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Which levers to manipulate

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MarkD1733
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Joined: 07/05/2014

I have some cards and tile spaces that have powers or otherwise provide bonuses and such. I want them to serve as strategic incentives for future tactical play (makes sense, right). I am trying to think through the various "levers" in the game I can work with to develop those bonuses/powers.

How have you done that type of analysis? I will work with some spreadsheet, most likely, to track it all, but has anyone come up with a good methodology or strategy for thinking through how to decide the levers, which ways you can "push" or "pull" them, how far, etc.? How do you make sure that that the levers aren't too narrow in terms of what they impact, etc.?

Right now, I have a single currency outside of the d6 dice which are the main driver of the push your luck mechanic (i.e., think Yahtzee-Blackjack). The currency is represented by, not surprisingly, cubes. So, my levers at this point are:

- Die adjustments/modifiers
- Additional dice
- Different dice (e.g., d8 vs d6)
- Additional cards (which have an assortment of powers/bonuses)
- Additional currency

Is there a way to think differently and look for more unique options?

Thanks in advance for the brainstorming I know is forthcoming.

Mark

Juzek
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Joined: 06/19/2017
My suggestion is to write out

My suggestion is to write out your (preliminary) rulebook right now. Many complex games such as League of Legends or Magic The Gathering are able to have so many characters and cards because the game itself is complicated, but for each rule there are gameplay mechanics to break said rule. As you write your rules you can think about each one and how bending it may affect the game.

I always get a little stuck when thinking about special abilities and actions. when I'm in my head designing I always gloss over that part. "Sure, and each card can have their own unique ability that affects their resource management" or something, without actually having enough levers to adjust. This may be an everyone problem

other things I can think of off the top of my head are:
-save dice for later/ work up toward a better roll
-certain abilities cost currency
-any of the card's abilities could be on the tiles
-earning points
-your points are also currency
-if this was a Cthulhu game, you would be slowly earning madness tokens, so something that lets your players play differently after a threshold of tokens or tracker
-change the objective / bad guy you are fighting
-locations for things - what are your zones?
---hand
---in front of player
---the discard pile
---the draw pile
---locked in the vault for now
---a cost to open said vault

let-off studios
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Joined: 02/07/2011
Balance

MarkD1733 wrote:
How have you done that type of analysis? I will work with some spreadsheet, most likely, to track it all, but has anyone come up with a good methodology or strategy for thinking through how to decide the levers, which ways you can "push" or "pull" them, how far, etc.? How do you make sure that that the levers aren't too narrow in terms of what they impact, etc.?
Playtesting can help you determine a sense of balance between all the levers you mention. To start with, you may want to consider the concepts of Cost and Effect. A couple things to consider:

  • Other Currencies: Is it just those resources that can be spent, or maybe things like action points, position, or other opportunities? In other words, a player uses one of your levers, but ends up missing out on something else that other players can still do, because they made a different choice.
  • Exclusive: If someone pulls a lever, does that mean other players won't have a chance to do that themselves? Maybe until a future turn? Maybe it's only available once per game?
  • Impact: Does a lever have a massive, game-altering effect? Is it permanent, or only for that one turn?
  • Cost Benefit: Is a lever more expensive than others? If costs were all the same, which lever is pulled more often than the others? Is there a clear outlier? If costs are the same and the lever is pulled a lot, you can increase the cost. If a lever is barely pulled at all, you can make it inexpensive. One can argue that this is what everything boils down to, so you may spend a lot of time fine-tuning these cost benefits.

I personally am annoyed to hear, "Playtesting will bear this out," all the time. But it seems that's what I have to offer you. :) Hopefully some of this is useful.

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