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How to design a game for myself?

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larienna
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The following thread applies to board game and video game design as well.

Game design takes a lot of time, effort and frustration. In the end, you are going to end up with a game that somebody with the same idea, decided to make a similar game with more resources than you. Also, you would have put so much time on your game, that you don have any interest in playing your own game again. I realized that all the games I made, I don't play them anymore.

Which is kind of ridiculous considering that the primary objectives was to create a game I would like to play. So I am wondering if making a game for myself could be possible. If the game can get played by others, it would be a bonus. It would also probably need to be a solo game unless you are very good to convince people at playing your game (which I am not)

The problem is that the development process is long and boring. In order to change that, it would mean that each game design iteration should be about playing an enjoyable game. So that even if it does not get refined and published, each play session should have been enjoyable. That means that the time investment would require to be short, while having a playable game.

For board game design, that mostly means designing variants, add-ons, components for games that already exists. Using piece packs could also help too. I don't see other ways to have an enjoyable game so early in the design process. For video games, I consider modding to be a good solution. Else maybe using a game engine that would allow playable mechanics with little content could work (For example, you can jump around a level, but only have 1 level)

Else there was also the additive approach which consisted in having a bare limited environment you can play with using limited actions. But each time you play the game you add new material and possibilities to the game. In board games, I could see this method used for games with lot of expansions. You start with a few generic characters and villains and the more you play the game, the more ideas you get to add new characters and villains. Video games can also use the same approach more easily, you have a small level and you use certain mechanics. The game is limited, but playable and enjoyable.

Another approach I already experimented is playing the game as a toy (like a child). You make up rules on the fly. The idea is that mechanics could get born from playing the game this way. If the experience is not enjoyable, you can just start playing the game as a toy and do whatever you want. It works well as a board game, but not as a video game unless you can easily cheat without much effort.

Do you have other suggestions?

let-off studios
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Similar Struggles

Thanks for writing this. I found a lot to identify with in what you shared here. I too tinker in both tabletop game and videogame design (for myself in addition to occasional day job projects). I have some responses as well, and I hope they are helpful in some way. I will keep them as short as possible and can elaborate if you wish in a follow-up.

larienna wrote:
So I am wondering if making a game for myself could be possible. If the game can get played by others, it would be a bonus.
I am 100% certain that you will hear someone counter your statements here with, "If you don't love and play the games you make, you're doing it wrong. I play -every- game I've designed, as many times as I can!!!"

Please don't be discouraged by these inevitable comments. For one, this is an unrealistic and likely impossible standard to maintain. Just ask Knizia. You're gonna hear people spout off that stuff anyway.

larienna wrote:
The problem is that the development process is long and boring. [...] I don't see other ways to have an enjoyable game so early in the design process.
There have been a number of discussions about what makes a game "fun." I'd expand that to mention there are a number of different ways the design process is "fun."

Is your natural curiosity satisfied by simply trying something different, then making observations? Can that be "fun" for you?

Can acknowledging your own progress towards a "finished" game be satisfying and "fun" for you?

Personally-speaking, the design process isn't always about playing and enjoying a finish-able game experience. It's very often about the process of putting something together a little at a time. Can this be satisfying for you?

To think otherwise is like saying that if the Statue of David couldn't be finished in a single session, then it shouldn't have been attempted at all. Though possible (I guess), I think this would be a tough standard to maintain.

larienna wrote:
Else there was also the additive approach [...] Another approach I already experimented is playing the game as a toy (like a child). You make up rules on the fly.
An idea that I didn't see you mention was that of the Game Jam. If you're not familiar: game jams are events that challenge you to make a game of some type within a certain amount of time or to meet a certain set of criteria. In most cases, the time-scale for these is very small, so it's possible to meet the structure of the game jam, have a finished product, and still spend less than a day (in some cases, spending an hour or less).

And please don't think that game jams are a waste of time...! There are plenty of games that started off as game jam entries or "sketches" that were later elaborated and/or polished and turned into critical/commercial successes for their makers.

One website I've found that hosts game jams for both video games and tabletop games is Itch:

http://www.itch.io

Regarding video games specifically, maybe you want to try One Hour Game Jam. I participated in this for about a year and came up with over 40 (tiny) games.

http://www.onehourgamejam.com

questccg
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I don't have such high expectations but...

I don't worry about the length of time taken to design/develop a game properly. I have blogs about games here on BGDF.com that have been around for over five years! And I am continually working on refining these games in the "back of my mind" and sometime in actual fact...

I wouldn't call it frustration, I would say that it takes time to achieve a design which is 90% done ... And then carry forward the LAST 10% (or 5%) which is rather difficult because it's all about "perfecting" the design and sometimes that take more time than the design itself.

There is also the fact that I DON'T design for "myself". I design games for kids 12+ and millennials 20+. Why these two (2) groups??? Well kids LOVE playing games and it helps them develop skills of strategy, planning, thinking, etc. At 9 years of age, kids are ready to learn how to PLAY games (and develop those skills that I have mentioned).

The second group is millennials. Why? Because they are a bit older, usually working and have disposable income to BUY games. And so my games are a blend of kid-friendly, millennial complexity. But I TRY to balance both to ensure that a game is NOT too difficult such that kids cannot play the game.

As far as development process being long and boring... Well this depends on how you approach this phase. I have multiple designs in different stages. If I BLOCK on one, I see what the others look like and usually have to refresh my mind with the latest version and read up about WHERE I was AT with that design.

With regards playing my OWN games... Well TBH I enjoy playing my games. They usually SURPRISE me on how FUN and enjoyable a game of "X" or "Y" really is... And I say that with all honesty. I also enjoy TEACHING how to play my games. I attend(ed) CONs with my prototypes and have playtested TradeWorlds with over 100+ groups of people. I think to my knowledge only ONE (1) group found the game to be a bit LONG (in terms of time). And that group had a 9 year old playing against his mom... They had FUN too... It just that they are not regular gamers and the game took just a bit too long for them.

In regards to the process, I can honestly say that I ENJOY designing games. I don't mind when a design has no more progress, I can wait until a later time when I have other ideas to work with. People may wonder WHY(?) it takes like over FIVE (5) Years to design something... Well it is a very involving process and getting a game to 90% takes time and going beyond that also takes MORE time and is important for having a cohesive game.

However like I said, with several designs... I'm able to work on progressing other designs while I advance on another.

Okay... Now comes the moment of TRUTH. I know you have designed ALL kinds of games. The question that I ask, are they ready to be SOLD??? Just completing a design on paper and having a working PROTOTYPE does NOT mean that the game is DONE! Maybe in your mind it is done... But all you have is a FINISHED prototype and NOBODY will buy a prototype of a game. Have you worked with a Graphic Designer to create card templates, have you worked with an illustrator to create you a Logo...? WHY do I ask this??? Well taking the steps necessary to PRODUCE a FINAL game is far from having a working prototype.

Sure some Game Designers are CAPABLE to SELL their working prototypes to a Publisher and they finish off the game. But I have not found this avenue to be quite as ATTRACTIVE than "self-publishing". But that's the key problem... You can't DEVELOP all your games to 90%+ ... Because resources cost money. So you need to choose what you FOCUS on ... And hope that other people (gamers) will like what you have made and done for their pleasure.

