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Keia Ikekai Harris

Balancing A Game I'm Making (Card Game)

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http://mix-up-city-arcade-edition.wikia.com/wiki/Deck_Layout

Right here is the mechanics of the game I am building. How to build a Deck and the Auras that can get paired up with them.

The method that I built this game is by combining what I call Symmetrical attributes and asymmetrical attributes.

The symmetrical part of the game comes from how Rock, Paper, Scissors works. When you play that game, all the parts are equal to each other, so it is purely chance since each part wins to one, loses to another and draws to itself.

To add in asymmetry without breaking a game, I turned to statistics to give me a simple concept that won't break on me. Basically I added values to each Rock, Paper or Scissors; numbered from 0 to 4. In order to make this asymmetrical system work without resulting in a first order optimal strategy (since 4 is the largest number and 0 is the smallest number), I implemented a block system. If both players play the same rock paper or scissors, the smaller number will win and take the points from the bigger number. This makes it so that 0 and 4 are actually not better or worse than each other.
To keep things symmetrical, I made a formula to create various decks. Each deck is mathematically equivalent to each other, but because of the pairings of values and RPS, some matches play differently and tend to favor one side a bit more than the other. But since the math putting the game together at this point is stable, the game does not fall apart.
I decided to use 3 cards per deck in order to limit plays, simplify choices and just work better overall with the math.
Doing a little more math yields that each play is roughly worth 2 points, so to figure out how many points it takes to win the game, I use this information and what I felt would be an average game, that is both players winning in equal portions. 3 Cards per deck means that you can play 3 turns before you have to pick up all your cards, so I choose 10 points to win (before adding in auras). This makes it so that on average, players will play 3 full rounds and the deciding card will most likely be the final card they have to play, making the game quite exciting and feel very close.

 

Finally, I added in the Auras, which is considered asymmetrical by all accords, since each has different values and works differently. This is the harder part to balance. I figured that I would extend the life to 20, which gives me 2 points on average every 2 turns in order to make the Auras be worth half of the points needed to win, and then create effects that reward different styles.

Which is why I'm here! I want to see what you talented game designers think of the balance.

I also have a post here on GameDev regarding the game

http://www.gamedev.net/topic/677874-mix-up-city-arcade-edition-rock-paper-scissors-with-a-twist/

Let me know what you all think of this design philosophy and method.

Also, as a practice of design: Can you find a way to break this game? As in, a deck/aura combination that will do better against a majority of all other combinations? So far, I can't seem to find one...

Edited by the85thgaming

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