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Balance for resource costs

3 replies [Last post]
Joined: 01/27/2011

Hi all,

I'm positive this can be done with a simple Microsoft Excel sum, but I can't work out how to do it, here goes:

My game has eight different Goods, these goods are produced by either different types of resources. Every good costs ten resources to construct. The game objective is to produce a certain number of goods.

For example: To construct a House costs two stone, six clay and two grain.

One of the key features of my game, will be that the amounts of goods required for each game will be different.

For example:
Game 1: You must produce one house, two thrones, five flour and three luxuary goods.
Game 2: two houses, one throne, four flour and three luxuary goods.

Each good must be created by resources; for example six stone and four clay create one Brick.

My questions is: how do I change the required amount of goods each game, without creating imbalance issues for the resources. The main issue here is that if a game requires lots of goods that use lots of a particular resource, then that resource will have a much higher demand than the others. This is a serious balance issue because each player in the game will have the ability to produce ONE type of resouce through out. If this player can produce the resource that has the highest demand (and hence value) they are out of balance with the other players.

What I'd like to do is map my table of resource costs against the table of goods required so that it balances out.

Any thoughts or input would be greatly appreciated.

ilta's picture
Joined: 12/05/2008
I suppose you could start

I suppose you could start with the resources you want and figure out how to take equal numbers of them to make various combinations of final products.

But my question for you is this: if each resource is equally valuable, why bother distinguishing them at all? And why bother having different victory conditions if, ultimately, you're talking about the same set of 80 total resources needed?

To put it another way, I think you're looking for balance at the wrong level. Unequal distribution of resource types is sort of the point of a resource-driven economy; someone has more clay, another guy has more stone, a third guy has more gold; they trade amongst each other hoping to get out ahead, and market forces (sometimes at a highly abstract level; see "Settlers of Catan") dictate the exchange rate between any two items.

There's no difference, in the game you describe, between being a farmer and being a stone miner, except that in one game bread is needed and in another game there's a lot of wall-building.

Cogentesque's picture
Joined: 08/17/2011
Hey Moapy,I agree with what

Hey Moapy,

I agree with what Ilta says, solid advice there. Also, just symantics, but I think you should call the Houses/Thrones etc. something else other than "goods". The board gaming community is already used to referring to something else that we think means "goods" and we may get confused: Goods and materials and and resources etc. can all mean the same things. Perhaps you could call them something strong and specific, like ... hmm ... I was going to say commodities or items - but they suffer the same problem :( = merchandise, bolt, cargo, commodities, fabric, freight, line, load, materials, seconds, stock, stuff, textile, vendibles, wares

Merchandise is cool, Perhaps even "Prosperity" - like a piece of prosperity, that's cool, that could also be the name if you haven't already got one :)

Also: excel sheet in google docs here that I have made up for you. It should do what you asked it to do. If it works and the game goes big and you become a millioniare , you totally have to buy me a nice house to say thanks ;P
At the moment I only code for Stone, Clay, Grains, and Brick as they are the only ones you mention. Obviously you will have add all possible materials (even if they are 0) to each "Merchandise/Prosperity" (or whatever) and follow the simple formula rules already there. It should give you the number of total materials on the right required for each game-goal (eg 3 houses and 2 thrones"

Moapy's Resource Sheet:


Joined: 01/27/2011

Thanks so much for the spreadsheet Cog, it's really helpful, I'll be certain to buy you that house!

Also thanks to you both for your advice. I understand that this model will make the resources the same, but this is one of the points of the game. Please keep in mind it's very early days on my design but the basic idea is: Instead of resources being worth more than other things like most games, the idea here is that all resources have the same value BUT one of each is able to be utilised for additional options by each player. I guess I've confused the idea here by making it thematic. Think of this more of an abstract game where each player has a colour and this colour is related to objects of the same.

For example: Blue player can buy blue tokens for less than everyone else and earns 'gold' every time any blue tokens are bought or sold. They will also be able to sell blue tokens to other players etc.

I haven't nutted out the mechanics yet so that's why the terminology I'm using leaves a lot to be desired; but thanks again for the sound advice. I don't think the end 'product' will even have a medieval theme to it at all. I'm just using this theme as it's how I started off, wanting to make a medieval trading game.

Thakns again, I'm sure to be back with more questions as I progress!

Edit: after further thinking I've realised that what i'm trying to do is indeed impossible and doesn't make sense. It's okay, I'll try something else.

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