# Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

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Anonymous

Hello everyone,

Being this is my first game, I thought it would be wise to get the advise from you guys on how I can resolve my dilemma. So here it goes

To view what I have so far, please visit http://www.flashimage.com/challenge.gif
(Keep in mind that this is just a skeleton of the game and the picture is only drawn so you can get visual idea of what I am talking about)

The idea of the game is similar to "Trivia Pursuit". Players will need to travel to the four sections of the board (starting with Section "1"). Once they complete all four sections, they can go to the "Goal" and the game is over. The players move around the board, by rolling the dice and answering questions (subject of questions is based on what color they land on). The problem is that I don't know how to make the bridge between the outside part of the board to the center of the board ("goal"). Currently, I have the two side bridges going to the goal but I don't think it makes much sense since one the players finishes the fourth section, it doesn't make sense for them go back to the other bridge.

The bridge on the right hand side was made to balance out the "design", otherwise I think its looks awkward to just have the left side of the bridge by itself (please let me know if you disagree and if I'm just paranoid).

Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

FastLearner
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Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

What are you hoping to achieve?

By that I mean: What is the purpose of the goal? Are players just racing to the center? If so, why would anyone move from #1 to #2 or from #3 to #4? Why put any squares between them at all, since only a fool would travel that path?

Why does everyone have a separate route to the goal? Is there some kind of theory behind the arrangement of the colors? For example, I see that to get from #4 to the goal, if the player takes the shortest possible trip he has 3 chances of hitting a red square, while the other players have only 2 chances of hitting a red square. Player #4 also has 5 chances of hitting a green square, while the other players have either 3 or 4 chances.

Why do the players have separate routes at all? Why not have them all just race down the same line? Maybe there could be some kind of interaction between them, like if you'd land on another player you can hop to the next square instead (and a different color question), or such.

It boils down to this: What is the purpose of the board? Answering that question will help you a lot, I suspect.

-- Matthew

Anonymous
Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

Each number (i.e. "1", "2", "3", & "4") on the board will have a subject associated with it (i.e. History, Science, etc..). Players must cross all four sections and and then they can go to the goal. They do not have to cross "1" since they already start from there. Actually all the players start from "1" (to answer your question). Also each color on the board represents a catagory (like Trivia pursuit) and depending on what you color you land on, you will have to answer a question in that catagory. Basically, you roll the dice and if you get the question correct, you move to that space.

The problem is that I need to make a bridge from the outside board to the center of the board so once the players have completed passing all four corners of the board (i.e. "1", "2", "3", & "4"), which they must do to qualify to go to the goal, they will have a route to get there. I can't figure out how to make the bridge or where to put it so it doesn't look ackward (design issue). Currently, I have made two bridges (left & right side) so it balances out the design but as you can see it doesn't really make much sense since one bridge will not be used. Once you cross "4", it make no sense to try to travel acorss the other side to use farther bridge. Will leaving one bridge make the design of the board look wierd?

Does anyone have any suggestions?

** Note: To answer your question about players interaction: All players start from "1". The blue, green, yellow, & orange colors are all different subjects for trivia cards. The red card is the challenge card where players will "interact" with each other. One challenge card asks the player to pick any player who is playing but that player has to pick his subject. If the player answer the question right, he moves 3 spaces ahead, if not, the other player moves ahead....etc..etc..

Nazhuret
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

not to sound negative but i straight up do not understand the point of this board nor the basic concept of the game. and by extension what your question is.... and therefor how to answer it... having said that if you don't want to read the rest of this i understand.... it might sound like i'm being a jerk though i'm simply trying to understand so that i may offer what paltry help i can...
if you choose to read no further then good luck and good day...

having said that:
are there only four players / teams? do they start on one of the numbered spaces? which direction do they move if any is dictated? can the game support more / less than four? as you asked ; what is the point of the "bridge" section only on two sides of the board? what is the point of having a bridge at all? is the point that they must roll exactly the number to land on the goal a la trivP? are the questions (assuming on a card mechanism) going to be unique enough from trivP? if so is it a micro-targeted niche market? why are the colors not balanced on each section? is this a point of play or is it not developed to that point yet?
what type of die are you using? what is the basic method of moving pieces? what are the benefits of correctly answering questions? extra moves? pie peices? more die rolls? more peices on the board? extra cards drawn? points garnered?

actually now that i start to ask the questions i see that there is no basis from which to answer your questions.

actually, i now understand that you didn't really ask a specific question. you stated that you have a dillema.. but do not say what that dillema is... unless it's simply whether or not you should have the second bridge... that question is totally unanswerable unless we know WAY more about this game.

i'm really not trying to be a jerk here.... i would like to help but you must give (at least) me some idea of what the goal is, how the players are supposed to act, and a skeleton of the mechanics and means (ie: trivia? or what? die rolls? ) of resolving "conflicts" and a payoff for doing so. if you have an idea of a theme that would help the understanding... well... that would help the understanding...

