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Lineage (New Abstract Board Game)

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sycross
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Hi,

This is something that I had posted in the old BGDF forums, but I wanted people to be able to access it here.

My name is Ray Li, and I am a 16-year-old high school student. For a class in Critical Thinking, we are required to complete a semester-long, independent-study project. For my project, I chose to finish and market a board game which I have been working on for a while. The game is called Lineage. It is a two-player, abstract strategy game.

My website is www.lineageboards.com. I would appreciate it if you could visit it and give me some feedback on what you think of the game and the site.

Thanks

Gizensha
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On the game, looks reasonable

On the game, looks reasonable and clean at a glance. You might want to clarify what happens if/when one or both players can no longer win due to no longer having the 4 pieces required to cover all the central points. (i.e. is making it so your opponent can't win an alternate victory condition, is it a draw if neither side can win, etc.)

On the board - You might want to make the starting ovals a third colour for clarity, but dear hell does the topology of that board look gorgeous at first glance. And looking closer you see that every line seems to be symmetrical with another line... But each line's symmetrical along different lines of symmetry rather than a simple reflection of the board (except for the short, straight, lines bisecting the starting ovals, which look to be transposed rather than symmetrical with each other). This may mean that one side of the board has an advantage over the other since while there's symmetry there, the sort of symmetry varies from line to line (On top of the usual for abstract strategies of an advantage towards the starting player which I tend to assume is the case for all [Do you have any gameplay analysis for first turn bias, side of play bias, etc). If not, fair enough.

But... While the game is theoretically notatable (since all the places the pieces can be are intersections of two lines) Notating this game would be nasty due to remembering which line has what number/letter/whatever.

On the rules, you might want to put an example of rule 1b which doesn't look like the line's connected to itself because it makes a very obvious oval, and personally I'd have said 'an arbitrary amount' since 'moves infinitely along' suggests pieces never stop moving unless they come into contact with another piece, but lots of examples is always good.

All in all, without playing I can't be sure, but based on a quick glance over the rules it looks to be a quite nice abstract strategy, even if potential problems I've outlined above limit it for social play only.

Hedge-o-Matic
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A first impression

Hi, and welcome to the BGDF. I hope your interest in game design keeps you around beyond this one project, since you seem to have a genuine interest and talent beyond any one given project!

I love abstract strategy games, and thought Lineage seemed elegant and interesting. Here are a few thoughts about the rules, having never played the game (so take this for what it's worth).

Notation
I think that notation is important for serious analysis, and would suggest that you give each line a letter, Uppercase for one side and lowercase for the other, with intersections being denoted as a combination of the lines involved, with a number appended as needed, should there be any duplicate intersections. I'd denote the starting ovals as lines A and a, for maximum clarity, with the left-side circles listed as B and b. Those closed ellipses are distinct, and should be taken care of first, though all of the arcs on the board are topologically closed by the "opposite side of the line" rule.

Setup
The rules, as written, don't take into account the influence of one player's setup on the setup decisions of the other. Given how mobile pieces are, this is an important consideration. If one player sets up first, and then the other responds with their own setup, there will be an advantage given to the second player, who can respond to inadequacies in the initial player's choices.

To address this, you could add a setup phase, in which players alternate placing their ten pieces, but, again, one player will be responding to the other, and get the "last word". Basically, you've got a stone-placement minigame, which would have its own strategies, which could introduce annoying delays before the heart of the game gets beating. But the only other choice is fixed placement, which then raises the specter of opening books, and simply gives player advantage all the more weight.

My own suggestion, which would limit the setup phase while keeping soe sort of strategic dimension, would be to allow the player to set up as many stones as they want, as long as the number they place is equal or higher than the number their opponent placed before them. If you don't have any stones to place, you take your first turn. This allows a player to try to develop an early advantage by hanging back, matching the opposing deployment numbers, but allows a player to basically claim first move at any time by depleting their setup stores, but giving the opposition the opportunity to setup in commensurate response. With just ten stones to place, such a setup phase would be over quickly.

