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balancing question

6 replies [Last post]
Joined: 11/13/2012

Yesterday I had my 2nd playtesting of my card game Trapped!

The game involves the villains having a memory placement mechanic in which they lay their dungeons facedown waiting to build up proper combos to thwart the player playing the explorer.

Different rooms do different things and can only be beaten by certain cards in the explorers hand.

the game consists of 3 decks fo cards. 2 for the explorer. 1 large one for the villains.

the 2 explorer decks are
1. the draw deck which they get single use items as well as evade cards
2. treasure deck - cards which give them a permanent bonus whenever defeating a minion.

the villain deck consists of
1. traps - pre-emptive strikes against the explorer in the form of face down cards
2. villainous deeds - direct actions against the explorer or the other bad guys
3. minions - face up cards that can shift around the board and attack.

simple enough i guess, baddies draw 2 cards then they can perform 3 moves their turn. 1 minion move (laying down a new minion or moving an existing one) 1 room construction and 1 villainous deed

then the hero takes turns moving onto the new rooms. For every room he moves in and defeats he gets an extra move.

this goes on until the hero makes it through the end, or one of the baddies kills him mid trip.

here are the 2 HUGE errors i saw wit the playtesting.
1. The hero got to the end of the dungeon way too quick. I'd like to find a way to slow this process down and would love some input with you guys.

2. It felt like the game had way more traps then actions, feeling very unbalanced. I tried to resolve issue number 1 by adding cards that would let the bad guys control player movement by pushing them back onto traps or moving them back to start but they never seemed to show up during the play through. I attempted to resolve this by reducing the ammount of traps in the game substantially, hopefully this will push the villains to be more aggressive towards each other realizing they really will have to compete for the available rooms in the deck.

Maybe i should dwindle it further, or make the game board larger then just the 6 rooms. I could keep it at 6 rooms and cut it down so that there are maybe only 10 real rooms positions. Since the laying down of the rooms consists of each type having 2 lvl 1 rooms, 1 lvl 2, 1 lvl 3. Lvl 2 rooms can only be placed on level 1 rooms, level 2 can only be placed on lvl 3. But rooms can be stolen and as someone did to me last night. I had a perfect set up to mess up the hero if he got sent back to the beggining. that completely relied on my lvl 3 room. and as soon as i laid that lvl 3 room down... it was stolen.

idk, ive been working on this for a few months and im pretty fresh out of ideas. Any thoughts?

Joined: 11/13/2012
Also, I'm thinking the theme

Also, I'm thinking the theme might benefit from being something other then the traditional dungeon crawler. I was thinking Inidiana JOnes and the temple of doom kind of vibe. ANy thoughts?

Tbone's picture
Joined: 02/18/2013

Maybe like a horror game. Like the catacombs? Tomb raiders against the dead?

KrisW's picture
Joined: 01/15/2013
Maybe Starter Hands?

Would it work to give both the villain and explorer standardized starter hands as part of the game set-up? They could be preselected to solve the worst of the play test issues. Maybe 3 Villain Starter cards with traps and 3 Hero Starter cards that can lessen the impact of an attack. A different back or boarders could be used to make them easier to find if they get into the regular decks.

- KrisW

Joined: 11/13/2012
I'm not sure. didn't really

I'm not sure. didn't really consider that option although it's a good one. With the nature of the game being what it is, I don't see this being a good solution to be honest. But it's an idea I am still planning on trying. Thanks for the suggestions.

Joined: 07/12/2012

Why should a hero get an extra move? Or maybe they only get ONE extra move - they can't compound "free" moves. That may help you with the first part - simply limit the movement of the heroes.

How did your room get "stolen"? Is that something villains can do to one another? How many heroes/how many villains are there?

I'm all for villains stealing from one another, but you need to balance that against the ability to make combos. It's incredibly frustrating to spend resources and then have them simply taken away from you. It may not need to be THAT easy (the thief needs to work on a combo also to steal?)

Joined: 11/13/2012
You're right. The extra move

You're right. The extra move dynamic was adding too much speed to the hero character. The game can be played with up to 3 villains and 1 hero. Even with just 1 extra move they are pushing it.

There are action cards that can be played by the villains whose only intention is to screw with the other players. Steal rooms let you steal a room they have already put down, there are lane switch cards that let you swap your boss with someone else's and take over the lane they are working on. There are also destroy rooms. They also have some action cards that restrict hero movement. Like sending him back to the beginning, or pushing him back a space, and likely into a very specific trap yopu have waiting for him.

when it comes to making combos I have thought of that (at least a little) There are several villain cards that can work in unison with one another. Like there is a rolling boulder card that pushes t he hero back 3 spaces and makes him have to go through the 2 other traps on the way back, there is a spike trap card that if the hero moves from a higher lane onto instead of from the sides, it's insta-death, unless he has a rope card, that lets him escape any kind of pitfalls or things like that. There are cave-in cards that block a specific lane until a new room is built on top of it. There's a spring floor trap that shoots the player onto the room above whether or not he has the saving cards, and if placed on the top row, if he does not have the right cards ti does double damage. There are extra draws, a lot of different things like that. I have thought about conjoining the action cards with the room cards. Maybe giving the some of the rooms active effects as well as abilities. So let's say the cave-in room gives you the ability to block someone else's room at will one time in the game, (cause a cave-in somewhere else) if someone steals your lane, with one of their rooms, they could have all these untapped abilities.

So maybe I could make some of the more common abilities like draw 2 to be put in the deck and make the more aggressive ones single use abilities included in the card. The only glaring problem i see with that though is that since the cards get played facedown, the villain would not have access to the ability without the hero either already setting off the trap, which could very likely happen.

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