From what I have seen you have only ONE (1) COMPLETED design: "Fallen Kingdoms" back in 2010 and some other editions to 2013. Your second ADVANCE prototype is Eldritch Express which is still a PROTOTYPE from the screenshot you have shown.

But you say that you have hundreds of ideas... Meaning you have games all at different levels of completion. And all of that is OKAY! You just got to figure out which are the BEST ones to MOVE FORWARDS with. And then you've got to decide of those... Which ones are you willing to spend monies to develop into a REAL game.

I can't say that this method has PAID OFF for me. So far, I all keep doing is making COOL games but not making head-way in the "getting paid-off" department.

So maybe my advice is irrelevant ... Because it hasn't worked for me. But the one thing I can SAY... Is that I will be able to say is that I have PUBLISHED more than ONE (1) Game Design.

And who knows... Now that TradeWorlds is going in to shipment (freight) ... My Publisher is looking up to see what he can get as figures as to the COST of doing so... Maybe the games can get on a boat before CNY. And be on their merry way to the warehouses.

The bottom line is that I find the exercise of MAKING something interesting. But I don't STOP with a "working prototype", I TRY to bring something to market. And as far as FUN is concerned, to recap, I'm often surprise how enjoyable a game of "TradeWorlds" is or how much playtesting of "Crystal Heroes" really is...

Hope you find some kind of usefulness from my comment. Cheers!

Note #1: As a last comment I'll offer up a FRENCH proverb: "Qui ne risque rien, gagne rien." I'm not saying you should spend all your hard earned monies in making a game. But choosing let's say 3 finalist and getting other people's opinion on which is the best of the three... Could be a good approach for finding what is worthwhile INVESTING in.

Obviously now is a BAD TIMING with COVID-19... I'm just speaking in general terms. Not specific to any timeline.

Note #2: And if you think I am ONLY focusing on monies... That is not true. But if you WANT to have a design which is Evergreen or sees distribution, it's all about money. Distributors take on games that will earn them more money (games that sell well).

I'm just saying that your JOURNEY from Prototype to Completed Product is FAR from over in most of your designs. And of course, just like Knizia, designers want to be able to create MORE games and get paid-off for their hard work and efforts. That's all... You want to see a return on the time and monies that you invested in bringing a game to market!

Not just wasted time and no monies to show for something you worked REAL HARD to design...

Note #3: There are NEW options for Print-aNd-Play (PNP) games also... PNP Arcade has a banner with BGDF.com and we advertise their website for people who have designs that CAN be made in PNP content.

See that's the point I want to make: there are probably nowadays more options and avenues to make and distribute games. Off the top of my head there is "Drive-Thru", "PNP Arcade", and "The Game Crafter". Three (3) excellent resources for making and SELLING games to gamers.

larienna
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Quote:"If you don't love and

Quote:
"If you don't love and play the games you make, you're doing it wrong. I play -every- game I've designed, as many times as I can!!!"

I would love playing my own game, but when you work on a game for 4+ years and played it a hundred time, you kind of lose interest.

Quote:
To think otherwise is like saying that if the Statue of David couldn't be finished in a single session, then it shouldn't have been attempted at all. Though possible (I guess), I think this would be a tough standard to maintain.

It reminds me that in computer science, there is something called the Agile methodology. After each iteration, the "product" is a usable software that works, but it does not necessarily have all the features you dreamed of. Maybe the idea would be to find how to use the same methodology into gaming to have a playable and somewhat fun game after each iteration. Then you have the choice to refine/improve further, or stop there. But after each iteration, you have a working game.

In board game design, there are some ideas I worked on for years without having a playable game.

Quote:
An idea that I didn't see you mention was that of the Game Jam.

The problem is not getting ideas. I could probably drop a dozen of game ideas per week if it was just about having an idea. The problem is developping the idea.

questccg
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Another alternative

larienna wrote:
Do you have other suggestions?

You could try working with other people too! You're such a SOLO bird ... That makes it tough to get anything accomplished. Being a Jack-of-all-trades means that in the end nothing is "Masterful". And this is not a reflection on your own skills, it's just that YOU ALONE cannot do everything that a Graphic Designer or an Illustrator or a Creative Writer ... These people SPECIALIZE in their skills and focus on ONE (1) ASPECT. As such they are usually more "Masterful" and can produce much better work than you can on those aspect of a game.

You might have average design skills and poor illustration skills meaning you can't make a product that can COMPETE in the global market. Same goes with Fiction: you may have embryonic ideas for a storyline... But a Creative Writer can transform one paragraph or a sentence into a page of story (for example).

I found my Creative Writer on UpWork. And I don't have any reason not to share HOW I got him to write the stories for TradeWorlds. Each Faction (4 of them) had a "Backstory" concept:

1. Acolytes: old money and old guard
2. Brethren: mercenaries for-hire
3. Covenant: dark and technologically advanced
4. Destined: freedom seekers from the other three Factions

That's what I gave him as information. And in turn asked for two (2) to three (3) PARAGRAPHS for fleshing out the factions a bit more.

He did an AMAZING job ... Giving the Factions more depth and created FOUNDERS for all four (4) Factions. That was GREAT and it cost me $100 USD. The best amount of money that I have spend hands-down on any project.

The next step was to DIVIDE the stories into the Four (4) Factions and have a TOPIC that would be fleshed-out further. That was another $100 USD and the storylines were set for each Faction. I believe there are 12 Storylines per Faction (including some expansion content too).

Next came WRITING out all the Blurbs/Flavor text related to the stories. This was a bit pricey (at $800 USD). But the stories we're original, have cohesion and generally are cool to read too!

The bottom line... Is that by hiring a WRITER I got BETTER stories. Something that I ALONE would have struggled to do...

This is just an EXAMPLE where I could have MAYBE written some stories but that my Creative Writer would do a MUCH BETTER job than I could. And that's a bit what I am saying in terms of MAKING a DESIGN a more finished product. Is it ready to "go-to-market"??? If you only have a prototype, you are only about 45% done. You've got about 45% to do. And then that last 10% is "perfecting" everything and ensuring that it all comes together.

Anyhow ... I am just talking from MY experience. For sure there are other ways to bring games and how to have prototypes turned into finished products from other designers.

One last comment: Your Eldritch Express game... The WAY you talk about it ... it gives you the impression that it is as FFG copy. Something NOT ORIGINAL. You should re-work how you present that game and NOT talk about FFG. This is YOUR creative work, not a FFG copy. It may be Lovecraftian in nature... But you should not mention FFG and their works as this appears to be variant even IF you STATE that it is NOT a variant of those other games.

Note #1: You might also want to ponder on a DIFFERENT NAME other than "Eldritch Express". Sounds like some Horrific Train Ride to me... I won't suggest any names because I am less familiar with the Lovecraftian theme. But definitely you need a better name too!

let-off studios
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Reality Check

larienna wrote:
Quote:
An idea that I didn't see you mention was that of the Game Jam.

The problem is not getting ideas. I could probably drop a dozen of game ideas per week if it was just about having an idea. The problem is developping the idea.


