Designing a game is awesome and frustrating. Ideas flow and playing the idea in your head gets you so excited about how great the game is going to be. You mock it up and realize that it falls flat on the floor. Then begins the struggle of dealing with all the interactions and nuances that you didn't see before moving actual chits.
The biggest thing that frustrated me during game design on Dragon Valley was dealing with balancing different end game/winning conditions. I wanted players to have multiple paths to victory. One was waiting for enemies to come to them and dealing with them. The second one was to go on the offensive and eradicate the enemy strongholds in their home territory.
The first win condition consisted of reaching a set number of victory points by trading friendly units to destroy enemy units on the board. This would purely be a victory point engine. The farther away from your Keep that you destroyed enemies the higher the score because it took more actions to meet the monsters at the entry point.
The second win condition was triggered when all enemy territories were conquered. The player who conquered the most of the enemy territories would win. I originally had 12 enemy territories with only six being in any game. Players either had to use blind luck to move many units into a territory or go a more calculated route by scouting first and then moving only the units required. I quickly discovered that if most players went the defense route, any player who went the attack route did not have a chance. The victory conditions were too different. I tried to fix it by giving a small amount of points for defeating a territory so that even the defense players might help a bit to conquer. It didn't until work until the points were increased so high that only the attack strategy was viable. Argh, the sleepless nights.
The solution? I removed the second end game condition and balanced the points of the enemy territories based on the same scale as the defense action/resource costs. Now, players could actually win via a focused attack, focused defense or a mix of both. How effective players are is now based on the efficiency and timing of using resources obtained during the division of resources.
Next up: Tower Defense