Game Breaking
I check my abstracts especially well for the two game-breaking flaws: Perfect Defense and Perfect Attack. Have you vetted this game for mirroring play? Since the board appears to be symmetrical, it seems possible for one player to exactly mirror the play of the other, at least to a point. This can sometimes lead to frustrating Perfect Defenses, and your game has an open-ended movement that might allow such a play style, making a strategic advantage impossible to secure, since each play could be mirrored by the other player, and captures perfectly equalled, ending in a draw each time.

A suggestion to disallow Mirroring is to give each player a single black stone, playable on any turn, that acts in all ways like a break in the lines that form its intersection: you can't slide past it, and it effectively deletes the space it occupies (which cannot be one of the central four, and, I suspect, shouldn't be one of the adjacent intersections, either), thus making capturing around it somewhat easier, as it eliminates one liberty for nearby stones. This is only quasi-elegant, but may save your game, or give you ideas for some other way to break the potentially fatal perfection of your board's topography.

I haven't seen an opportunity for Perfect Attack, but I'm sure a better player than I would be able to find a very strong opening, perhaps strong enough to tip the balance invariably in their favor. How heavily have you tested this game to such opportunities? If you're like me (and I hope, for your sake, you'r not) you'll have a hard time seeing how your game will really be played, having designed the rules to reflect imagined strategies. Real players often surprise (and annoy) by coming up with completely game-shattering tactics. If you plan on marketing this game, I'd advise a serious round of heavy playtest. Have you considered using the program Zun Tzu? If you do, say "Hi" to Jerome for me!

Anyway, it looks good, and I hope to give it a whirl sometime. Good luck, and keep us informed.

sycross
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Reply.

Gizensha wrote:
On the game, looks reasonable and clean at a glance. You might want to clarify what happens if/when one or both players can no longer win due to no longer having the 4 pieces required to cover all the central points. (i.e. is making it so your opponent can't win an alternate victory condition, is it a draw if neither side can win, etc.)
I do include these rules in the actual rule book which comes with the game, just haven't gotten around to updating the website. I've been working on a completely new template design for the website.
Gizensha wrote:
On the board - You might want to make the starting ovals a third colour for clarity, but dear hell does the topology of that board look gorgeous at first glance.
:) Thank you!
Gizensha wrote:
And looking closer you see that every line seems to be symmetrical with another line... But each line's symmetrical along different lines of symmetry rather than a simple reflection of the board (except for the short, straight, lines bisecting the starting ovals, which look to be transposed rather than symmetrical with each other). This may mean that one side of the board has an advantage over the other since while there's symmetry there, the sort of symmetry varies from line to line (On top of the usual for abstract strategies of an advantage towards the starting player which I tend to assume is the case for all
The board is 100% symmetrical, it's just not reflectional symmetry it is rotational symmetry. If you rotate any half of the board around it will match up with the other side.
Gizensha wrote:
Do you have any gameplay analysis for first turn bias... If not, fair enough.
I actually haven't considered this. This is something I will need to test. Thanks for pointing it out.
Gizensha wrote:
But... While the game is theoretically notatable (since all the places the pieces can be are intersections of two lines) Notating this game would be nasty due to remembering which line has what number/letter/whatever.
Right now, I don't think notation is too important. I think for the most part, this game is intended for casual play. Chess is notated for tournaments, but the average chess board (at least the ones I've seen) does not include notations.
Gizensha wrote:
On the rules, you might want to put an example of rule 1b which doesn't look like the line's connected to itself because it makes a very obvious oval, and personally I'd have said 'an arbitrary amount' since 'moves infinitely along' suggests pieces never stop moving unless they come into contact with another piece, but lots of examples is always good.
In the actual instructions, I have changed "moves infinitely" to "any intersection along the lines." Again, I just haven't gotten around to updating. I will need to do that soon. I would ideally like to include more examples, but I also want to keep the instructions short for production cost reasons. Right now the instructions fit perfectly on a standard 8.5" x 11" paper folded in half.
Gizensha wrote:
All in all, without playing I can't be sure, but based on a quick glance over the rules it looks to be a quite nice abstract strategy, even if potential problems I've outlined above limit it for social play only.
Thanks. At this point, I think the game is more of a casually played game than a serious tournament game, but I would like my game to eventually be played in serious tournaments. I will need to test some more, but as of now, I haven't discovered too many things that make this game unfair. I appreciate the comments!

