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Chance, Choice, or Conspiracy?


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#1 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2830

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 05:54 PM

I'm trying to decide how to handle multiple card outcomes in a competitive/coop survival game.

 

The traditional way would be to roll a d6 and consult a chart on the card. The roll determines the outcome, and this works fine but it means the outcome is based on chance.

 

Another Idea would be each outcome has a colour mark beside it lets say black, red, blue, white. At the start of each turn the player chooses or is assigned a number of coloured tokens and they can spend those tokens to decide the outcome of events.  This way the player is making the choice on what outcomes they receive at least initially but if they receive a number of encounters on a single turn they may have no choice but to take a bad outcome if they've already spent the tokens that would give a good outcome. (There could be a help mechanic here where another player can give them a token from their supply)

 

The third idea I have is the conspiracy idea.  A player encounters an event it has colour coded outcomes as above but the other player vote in secret placing a face down colour marker which are then revealed to determine the outcome for the player.  Whichever outcome the group decided on is the one you get.

 

Fourth.... I don't really know one player decides in secret.

 

Fifth.... you can choose to roll or any player can spend a token to decide your fate instead of the die.

 

 

So for example let’s say you have the event

 

Military Cargo Crate

While wandering through the wasteland you discover an intact military cargo crate.

 

Pay 1 Computer Code to draw a random gear card

 

Or

 

Attempt to Hack the Lock

 

1 (red) - The crate is rigged and explodes causing 1 wound.

2-3 (white) - Despite your best efforts you can’t get it open.

4-5 (blue) - No puny lock is a match for you, you gain a random gear card.

6 (black) – With your skills you not only unlock the crate but salvage the explosive. Gain an explosive and 1 random gear card.

 

 

Or the event

 

Half Empty Whisky Bottle

Its whiskey not great whiskey but good enough to share.

 

Choose another player you both draw 1 story card

 

Then

 

4+ (white) - There is enough for a second round you and player of your choice draw a story card.

 



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#2 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 21765

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 09:29 PM

Assuming the event cards are drawn by chance, then there is already some chance in the results regardless of which game design method you go with, so I wouldn't go with the dice roll.

 

Instead, I'd use the player-choice option, with the tokens, and I'd make events cards that are predominantly negative, predominantly positive, or a mix of positive and negative. What I mean is, both events you showed are predominately positive - though the first card has a low chance of being negative, a small chance of doing nothing.

 

I'd theme the 'color tokens' as player attributes (for example, Strength/Constitution, Intelligence/Knowledge, Speed/Agility, Luck/Favor), or perhaps as proficiencies and skills (Computer knowledge, Wilderness knowledge, Military knowledge, etc...). Each event gives the player 3-5 possible outcomes, and the player can either choose the 'default' option, or spend one or more tokens to 'buy' a more favorable outcome.

 

I'd make events like this: (MS Excel mock-up)

Event_cards.png

(colors given just as an example - actual costs and colors would vary from event to event)

 

...with various tweaks depending on the cards. Some very bad events might give you no way of escape, only paying to mitigate the damage done, or some events may let you (get harmed, no harm (small cost), harm different player instead (high cost)), and so on. Some cards, perhaps drawn at the beginning of every round from a different deck instead of a specific player drawing it, could do some really good benefit to the highest bidder among players - demanding a specific color of pay, or could benefit every player that opts-in to pay the specified fee, or could damage every player who doesn't pay the fee, or could damage everyone player except the highest bidder (using a card-specified color).

 

You could toss in conspiracy cards as well, but I'd focus most the cards on player choice. I'd probably make the event cards focus less on, "Do you have X or Y color tokens left, or did you already use them?" and more on, "You have enough for A or B, which equal benefit (or which equal detriment) do you choose?" and also on, "You have enough to benefit yourself +1 point or detriment a competitor by -1 point, which do you choose?".

 

Perhaps in this regard, the color-tokens reduce choice, so players should maybe just have one type of token, and choose between {No token option A, no token option B}, {1-token option A, 1-token option B}, {2-token option A, 2-token option B}, {3 token option}, and so on, depending on the specific card.

 

Some randomness is good, but you already have randomness by drawing from a shuffled deck.

 

This is me just throwing out creative ideas (using what you've already mentioned), rather than suggesting any kind of balanced design mechanic. tongue.png


Edited by Servant of the Lord, 31 July 2014 - 10:04 PM.

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#3 valrus   Members   -  Reputation: 874

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 12:35 AM

Yeah, I wouldn't go with the dice roll, either.

 

Here's a system that gives you a hybrid of the three.  Each card has exactly two outcomes, and there are three currencies you can potentially spend to get one out outcome or the other:

 

  Money - buy your way out of it.  Replenishes through other events, but relatively frequently.  (This might be themed as "ammo".)

  Willpower - do a difficult thing.  It wears you down, but replenishes at a predictable rate.

  Honor - You can do a dishonorable thing and lose one honor point, but honor, once lost, is very hard to get back.  The events that replenish it are fairly rare.

