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Strategic or random

5 replies [Last post]
Joined: 03/22/2014

I am developing a game with the working title of 'power supply', the basic premise is that players are each power generation companies looking to supply the greatest amount of power at the highest price. There is a base load demand and seven event cards such as with events such as heatwaves increasing demand or drought reducing the output of hydro power stations.

My original idea was that there would be 28 events, enough for 4 rounds of play and making it likely the event deck would be reshuffled and reused 2 or 3 times during a game before a winner was declared. This allows for strategic play, e.g. A player with hydro power stations will know if the drought card had not yet appeared to plan for it.

But in my initial play testing I got feedback that it would be better if there were more event cards and the game was more random. I like the strategic element and want to keep it. I tend to think strategic games have a wider market and can keep people's interest longer. But this is my first game design and I don't want to be too precious about changing things in play testing.

So I am reaching out to the community, are strategic games better/more widely played than random games?

How many times would you be willing to see/play an event card before it is boring? Bearing in mind that the depending on the other event cards its' played with the consequences are likely to be quite different.

pelle's picture
Joined: 08/11/2008
I think you look at this the

I think you look at this the wrong way. Adding more random events does not automatically make the game less strategic. There is a lot more to deep strategy than being able to predict what events may come up. Of course without knowing all the details about what is on the cards and what the game is like, or having played the game, it is difficult to guess what the effect will be.

To me it sounds a bit dull to have a game with a few events repeating many times. Even if adding more events would make the game less strategic somehow, that is the way I would go personally probably. Fun is always the goal and strategy is just one of many means to reach that goal, not a goal in itself (except, maybe, if you design abstract strategy games; not my thing).

devaloki's picture
Joined: 01/15/2014
I think random events is what

I think random events is what is more popular, and what I prefer personally too. Random events are best for co-op , solo, adventure, and fantasy themed games imo.
But considering the theme of your game, I think random events may be bad.
I would suggest not using event cards at all and simply just have it so that there are different type of game rounds you go through that affect the rules differently for that round

Joined: 04/30/2013
The events could probably be

The events could probably be structured based on seasonal changes. Its the severity which I would make random. Maybe throw in some disasters for some tide changers too

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
Random event cards add a

Random event cards add a certain level of uncertainity and surprise.

This can be good for unit events or variation of values written on a card (instead of rolling a die) so that players could anticipate the upcomming values.

Joined: 07/03/2013

I did a game with events once, and I discovered that having events happen on each player's turn wasn't the best, but that having it happen after everyone had a turn was the best way to do it. That way, all players had to live with the results of the event on their turns, and fewer random events can go farther.

Additionally, you might consider including a voting mechanic on some of your events. I found that this was pretty fun when I played Twilight Impertium when using the politics cards. Additionally, you could make voting for a proposal risky, based on a d6 roll, so that it takes serious discussion by the players. Make voting have a cost sometimes, but a potential benefit that might be worth it. Conversely, in the case of allowing workers' unions, setting up more domestic sources of fuels, or not moving to implement safety guidelines, there could be a cost to not supporting a measure (also based on a roll of a dice). This means that not only do you have random events, but sometimes your random events are super random! Players I've played with really like it when something totally unprecedented happens.

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