sycross
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Reply

Hedge-o-Matic wrote:
Hi, and welcome to the BGDF. I hope your interest in game design keeps you around beyond this one project, since you seem to have a genuine interest and talent beyond any one given project!
I am definitely going to continue with this. The project actually ended about 2 months ago, but I am still working on my game.
Hedge-o-Matic wrote:
I think that notation is important for serious analysis, and would suggest that you give each line a letter, Uppercase for one side and lowercase for the other, with intersections being denoted as a combination of the lines involved, with a number appended as needed, should there be any duplicate intersections. I'd denote the starting ovals as lines *A* and *a*, for maximum clarity, with the left-side circles listed as *B* and *b*. Those closed ellipses are distinct, and should be taken care of first, though all of the arcs on the board are topologically closed by the "opposite side of the line" rule.
These are great tips, but as I pointed out to Gizensha, notation is something which I do not really consider a priority right now. I may add notation in the future if this game really gets going, but right now I don't want to make the board look any more cluttered that it already does with notation marks. I think I may include a notated version of the board online for reference, but I do not think putting notation on the actual game board is something I will be doing in the near future.
Hedge-o-Matic wrote:
The rules, as written, don't take into account the influence of one player's setup on the setup decisions of the other. Given how mobile pieces are, this is an important consideration. If one player sets up first, and then the other responds with their own setup, there will be an advantage given to the second player, who can respond to inadequacies in the initial player's choices.
To address this, you could add a setup phase, in which players alternate placing their ten pieces, but, again, one player will be responding to the other, and get the "last word". Basically, you've got a stone-placement minigame, which would have its own strategies, which could introduce annoying delays before the heart of the game gets beating. But the only other choice is fixed placement, which then raises the specter of opening books, and simply gives player advantage all the more weight.
My own suggestion, which would limit the setup phase while keeping some sort of strategic dimension, would be to allow the player to set up as many stones as they want, as long as the number they place is equal or higher than the number their opponent placed before them. If you don't have any stones to place, you take your first turn. This allows a player to try to develop an early advantage by hanging back, matching the opposing deployment numbers, but allows a player to basically claim first move at any time by depleting their setup stores, but giving the opposition the opportunity to setup in commensurate response. With just ten stones to place, such a setup phase would be over quickly.
Again, thanks for these great suggestions! However, as I said earlier, I currently only intend for this game to be played for fun, and I do not think this will be a big deal until this game becomes a serious tournament game. One thing I have noticed about setup, though, is that one person's setup really doesn't have much to do with their intended strategy. In Lineage, experienced players almost always have approximately the same setup. This setup simply involves focusing pieces on the most important lines on the board. I feel that Lineage isn't really a game where setups indicate some sort of strategy, but rather that there are simply good setups which allow greater mobility of the pieces, and bad setups. This is just what I've seen so far. It is possible that just the game has not been "mastered" well enough by any player that different setups can be utilized for certain strategies.
Hedge-o-Matic wrote:
I check my abstracts especially well for the two game-breaking flaws: Perfect Defense and Perfect Attack. Have you vetted this game for mirroring play? Since the board appears to be symmetrical, it seems possible for one player to exactly mirror the play of the other, at least to a point. This can sometimes lead to frustrating Perfect Defenses, and your game has an open-ended movement that might allow such a play style, making a strategic advantage impossible to secure, since each play could be mirrored by the other player, and captures perfectly equalled, ending in a draw each time.A suggestion to disallow Mirroring is to give each player a single black stone, playable on any turn, that acts in all ways like a break in the lines that form its intersection: you can't slide past it, and it effectively deletes the space it occupies (which cannot be one of the central four, and, I suspect, shouldn't be one of the adjacent intersections, either), thus making capturing around it somewhat easier, as it eliminates one liberty for nearby stones. This is only quasi-elegant, but may save your game, or give you ideas for some other way to break the potentially fatal perfection of your board's topography.
This is some amazing advice! It never even occured to me to think about what would happen if someone simply mirrors the other player. I will test this out as soon as I can. Hopefully it won't be a problem.
Hedge-o-Matic wrote:
I haven't seen an opportunity for Perfect Attack, but I'm sure a better player than I would be able to find a very strong opening, perhaps strong enough to tip the balance invariably in their favor. How heavily have you tested this game to such opportunities? If you're like me (and I hope, for your sake, you'r not) you'll have a hard time seeing how your game will really be played, having designed the rules to reflect imagined strategies. Real players often surprise (and annoy) by coming up with completely game-shattering tactics. If you plan on marketing this game, I'd advise a serious round of heavy playtest.
Lol. Unfortunately, I am a little bit like you. Glad to see I'm not the only one with this problem. I am always surprised by approaches that playtesters of my game take. This is one of the reasons that very few of the games I've developed make it past basic playtesting. Fortunately, Lineage does not seem to suffer from "game-shattering" tactics. I haven't really seen one experienced player completely wipe out another experienced player, and often the person that appears to be losing has opportunities to make quick come backs.
Hedge-o-Matic wrote:
Have you considered using the program Zun Tzu? If you do, say "Hi" to Jerome for me!
I am not familiar with this program. What is it?
Hedge-o-Matic wrote:
Anyway, it looks good, and I hope to give it a whirl sometime. Good luck, and keep us informed.
Thanks! I am getting a friend to develop an online version of the game so people can try out the game before buying it. I appreciate your advice.

