Have you played Chaos Overlords? Sounds a bit similar (equip and reserach as an action that uses up a turn), I recommend checking.
Funny enough, when we were originally coming up with the game idea, someone said the same thing. We looked at it and, in a lot of ways, it’s the 1996 version of the game we hope to build. In some ways, my dream is comes close to what a modernized, slightly re-imagined version of that game could be.
In terms of prototype, we’re just in the middle of getting our first build up and running. I agree that once we have a running prototype, things will be a lot less murky. I would just like to have my self set-up as best I can before we get there.
I'm currently under the impression this is a board game. Do you intend to make this a computer video game, or a physical board game?
First, thank you for such a great reply. It is a computer game but, I find it’s easier to explain the game in terms of a (conceptual) board and cards.
If I understand correctly, you'd like the wizards to be advantaged in numbers, whereas mecha should be a "quality first" type? You have to be EXTREMELY careful about this in a game where territory plays out. You have to account for the following:
- Mobility (more units can have a better overall reach)
- Control (you game relies on controlling more regions, and more units can more easily control more regions)
- Concentration of forces / flanking (large amount of units can more easily outnumber the enemy at wanted encounter points).
To better examplify this one, note that a game of chess with a king and a queen faced against a king and all of its minor pieces will put the latter player at a serious advantage. A skilled player will easily thwart the Queen's mobility in but a few turns.
Your chess analogy is quite apt, and it highlights my concerns perfectly. The hope that I have right now is that if I can balance my units right, I can have a transition from magic to mecha with minimal disruption. Magic being minor pieces and mecha being the queen, I would ideally like to keep the dynamic of the chess scenario you presented. Mecha should not completely dominate magic but, magic shouldn’t be able to thwart mecha easily or without some strategy or tact. My the idea is to have magic users being a unit that is effective at the start of the game (“out of the gate” if you will) but will become less and less effective as higher quality (price) units come into play. Having said that, what I need to do now is have a look at the concepts of mobility, control, and concentration; what role they play and how I can best utilize that in my design (or what relevant changes I need to make). I want to make sure I’m understanding the idea’s correctly though.
In my game, because magic is cheaper and weaker (requires more turns to control an area, weaker attacks), the player would have a greater ability to hire additional units based on their having a lower cost. Additional units can either begin taking over multiple areas simultaneously or can concentrate on an area and control it more quickly. Conversely, mecha units are stronger (can control an area more quickly) but, due to their higher cost, a player will be able to hire mecha units less frequently.
Mobility - with respect to my game, I feel like this would involve a players ability to grow their controlled area (with units) or simply the number of units a player would be able to move in a given turn.
If I have that right then I think the balance here comes in terms of a units ability to take control over an area.
Control - where as mobility deals with the players ability to grow their territory, especially in multiple directions, I think control would relate more to a players ability to control and subsequently dominate an area.
Concentration - I think this would apply to ideas such as “stacking” units on a given area and the subsequent effect this will have on (combined) unit actions. Again, this is highlighted in your chess example above.
Your theoretical analysis is flawed. The thing is, you can account for each separate mechanic's worth and compare them to one another, but you can't possibly see all the potential synergies coming. Its good that you try and build a theoretical model to have something that could work as a first draft, but, this is just the type of thing you'll need to prototype as quickly as possible.
Good point. I guess my thought with the whole “relevant combinations” was that, without it, I would be testing about a thousand or so units. I’m just not sure of how to do that without it taking an inordinate amount of time. I think this is the crux of my first problem - I can create a database of nearly every possible combination of stat (based on my outline) including modifications for race and class. But how do you play test a database that large?
Idea to consider (diverse units will cause confusion unles player can figure out how to organize them locally/at locality to reinforce each other)
I like the idea os specialization and “roles”; and I agree that it would help the player greatly and minimize confusion. Like you saw I’m already thinking of dividing units down by race and then by class. I think if I keep developing this, I can incorporate your idea further. If I take Orimus’ advice as well and develop a deeper role, it will be a bit like separating trail mix into its ingredients. I can have clear distinctions between all of my units but, I also have a wide variety of units within that distinct role.
So if you want your game to be fun to play and not arbitrary (players like to know their tactics are not rendered useless because of simple chance/randomness) then you will need some small number of equivalent factors for your game that will allow the player to quickly organize MOST of his units -- he can still finess situation, but it wont require tedius mental recombining to get a adaquate organization in place for their available units and quickly see where their disadvantaged situations will be to be specially handled.
If your game allows it, I suggest that you make your "roles" a bit more complex as it will add a lot of depth to your strategies.
I think this might allow the player to, as you said, quickly organize most units (conceptually) and allow the player to for a better strategy. Having that diversity within the role allows the player to finesse the situation and allow for more strategic play as opposed to being simply tactical as well.