Nazhuret
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Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

oh bloody hell.... while i was typing all that you were replying to the previous post... let me read through and get back to you...
(and probably apologize for my "nettitude")

Nazhuret
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Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

i'd have to still ask: what is the thought behind the placement of the colors? i can't think of any logical combo of die rolls that this placement would be balanced in.... the only possible thing i can see is one D20 and that seems horribly wrong in terms of balance... one roll could get you all the way across or anywhere from one away to 19 away from the goal...and any combo of two or more dice makes the initial spaces invalid therefore superfluous...

now... sure... each side has a higher chance of one color than the others..but it's negated by darn near any combo of die rolls i can think of .... and anyway, who cares that one side is more likely to get green than another? actually this seems to unbalance tha play more than anything if the only scoring spaces are thenumbered ones... or are they? we don't know...

from a player's (buyer's) perspective why would i bother to roll at all? i'm just going to end up with some crud that does not strategically advance me...(no player choice.. no feeling of player affecting outcome) basically ... why bother with the board? let's just ask each other the questions... (assuming they are different enough from other trivia games... if not then why bother at all...?)

it seems that the way you have it set up from the limited information you've given it would be a better game board as linear as opposed to a circular board. if yoiu start at "1" then why would you be punished by having to go back to it or rolling perfect score to hit a bridge? why are there so many colors between the only four major spaces?. the circle-with-multiple-bridge-to-center thing coupled with trivia... well... it's been done before. and i don't think it's going anywhere... nor do i think anything similar is going to make a splash.. (again if the questions are unique enough then there is a slight chance based on that... though it seems more likely to make an impression as a supplement than as a stand alone game.)..

personally... as a customer... give me a theme.... give me something that sets this apart... perhaps the idea that it's so close to TP is a selling point... but only if the focus is on something that TP has not nor would ever do...

give me more interaction within / against teams / other players...

give me something other than TP..... i already have that...

FastLearner
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Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

Ok, thanks, I understand your game a lot better now.

One of the reasons that Trivial Pursuit is set up the way it is (the spoke and wheels design) is because you can move in different directions to try to get the kind of questions you're more likely to be able to answer.

Since that's not the case in your game and because one route isn't any better than another, I suggest a linear path -- a straight line. For example you could have a non-crossing figure 8 shape (kind of like an S shape), or a spiral, or such. Does that make sense? Do the numbered squares need to be in the corners for symbolism purposes?

(BTW, your baby is very cute!)

-- Matthew

Anonymous
Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

Thanks you...she is four months now.

Ok...let me get more detailed about the game (to answer the other members post). Maybe this might clarify more why I am using this design.

The game is targeted for a niche Muslim market. In Islam, there are five pillars (prayer, shahada, zakat, fasting, and Hajj). Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca and becomes the Ultimate goal in the game. Anyways, in order to go to Hajj, you need to complete your first four pillars. Hence, each player needs to cross the first four pillars and then goto Hajj (middle of the board).

All players start from the same spot, the Shahada. Therfore, there first pillar, by default, is complete. Players use a D6, and move in the same direction. First they roll the dice, then they will be asked a question (subject based on what color they land on). If they asnswer it correctly, they move to that spot.

As in regards of the bridge, I can move the bridges wherever I want, and the picture (http://www.flashimage.com/challenge.gif) is just what I have so far of where the bridge is going to go. Having a bridge on each side balances the board (design) build one of the bridges is completely useless because it takes a longer route to get there after they complete the 4th pillar. That's where I am stuck......

The variable of the game are the red spots (Challenge cards) which is similar to the "Chance" card in Monopoly. The challenge card forces players to interact with each other (based on what the challenge card says).

The Muslim Community has no Trivia Pursuit....let alone board games (only 5 board games in like 20 years). There are over 1200 questions in 4 subjects and its a great learning experience for Muslims who want to learn more about their culture.