Hedge-o-Matic
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Zun Tzu

Zun Tzu is a playtesting program that allows real-time interaction and play over the internet. Check it out:

http://www.zuntzu.com/

sycross
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Cool

I'll look into it.

sycross
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Online Game.

Ok guys, a friend has offered to make an online version of my board game. Do you guys think this will encourage people to buy the game or discourage them (since they can just play it online). Please let me know what you think.

Thanks

lucasAB
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Online play

Why don't you have him make a version to play online, but keep the playing restricted to only members of bgdf! Well, maybe that's not such a good idea. The game looks very clean, I am very impressed with the web design, board design, and the concept. Congrats!

Have you approached any publisher with this idea? I am very curious to know how they've responded. Thank you for posting this!

Hedge-o-Matic
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Online versions

I'd say go for it. Not everyone likes playing online, and would like to have a real-world coy to play face-to-face if they had the option. The segment of the gaming population that play online is necessarily smaller than the total gaming population, so you might as well spread the wealth.

Dralius is a good source for information on this topic.

sycross
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Your Welcome.

lucasAB wrote:
Why don't you have him make a version to play online, but keep the playing restricted to only members of bgdf! Well, maybe that's not such a good idea. The game looks very clean, I am very impressed with the web design, board design, and the concept. Congrats!

Have you approached any publisher with this idea? I am very curious to know how they've responded. Thank you for posting this!

Thanks for the positive comments! I actually haven't approached any publishers with my game, as I have decided I would like to pursue my game through self-publishing. This is mostly because its always been a dream of mine to start a small company, and this game seemed like a perfect opportunity to potentially build a business out of. I'm glad you like the site, but I am actually almost finished with a completely new template for my website which I feel is much more professional. Hopefully it won't face as many problems as the site updating on BGDF has... lol. I'll definitely keep you guys updated on this.

sycross
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Dralius?

Hedge-o-Matic wrote:
I'd say go for it. Not everyone likes playing online, and would like to have a real-world coy to play face-to-face if they had the option. The segment of the gaming population that play online is necessarily smaller than the total gaming population, so you might as well spread the wealth.

Dralius is a good source for information on this topic.

Thanks for the opinion, this was what I was thinking, too. Is dralius a member of this forum? That's what a google search brings up.

seo
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Dralius

sycross wrote:
Is dralius a member of this forum?

