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Looking for ideas to solve a scoring issue.

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Louard
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Last weekend a friend of mine and I participated in the 48 hour Global Game Jam and we're mostly happy with our entry Non-Stop Safari but there is one problem we're trying to solve.

I don't want to go too long with this post, but here's a quick summary:
As it stands Players collect pelts from hunts which they can sell during the game for 1 pelt to one coin return. the big pay off comes from animals going extinct and all their pelts being sold off. There are four species and the pay out increases as each species goes extinct. So the first species to go extinct will net you one coin per pelt (like selling during your turn) 2 coins per pelt for the second, 3 for the third and then the game ends, the fourth one doesn't pay out. At it's core Non-Stop Safari is essentially an investment game, you have to choose what expeditions to finance to try to get the best return. Problem is, as it stands it looks like winning is a matter of having lots of pelts of the third animal out. We're afraid this makes it too easy for players to tell, mid-game, who's got the best shot of winning or if they themselves are out of the running. If you want to check out the full rules, you can see them here:
http://www.globalgamejam.org/sites/default/files/uploads/2011/16129/Non-...

Some ideas we are playing with are:

The simplest, make the pay out for extinct pelts less of a ramp, so, 1,2,2. or 2,3,4 or 2,3,3.

Have a few more species we cycle in when one goes extinct, giving players new pelts to invest in. In this scenario, we would probably shorten the extinction track, still have you hunting 4 animals at a time but the pay outs would ramp up more slowly, like 1,1,2,2,3,3 or something.

Or play the game over a number of hunting seasons more or less resetting the animal population based on the prior season's order of extinction. This would, again, create a sort of reset to give different players a shot at winning each season.

We're pretty psyched about the game and would love to improve it where we can, so if you have any thoughts about this issue or any other you might find reading the rules (or playing the game ^_~) we would be thrilled to hear 'em.

Lofwyr
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Joined: 02/16/2010
Math

Looks to me like you need a better scoring system. If you just upped the numbers a bit you would naturally even things out. In example, pelts should never be worth one. If a pelt is worth one then a third round pelt is worth 3 times its value. If you were to make the lowest value pelt worth two then the third round pelt is only worth double its value (4). By upping the coin return on all pelts you lower the impact of later pelts while still allowing them to be of advantage.

Round one pelt (2)
Round two pelt (3)
Round three pelt (4)

You could continue scaling these values until they are appropriate for your tastes. This would allow change without modifying your already existing core game.

E

Louard
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That was my first thought...

Ya, I figured that, and would be super easy to try! In fact, I don't see why we shouldn't just try it ^_^, we've got the pieces.

I do still like the idea of a certain kind of 'reset' mechanic, but maybe we're over complicating things that way.

genericm
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what if you couldn't tell

what if you couldn't tell which species would go extinct in what order.

like the destiny deck from BSG. Have a small randomizer that made the final outcome less certain. You could still have the big swing in points, just make it harder to predict which species will be the big pay out.

this is all just abstract without knowing more anout the game.

Louard
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Doesn't really fit the game.

Thanks but that would actually change the game too much. Players cause species to go extinct by financing hunts for them. It's a big part of the control players exude on the game.

bhazzard
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Looks great

Btw your rules and components look great.

Have you tried the idea of scaling up your extinction points sequence? If so, how did it work out?

treyalsup
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Couple points

1. I feel like I'm misunderstanding the theme of your game. Players hunt animals into extinction and then sell their pelts for big money? This theme will offend many of the players who woukd otherwise enjoy the mechanics of your game. You could easily reskin the same mechanics. Gem hunting being the simplest that immediately springs to mind.

2. Have you considered "selling" as an action? Right now it sounds like you just have collections that are worth points. First if you allow players to sell pelts (ug) for cash during the game they have more reources to go after the other animals. Second you could seperate the scoring from simply "3rd animal" to go instinct to what is the supply of pelts on the market. An animal that went instinct earlier is not less valuable than an animal that went instinct more recently. What matters is the supply. Players want to hold onto pelts as long as possible for the greatest payoff. But selling a pelt takes an action. So then how the game ends becomes an important mechanic. Players with unsold pelts in their inventory at the end should suffer diminsihed rewards.

Louard
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Context should answer two questions

The reason the theme is what it is AND that driving animals to extinction is so pivotal to the game is that this was an entry in this years Global Game Jam and the theme was, you guessed it, extinction.

Thanks for the feedback everyone, we'll be trying a few ideas this Friday, I'll report back after that.

rcjames14
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Game Jam

Where did you jam?
And how many people chose to make a tabletop there?

At the NYU jam, we had 2 tabletops presented as compared to about 24 or so digitals. As you can guess, there were quite a few versions of the game of life, including to some degree our own. But I think my favorite was a planet busting game where you were a dinosaur driving a meteor around solar systems. It was hilarious and the art and sound was good too.

Louard
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Only the lonely

We jammed in Ottawa, out of about a dozen entries, give or take, we were the only non-digital. What was your game's name, I would love to look it up!

John B
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My thoughts

What if pelts went up in value as an animal approached extinction but lost value once another animal went extinct? An animal is endangered when there are 4 left and pelts are worth 2, they are critically endangered when there are 2 left and pelts are worth 3, when extinct pelts are worth 4. When the next animal goes extinct the current animal’s pelts value go back to 1.

This way a player must decide when it is best to sell based on the current value and on how close other animals are to extinction.

One option would be that once they go extinct you can only sell 1 per turn so you have to be real careful if you want to hold out until extinction.

rcjames14
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Unfinished Business

Louard wrote:
What was your game's name, I would love to look it up!

Since it wasn't completed by 5pm, our team decided not to post it until it was finished. We slapped together a short presentation for everyone at NYU to see what we had in mind (since the sound and art were actually mostly complete), but the logic and user interface was not in place at the time to allow the game to do what we initially designed for it to do. So, we negotiated with each other another day to finally finish it. In all hope, that will be the outcome of this Friday.

Louard
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Digital?

Oh, you went digital, eh? Traitor!! ^_^

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