Skip to Content

Comments and Questions on the June 2010 Game Design Showdown

38 replies [Last post]
sedjtroll
sedjtroll's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008

Use this thread for any comments, questions, requests for clarity, etc., regarding the June 2010 Challenge in the Game Design Showdown, entitled "Slippery Slope".

Enjoy, Seth

Black Canyon
Black Canyon's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/30/2009
Sounds like fun!

Since I have never played Dominion or any game involving a deck-building "mechanic," I wonder if that means I am at a disadvantage in overall design or an advantage in creativity? The only deck building I've done is in CCGs like Magic, etc. And I somehow think that this is something different.

hulken
Offline
Joined: 04/18/2009
The main difrence between

The main difrence between ccg´s and dominion/thunderstone/arcana is that in ccg´s you build youre deck before the game starts and in dominion/thunderstone/arcana building the deck is the game (building the deck id done by geting more/new cards into the deck). Also a difrens is in ccg´s you do not reshuffle youre deck when youre out of cards you loose, in dominion/thunderstone/arcana you just reshuffel youre discardpile and make that youre new draw pile.

sedjtroll
sedjtroll's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
What exactly is "Deck Building?"

The mechanic that's come to be known as Deck building can be described as follows:

Players have individual "decks" which somehow define their capabilities, and the contents of those decks change over the course of the game.

In Dominion, players purchase cards into their deck, which they will then eventually draw and use, and you win in the end by having purchased the most Victory cards... the trick is that the Victory cards don't DO anything, so when you have them in your deck it's kind of bad - turns where you draw them you effectively have a bad hand. Thunderstone works similarly, but that's not the only way deck building can be handled. There are some descriptions in the Sons of Dominion geeklist that I linked in the challenge post of other games using some sort of deck building mechanism.

I'll note also that though it's called "Deck Building" - you're not limited to a deck of cards. See Puzzle Strike - which uses chips instead of cards. As long as the mechanism works the same way as Deck Building does, that would be sufficient for this contest!

Also, who hasn't played Dominion? ;)

seo
seo's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
sedjtroll wrote:Also, who

sedjtroll wrote:
Also, who hasn't played Dominion? ;)

I haven't. So there's two of us. ;)

Relexx
Relexx's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/31/2010
ditto

ditto

Pastor_Mora
Pastor_Mora's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/05/2010
Make it 4

The full Dominion set with expansions and shipping to Argentina is worth a month of my salary.
Hope you see why I didn't play Dominion yet.
I'm waiting for Seo to buy it so I can pay him a visit ;)

dobnarr
dobnarr's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/29/2008
And five.

I haven't played it either. I just read up on it though. But it will be hard to get into that mechanic completely cold.

Black Canyon
Black Canyon's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/30/2009
There are more of us than I thought!

Thanks for the primer on the deck building mechanic. I've got a good idea about it now.

And I'm surprised at how many people haven't played Dominion! I guess that means we're all on equal ground, huh?

sedjtroll
sedjtroll's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
I stand corrected!

I guess more people haven't played Dominion than I thought...

Did I do a good enough job describing the mechanism?

hulken
Offline
Joined: 04/18/2009
You can play Dominion for

You can play Dominion for free on bretspielwelt.de they have a rule page in english so there should be no problem. Just go in there and play a couple of times so you can se what it is about.

seo
seo's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
sedjtroll wrote:I guess more

sedjtroll wrote:
I guess more people haven't played Dominion than I thought...

Did I do a good enough job describing the mechanism?

I think you did, but how would I know? ;)

And since this is a GDS, I guess it's going to be interesting to see how previous experience with deck building (or lack thereof) is going to affect the entries. Maybe a novel approach to deck building would be the result. Since you explicitly mention that the goal of the GDS is NOT to design a Dominion clone, and the GDS is about game concepts rather than finished and balanced games, I think we will be fine.

And Black Canyon will then have an answer to his question: a disadvantage in overall design or an advantage in creativity?

doho123
doho123's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
I've never played it either.

I've never played it either. I've watched it once, and said "meh."

Of course, it's a little too late now, but I'd call into question the purpose of "limited slippery slope" (a term I've never heard before either) as a major design consideration for the purpose of a GDS.

Kingmaking, runaway leaders, slippery slopes, etc. seem to be secondary effects that appear during playing and playtesting of games, and are not really mechanics themselves. In fact, I could argue that pretty much ALL games are designed with slippery slopes, in that any game with any kind of strategical thinking involves planning and executing actions in such a way as to gain advantages over other players, which then, in theory, should steamroll into further advantages.

But i guess the larger issue is that usually the GDS stems as a springboard for basic, rough ideas; not fully playable games and rule sets. I'm not sure that worrying about slippery slopes at the incubator stage is worthwhile.

Ewain
Offline
Joined: 05/21/2010
Worthwiles

Doho, you just enrolled me to this months adventure!