Yes: http://www.bgdf.com/user/40

coco
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Computer version

sycross wrote:
Ok guys, a friend has offered to make an online version of my board game. Do you guys think this will encourage people to buy the game or discourage them (since they can just play it online). Please let me know what you think.

Thanks

In my opinion you can make an online version of the game only to play solo (this is against an AI). I don't think making a 2-human player computer version is a good idea.

Néstor

sycross
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hmm...

coco wrote:
In my opinion you can make an online version of the game only to play solo (this is against an AI). I don't think making a 2-human player computer version is a good idea.
Hey Néstor, I think a single-player version would be awesome, but unfortunately programming AI for a complex board game is EXTREMELY difficult. My friend doesn't think he would be able to pull it off.

It's interesting that you should say that a 2-human version would not be a good idea, because so far, you are the only one who has taken this position (I've posted this on other forums too). I'm interested in why you feel this way.

Thanks,
~Sycross.

coco
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Why only AI

sycross wrote:
coco wrote:
In my opinion you can make an online version of the game only to play solo (this is against an AI). I don't think making a 2-human player computer version is a good idea.
Hey Néstor, I think a single-player version would be awesome, but unfortunately programming AI for a complex board game is EXTREMELY difficult. My friend doesn't think he would be able to pull it off.

It's interesting that you should say that a 2-human version would not be a good idea, because so far, you are the only one who has taken this position (I've posted this on other forums too). I'm interested in why you feel this way.

Thanks,
~Sycross.

From a publisher point of view, I think making a free online human vs human version of a board game could prevent players from buying the table version. But if the game only allows to play against the AI, players will want to play against humans, so they will be forced to buy the game. It is also a good idea not to make the AI too smart, so the players are encouraged to play against other players to improve their skills.

I've designed and programmed TAIJI (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/31926). Table version is published by Bluepanther. Computer version is free (human-human and human-computer).

Néstor.

Gizensha
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...For a perfect information

...For a perfect information game with no element of chance, such as this one, programming a primitive one isn't too difficult, however.

What you want to do is store the as a game tree, pick a tree walking algorithm (While others exist which are better [as in faster], Minimax is extremely simple, and Alpha-Beta Pruning is an improvement on the algorithm that cuts the amount of branches. If you want a really, really stupid but fast AI, of course, you can just go with a Greedy algorithm, and simply select the immediate best move without bothering thinking about how the opponent will respond.) You then give it a limited amount of time to find a move. The trouble with applying game-tree walking to boardgames is coming up with a good way of evaluating positions. (Ideally you'd want a function that takes various factors, and assigns 1 to 'Player one wins' and -1 to 'Player two wins')

The complexity in this case will come from the variable set-up, of course, but that should be handleable.

...I may have implementations of minimax, alpha-beta pruning, and greedy lieing around somewhere. If so, they're in Java, and it was randomly generated game trees that they were walking rather than those that apply to an actual game, but they aren't too difficult to implement, and searching for them should find you plenty of places with pseudo-code for the algorithms, as I recall, so I don't expect that he'll need my implementations if he knows what he's looking for. [Data structures for storing game trees, on the other hand, is limited, as I recall, but it's just a tree data structure which values each node based on the game position... It's also possible to dynamically construct a game tree as you play the game... Which saves storage space but increases processing time] (There was also a test tree that I constructed)

As for the publisher perspective provided by Coco, this would surprise me, since based on every board game experience I've had online, playing via the internet is a poor-man's imitation of the real thing, which is only suitable for those who want to play against those in far off places. Even in games/groups/pairs who do not do table talk, the experience pales. I think it's as much the lack of physicality as the limited out-of-game social interaction.

coco
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Correction

Gizensha wrote:
As for the publisher perspective provided by Coco, this would surprise me, since based on every board game experience I've had online, playing via the internet is a poor-man's imitation of the real thing, which is only suitable for those who want to play against those in far off places. Even in games/groups/pairs who do not do table talk, the experience pales. I think it's as much the lack of physicality as the limited out-of-game social interaction.

