Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Responce to Beta Testing

Thanks to everyone who suffered through all the rules to play Frisco Wars (that's a working title). It was good to see that even though there is alot to digest in the beginning, it isn't too over whelming for people. I got some good feedback and came up with some ideas on how I will progress from here.

The board we used was never intended to be the final board, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to look to be for the finished product. A replica Muni map? An anchient scroll? Techni-color Candy land? Im still not sure. But I do know that the 'hood names will be more prominant, the bus lines will all be the same color as to be less distracting, and I will include the different rule charts on the outter areas of the map for quick reference. (cop responce, extras cost, weapon pecking order)

I will have to come up with a bunch more mission cards, as people seemed to like the idea of playing to a certian goal better than trying to conquer the whole map. It will also make the game shorter for those people who don't like loosing a whole afternoon to a board game.

I might play around with the idea of adding some action cards that players draw at the beginning of their turn and effect everyone. Examples being: "Cell phones 50% off" "Uh oh, Tsunami" "Free health care" "Earthquake downtown" "Walking dead" etc. I will make some and try to play a game or two with them outside class before the final game play.

I am also going to re-work the gangs to give them more backstory and more ability for role playing.

Friday, November 26, 2004

:: Final Project Post --Pre-Beta Testing ::

I has a chance over thanxgiving break to have some people not from our class playtest my beta version, and I am making some changes according to how that experiance went.

Firstly I realized that this game is alot more complicated than I had originally thought. Even for people familiar with risk-style games, there are alot of modifications and things to get used to. It is even worse if players have had no experiance with risk. Not that this is nessesarily bad, but its just not what I had expected. Roger mentioned in his lecture when talking about all the bizzare and complex looking german board games that they were all infact very easy to learn. For my beta play testing with the class I will include all the elements I have developed thus far, but am open to eliminating them to slim down the game play and flatten the learning curve a bit. I know complicated games aren't nessesarily less fun, but I apreciate the grace of simpler games, and would like to teach people rather quickly how to play the game, so after this class is over there will still be plenty of people willing to play.

I also realize that the monitary element of this game will change alot depending on the number of players. Since income is based on 'hoods controlled, for a 3 player game the average income to start is $2000 per turn, but with 5 players it is only $1200. Im not sure if this is something that will have to be fixed or will add variety to the game types.

There is a problem getting near the end of the game where it is difficult to make a final push to vicotry. Since you are limited in the number of attacks to the number of 'hoods you control (plus any purchased guns) you can only attack 15 or 20 times in a turn, even though you may have 40 units (across multiple 'hoods) you can attack with. One idea to solve this is allowing you to attack once for each weapon you have from every 'hood. But this goes to far in the other direction, making rampaging players to common a scene. Perhaps selling normal weapons (not just guns) would help extend a players attack stamina while the cost of doing so keeping it in check. I'll wait to see what people suggest after our playtesting session before I make any rule changes.

I've also created mission cards, since conquering the entire map is very time consuming. Balancing out the difficulty mission cards will be difficult, and I will have to see how people react to them during play.

Thats all for now. Bye bye.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Responce to Feedback

Thanks to everyone for the great feedback I got both from peoples blogs and in-person.  I got some good ideas that I will definatly try to incorperate in my next version of Frisco Wars.

NEW FEATURES:

Characters -- Before the game starts players will recieve one character card at random.  This will be the type of gang they are controlling.  Each gang will have a number of home-turf neighborhoods, as well as weapon affinties and other special abilites.  Examples of such characters may be: Bums, Hippies, Yuppies, Tourists, Suits, Immigrants, Hookers, etc.  There will probably be between 6 or 8 characters in the final version.

Money -- Several people suggested adding money into the mix, which I had been concidering and will definatly include.  Players will recieve "protection" money from each neighborhood they control (some will give more money than others) which can be spent on new recruits, saving units, bribeing cops, buying weapons and taking taxis.

Unit death -- When units get "knocked out" (they don't get killed right away anymore) they will go to the hospital.  At the end of any turn a player can pay the "hospital bill" to get their units out.  But, if by the beginning of thier next turn they don't pay to have thier units saved, they die and are burried at sea.