But i guess the larger issue is that usually the GDS stems as a springboard for basic, rough ideas; not fully playable games and rule sets. I'm not sure that worrying about slippery slopes at the incubator stage is worthwhile.

The opportunity to intentionally make a game lopsided, and have it reviewed by avid designers just have to be a good thing.
In looking for ways to create bad traits in a game, I will hone my ability to spot them in other games I'm developing (and with some luck I'll put all the mistakes in my entry instead of in a game I hope to make playable for real).
It may take me a very small step on that road, but every one counts!

sedjtroll
sedjtroll's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
Maybe, but...

doho123 wrote:
I've never played it either. I've watched it once, and said "meh."

Of course, it's a little too late now, but I'd call into question the purpose of "limited slippery slope" (a term I've never heard before either) as a major design consideration for the purpose of a GDS.

Kingmaking, runaway leaders, slippery slopes, etc. seem to be secondary effects that appear during playing and playtesting of games, and are not really mechanics themselves. In fact, I could argue that pretty much ALL games are designed with slippery slopes, in that any game with any kind of strategical thinking involves planning and executing actions in such a way as to gain advantages over other players, which then, in theory, should steamroll into further advantages.

But i guess the larger issue is that usually the GDS stems as a springboard for basic, rough ideas; not fully playable games and rule sets. I'm not sure that worrying about slippery slopes at the incubator stage is worthwhile.

I was thinking more along the lines of using an obvious "Slippery Slope" dynamic, then tempering it in some way so that it won't become a game breaking problem.

If you think it doesn't make sense, or that any game has that consideration, then you can ignore that part of it... maybe the critiques will focus on what a good job you did with it :)

metzgerism
metzgerism's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/19/2009
Deck building

Couldn't you utilize the deck-building mechanic as it is done in a CCG, prior to the game? Knightmare Chess uses a pre-game deck creation mechanic, and obviously it's a huge part of the game in Magic: the Gathering.

"Deck Building" is not 2 years old, it goes back at the very least to the inception of M:tG (17 years ago).

sedjtroll
sedjtroll's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
"Deckbuilding," not "Deck Building"

metzgerism wrote:
Couldn't you utilize the deck-building mechanic as it is done in a CCG, prior to the game? Knightmare Chess uses a pre-game deck creation mechanic, and obviously it's a huge part of the game in Magic: the Gathering.

"Deck Building" is not 2 years old, it goes back at the very least to the inception of M:tG (17 years ago).

I agree with you that "building a deck" goes back to 1993... but "Deckbuilding" as an in-game mechanism is what Dominion brought to the table, and that's the mechanism I was referring to in this months' challenge. A mechanism where your capabilities (your "deck") changes over the course of the game.

You could use pre-game deck building as well - but the challenge is to use a mechanism that modifies your deck as you play the game.

fecundity
fecundity's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
One way to have deck-building

One way to have deck-building would be to have a continuous draft. What I mean by this is that players begin by drafting small decks from a big pile of cards. After the first time through their deck or after a set number of turns, they draft more cards into their deck. For as long as the game goes on, there are periodic drafts.

This approach is a lot like the Knightmare Chess deck building rules, but involves changing the deck throughout the game and so would be "Deck building". Yeah?

Relexx
Relexx's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/31/2010
Is Citadels a deck building game?

Would you consider Citadels a deck building game? I am just trying to gains some perspective here.

sedjtroll
sedjtroll's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
Relexx wrote:Would you

Relexx wrote:
Would you consider Citadels a deck building game? I am just trying to gains some perspective here.

I would not consider the role selection of Citadels to be deck building, because while drafting a role each round you get access to different capabilities, they don't build on each other and they're not unique to you. Choosing King one round doesn't have any bearing on your ability to choose King in the future.

The District cards in play (and similarly, the buildings in Puerto Rico) could be argued to be "deck building" as they alter and add to your capabilities over the course of the game. So how is that different than Dominion's deck building? I think in the case of Dominion at least it's to do with this dynamic:

You draw a hand of cards from your deck - that is a subset of your deck, and will generally reflect the makeup of your deck. If your deck is full of Treasure cards, you're likely to draw a lot of Treasure cards. If your deck has a lot of Victory cards in it, many hands drawn will be likely to have Victory cards in them (this is why in Dominion it can be bad to get Victory cards too early!). So in Dominion, "deck building" is used to create a deck which will produce useful or desirable hands each turn. As opposed to Puerto Rico buildings (or Citadels districts) which are always in play, and are therefore 100% likely to be useful.

So maybe the true spirit of deck building lies somewhere in that space. Maybe permanent abilities such as buildings are similar to deck building (or even a subset) - but maybe there's a little more to it than that.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

richdurham
richdurham's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/26/2009
I'm all for really getting to

I'm all for really getting to the heart of what deck-building means, but I'm even more interested in seeing how designers will take "deck-building" and run with it in whichever direction they choose.