Does anyone have any ideas on how can I fix my issue? (even if it involves redesigning the whole board). I willing to even start over (but only if its absolutely necessary).

Suggestions?

sedjtroll
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

iwentpp wrote:
Does anyone have any ideas on how can I fix my issue? (even if it involves redesigning the whole board). I willing to even start over (but only if its absolutely necessary).

Suggestions?
How do you like this idea...

Have a circular board, with Pillar#1 in the lower-left (around 7 o'clock). Then the path of spaces goes up and to the left and around he circumfrance of the circle. Pillars 2, 3, and 4 are located at even intervals (approx 10 o'clock, 1 o'clock, and 4 o'clock). The board can be visually balanced by making the spaces bigger or smaller- but keep the sae number of spaces between pillars.

When the path of spaces gets all the way around to the bottom of the board (6 o'clock) then it turns straight up toward the center. In the center is the Goal.

Now, at some locations on the board you could add little detours toward the center (not TO the center, just away from the main track). These detours would slow you down in the 'race' to the goal, but they could have some benefit... maybe some kind of challenge where you are asked a certain number of questions and if you answer them all you get to jump to the next Pillar or something.

As for the moving mechanic... I'd change it a little- I'd say you should answer a question based on the space you are ON, and if you get it right you move foreward (you roll the die at that time- or perhaps you move a set number of spaces, or maybe some more strategy could be employed by splitting movement between different pawns- either easch player has 2 pawns on the main track, or perhaps there's another track that does something, so you split your VPs fo answering correctly between the 2 tracks).

- Seth

FastLearner
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Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

Although I obviously took out a lot of squares for my quick example, but you get the idea:

This board is linear: there are no turns, there's just one path.

Or can your players visit the 4 pillars in any order?

-- Matthew

Anonymous
Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

Before I saw your post, I came up with one solution (to go with two bridges) and tell me if you think it would be a good idea or not.

Keep the two bridges but make the bridge that is close by "difficult" (i.e. more "challenge" squares, "go back to #3", etc..) and the longer path would be much easier but will take longer to get to. This way if a player is behind, he still has a chance to take the shorter more difficult route compared to the leader who is taking the "easier" route

what do you think?

FastLearner
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Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

That sounds like it will add some fun, yeah, good idea.

I'm still wondering, though: do the players need to travel to the pillars in order?

-- Matthew

Anonymous
Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

No they don't.

Why? Should I make that a rule?

FastLearner
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Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

No, not at all. It just affects the design of the board, and is a big part of the questions we were asking you.

The "serial" board I was talking about is inappropriate if they can do them in any order.

Let's back up a bit and look at the overall game concept.

It's a trivia game. The core competitive concept of the game is answering questions better than the other person/other team, right?

It's not a game about lucky dice rolls, right? The game, then, shouldn't be driven by how well you roll. That doesn't mean dice can't be a factor, but the winner of the game should be the person/team who answers questions the best, mostly, right?

Something that helps with trivia games is having the questions categorized, for three reasons that I can think of:

1. They give the player a little information about the general type of question he is about to answer, a sort of additional clue;
2. They provide a sort of "evening" effect so that players will be forced to answer questions that are outside of their "comfort zones";
3. In a team situation (or even with single players) they let different members "shine" -- in Trivial Pursuit, for example, my brother is really excellent at history questions so if one comes up we all turn to him.
In order to make categories work you need some kind of game mechanisms and visual design that support all 3 points. Matching up the numbers, then, I see these requirements:
1. Graphic design must include colors, words, etc. that tell the user which category the question is in,
2. Players need to be made to answer questions in categories they don't like, and
3. Players need opportunities to answer questions in categories they do like.
This brings us to the board, then. Does your current board tell the user which category they're about to answer a question in? Yes, I'd say so, but you might want to keep in mind that some 10% of men are color blind so symbols for each color help.

Does your current roll-and-move system force users to answer questions in categories they don't like? Well... I'd say no, not necessarily. If they roll well they might never have to answer, say, a blue question (if that's what they're weak on). They might, of course -- it depends entirely on the dice.

Does your current board allow players to answer questions in categories they're good at? Not necessarily: again, it's up to the dice. That same player might almost always land on blue questions (the ones he hates) and never land on green ones (the ones he loves).

So, how can you give the players a little more control yet still force them to answer questions they don't want to?

(More to come, I'm going to go do some stuff with my family, but will post more later.)

-- Matthew

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Anonymous
Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

Wow.....your suggestions make a lot of sense. Seriously, Thank you!