I reckon I should be more direct here. I apologize in advance.

Not that you're looking for my analysis... However, it seems to me that you need to learn how to finish things. By deliberately scaling-back and working on tiny/small projects, then you learn how to manage your work-flow, manage your own expectations (which seems to be a significant issue you wrestle with, based on what you've shared), manage your time and productivity, and finally acknowledge something as being -done-.

Doing small-scale projects that deliberately restrict you in certain ways assures that you're not affected by Big Game Fever and the whole, "Perfect Is The Enemy Of The Good," thing.

Scaling back does not mean half-assing the job. It means doing your best on all that you can while assuring someone you will finish the project in the time and space (and perhaps budget) allowed. Not everyone can naturally do this - because yes: finishing is a skill - and everyone can benefit from the practice.

Please pardon me for saying so. Learn to finish things, learn to manage your expectations, and then you will see your productivity skyrocket.

larienna
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Sorry for skipping you

Sorry for skipping you QuestCCG, I think we wrote at the same time.

Quote:
The bottom line is that I find the exercise of MAKING something interesting. But I don't STOP with a "working prototype",

I am not even to the point of having a working prototype in most case. Or reaching to the state of a working prototype is very long and painfull. I think I would be more the kind of guy to take working prototypes from people and polish the game.

Quote:
Being a Jack-of-all-trades means that in the end nothing is "Masterful"

Yes, I am awared of it. The advantage is you can do everything alone, the problem is that everything will not be as you say "Masterful". At this point, I almost don't care. Even in the video game field, I don't care if the graphics looks like crap, I more want to focus on a game that is engaging and plays fast. Look at the "Condado" android app which is a clone of "San Juan", there is zero graphics. Yet it plays well. Same thing with "Unciv", the graphics are minimalist, but the game play is there. Assets can be changed in time if a game idea really end up beign popular.

If I end up designing for myself, who cares what the game looks like. I don't have to compete against anybody. But the design process must be enjoyable and short enough to be able to play my own design after it's released.

Quote:
The WAY you talk about it ... it gives you the impression that it is as FFG copy. Something NOT ORIGINAL.

Funny that you mention this game. It's a melting pot of multiple lovecraft games but it relatively good to stand on it's own. I am trying to adapt the game to a steam punk theme and include some mechanics changes, but I keep failing the process. Look below for some recent development experience I posted on BGG.

Quote:
You might also want to ponder on a DIFFERENT NAME other than "Eldritch Express"

The new game would be Steam punk themed. I am not sure of the name yet, I have a list of ideas, but nothing solid. Possibly related to Steam punk, machines, spirits, etc. The idea is that the world is actually a Machine (computer), and Demons (virus) tries to take over world after the people rejected God (The administrator). But the people in the world are not awared of this analogy. The title for the game system should be "Saving the world". The idea would be to use the same system for other game themes like cyberpunk.

Quote:
I reckon I should be more direct here. I apologize in advance.

Don't worry, I am a game designer, my job is to accept criticism.

Quote:
Doing small-scale projects that deliberately restrict you in certain ways assures that you're not affected by Big Game Fever and the whole,

It's interesting that you mention this. I explained in another thread my impression of game complexity versus game design complexity. My non-scientific impression for a game design for a game with a complexity of N would be:

N exponent 2 for a video game N exponent N for a board game

In that case, making small abstract game would more likely be achievable than bigger games. I recently had a idea of a game similar to "Tab" that I might want to try out. This should look in the category of achievable.

Wikipedia:TAB

Quote:
However, it seems to me that you need to learn how to finish things

Well, the problem is that I can't. Board game design is constantly getting blocked. It can take years to unblock a simple game idea. This is one of the reason I wanted to finish my "Wizardry Legacy" project, to get things done. Video game design is rarely blocking. But I learned recently that they are working on a Wizardry with a map editor, which now makes my project pointless. So I am wondering if it's really worth putting the time anymore.

Here are some recent example of failed/blocked development process to see what I am taling about. Again, those blockings seems to rerely occur in video game design:


Example 1: Rats Craft: Many years ago, I designed a solitaire variant for Star Craft the board game. Since I don't have the game anymore, I was thinking in making a solitaire game inspired on Star Craft, Forbidden Star (spiritual successor), my Star Craft solo variant and a few other related games and variants. In theory, I am swimming in known territory as I did this before. I have a good idea of how the game turn sequence. But I had to change the order system for many reasons I will not explain here.

But I have no idea which mechanic to use as replacement, that would be suitable for the game criteria and work. To make it work, I would need to look back at each board game I played to see if there is a mechanic in there that could be used in my game. Else I would need to check games I have not played to do the same. This is what I call "Mechanic Searching", and it's very annoying to do. It can take years to come up with a solution. It is related to the "HOW" that I explained above. Then once you find something, it's trial and error to see if it actually works. Then if later another change is required, you must start over the searching process.


Example 2: Eldritch Express redesign: I have another game on BGG called "Eldritch Express" that I wanted to retheme and improve into a Steam punk Themed game. The game was strongly inspired on Eldritch Horror and other FFG lovecraft games. Unfortunately, I decided to upgrade the design and change a few mechanics. It seems that changing a single mechanic can make the game fall appart.

I changed the encounter resolution to be more simple and because it made no sense that a single monster could occupy the whole North America. It took a few years to come up with a solution that could work, you just roll 2 dice and compare the value on 2 tracks: one is for the success, and another track is for the casualties (wounds). You can take more risk to get more rewards which changes the tracks.

So from a rule perspective, the game is really simple. You have 3 action dices. Once the rolling is complete, you do the action on those dice then resolve the encounter like explained above. At the end of a character's turn, the clock advance (mythos phase), stuff spawn on the board and the game continues until either the doom token or the astral token reaches 0 to lose or win the game.

The problem, I need to have characters, demons, encounters, assets and many other elements, to just see if the mechanics above work. I could spend time designing those, but with experience in the past, I cannot put too much time on those elements as a simple rule change could force me to throw everything I designed to garbage. It's also hard to know if the possibility space of the rules above is big enough to allow different kind of character, assets, etc. If not, I am stuck with an expandable game that cannot be expanded.

questccg
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Automatic Thoughts

larienna wrote:
I am not even to the point of having a working prototype in most case. Or reaching to the state of a working prototype is very long and painful. I think I would be more the kind of guy to take working prototypes from people and polish the game.

Out of all my "game ideas", I've got about three (3) designs kicking around in the apartment. They are at different stages too. But are prototypes. Not having prototypes or physical components means that you DON'T have a game; you have a GAME IDEA.

The main "problem" with Game Ideas is that they are incomplete. When you make a prototype and TRY the game (from the idea), usually the game is broken, not as "interesting" as the idea or needs a LOT of refining. So getting hundreds of ideas a DAY ... Is pointless. I'd buy a 5 subject notebook and every five pages or so, jot down the "game idea" and that is that.

But all those IDEAS you write a pretty much USELESS. Unless you develop them into a GAME, they serve no purpose other than giving you a BANK of ideas you can try to work on (one or two, here and there).

