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Leave a Game Unbalanced

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Juzek
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So, suppose gameplay between players is asymmetrical, and one of them is substantially less likely to win. If the players both know that, then it makes the few times they win much more rewarding right?

Is a game being unbalanced a bad design move as long as it is transparent to each player?

Take hearts. The queen of spades is worth as many points as the entire rest of the deck. That seems unbalanced, but it becomes a central plot in the game: Where is she? Who is aiming her at who?

I think the trouble is when two options look the same to a player, but one is much better than the other, and all it does is harm the game play experience of a less experienced player. (such as, took the trick with the queen of spades cause they forgot that she was a point card)

Thoughts?

tikey
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As long as it's clear that

As long as it's clear that one player is the underdog I don't see it as an issue. On the contrary, it seems to be quite interesting, as long as the weaker player has a chance to win it could be fun and challenging. Or it could be a way to have an inexperienced player play on a more even field with a more experienced one.
A way of mitigating negativity could be to make it a short game where the roles can then be changed.

Also I think you could have different games according to the role of the powerful player. Maybe it's not a conflict game but having weaker players and one overpowered player with different objectives can be interesting.

larienna
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It's something commonly found

It's something commonly found in historical games where one side has more chances to win than the other (ex: pacific war games). Generally the most experienced player takes the hard side.

Else in case having both experienced players, they generally play 2 games where the players switch side. Having a scoring mechanics and summing up the score of both games together could be used to determine the winner.

Jay103
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This made me think of OGRE, a

This made me think of OGRE, a game from, well, the '80s I guess. Highly asymmetric combat game, where one super-tank is fighting against a squadron of lesser vehicles.

I'm sure it wasn't really balanced to be even, but it also didn't LOOK like it should be even. I suspect if the sides are like sides in (old-school) Warcraft or Starcraft, then people would expect equivalent power levels. But the more different the sides look, the less that expectation will be in force.

X3M
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Tricks or Tricky

To overcome imbalance. I always tried several tricks to switch the underdog role in a short time.

Weaker player?
Your rolls are better than your opponents.

Wargames where players need to travel a bit to their opponents are often self balancing when RPS is involved and later placement.

A better factor to consider would be the WinRatio (WR). In the form of, how many times can one win against an underdog.
60-40% would have 60/40=1.5
75-25% would have 75/25=3.0
etc.
Everything above 1.5 is considered a bad game. Unless RPS is involved, then it was a bad player decision.

X3M
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Tricks or Tricky

sorry for double post

larienna
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One important factor is that

One important factor is that the player on the weaker side must think that he has a chance to wins if he does a considerable amount of effort.

If the weaker player expect to lose right at the start of the game, he will simply no play the game.

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