:: Final Game Post #2 ::
Dark Dawn: I had originally hoped to be able to finish this game that a friend and I had designed over the summer. The game was nearing compleation, but something wasn't working, but I didn't know quite what it was. Because of our discussions/readings I can now better describe what was wrong with it. Although for this class I think my time would be better spent on designing a more conceptually interesting, perhaps less object-oriented game, atleast now I know what I need to work on if later on I do decide to develop Dark Dawn.
The problem I was running into was that I had not enough control of any of the three scale/duration graphs. But to understand the problems I was having, first I have to explain what I was trying to acomplish.
As you may have read before, I am a fan of Magic: the gathering -- as is my friend who helped me -- and we were always thinking of ways to improve upon it. So, when we were about 13 we decided to make our own game. Drawing inspiration from our love of StarCraft and Risk we tried to make a game that involved resource managment and strategic unit placement. But we were 13. So after a day and a half of drawing pirates and monsters we got bored and moved on. That is, until this summer when we found ourselves at home and bored. So after trying to entertain ourselves with some games of Magic, we decided to give Dark Dawn a second try.
The basic idea of the game is you chose one of four clans (each with their own uniqe characteristics) who inhabit a mythical planet. You then chose which of the four lands of this planet you will inhabit. Each land affacts different clans in different ways, as well as having uniqe characteristics of their own (such as shore size, achres of fertile land, and ore content.) You also draw a Capitol card, which again alters your gameplay depending on your clan (how much enrgy you get, or how much certian units cost, etc.) You then set up Farms and Mines for your Workers to generate "money" from, and along with energy you gather in a number of different ways, you begin to recruit units. Units are either Advanced (can attack other lands) or Homebound (can only defend), and you assign them to the first of second line of defense. Anyway...the goal is to build an army that can punch a big enough hole in your opponants defense for long enough to get a "flag bearer" unit through to your enemys Capitol. If he stays there one turn, you win.
The biggest problem has been the spacial scale of the game. With so many cards, and so many tokens floating around, we had a hard time finding a space big enough to play on, and when we did our spread got so big we couldn't keep track of it all. (see diagram -- and that just one players set-up)
And although in theory you should be able to play with four people -- or more if we modified it slightly -- we had a hard enough time getting through it with just the two of us. So at this point it looks as though the Number of Players is locked firmly at two, since one player is out of the question.
We wanted the game to be longer than the average Magic match, and for the most part it is. The problem is, however, that the beginning of the game (mostly setting up your Capitol, getting workers out, and mineing) is very time consuming. And since it is turn-based, one player has to sit and watch as the other takes 5 - 10 mins to decide where he gonna send his workers and make sure he doesn't cheat when collecting farm or mine tokens. (It would really work better if this process was a bit more automated...like if it were a computer game.) Once the game gets going the pace seems pretty strong and the combat can be alot of fun. There is good stratigy in placing units and who attacks where and when. But once the scales got tipped more than just a little the game was over in only a few turns, so there needs to be more ability to come back from behind.
Now I know why Dark Dawn was struggling, and for this corse will try to make a game less complex so that I can learn to control the Player/Scale/Duration graphs before I tackle something this large.