From my experience (and I don't have a TON of ideas maybe like 10 or so), I work on ONE (1) idea until I cannot or get ideas for one of the other nine ideas... Some mature quicker and I get one or more physical prototypes, others remain ideas with a whole set of concrete rules.

Some mature to a prototype but again... That prototype is still not 90%, there are still ISSUES with the game. But I've TRIED to play the prototype, a lot of refining needs to go into the GAME. But it's a GAME because I have a "working" prototype...


Now the only people I know who TAKE a 90% Design and re-work it are PUBLISHERS.

This means that you'd have to work for a Publisher if you wanted to simply REFINE games. But take note that sometimes when a design is simply there to be "polished", it turns out to be a whole different game by the time the Publisher is done with the game!

And having discussed with you (in person and on BGDF), I don't think you would be a good Publisher RESOURCE. Why? You seem to be TOO CRITICAL. You need to be more OPEN to getting a design and UNDERSTANDING where it can go... You'd probably want to RE-DESIGN all of the submissions that were approved and land up with none completed, wasting the time of the Publisher.

It would not be a good fit. Don't take it the wrong way... It just from interacting with you and from your posts, you can get stuck on an issue and then just want to MOVE ON to the next idea.

Well Publisher cannot do this. Why? Because usually they BUY or PARTNER with a Game Designer for their GAME. Refining is possible from things like making the Card Templates more "sexy" (usually done by an illustrator), making a board more refined, perfecting rulebook(s), etc.

It's not very glamorous work TBH. You would probably HATE it ... Because it has little to do with CREATIVE FREEDOM and more about MAKING IT WORK. Which means you can take something that is 90% done, go back to 75% and re-work the last 20% to get a 95% game (completed design, ready for market).

The other point here is that a Publisher has RESOURCES (people). They work TOGETHER to get the finished product DONE. So working for a Publisher would require you to WORK with OTHER people too. Something I've suggested for you on several occasions but you seem to dismiss it.

Most Publishers have a SMALL sized team which is experienced in BRINGING IDEAS or DESIGNS to market. But it's not as glorious as being an independent Game Designer ... Where you have control over YOUR designs and can develop the ideas that have more merit. Or just focus on the IDEAS that you like BEST!

Working for a Publisher means that you work on OTHER people's game and you need to be very OPEN-MINDED to understanding the DESIGN and figuring out the state of the design (is it 90% or less) and try to see where it requires improvement.

So I'm not sure there exists a position for you. Given what I have explained.


I don't know if any of this is of use to you. But I hope you understand that from what I have seen... Having ideas is good ... But NOT great. It can clutter up a person's mind and having a restful spirit which is not traumatized by outside influence is also very important. Automatic thoughts which suggest ideas for different concepts MAY BE COOL... But you can get the impression of hopelessness if you cannot develop any of them.

And everyone at some point in there lives will be affected by Automatic thoughts and they key to remember is that they are mostly "white noise". And that they lead no where. Some direct you to action, others tends to lean on your desires and lastly some are random. I would put getting Game Ideas in category 1 & 2 (Actions and desires).

Having a large pools of ideas may compel you to DEVELOP these ideas further. As long as you are not in danger whereby you feel like some Automatic thoughts are telling you that you will be harmed or harm someone else if you don't develop them... Well then that's okay. You should work on a filter in the event that these thoughts occupy too much of your time awake. Like say to yourself in your mind: "I don't have time for these ideas, please go away."

You are the one who is ultimately in control over yourself. Don't buy into determinism; that one's fate is sealed and there is little we as mortals can do.

I just wanted to address the Psychological side of ideas and their effect. Because I never broached the subject ... Also there are off the counter remedies you can try too. Like taking 2 Tylenols if you feel like you are getting too many Automatic thoughts (for example).

Anyhow Automatic thoughts are a subject in Psychology and are very involving and are a topic in themselves. I just wanted to touch on it... In the event that you might be feeling a bit "un-well".

Cheers @larienna ... And I hope your mind is less cluttered given some of the ideas that I have shared.

Note #1: If you are getting too many Automatic thoughts, you can TRY to DO SOMETHING. Like go out for a walk, read a chapter of a good book, take a warm shower, listen to some music, etc. Something to DISTRACT you from that "thinking". Like I said it happens to everyone (at some point in their lives).

Like for example if tomorrow I need to send a submission e-mail. In this case before bed, sometimes I may get Automatic thoughts trying to PREDICT the outcome of my e-mail. They seem very acceptable at first and they lead me down a road of thoughts which have 0 meaning and not based in reality. They call this type of Automatic thought "wishful thinking" (Jumping to conclusion). This again is Psychology and a pattern of thought that occurs in many people.

Personally sometimes this "wishful thinking" can lead to loss of sleep ... depending on the severity of the thoughts. Like before bed, I may go to bed around 11:00 PM and still be awake around 3:00 AM. Again this can affect me too sometimes. It's part of life... eventually I do fall asleep.

But Automatic thoughts are normal in life... You just need to learn how to not be too influenced by them and understanding that when it's time to "sleep" or do something else, those thoughts do not become invasive.

Note #2: I have learned over time that Automatic thoughts are a complete waste of time and simply "white noise". Why? Does following any of these thoughts result in some kind of life altering event(s)??? Like if some kind of thought tells you not to move, to sit there and be still. WTF should I listen... Is there a reward if I do SIT STILL?! Probably not. So I ignore those kinds Automatic thoughts... They are pure BS and won't harm you if you IGNORE them.

Same goes with some of your Game Ideas. Maybe if it sounds good, jot it down in a notebook and be done with it. Then some day you have little to do or have some spare time, re-read the entries. Some may give you inspiration... Others may well be too VAGUE to do anything with them.

Anyhow ... I've discussed this with Family too. And we all agree: Automatic thoughts are just "white noise". If in your case they can lead to some kind of productive result (or product) great! But like my Dual Dice which I saw for another game... The dream showed me PLAYING another designer's game and from the e-mails I have gotten he is not interested. So my Dream was just another masked "wishful thinking" pattern again.

I'm not saying to lose hope. Quite the opposite. I've explained a bit on how I cope with it ... And it has worked for me so far, so good.

questccg
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45% + 45% = 90% + 5% = 95% = Finished Design

larienna wrote:
...The problem, I need to have characters, demons, encounters, assets and many other elements, to just see if the mechanics above work. I could spend time designing those, but with experience in the past, I cannot put too much time on those elements as a simple rule change could force me to throw everything I designed to garbage...

Okay so this is SIMPLE to solve. Look at it as being a "core" element of the game and "secondary" elements. You have to figure out FIRST what TYPE of game it is going to be: will the be a common board, will players have game pads, what kind of cards will there be.

Once you design the "prototype"... Then you should be able to PLAY the prototype and figure out if it is FUN or NOT. I know this works because "Crystal Heroes" (CH) one of my designs, to me when I play the FUN is ensuring that players each have a chance to win and are in-it until the end.

So in my interpretation FUN = offering balance to players such that a victory is possible but a close competition ensues.

If "Eldritch Express" is a FUN game and you can picture it developed further well then my conclusion to you is, YES -- you'll need to design Monsters, Demons, Items, Characters, etc. To fully DEVELOP the game.

