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Gamers vs. newbies

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questccg
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Today I did one of the things that I love to do: introduce my game to two (2) newbies who have experience only playing traditional card games or dice games like backgammon.

I was helping both players and coaching them how to play the game. I needed to do this because I know from a blind read of the rulebook - they would never be able to play the game...

BUT to hardcore gamers, reading my rules and then playing the game seems natural. I have several comments about how the roles seemed too much in the beginning but actually worked out and were very handy during the game. I too, had that same feeling. It's difficult to explain all 10 roles and then have a newbie understand when he should use those roles, etc.

For the veteran gamer, the game is complete. But for newbies there is a little too much going on.

So my questions is: "Should I simplify the game some more (a little) in order to appeal to more players (including newbies)?"

Obviously this means the game will be LESS complete - but I can OFFER the removed elements in an EXPANSION that would really work and make sense!

Please let me know what you think!

Cheers all...

chris_mancini
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The broader your game and its

The broader your game and its audience, the better...unless you want a game that speaks to and challenges hard-core gamers. That said, if the game suffers due to scaling it back...don't. I typically like to consider the audience early in my design process, but then again I typically design fairly light games.

If an expansion can not only add depth/complexity, but deliver a true organic growth of the game experience, that's a viable option.

questccg
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chris_mancini wrote:The

chris_mancini wrote:
The broader your game and its audience, the better...unless you want a game that speaks to and challenges hard-core gamers.

Well I have had veteran gamers play the game and I have gotten positive responses. Veterans say that my game reminds them of "Race for the Galaxy" (RACE), Civilization and a "touch" of Firefly... At first veterans said that the number of roles were HIGH... But after playing the game, the roles were well BALANCED.

chris_mancini wrote:
That said, if the game suffers due to scaling it back...don't. I typically like to consider the audience early in my design process, but then again I typically design fairly light games.

I don't think the game will "suffer" from scaling it back. It's just the NAME of the game is "Tradewars - Homeworld". And there is a lot of trading going on - but often games break out into space battles... Where one player is the victor and the other the losers.

chris_mancini wrote:
If an expansion can not only add depth/complexity, but deliver a true organic growth of the game experience, that's a viable option.

I wanted to ADD the "Planetary" cards since they ENCOURAGE "trading"! BUT then the BASE game would be over 100 cards. Plus more artwork, etc. I already have difficulty reaching my goal with the base game.

And yes MISSIONS + PLANETS would be an awesome expansion. I don't even think I need more "scenarios" to be added. Perhaps an additional/bonus solitary scenario that I call the "United Trade Cartel".

But I'm not certain - we shall see...

Note: The "Space Battles" is what makes the game more APPEALING to new gamers... It's thrilling rolling the dice trying to out maneuver your opponent. Winning and defeating your opponent is exciting and can at times be devastating (because of counter attacks).

Since I have been struggling to *integrate* two (2) types of starships: Battleships and Tradeships, perhaps removing missions (and Tradeships) means that the BASE game will only have "Battle" starships...

Missions/Tradeships/Planets (now you can see how much this is...) seem to be a logical EXPANSION of the base game - altering resource trading for currency... The BONUS that is the whole "Missions/Tradeships/Planets"...

Soulfinger
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Most players learn from other

Most players learn from other players, so yes, it can work out if new players find the game to be a little obtuse -- if, and only if, you have a dedicated veteran fan base willing to mentor, as with MtG or D&D. That's why so many companies run outrider programs, paying merchandise to volunteers in exchange for them teaching the game at hobby stores and conventions. If you can afford to do that, you'll be fine.

On the other hand, there is FFG's Android, which I bought and will never play, because even if it is the world's best game, I simply have no interest in learning the rules from a book about the size of an issue of The Atlantic just so that I can bumble through a single session with friends who are unlikely to want to play again. Overly complex or expansive rules defeat the purpose of playing a game, which is to have fun. I do believe that some designers forget that neither challenging nor immersive equate to fun.

Consider revising to determine if there are any redundancies you could eliminate (i.e. maybe you have three effects that all serve the same function) and if there is a different approach you could use to simplifying your rules. Simple games are good. A lot of future gamers are learning at a young age from their fathers.

questccg
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Soulfinger wrote:Most players

Soulfinger wrote:
Most players learn from other players, so yes, it can work out if new players find the game to be a little obtuse...