Well, I was thinking about simple abstract games with almost no interaction like Lineage. Those are the only ones I play on the computer.

Néstor

Gizensha
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Even there, I prefer to play

Even there, I prefer to play in real life than on computer. [Heck, I think I prefer to play chess in a PBeM/PBP format with a physical board than purely via computer]

Though, of course, this might be just me.

sycross
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AI

Hmm.... I wasn't aware that there were so many algorithms around to help with programming AI in games. But even so, I am talking from the perspective of me and my friends' abilities. Do you know if these algorithms will work in Flash also? Because neither of us have any experience with Java. I assume that without the algorithms, making an intelligible AI system would be much harder.

And to Coco... perhaps implementing a game in which there is limited online multiplayer would work? Like, a certain IP address can only play X amount of games?

Both sides of this argument makes sense. Does anyone know if there has been any research done in this area? Has anyone actually had experience with implementing a multiplayer computer game and seeing a decline/rise in sales?

Another point is that even though Lineage is an abstract game like Chess, I think social interaction is still a big part of board games. Even in chess (unless you are a serious, hardcore chess player), I think in general, people will have conversations with each other and make comments about the ongoing game. Also, its just entertaining to play a game with someone you know nearby.

I can point out several examples to support my reasoning. First of all, modern video games are almost all capable of online play, yet I still see so many people going over to each other's houses to play the game in the company of their friends. Also, most classic board games like Chess, Checkers, and Backgammon are all available to play for free at many websites. Yet these games are still always being sold.

Comfort and convenience is also an issue I think. For me, it would be much easier to just pull out a game and have fun with my friend in the comfort of my living room, than having to turn on the computer and load up the webpage.

Although I am presenting arguments to support online multiplayer, I also fully understand, coco's side, however, and am genuinely interested in this discussion. I am still open to all suggestions/ideas. And since the game will take a while to make anyway, I have the time to analyze the situation and decide what is in the best interests for my game.

Thanks for the feedback so far, hopefully we can come to some kind of consensus about this issue.

Gizensha
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I can't say I'm too familiar

I can't say I'm too familiar with the features of Action Script, but... I don't see why it wouldn't be able to, though you might need to do some poking depending on what's easy to do in it and what isn't, seeing as I'd expect it to be Turing Complete.

Algorithms should be workable in any language which is sufficiently complex. A quite good site for seeing what I'm talking about with the two gametree algorithms I mentioned would probably be http://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~cs251/OldCourses/1997/topic11/ which contains psudocode for the algorithms and as such should be useable for any language, while http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~yosenl/extras/alphabeta/alphabeta.html (which also has psudocode) has a far better demonstration applet, I think.

sycross
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Thanks

Thanks for the links, I was looking for something about game trees, but didn't find anything. I'll ask my friend if he would be able to apply this to actionscript.

Ekobor
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If you put it online, a good

You're game looks awesome, and seems as though it could become something as widespread as chess, if implemented well. Once it gets out there I'll be sure to pick up a copy.

If you put it online, a good way I've found is to simply make a tutorial that is very limited in it's human interaction.

That way it plays out the same (basic) way every time. The player gets some options, but isn't really playing. Like the DreamBlade Demo: http://www.wizards.com/dreamblade/demo/demo.asp .

This one forces the computer to go first by pretending to randomize inititive. With the computer going first, it allows you to how how to start. The player is led through several situations, where upon the game 'jumps' forward to further n the game, to right near the end.

This way the player gets the jist of the game, has tried every thing, but is simpler to make (as it's really just a video with mild interaction). It also forces the player to buy the game to get anything more than a vague idea of what it's like.

Just my 2c CAN.

Good Luck.

bluepantherllc
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Online versions of games

An online version of a game, whether it is human vs human or human vs computer, does nothing but help sales of your board game. It also generates interest amongst people who may not have seen it otherwise - potentially expanding your market reach. If all of our games had an online version, I'd be an even happier person, but I probably wouldn't get enough sleep.