Cops -- Players will have the ability to call the cops.  This ability will either be a once-per turn for everyone, or only if your home turf is being attacked, or if you buy a cell phone (I haven't decided how to manage this resource yet).  When the cops come they are 2 units (a number which will most likley escalate as the game progresses, eventually leading to a van full of swat team members will assault rifles a la GTA) with 1 Gun, 1 Hand cuff (E), 1 Night Stick (B), and 1 Badge (S) weapon card that are randomly used by the person who called the cops.  Any units lost to the police will go to Alcatraz instead of the hospital.  These units "bail" will cost 3x more than the hospital bill, but will work in the same way.  It may be possible to bribe to cops to fight against the person that called them, or just to go away.

(?)Taxis / Limos -- I am concidering including the ability to hire a taxi or limo.  This would allow you to "drive" to any neighboring neighborhood not nessesarily connected via Muni, and attack.  A taxi could hold 3 or 4 units and would cost 3 - 5 money tokens, and a limo could hold 6 or 10 units and cost alot more money.  This is just an idea and might not work, but I was wondering about the ability to sneak attack when I came up with this element.  I'll see if it is needed after the next playtesting.

Hopefully I can get some of these elements together for this weekend and play test it with the normal Risk-party crew.

Feedback for Elliot

1 -- I am giving Elliot feedback on his SFAI Balance Challenge.

2 -- It is a game of mental and physical skill, remeniscint of those old Nick shows like Legends of the Lost Temple and Guts. (those were my favs!)

3 -- The core mechanics are skating, thinking, writing and using the computer.

4 -- The game switched between figuring out problems and racing around a course.

5 -- As it is SFAI Balance Challenge is a game, since there is are cleary defined rules and an obvious way to tell who is the winner. The time penalty element with the math part could be fine tuned, but otherwise players actions have a clear effect on their position in the game.

6 -- The idea of lusory attiude is really interesting in this game. On the mental tasks you try your hardest to get the right answer, but then you have to try and stay ontop of this tiny board with little wheels while going as fast as possible over a windy course -- even though it would be so much easier just to run to the next stop.

7 -- I would give the rules a 10. Although what the rules are may need to be refined a little the way they are presented, and the overall gameplay is easy to understand.

8 -- Jacob decided to skip the math problems altogether and since Calvin tried them, but was unable to get any, Jacob came from behind and won.

9 -- I was surprised by the observers interaction with the players. Fans could mess with opponants during mental stages and root them on during pyhsical stages. It made it fun to watch.

10 -- Like I said above I used to love those challenge games on T.V. so I really like your game. I think it would be good though if you intersperced the mental and physicall challenges even more. Instead of having a thinking stage and a pyhsical stage, what it you had a stage where you would skate to a checkpoint, where you would have three math problems that would complete before continuing on to the next check point, where maybe you had to assemble a small puzzle or something. And as for the time penalties with the math problems, I would suggest making a skipped or wrong answer worth +15 sec, but if you get it right you add 15 sec to your opponants time. Then you'd want to complete the problems to screw your opponant as well as save yourself. I definatly like that there is a part of the game that is not timed, just to set-up who gets first pick. Like in Halo when we do FFA first to decide what the teams are for the real games. Anyway, your game is definatly fun and I can't wait to see how well (or poorly) I do!

Friday, November 12, 2004

Feedback for Leo & Calvin

1 -- I am giving feedback on the Lonley City game designed by Calvin and Leo.

2 -- The prototype was an anaolge version of the final game which is going to be played on a computer (PC) and is a stratigy/puzzle game.

3 -- The core mechanic for the game will be clicking the mouse and thinking about the plot and characters, trying to figure out what the hell is going on (I love those games).

4 -- When playing the game players begin to get confused, which leads way to understanding as theydiscover bits of the revealed story and put them together.