 

Not every event will make sense with all currencies, but you should always at least have a choice.  Currencies are themselves represented by cards (so that bids can be secret), in "denominations" of 1, 2, and 3 except for honor (always 1 point).  There are also blank currency cards and maybe even a few negative currency cards. The player whose "turn" it currently is is responsible for resolving the card, but each player contributes one of their own currency cards face down.  Before seeing what everyone else gave him, the player then commits his own currencies and makes his choice.  All face-down cards are shuffled and revealed, and the player sees if enough of the right currency was spent to get his desired outcome.

 

The face-down cards keep the player from having perfect information before their choice (like a dice roll would), and simultaneously allow a secret "sabotage" mechanic.

 

One more complication to make it interesting: different characters get different cost modifiers.  Players' traits, virtues, and vices might give certain actions a +3 willpower penalty (that is, it takes more out of you to do something) or a -2 willpower discount (that is, doing that thing is easier and takes less out of you, and might even restore your willpower).  Examples:

  • Gunshy: Spend 1 more willpower point every time you fire a gun.
  • Vegetarian: Spend 1 honor point the first time you eat animal life.
  • Addictive Personality: Spend 2 willpower points when choosing to NOT to take an intoxicant.
  • Fraud: Once, you can lay blame to an event on another player, and their honor takes the hit instead of yours.

Many outcomes would essentially be health gains or losses, or gains or losses of currency (like finding money/ammo), but some could affect traits, too.  In which case, it'd be nice to be able to find a trait card easily.  You could add a spiral-bound multi-card thing (like in kid's make-a-monster books or in Settlers: Cities and Knights) to place in front of each player.  Then when the card outcome is "develop an addiction", you can flip the card in your "vice" column to Addicted, or when one player successfully achieves a "conversion" another player of their choice has to flip their "belief"-column card to be the same as theirs.  Maybe the defrauded character themselves gets the chance to be the Fraud (that is, there's always one character who can defraud).



#4 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4118

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 01:26 AM


The roll determines the outcome, and this works fine but it means the outcome is based on chance.
So what? It's based on chance, that's fine... Don't demonize the dice/chance, it's not evil, it's part of the game.

 


can spend those tokens to decide the outcome of events.
I don't recommend, it's not thematic and confusing. An event is an event, you can't spend some tokens to change the event, it's not how it works in real life :D

 

The most intuitive is to get 2 event cards and decide which one to play.

 


Military Cargo Crate
While wandering through the wasteland you discover an intact military cargo crate.

Pay 1 Computer Code to draw a random gear card

Or

Attempt to Hack the Lock

1 (red) - The crate is rigged and explodes causing 1 wound.
2-3 (white) - Despite your best efforts you can’t get it open.
4-5 (blue) - No puny lock is a match for you, you gain a random gear card.
6 (black) – With your skills you not only unlock the crate but salvage the explosive. Gain an explosive and 1 random gear card.
Too long, you will have big trouble to fit this on a card (small font, no/small picture). If there is multiple choice on a card these choices need to be one liners (check BattlestarGalactica) other wise it looks messy.

 

Generally, I advise caution on visuals when designing boardgames, these has much more restrictions than computer games. Take a piece of paper and writ this on your card and hold in in your hand, it might change your perspective :)

 

 

Also, I have a reservation on using dice+cards. I mean, you need to hold cards in your hand, throwing dice is... well, not recommended when youtr hand is occupied (it's not that fun). Plus, youi already have random generator (other cards), so it's not usually needed (the typical mechanic in modern games would be "draw another card from the deck and check the symbol in the corner (1-6)", so the other cards act as a dice).


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#5 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 11121

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 06:06 AM

I like the player choice option best (color tokens).

Otherwise, it would be a game of luck rather than skill, and I hate those (personal opinion).



#6 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2830

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 11:49 AM

hmm.
 
Giving the tokens meaning would be important and let me finally find a use for gear.
So what I'm thinking is:
 
Red - Violence
Black - Subterfuge
White - Social
Blue - Technical
Green - Survival
 

Acquiring a gun would give 1 red
A tool box 1 blue
Being the Engineer and revealed -  2 blue
 
A card has options those options might be gear or supply specific like being attacked by a wild dog and having a gun or they might have 1 or more skill marks beside them.
Some options might be marked as mandatory so you have to take that choice if you have the requirements generally always a bad outcome.
 
What would be interesting I think but would require lots of cards is have duplicate cards with different outcomes and instead of the player reading the card another player gives them the choices and the player decides how to solve it before seeing the outcome. 

 

Then there is still the question of whether tokens are spent during a turn or its just a question of having the right point score.

 

page01-e1406915528300.jpg


Edited by TechnoGoth, 01 August 2014 - 11:54 AM.


#7 GoCatGo   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 1637

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 09:02 AM


The traditional way would be to roll a d6 and consult a chart on the card.

 

I'm not getting why this is the "traditional" way -- am I mistaken in thinking that you are designing an electronic game rather than a board/tabletop game?

 

I love randomness.  Randomness makes games replayable.  I've gone through the same three scenarios of Combat Commander (tabletop wargame) dozens of times because the random events, goals, and encounters keep it fresh.


Edited by GoCatGo, 03 August 2014 - 09:04 AM.

Indie games are what indie movies were in the early 90s -- half-baked, poorly executed wastes of time that will quickly fall out of fashion.  Now go make Minecraft with wizards and watch the dozen or so remakes of Reservior Dogs.





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