With that said, I agree with sedjtroll that permanent buildings in play aren't "deck building" in that there's no growing set of objects/actions you are drawing from. But I like the interpretation of "deck-building" of having multiple, permanent buildings in play if a few randomly activate each turn.

So deck building might be a physical manifestation of "growing your options over the course of the game, but having them randomly available each turn."

I'm curious what people (and me, since I don't have one yet) will come up with for this GDS.

fecundity
fecundity's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
richdurham wrote: So deck

richdurham wrote:

So deck building might be a physical manifestation of "growing your options over the course of the game, but having them randomly available each turn."

Suppose there is a game in which players buy assets that go on the table in front of them. Each asset has a number. At the beginning of each turn, two dice are rolled. If the dice come up 2 and 4, for example, then assets numbered 2 and 4 can be used that turn.

This meets your criterion, but doesn't seem like deck building for me. The random element is dice rather than a deck, and dice as a random element are simply very different than a deck as a random element. For one thing, you might roll the same numbers every turn - but with a deck, you will only see each single card once per pass through the deck.

fecundity
fecundity's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2008
Another thought: Although

Another thought: Although players have their own decks in Dominion, what about a game in which players were building a shared deck by adding cards to it?

hoywolf
hoywolf's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/27/2009
Question

So we have to create a "limit" slippery slope without creating a Perpetual Comeback system? Or can we have both?

Which of the two (or even both) do you consider Dominion has as well?

sedjtroll
sedjtroll's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
fecundity wrote:richdurham

fecundity wrote:
richdurham wrote:

So deck building might be a physical manifestation of "growing your options over the course of the game, but having them randomly available each turn."

Suppose there is a game in which players buy assets that go on the table in front of them. Each asset has a number. At the beginning of each turn, two dice are rolled. If the dice come up 2 and 4, for example, then assets numbered 2 and 4 can be used that turn.

This meets your criterion, but doesn't seem like deck building for me. The random element is dice rather than a deck, and dice as a random element are simply very different than a deck as a random element. For one thing, you might roll the same numbers every turn - but with a deck, you will only see each single card once per pass through the deck.


Some of this will be up to the individual entries and the judging will be up to the judges. Obviously "deck building" isn't as clearly defined as "Worker placement" or "area control" might be.

sedjtroll
sedjtroll's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
hoywolf wrote:So we have to

hoywolf wrote:
So we have to create a "limit" slippery slope without creating a Perpetual Comeback system? Or can we have both?

There's no restriction either for or against Perpetual Comeback in the challenge.

Quote:
Which of the two (or even both) do you consider Dominion has as well?

I'm not sure Dominion has either. One might consider that since the winning player has more Victory cards in their deck, that might be a built in come-back mechanism. But it doesn't matter, the Dominion-like aspect of this challenge is the "deck building" mechanism. A separate challenge is to emphasize some kind of slippery slope dynamic without allowing a runaway leader to emerge.

I'm interested to see what people come up with this time!

DogBoy
Offline
Joined: 12/15/2009
How Much Detail?

Gah! My provisional entry stipulates (at least) 18 distinct card designs, with a subtle slippery slope element intended to emerge from the interactions between the cards. Should I:

1) design all 18 cards (!) and leave it to the reader to infer where the slippery slope is, or
2) give a general idea of where the slippery dynamic is supposed to emerge

...?

sedjtroll
sedjtroll's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/21/2008
DogBoy wrote:Gah! My

DogBoy wrote:
Gah! My provisional entry stipulates (at least) 18 distinct card designs, with a subtle slippery slope element intended to emerge from the interactions between the cards. Should I:

1) design all 18 cards (!) and leave it to the reader to infer where the slippery slope is, or
2) give a general idea of where the slippery dynamic is supposed to emerge

...?


I'm not sure I can answer that...

Do whatever you think will communicate the idea "best".

richdurham
richdurham's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/26/2009
Keeping in mind that you're

Keeping in mind that you're not making a fully realized game my any means, what with the time and word count limit, I wouldn't worry about describing all 18 cards. Unless it's crucial to the game. For instance, I didn't describe all the variation in the deck-building elements. No time or space!

emxibus
Offline
Joined: 10/24/2008
entry question

Is it possible to "bold" text in a mesage on this forum? I'm ready to submit my GDS game and bolding the sections headers would help with reading (I think). I've tried [b] and , but they didn't work.

richdurham
richdurham's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/26/2009
There's a template

Check out www.bgdf.com/node/27 At the bottom there is a template you can download that demonstrates how to use the Markdown language to do things like bold and italicize.

There are also some websites out there that will show you what your Markdown text will look like as you write it...such as attacklab.net/showdown/.

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut