the numbers on the dice be changes, so that the d20 has the highest numbers, but also the lowest? Representing a riskier endeavor, with a potentially greater reward? Maybe the d4 could have numbers 8,9,10, and 11, for example, making it a more stable die...

This is also a good way to balance risk/reward.

Sir William
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Joined: 02/19/2011
Thanks everyone! That is some

Thanks everyone! That is some very helpful feedback. A few of the issues seem pretty easy to solve as well. Given this was my first entry ever I may have been overly cautious in my attempt to keep the game as siple as possible (especially with my schedule not allowing any real playtesting before the deadline).

One possibility I considered after I entered was adding iltalics (or an alternate color) to some of the numbers on each dice to represent the possibility of hitting the ball out. If the player rolled one of those numbers they would roll a 'special' in/out die to see if the strike was in. Larger die would have a higher chance of having one of these number.

0/4 0%
1/6 17%
2/8 25%
3/10 30%
4/12 33%
10/20 50%

Alternatively, based on people's suggestions, perhaps the die could be divided into /in/out/short, with short representing an easy return and giving the opposing player a bonus.

I'm going to give all this feedback some thought and come back to this, but first I need to give feedback on some other games. Thanks again. Keep it coming!

kungfugeek
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The in/out thing

Someone posted that you could use the difference of the dice to show degrees of success. You could also do that for the in/out thing. Only make it so that, exceeding the return number by X amount is a successful return, but exceeding by more than that is out. So if the return number is 5, the rule could be I need to return it within 5 points. If I returned with a 12, it'd be out.

You'd have to balance the numbers, of course, but this might make the decision of which die to return with a little more interesting.

richdurham
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Quote: So if the return

Quote:
So if the return number is 5, the rule could be I need to return it within 5 points. If I returned with a 12, it'd be out.

I believe the original rules as stated include a "degree of success" mechanic already - where in I serve you a 6, and you swing with an 8, I must now beat an 8 to swing back. The escalation is the reason I'd bring out the big dice if I thought the gamble would pay off.

I'm also not sure the use of of the difference in rolls as the new target number would work in the long run, unless you could "bring back" a die with a card so that after a d20 are rolled (rolling a 17 to beat a 14, resulting in a difference of 3) so that you could beat the new difference with a simple d4 or d6 that you had already used.

kos
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King of Nets

During the first round voting in the Feb GDS, I voted primarily based on two considerations, in addition to my general impression of the rules:
1) Did the entry meet the requirements?
2) Did the theme interest me?

For this entry, I wasn't particularly interested in the tennis theme so it didn't grab my attention. Also the lack of apparent strategic options made this look like a simple dice-fest so the mechanics didn't grab me either. Nevertheless, I appreciate that there are few (if any) tennis themed dice games out there already, so it has the benefit of not being an overdone theme. Here is my critique.

Good
- The theme has been done rarely, so it is not overdone. Most players will understand tennis (even if they are not tennis nuts) so they should be able to intuitively understand the rules assuming that the game rules emulate tennis rules.
- The game looks like it is fast-playing and simple to resolve. (Make sure your new enhancements don't complicate it and ruin the simplicity, though.)

Suggestions for improvement
- As mentioned by previous posters there is no advantage to serving, which is a key aspect of live tennis. It would be nice if the game emulated this in some way, for example to let the player choose which dice to serve with. (As written, you are effectively abdicating this choice to the receiver and turning the receiver into the server.) Let them pick any die, but if they fault (more on this later) they cannot reuse the die during this point.
- Consider renaming "Strategy cards" to "Skill cards" or something like that. Consider giving more flexibility in choosing these cards. As written, choosing 5 out of 6 is not much of a choice when there is only 2 of each card available. For example, if there were 3 of each card it would really differentiate the choices made by the players.
- As mentioned by previous posters, the high power shots should be "riskier". I would avoid any of the formulas or additional rolls mentioned in previous posts, though. Instead, substitute the lowest number(s) on each die with "OUT". For example, the d4 has no OUTs. The d6 has 1, the d8 has 2, etc.
- As mentioned by previous posters, remove the d20 completely.

Well done on your entry in the competition. I wish you all the best.

Regards,
kos

Sir William
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kos wrote:Consider renaming

kos wrote:
Consider renaming "Strategy cards" to "Skill cards" or something like that. Consider giving more flexibility in choosing these cards. As written, choosing 5 out of 6 is not much of a choice when there is only 2 of each card available. For example, if there were 3 of each card it would really differentiate the choices made by the players.

Definately thinking about increasing the number of strategy cards.

Thanks for the feedback everyone. It has been very helpful and right on the money. I'm looking at the different options that people have presented and thinking about some of the things I wanted to include but throught of after the deadline.

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