5 -- Although the prototype was just a small amount of what will be in the final game, and therefore didn't have a win senario, people still understood how the game would be played. There was a set of clearly defined rules for interacting with objects and movment throughout the game world. I might suggest there being a limit to what a player can carry, and including more useless objects, so that players have to pay closer attention to clues as to what they should carry, instead of picking up everything the see. The note saying need to wear red and then in another room finding a red beanie was great. (I like that the clues and objects were seperated so that players have to remeber clues they've seen for some time) But maybe if you looked in a hamper and saw: "soccer socks, an old blue sweater, and a red beanie" it would require players to be more on top of whats going on to realize the beanie's importance.

6 -- The best defined game element is probably the rules. Also the ability for players actions to affect their outcome. If you grab something important, you may be able to get somewhere that you wouldn't be able to without it. Like I said above, perhaps making finding those objects more difficult would increase the impact of that ability.

7 -- I'd say the rules are a 10 of 10. Players know there are certain things you can do (look, grab, talk, etc to people and objects, and move) and thats it. Players know what they are capable of and what to be looking for.

8 -- When playing these sorts of games players can either play detective and try to figure everything out from the get go, or play pack-rat and grab everything worth anything. But developing a stratigy isn't as important as paying attention to the plot and the setting, and keeping track of all the info.

9 -- I was surprised at how well the game translated to paper. But I can't wait to see the graphics you guys come up with.

10 -- When the premace of the game was revealed I was surprised and worried by how "normal" the setting was (no space ships, nothing in the past or future, no nuclear winter) But then as we learned about the "dream state" part of the game, and that it would be somewhat site-specific to school and such, I saw where you were going with this. If it's too normal it won't be alot of fun, but it sounds like you guys are making a trippy game. Can't wait to play it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Feedback for Q

1 -- I am giving feedback to Q for his game called C-Walk.

2 -- The game is played with cigarette boxes and is a game of skill.

3 -- The core mechanic is "pushing" and "tapping" the cig boxes.

4 -- C-Walk is all about flipping cigarette boxes. The rules are simple, but this opens up room for emergent play and players quickly expand the performance of play. Since players weren't bogged down in learning alot of rules, they began to perform as they were playing, each move extracting a reaction from both the players and the audience.

5 -- Although very simple, C-Walk does have all the elements of a game. There is a cleary defined set of win senarios, and players actions definatly affect the outcome. Players can even adopt stratigies, playing defensivly and moving away from the sides of the playing field, or aggressivly and going for the total knock out move. The rules defining the action were somewhat vauge, and had to be created as the game was played. The core mechanic of flicking instead of pushing was tested, and found to ruin the gameplay experiance.

6 -- The fact that their was multiple win/loss senarios (first to 3 or with tko wins, or first one out of ring loses) that added depth to the game, and allowed for come-backs.

7 -- The rules were a 7 out of 10, simply because of the unclairty of the core mechanic, which could only be resoved during play-testing. I think that since this game is so close to completion already, Q should spend some time making the presentaions of rules fit the game. There were several suggestions in class about ways to incorperate the rules into the world of smoking (matches, a packet that fits on the cig pack) and of making a video. A video that was an over-the-top "how to be the best C-Walker" would be fun, especially if Q included some more of his special moves.

8 -- Like I said in 5, there was a certian amount of stratigy that players could use. Although mostly a game of skill, how aggressive players are affects the game play. I would definatly suggest developing more special moves, like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, to make the game play more unique. Players could come up with their own signature moves.

9 -- The biggest surprise was the audience participation. People got very involved while watching, and would call out moves and suggestions. Everyone watching got into the game, cheering and jeering the players. This element of the game helps expand the ice-breaking quality of smoking.

10 -- I think this game is very open to Moding. Since it is so simple in its current form, I would definalty suggest making several alternate versions for multiple players and different enviroments. Perhaps even a massively multiplayer quick-fire version, where whenever you get on top of a players box, you get one of thier cigs right away. If you get ontop of two players at once, you get one from each. Maybe another version to be played on a staircase.

Q -- Great game. Since its almost done, think about Mod's and how you are going to present the rules. Definatly concider sending rules to prisons/prisoners and distributing to public...this game could catch-on. Even though I'm not a smoker, I understand the social role smoking plays, and this game only builds on that role. Very cool.