I agree with you 100%. That's why I want to REMOVE "Missions". I didn't even EXPLAIN the rules of those cards and still it took 1:15 minutes to play the game (2 players). That's about 15 minutes more than I expected, having the typical game last 30 minutes per player...

But like you said, players teach the game to other players (often). The awesome thing is that two (2) players played the game for OVER 1 HOUR and neither player was bored. They were both immersed in the game. And when the game ended 15 minutes later, neither said the game was too long...

And it comes more to the fact that "Missions + Planets" is MUCH BETTER than just having "Missions alone". I think if it's a remote or less used aspect of the game - then why keep it???

If the EXPANSION adds so much more VALUE with Planets AND Missions well then the "Trade" aspect of the game is BOOSTED... And I do mean that in a very serious way:

I'd like to offer the whole freaken game to everyone. But I can't. I must find a way to crowdfund the game and then offer expansions to the people who have copies of the base game... And IF I am going to offer expansions, they might as well have REAL MEAT (if you know what I mean...)

Update: "Trading"-to-victory takes about 25 turns. So if you are serious about "beating" your opponent to the goal - it is very possible if you are thinking about this end-game strategy.

Typically newbies are more interested in duking it out. Something which may not work against an experienced gamer... He may "outwit" them by focusing on the 25 turn strategy!

let-off studios
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Starting Set

You could always try having a segment of the rulebook describing a "first game" setup. Have perhaps a certain limited number of the roles, planets, etc. available for a first game. Include everything in the box, but allow a player to add in more complexity and nuance as they familiarize themselves with the game over successive plays.

I had been playing Agricola for years without the cards, playing with the "family game" rules both multiplayer and solo, and was completely satisfied. Same thing with "Thunderstone," which includes a starting layout for a player's first game (and I play that game almost exclusively solo, and own nearly all the expansions). Maybe your game could provide a similar experience if you can create a "starter" game layout or scenario to introduce new players.

questccg
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let-off studios wrote:You

let-off studios wrote:
You could always try having a segment of the rulebook describing a "first game" setup. Have perhaps a certain limited number of the roles, planets, etc. available for a first game. Include everything in the box, but allow a player to add in more complexity and nuance as they familiarize themselves with the game over successive plays...

True I could add more volume to the 35 page rulebook (LOL) - but it's in a small format (5" x 8"). It's the dimension of a book and probably nearly the same size as old Atari game manuals...

But that's sort of the point: removing concepts will reduce the number of pages required for the original game.

Granted it's not perfect. I still need to explain why the Corporations are at odds. Now Nerida did a good job in making the Climax of the storylines a technology theft... This is sort of cool because it explains why the Corporations are at odds with each other. Aside from having different values and objectives, they each have their own technology they are keeping secret from the other Corporations.

I can also omit 3 storylines from the game and introduce them with the Expansion which would be "Planetary Missions" (and makes sense).

I don't want the game to be like Dominion where you have different ways of playing the game according to your experience level. What I want is a scenario-specific game which when you ADD an Expansion brings the BASE game to a whole new level...

So we'll have to see... I appreciate everyone's input. These are some good ideas about having a "Starter Setup" but instead players can play "The Derelict" solo-scenario. This scenario also doesn't make use of the mission cards either. Another reason to remove this from the CORE game.

I still need to think about it...

wombat929
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long rulebooks

questccg wrote:
True I could add more volume to the 35 page rulebook (LOL) - but it's in a small format (5" x 8").

It doesn't necessarily add more length to the rulebook, but it will make the rulebook more of a journey than a reference source. The Galaxy Trucker rulebook has an interesting format in which it walks you through the first round of the first game, explaining the rules as you need them, then has a section to explain the second.

Maybe worth looking at.

questccg
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wombat929 wrote:The Galaxy

wombat929 wrote:
The Galaxy Trucker rulebook has an interesting format in which it walks you through the first round of the first game, explaining the rules as you need them, then has a section to explain the second.

Maybe worth looking at.

Thanks, I will take a look at it!
(Sent from my phone)

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