I have been playing around with the board and I have updated based on the suggestions you posted.

http://www.flashimage.com/challengeboard.gif

I look forward to your next post

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

How do the challenge cards affect the game? That is, does landing on a challenge card space make it more likely you'll be able to advance, less likely you'll be able to advance, or does it leave the odds basically unchanged?

For point #3 above, I think you've got it largely covered because players can move in any direction... that is, they can move backwards away from their goal if it would give them a question they're more likely to answer. Do players get to go again if they get a question right?

Here's my idea for addressing #2 above, though, and something that will encourage players and teams to have more well-rounded knowledge. I assume that players receive some kind of marker or something that indicates that they've visited all 4 pillars, right? Let's say that players/teams keep the question cards they've answered in front of them. How about if each player/team needs a minimum of number-of-pillars - 1 of each type of correct answer before they can move onto the next pillar.

You noted the players start on Shahada, so they've already got one pillar. In order to move onto their next pillar they need to have at least one of each color of card in front of them. In order to move onto the the next pillar they need to have at least two of each color of card in front of them. In order to move onto their 4th pillar they need to have at least 3 of each color of card in front of them, and in order to move onto the Hajj they need to have at least 4 of each color of card in front of them. Make sense?

There are 20 spaces between each pillar. The average roll on one 6-sided die is 3.5, so that means that players will roll an average of 5.7 times to move from one pillar to the next. If you add in the rule I suggested above then the number of rolls is likely to increase, as players will need to move around the pillars a bit as they collect the correct cards, but that sounds like fun to me. :)

I have a question about the pillars, though... do you have to land on them by exact count? If so that's probably a bit too luck driven. Using the system I suggested above, it would be great (I think) if you can automatically stop on a pillar if you would move to or through it.

If you don't use the system I suggested above and players need to land on pillars exactly then I'd suggest a rule along the lines of "If you roll more than you need to move on the pillar, you can move one space ahead instead of the amount on the roll".

Hope those thoughts help, and let me know about the pillars and the challenge cards, if you will.

-- Matthew

Anonymous
Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

Excellent suggestions Fastlearner.

I'm thinking to make the Challenge cards completely random (kind of like community chest/chance cards in Monopoly). For example, one challenge can tell the player to choose any player but that player gets to pick his catagory. If he answers it correctly, he moves 3 spaces ahead (if not, they other player moves ahead) or something like that. Since each "poker" card has 4 questions on it (like Trivia Pursuit), maybe another challenge card will ask you to answer all four questions on the cards. Based on the number of questions you get correctly, you move forward that number of spaces.

As in regards of if the player goes again if he answer the question correct......hmm... I don't know. What do you think?

Quote:
I have a question about the pillars, though... do you have to land on them by exact count? If so that's probably a bit too luck driven. Using the system I suggested above, it would be great (I think) if you can automatically stop on a pillar if you would move to or through it.

I agree. If they had to land exactly on the spot, it is too much luck driven but it can get frustrating.

I really like your idea that the player has to collect one card from each catagory to move ahead but the problem is that each "poker size" card has a question from each of the 4 categories on it 4 questions per card to save \$\$ in production). The problem is how would they differentiate
between which type of card they have?

Thanks

Ali

FastLearner
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Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

I realized that my further suggestions are kinda disorganized and so I'm having a hard time writing them, so let me start with questions:

What happens when a player lands on a pillar? Does he answer a special question or something?

How do you track which pillars the players have achieved?

How exactly do challenges work? You have kind of described it, but for some reason I don't quite get it.

What does a turn currently look like? That is, does a player roll first and then answer the question he moved to or does he answer a question and then roll if he's correct?

How long do you want the game to take with 4 players? With more? With less?

-- Matthew

Anonymous
Re: Need Help with Game Design (First Game)

iwentpp wrote:

The idea of the game is similar to "Trivia Pursuit".

Honestly, I think you should stop pursuing this idea. This game isn't like Trivial Pursuit, it is Trivial Pursuit!

I would definitely look into adding some sort of hook, or mechanism that would make this game your own. You need some sort of proprietary feature.

What if the game wasn't played on a game board at all? What if instead of a board you used a 6 colored die for the categories? What if each player had a mechanical scoring device with six buttons and they would push the correct category button when they answered the question correctly? First one to push all six buttons wins! Try and think like that, do something different.

That's the secret to success....

Anonymous
Need Help with Game Design (First Game)