Steve Jones
Blue Panther LLC

sycross
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Hey, thanks Ekobor! Hopefully

Hey, thanks Ekobor! Hopefully Lineage can become a game as widespread as Chess, but I doubt that will happen... the market for abstracts nowadays is kind of dead.

Anyhow, I really appreciate your comments about having a limited "demo" game to let people get a feel for what the game is like. However, my friend is already more than halfway done with the programming the actual game, and I wouldn't want him to have to just scrap everything he's worked on so far. I think he is going to have a tutorial mode in the game anyways.

I also appreciate your input Steve, and if you haven't checked yet, I've sent you another email about manufacturing.

And on the note of manufacturing... I don't really want to take the risk of manufacturing unless I know that I will have buyers. Do you think taking preorders is a good idea? Would you, personally, be willing to pay money upfront with no idea of when you will recieve the game? Perhaps I could have people pay like a $5 down payment to know that they are serious, and then they can pay the rest when they receive the game? What do you guys think is the best way to go about online preorders?

dannorder
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bluepantherllc wrote:An

bluepantherllc wrote:
An online version of a game, whether it is human vs human or human vs computer, does nothing but help sales of your board game.

I think this is an overly optimistic viewpoint. If we look at online music sharing and illegal distribution of films online we can see that having free versions of products available increases sales of some of them but vastly reduces sales of others. I'm not sure what causes the dividing line there, but there definitely is one.

sycross
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Joined: 07/27/2008
Hmm...

Perhaps the dividing line is in the ability of the product to create an enthusiastic community, or in the type of person the product appeals to. Like if a product attracts people who are likely to become avid fans of something and are willing to pay $$$ to support that something, then the free version would increase revenue. As for Lineage, I am not yet sure what type of player the game will attract, so I guess having the free version will be a risk I'm taking. Of course, if people are not buying the game, I could always just take down the free version, so I guess it's not a big deal anyway.

Anyway, does anyone have any thoughts about taking preorders (as outlined in my previous post)?

GamesOnTheBrain
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Joined: 07/24/2008
dannorder

dannorder wrote:
bluepantherllc wrote:
An online version of a game, whether it is human vs human or human vs computer, does nothing but help sales of your board game.

I think this is an overly optimistic viewpoint.

For small publishers, this is probably true, but I'm not so sure about established ones.

I can list a number of games that I purchased *because* I played the online version, but I can also list a number of games that I would have but *did not* purchase because I played it online and either didn't like it or found the online implementation much better than the live-in-person version, due to the computer's automatic management of components, cash, resources, etc.

sycross
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Joined: 07/27/2008
Well, I am a small publisher

Well, I am a small publisher (if even that), and my game doesn't involve any components that are difficult to keep track of... so I guess it really just depends on whether or not people like my game.

benshelmars
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Joined: 10/03/2008
Why people pay or just take

Well many good issues have been brought up here, to answer one of the questions even though it may have been rhetorical as to why some people are willing to pay for a product and others just steal it, is quite complicated. All living creatures are thieves! Plants steal light from the Sun, animals steal life from other animals etc. Each life form does have certain survival mechanisms that have carried it to its present state. Humans have a social dynamic that assists in their survival, and that is cooperation, of course this trait is stronger in some and lacking in others. This is not a good or bad thing, right or wrong, or anything else it is just the way it is at its present state. In a sense it is always trying to achieve a state of equilibrium. Who knows there may come a time when we work without needing to be compensated because our basic needs will already have been met, however I doubt such a time will arrive soon.
Now as to publishing your game online for free and desiring stats for the marketability, by the time you collected all the data it is really going to be useless, sometimes you just have to use your gut feelings and make the leap. Personally I think that getting as many people interested in your product is good business, and the suggestions for a free version, great advertising. Ask yourself how much you are willing to pay for advertising? The answer will help you make your decision.

dannorder
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Joined: 10/20/2008
Huh?

benshelmars wrote:
All living creatures are thieves! Plants steal light from the Sun

Only if you stretch the words "thieves" and "steal" to mean things that they clearly don't mean.

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