There are games that I TOO have not gone down the road only DEVELOPED a handful of "cards" (like in Quest AC_v2), I need to design about 300 cards. I've only worked with about 24 or so to see how the cards interact with the system that is the "game". But yeah at SOME POINT, if I feel like it is WORTHWHILE, I will need to design the other 275+ cards to make the product.

That's what I mean by 45% done: the mechanics and the game systems work. The other 45% is all the "Fantasy" or "Creative Assets" required for a completed game. Together they make for a 90% done game. With more playtesting better balance can be achieved and you will have a TIGHTER design.

If you don't like the other 45% "Creative" work... Maybe Game Design is not for you... Just an observation. Cheers!

larienna
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I never heard of "Automatic

I never heard of "Automatic thoughts" before although I work in a psychiatric hospital library. It's probably related to imagining myself into situations that would never happen. Seem similar to day dreaming which I unfortunately do a lot. I agree that 90% of the time, it is "white noise". Very little time I think about the right thing.

One thing I realized is that sometimes saying what you thinking out loud helps keep in focus on what you want to think about ... but you look like a weirdo.


As for designing multiple assets, I could try to test with limited amount of components. For example, in "sentinels of multiverse", you could use 1 villain, and multiple copies of the same character, test, then add new characters and villains.

I also thought when using toy play that I could design new stuff while playing. Or at least note interesting ideas that comes out.

I think for now I should focus more on either:

  • Variants and modding
  • Very simple abstract game
  • Video games (strategy)

I have been thinking and one problem I am with the pandemic is that work, school and lock downs requires me to be on the same computer all day long. So when I want to do something to change my mind, I should have little desire to work on my computer. This is why I am reconsidering either playing more solo board game, or designing board game.

It would really be nice if I could make Eldritch Express(EE) redesign work since it's a relatively simple game. I though of various alternatives, like scaling down the geography: make the action take place in London instead of whole world. It would make more sense to have monsters on the map (makes it closer to EE). The game might draw more inspiration from Arkham Horror(AH), than eldritch horror(EH). But I would still need to add stuff. Probably a form of investigation system would be required as I always found AH to be artificial, no real reasons to investigate somewhere. I could use "Arkham Noir" as a source of inspiration for collecting clues and solving cases.

Again, the idea is to make a system adaptable to different theme: Cyber punk, Crime fighting heroes, etc.

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Furthermore...

larienna wrote:
...It's probably related to imagining myself into situations that would never happen. Seem similar to day dreaming which I unfortunately do a lot. I agree that 90% of the time, it is "white noise". Very little time I think about the right thing...

Most of the time during the day, of course you can "entertain" Automatic Thoughts, because you are awake. Like say you had a "Game Idea" and then you start focusing on that thought and then the "fantasy" of the idea grows into something like "OMG this is the greatest game Idea I have ever had"... And the the thoughts continue unfolding, like: "Hmm... I know exactly the right publisher for this game..." (it's still an idea -- see the false reality) And you mind continues to think about this idea and leads you to FALSE conclusions.

In your mind you've "designed the game", "playtested it", "it's the greatest", and "you know exactly who to pitch it to", etc. And so forth. None of those thoughts are REAL. But you can have mixed emotions about them... They may make you feel positive (in that this is the best idea ever), neutral (in that they merely lead you further down the rabbit hole), and sometime negative (it can go in the opposite direction too... like Catastrophizing: Oh no, not another darn game Idea).

BUT... Where they can be harder to deal with is when you DON'T want to think. Like going to bed: all you want is your mind to be quiet and relax so that you can drift away and sleep.

If your Ideas comes when you go to sleep... That can be harder to handle. Because it's NOT like the day where you can DO SOMETHING ELSE, you're actually trying to do NOTHING so that you can fall asleep. Then it can be problematic because it is prevent you from restful sleep.

larienna wrote:
One thing I realized is that sometimes saying what you thinking out loud helps keep in focus on what you want to think about ... but you look like a weirdo.

As you become more aware of the thoughts that DON'T come from your mind, you are able to shut them down quicker. I guess this is different for each person and finding coping mechanisms vary from one individual to the next. But when I personally start to drift onto something too deeply ... I usually tell myself to STOP and refocus so that I don't have this kind of thinking occupying my thoughts during the day.


larienna wrote:
As for designing multiple assets, I could try to test with limited amount of components. For example, in "sentinels of multiverse", you could use 1 villain, and multiple copies of the same character, test, then add new characters and villains.

Exactly. That's what I have done with Quest AC_v2. Designed some cards and work on refining the "Game System" using those cards. It works and generally speaking you are WORKING on something greater than just designing cards.

larienna wrote:
I think for now I should focus more on either:

  • Variants and modding
  • Very simple abstract game
  • Video games (strategy)

Variants and mod-ing are good to help complete smaller scale projects. But they are only FREE works, meaning the "expansion" is fan-based and cannot be sold.

Very simple abstract games are sort of like my Quest AC_v2... Meaning you design a "Game System" as opposed to all kinds of assets. But I usually find that IF you take a "Abstract Game" AND ADD ASSETS... It kind of hides the abstract nature and makes for a more interesting game. This is similar to my "Crystal Heroes" (CH). In CH the play area (the Realm) is dynamic and the area control mechanic is similar to Chess.

The problem with Video Games is knowing where to start. What is the easiest way to DESIGN (Code and Test). Like creating Levels for DOOM is easier than creating the DOOM ENGINE. Programming games is very difficult because you must use the tools that suit best your project.

For example, IF I wanted to make a SmartPhone game. If my SmartPhone uses Lollipop (5.0+) or Marshmallow (6.0+), some of the more recent frameworks may be INCOMPATIBLE with these devices (as they are older). On PC it is the opposite, I think: you don't want to use OLDER frameworks which are now abandoned and no longer in use.

larienna wrote:
It would really be nice if I could make Eldritch Express (EE) redesign work since it's a relatively simple game. I though of various alternatives, like scaling down the geography: make the action take place in London instead of whole world. It would make more sense to have monsters on the map (makes it closer to EE). The game might draw more inspiration from Arkham Horror(AH), than eldritch horror(EH). But I would still need to add stuff. Probably a form of investigation system would be required as I always found AH to be artificial, no real reasons to investigate somewhere. I could use "Arkham Noir" as a source of inspiration for collecting clues and solving cases.

Again, the idea is to make a system adaptable to different theme: Cyber punk, Crime fighting heroes, etc.

Well what you mention with EE is that it is POSSIBLE to re-work it a bit. You see you've already figured out things like "correcting the geography" and "having monsters on the map"...

And there are some additional LAYERS (much like my Tactical Layer in CH) like your idea for an "Investigation System" which would be added-on to the "core" game to improve the overall game experience.

So I would go with that mindset... I'm sure you can re-work EE into something more SOLID with better avenues for the players.

Cheers and all the best!

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No worries...

larienna wrote:
...One thing I realized is that sometimes saying what you thinking out loud helps keep in focus on what you want to think about ... but you look like a weirdo.

I usually find that I enjoy listening to a LOT of "Music" when on my computer. When I am OFF the CPU, I often "sing" songs in my mind and this is yet another coping mechanic to avoid Automatic Thoughts: your mind is busy trying to remember the words and the melody as you think about the song that you want to "sing in your mind". That's another good strategy, that may or may not work, it depends on each person.

But it DISTRACTS the mind and forces it to focus on SOMETHING that you DO WANT to "think about" and not "errant thoughts and fantasies" that lead no where and do nothing to improve your quality and clarity of thought.

However if you are feeling OVERWHELMED with TOO MANY ideas... The best methods of coping depend on each individual, but usually deal with either being capable of dismissing those "errant thoughts" or being able to DO SOMETHING ELSE to occupy your thoughts and mind on something else.

And just for completeness ... I figured I'd share with you an example of a Random "Automatic Thought": say you are driving on a bridge and then this thought pops-up into your mind saying something like "Jump off the bridge." As you can see this is purely RANDOM but makes sense in the context that you are driving on a bridge. And believe it or not... It's not stupidity it's psychology and a LOT of people get these types of "Automatic yet Random Thoughts".

Of course, MOST people can just ignore the thoughts or dismiss them... And nothing happens. Believe it or not, those kinds of thoughts are very frequent and surprisingly alarming too!

That's why I said sometimes these "Automatic Thoughts" can be dangerous if they are compelling you to do something bad or dangerous or unhealthy, etc. As you gain more experience with these types of thoughts... As even you said, you realize that it's a sort of "White Noise". Much like the old TVs when you would turn to channels without a signal: some people may find the noise "mesmerizing" and try to see if there is a pattern or maybe some people may actually SEE some kind of pattern...

If your Automatic Thoughts come in the form of "game ideas" GREAT (maybe)! Find a way to cope with them... Like I said earlier, get a notebook write the idea down and them move your bookmark 5 pages forwards and wait for the NEXT idea... If you don't want to think about something further, tell your mind to "STOP thinking" (works for most people) and if that doesn't work and you feel overwhelmed, well then DISTRACT yourself and DO SOMETHING: Vacuum a room, go out for a walk, listen to some music, play a video game, etc. All things that can force you TO FOCUS on whatever ELSE you must do.

Again some might work better than others. Cheers @larienna!

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Too much FREE TIME to think...

Maybe you have too much FREE TIME at work to "Daydream" as you call it... It may well be that you are entertaining fantasies from Automatic Thoughts. And these thoughts can sometimes be a series of thoughts or can even be interactive and "play" with your mind.

If you have too much IDLE TIME at work (you said you work at a library)... Well then you can considered "re-sorting a shelf of books"... Take the books off the shelf, lay the randomly in piles on the ground and proceed to RE-SORT the shelf.

Why would I suggest something like this???

Well it helps your cognitive abilities to key in with important thinking such as SORTING and coping with random books. So ONE (1) book shelf may be "out-of-order" until you finish re-sorting the shelf.

It may seem stupid... But some people go to EXTREME measures not to have these kind of Automatic Thoughts. If you must know it is in the field of psychology and it is called "CBT: cognitive behavioral therapy".

I'm surprised that you have never heard of "Automatic Thoughts". I thought that you might be better versed in psychology. CBT is great for reducing stressors and believe most people have stress in their lives, also good for anxiety and behavioral problems like depression and such.

In any case this is NOT about "Game Design". But I just wanted to share with you a way of LOOKING at your "Ideas" as not necessarily WANTED thoughts. You may want to be MORE in control over those thoughts and so I've shared with you some coping mechanisms that work for a lot of people.

Cheers!

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Minfullness (AKA meditation)

Minfullness (AKA meditation) could be used to focus attention on nothing. It's used in many therapies.

Quote:
The problem with Video Games is knowing where to start. What is the easiest way to DESIGN (Code and Test).

Oh! I think I solved this: Relational Database. You basically model the data of your game you want. Then you need operations to influence that data according to the players decision. Then there are automated operations like an end of turn processing that is handled by the computer. You try to delegate most of the operations to the relational database using SQL queries instead of code (It improves modding, and reduce the amount of programming)

I wish to reuse my Wizardry Legacy user interface for other gaming purpose. That user interface would easily interact with a relational database.

Quote:
For example, IF I wanted to make a SmartPhone game. If my SmartPhone uses Lollipop (5.0+) or Marshmallow (6.0+), some of the more recent frameworks may be INCOMPATIBLE with these devices (as they are older). On PC it is the opposite, I think: you don't want to use OLDER frameworks which are now abandoned and no longer in use.

Compatibility, is a big issue here. PC is fairly compatible, but I strangely had less issue with C than Java that was supposed to be more portable. For example, I made a small text based stock market game in java where you only need to press enter to generate new stocks and that program does not work on my friend's windows 10 PC. On the other hand, a C program cross-compiled from linux for windows works very well on windows ( go figure ).

As for android, the problem is android. Many people say the android API suffer from Over-Engineering. You can use an old API to support more devices, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but Android development is very fragile and you need to spend a lot of time just trying to build the application. I am curious to see if developping in C with the NDK is easier than java + gradle. SDL has Android support and could be used with the NDK. Kotlin also seems like a good alternative to java, unfortunately the build process should remain the same. Using a game library helps reduce some of the Android complexities for you, but they do not entirely eliminate them.

I did a school project on android this winter using the Android widget system and it was very complex. Trying to make an hello world with android studio can take hours. Doing an hello world in C for PC can take minutes.

Quote:
And there are some additional LAYERS (much like my Tactical Layer in CH) like your idea for an "Investigation System" which would be added-on to the "core" game to improve the overall game experience.

I have been thinking, and that is a bit the problem: You change 1 variable and everything else falls appart. I could make the geography smaller, but I now need and investigation system. I also want to avoid certain issues found in AH like not having any weapon on you. So either maybe characters can have their own default equipment, anything found can be used for replacement. Which leads me to my double use card idea (Encounter + Asset) that is hard to implement when you have no cards designed and want to avoid using cards. So in the ends, it almost like redesigning an entirely new game, at most 20% of the content is reused in the new game.

I might try a toy play session and see if I can define what I want to achieve. Still, I doubt that when the semester starts (tomorrow), I'll have any time to work on it.

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Approximation of REALITY not 100% perfect

larienna wrote:
...I have been thinking, and that is a bit the problem: You change 1 variable and everything else falls appart. I could make the geography smaller, but I now need and investigation system. I also want to avoid certain issues found in AH like not having any weapon on you...

You can have "Guts" as your DEFAULT weapon and all it means is that you battle with your fists and feet. No weapon = Guts and have some starting stats... Like 1 Atk/1 Range. This would be equivalent to a "melee" attack.

larienna wrote:
So either maybe characters can have their own default equipment, anything found can be used for replacement. Which leads me to my double use card idea (Encounter + Asset) that is hard to implement when you have no cards designed and want to avoid using cards. So in the ends, it almost like redesigning an entirely new game, at most 20% of the content is reused in the new game.

I have an IDEA for you: use ONLY weapons that SHOOT Bullets. Then instead of requiring "cards" all you need an area to indicate how many bullets clips that you have. I know this is OVERSIMPLIFICATION but who cares, it's a GAME... Doesn't have to simulate REALITY to 100%... 75% real could be enough.

larienna wrote:
I might try a toy play session and see if I can define what I want to achieve. Still, I doubt that when the semester starts (tomorrow), I'll have any time to work on it.

Best of luck(?!) with school. IDK what they say: "Have a good semester...!"

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About the Bullets...

You could for example have different types of Ammunition (AMMO). Like for example having three (3) types of weapons classes:

1. Hand Gun/Magnum/Desert Eagle

2. Hunting Riffle/Riffle Gun/Shotgun

3. Thompson Gun/Ak-47/Machine Gun

Then you need to keep track of clip Counts. Let's have a Hand Gun and you use 1 clip: it gives you "5" shots (some fictitious amount -- doesn't need to be exact), a Magnum gives you "4" shots and a Desert Eagle gives you "3" shots.

Here are some examples using the Hand Pistols:

1. Hand Gun: 10 point of damage PER CLIP (5 x 2 dmg).

2. Magnum: 16 points of damage PER CLIP (4 x 4 dmg).

3. Desert Eagle: 18 points of damage PER CLIP (3 x 6 dmg).

Some kind of APPROXIMATION like this ... Could be COOL! And it doesn't require CARDS either... Just a game pad with AMMO and weapon choices.

These are just embryonic IDEAS ... You can ADAPT. This is by no means a complete solution to your "card" usage. Just an EXAMPLE from what I could think up giving the "restriction" that you DON'T want to use CARDS!

Note #1: It's not PERFECT in that you would probably need to use an ENTIRE clip before switching weapons (in the SAME class). But these are just some "ideas" for you to work with. If you don't want CARDS, you don't need to have them. I think nine (9) weapons is ENOUGH variety to keep most players interested and engaged. Cheers!

Note #2: IF you want the MINIMAL amount of CARDS well then that too is POSSIBLE. Let's say you have "Hand Guns" and this has three (3) different weapons. Having this card gives you access to those weapons and can be played on the side (3.5" x 2.5" -- in landscape) and can be used to TRACK the AMMO for those weapons.

If later in the game you can upgrade to IDK "Energy Weapons" (You could have a Lazer Gun, etc.) Different stats for this other class of weapons. Maybe you could carry only 3 TYPES of different weapons and AMMO...

Again MODULARITY in mind for upgrades and extra STUFF you can give away with the game...

Note #3: The types of AMMO don't need to be EXACT like reality... This is for a game in where you hunt down DEMONS... How real is that?!?! So while it may be TRUE that a Hunting Rifle uses different AMMO than say a Shotgun... I would lump them into one category.

And then you can expand with Double Barrel Shotgun for 2 shots at a time... Things like that (or maybe TWIN Desert Eagles!) See if you can focus on bullets and how that affects weapons and what kind of possibilities you can have. I would stick away from MELEE which will over-complicate the game. Things like a Baseball Bat, Brass Knuckles, etc. Just will make the game too complicated. GUTS OR AMMO WEAPONS. Simple and effective for battling Demons.

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Also ...

You could BUY weapons from locations on the MAP. If the map is say a map of LONDON (UK), well I'm sure you could add like 2 or 3 locations where a player could purchase upgrades for their weapons.

Like maybe you have a Hand Pistol SLOT and a heavier weapon SLOT (Machine Guns and Hunting Rifles, etc.)

And then maybe when you beat some kind of DEMON, he could have in his hoard a "Lazer Gun" or you could get an "additional" Desert Eagle (TWIN Attack), etc.

Again just some ideas... You could also buy AMMO at the weapon locations too.

Provided you have sufficient funds, having some money is the key to buying more ammunition that is required for the heat you are packing.

This is a bunch of ideas, you can ignore, use, adapt, re-think, etc. Whatever works best for you. Just something to give you avenues to explore further.

Hoping this gives you some inspiration to delve deeper into your design and see if you can come up with something that DOESN'T require a bunch of cards!

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An additional thought

You could maybe use MINI cards and not poker cards ... If you want to entertain a mix of "melee" and "guns" for the game. I've seen other designers use these SMALLER format cards for such things. I can't remember where I saw them being used ... But I'm pretty sure that some people used those cards.

Maybe I even saw something similar in Arkham Horror (AH).

Not 100% sure. But I know you SAID you didn't WANT "extra" cards (regardless of their size). Like I said you could have a Game Pad with the options and some of them are unavailable and having one Pistol and Automatic weapon could be an option (as I mentioned before).

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Quote:"Have a good

Quote:
"Have a good semester...!"

I hope so too and I am somewhat tired.

Quote:
You could maybe use MINI cards and not poker cards

This is what I used for eldritch express. I tried to play yesterday, I played a few turns and did not like much the progression of the game. Early game you try to stash cards, mid game you start completing stuff and eventually, it becomes repetitive.

I am also not sure about the stashing of assets cards present in those kind of game when you can either have nothing and become a paper weight or be a moving armory. I don't think having equipment on cards is a good thing.

One good component Idea I have is to use a poker size cards with 2 cards on it, an encounter and an asset. If you complete the encounter, you can acquire the card as an asset. Probably the card could be used as a clue too. The problem is that I am not really sure how mechanics should use those cards. They could be random encounter drawn, and/or they could be pre-drawn in hand and played from hand (the player knows what to expect).

I like those double card idea as it creates more narrative between the asset and the encounter. But that would require an abstract implementation mechanics and I suck at abstraction.

I wanted to avoid the AH, EH problem of go somewhere for no good reason, roll a die and suffer the consequence. The card above could be a clue that you draw that tells you "go there to get that encounter", then resolve it to gain the benefits.


Another idea to standardize mechanism: there is currently action dices with 5 different actions and 1 sin. The 5 actions would have a default behavior like: rest, travel, investigate, research, etc. But various situation like city location, character skills, or asset could say: "You can use action X to do something else".

For example: On a rest roll, you normally recover 1 mind or 1 body point, but if you use that rest roll when there is the Hospital nearby, you can recover all your body or cure an injury instead.


Another problem is the lack of uniformity, creating a game with multiple subsystem not related to each other. In eldritch Express, there is a die system for resolving encounter and doing actions, and there is another system for solving battles.

In my redesign, I have 3 system, one for the actions, one for resolving encounters, and another one for resolving battles (if there are monster on the field).

I don't know, but It looks ugly and uninteresting. Considering my lack of time, maybe I'll put my bet on strategy video game instead for now. If I really need to do something away from the computer screen, I have many other hobbies to do like: Legos, Drawing, coloring, etc.

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Some additional ideas

larienna wrote:
...In my redesign, I have 3 system, one for the actions, one for resolving encounters, and another one for resolving battles (if there are monster on the field).

I don't know, but It looks ugly and uninteresting...

Maybe you need a mechanic by which to add TENSION to the game. Like in AH it is the portholes that open up and you need to close them. Maybe something like in the center of London there is a Church and in this Church an NPC is being kept safe (like a safe-house). That NPC could be a child in his early teens (to build some kind of thematic link with the players)... The Demons want to capture and slay the child as it is prophesized that he will defeat the Old One!

And so PLAYERS MUST defeat the Demons before they reach the Church...

You can have another NPC, the Priest which can hold back a Demon for certain amount of turns off before dying and then the game is LOST! Something like that... And in reality there is a large Church in the center of London too: Westminster Abbey.

Adding some TENSION and giving players the CHANCE to protect the child from the foes (Demons) that come through summoning circles of the "Damned" (a sect of religious and unholy practitioners who are try to awaken the Old One).

So there are good guys (Priest, Child and Players) and there are bad guys (Demons, Worshippers and the Sect Leader)... Maybe your ultimate goal is to CAPTURE the Sect Leader ... Instead of the Old One arriving... The Sect Leader is revealed and players must get together to TRAP HIM (sort of like in Scotland Yard...)

This sounds all COOL and I would give it a TRY! Let me know what you think. I think you are too involved in "mechanics" and what you need is "thematic tie-ins" like the NPCs and a purpose to the game which is more than just going around killing Demons.

Again it's your game... But having an ABSTRACT design with just mechanics is far from having a REAL GAME. You need to have some kind of THEME, TENSION and something to do that forces the players to MOVE AROUND London...

Cheers @larienna...

Note #1: And in case you were wondering... A strategy to wait by the Abbey for the Demons to come to the Church is bad... Because the Practitioners must be STOPPED otherwise the amount of Demons will grow and it will become impossible to stop the onslaught of so many Demons...

Something like that which forces players to move around and capture evil sect members... Sure maybe if you have 3 or 4 players, 1 can wait by the Church as a last minute BLOCKER... That makes sense... But in a 2-Player game ... it's much harder and forces players to move around the board (and City of London).

Note #2: For the worshippers, all you need is a square chit with a Summoning Circle on it... Place it at a location where there was a sect member practicing the Dark Arts... When you arrive at a location with a Summoning Circle, you simply FLIP IT onto the blank side (and that's all you need to CAPTURE sect members).

Note #3: You could have a Sect DICE which impact the game: 3 blanks (nothing happens), 1 summoning circle added to the board, 1 Demon appears in the closest location to the current Player, 1 All circles summon 1 Demon.

So "6" is the REAL BAD scenario (1:6 odds) that ALL circles summon 1 Demon!!! Now that's a REAL BITCH ROLL!!! Man, I can picture this game working...

The "Scotland Yard" tie-in for the Sect Leader... Read some of my later comments for more information about how the "Sect Leader" influences the CLIMAX near the end of the game.

Note #4: The Sect DICE would work brilliantly: each player rolls it at the START of his/her turn. And the whole "6" value (1 demon appears in all summoning circles) ... NATURALLY leads to the END of the players ... IF they don't go around trying to STOP the "circles" from being created by the Sect members.

"6" circles and you roll a "6" ... And voila just like that you have "6" Demons to deal with... "666" a real problem on the player's hands!

It can progress naturally without some ARTIFICAL requirements to make the Game any HARDER than it is already...

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And for REPLAYABILITY...

You could have a VARIANT that is a PRE-MADE "Setup" with some worshippers and circles already open (like number of players) and some Demons already in play (number of players +2)...

This could be a HARD-MODE for experts... Once you beat the game using the normal rules (nothing at the start of the game), you may want to TRY to play the harder game with the VARIANT...

Just another thought. A lot of games do this: NORMAL and HARD.

Note #1: I came up with another IDEA for the "Sect Leader". When he is revealed (Read further notes for the trigger for this...) ALL the closed summoning circles are ALL OPENED AGAIN (all on the same turn). It's like a battle royal as the PLAYERS must close ALL the circles AGAIN ... Before the Sect Leader reaches the Church and kills the NPC Priest.

So when you originally conquer a Summoning circle, you just FLIP the chit.

Now my ideas about the "Sect Leader" is that his POWER comes from the circles. The Players must close ALL circles and defeat any Demons that come through them in addition to stopping the "Sect Leader" (as mentioned).

IDK maybe there can be some kind of Track with # of circles and # of Demons. And when you reach (IDK) something like 6 + Number of Player closed circles, the Sect Leader APPEARS and all the circles get flipped and activated!

Makes for a HUGE CLIMAX neat the very end of the GAME...

Note #2: And during the CLIMAX, if ONE (1) Player should roll a "6" (All circles summon 1 Demon) ... The game is over... 8 Demons for 2 Players would be very hard to defeat and TRY to close the remaining portals while trying to capture the Sect Leader... IMPOSSIBLE.

That kind of roll would seal the players fate (1:6 odds of losing the game each and every turn until the Sect Leader is caught)!

IDK maybe this is TOO HARD. It's very BAD LUCK-oriented (with the 1:6 odds)...

But the game could be like Pandemic: hard to WIN! Could picture this kind of game... I'm sure ppl would like it and play it.

Note #3: To HELP the players along... When the MAXIMUM of Summoning Circles is reached, after that point no more circles can be open. This means that the Sect Dice goes from 50:50 to 66:33 in favor of nothing happening on that roll.

In the HARD VARIANT, the opening of another circle can be REPLACED with the +1 Demon at the closest location. Making that version ALSO harder to win too...

larienna
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Quote: I think you are too

Quote:
I think you are too involved in "mechanics"

But that is the problem with board game design. It's mechanics first because it must fit on board game pieces. This mean all mechanics will not necessarily work. In a video game, I would not care, aa almost any mechanism could work.

I could toy play with only the theme, but the goal would be to flesh out mechanics anyway.

As for the opposition, so far the idea was that different type of encounters spawned on the map: Rifts, Mysteries, Cultists, Cataclysm, etc. Resolving those encounters would allow players to progress and finish the game in their favor. Ignoring those encounter would have all sort of consequences.

larienna
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Having a course about

Having a course about software design last semester, we learned how to make use case diagrams which in summary detail what can be done by which actor in the system you are designing.

I am wondering those use case diagrams could be useful in board game to flesh out the required mechanics. To remain in the AH theme, maybe you could have a series of use case that looks like this:

Characters must be capable of investigating.
Characters must be able to upgrade his capabilities.
Characters must be able to recover health and supplies.
Characters must be capable of solving cases
etc.

For more information, look at:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use_case_diagram

questccg
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Not a problem at all...

larienna wrote:
Quote:
I think you are too involved in "mechanics"

But that is the problem with board game design. It's mechanics first because it must fit on board game pieces. This mean all mechanics will not necessarily work...

Mechanics are TOP-LEVEL, you design them to figure out WHAT is going to be in your game. Once you figure them out, you need to move to THEME to get a REAL game. Like in Pandemic, you know that you will be combating Viruses. In your game it's Demons. Anyhow... I've given you some ideas to work off of. If you don't like them, that is okay ... I just wanted to show you that THEME is what makes a game interesting, not mechanics. Sure mechanics are used in games, but many games re-use the SAME mechanics. What will make your game different is how you choose your THEME.

And in my example, this is a blend of "Golden Child" (Movie), "Betrayal on House on the Hill" (Board Game), "Arkham Horror" (Board Game), "Scotland Yard" (Board Game) and/or "Grand Theft Auto 2" (Video Game).

The map (which I have not seen) can be a take from Scotland Yard and/or GTA2. Maybe a blend of these two might be cool, not sure (Historic vs. Modern)...

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