Feedback for All

I was surprised by how different and fun everyone's games are. I thought I'd post a couple of thoughts I had on monday's prototypes.

MONDAY

Cihan: I think the diplomacy aspect is really neat, and would work best if players didn't share their answers. I found that if the other two players put false, I'd put in a true since it didn't matter. You definatly have a fun idea here, the key is goning to be in the questions and the board. I'd say think alot about what kinds of questions you'll ask, and think about losing the yes/no questions, since they only confuse things. Go for more abstract and bizzare ones, because I think there could alot of interesting emergent gameplay when people start attacking or defending players answers. Perhaps making politically charged or personal quesions so that players have an emotional stock in their answers.

Lauren: The idea of a real-world RPG is very cool. Like I said in class I think it'll work better if everyone is given a basic "sketch" of the world they are entering. We should know basic info on every player, basic ideas on some of the interactions, and then a full bio on you, your target and who targets you. It's already going to be difficult, and I think it would be more enjoyable and get people more motivated if the knew what the world they were trying to fit people into looked like. As for a win senario, perhaps there can just be a monderator that a player can approach and silently expalin thier theory to if they think they have it.

Kwansoo: I've already told you my ideas, so um... *melee attack* ...boyakasha!


WEDNESDAY

Jacob I like the idea behind the game alot, and think it would be a great way to meet and get to know new people. The key is going to be in what the tasks are. I thought some of the tasks were really interesting, especially the ones that interacted with the other tasks going on.

Jay

Roger

Leo & Calvin

Katie

Monday, November 08, 2004

:: Final Game Post #4 ::

Frisco Wars! Okay, so here are the rules for my game so far. I haven't thought of a creative way to display them yet, but hopfully I will.

RULES:

Map -- There is one map, broken into 29 neighborhoods. There are several bus lines that run through the neighborhoods, distinguished by their colored routes and numbered bus stops. Players may only attack using bus lines, and may only travel one stop at a time.

To Start -- Players are delt neighborhood cards at random, and begin placing their units on those neighborhoods.
If 3 players -- 10 cards, 20 units each player
If 4 players -- 8 cards, 15 units each player
if 5 players -- 6 cards, 12 units each player (one run/gun card each)

Attacking -- Players will have cards representing the neighborhoods the controll. Each neighborhood has a unique weapon symbol on the bottom. These are the weapons that a player will have at his or her disposal, and a player can only attack a territory as many times as the number of weapons the have, or the number of men on each space, whichever is lower. (example: player one has twelve neighborhoods, each with one weapons, giving him twelve weapons. If he attacks G.G.Park from Inner Richmond, where he has fourteen units he can attack up to twelve times. If he attacks Marina from the Presidio, where he has ten units, he can attack it up to ten times.) If you eliminate an enemy in a neighborhood, you move the men you used to attack in the new neighborhood, and take the neighborhood card from your opponant.

Weapons -- are designated by one of three classes: Blunt (B), Sharp (S), and Entaglement (E). These weapons work on the same principle as rock-paper-scissor; blunt beats sharp, but losed to entaglement, which loses to sharp. Attacking and defending players turn over cards similtaniously one at a time during combat. Defender wins ties. There are also 5 Run'nGun cards. On offense, it is a gun card, that wins against any card, except a run card. On defense, run cards will keep you from losing a man that round.

Recruits -- At the begining of every turn a player get a number of new units, or "recruits," equal to the number of different bus lines that they occupy.

Post-Combat Movment -- After you are done attacking, you may move your men anywhere on a bus line in their neighborhood as long as they don't pass through and area you don't control. You may only move men on two bus lines per turn.

Win senarios -- There are multiple ways to win: either defeating all your opponants forces, completing your specific mission(s), or by controlling the 4 major bus lines: the 19, 22, 38, and 43.

Stuff to look forward to -- There will be missions, such as gaining controll of a certain bus line or type of neighborhoods. There will also be unique character types, with "home turf" areas, "weapon skills," and other special abilities.