Saturday, 29 October 2011

Version 2.02

So sitting on a train I finally got to write down the ideas for giant stone head version 2.02.

And on paper this looks like it should work - I'm actually sort of excited.....

Just trying to work out when I'll get to make this version - and when I'll get to check if it's playable - before inflicting it on other people........

Friday, 28 October 2011

So that did not work

Tested version 2.01 over the weekend and it's safe to say - total failure.

Introducing low stakes combat meant people were terrified of high stakes combat.  Which mean massive armies built up making people even more scared of high stakes combat.

The new renown from raiding  rules encouraged people to pick on the weak - causing them to spirl downwards.

While at the same time renown has to tight - preventing people from building stone heads at all......

The act of sacrificing cards was both fiddly and time consuming as you tried to work out the correct ones to give away but also seemed slightly pointless because so many of the cards were so very similiar....

Actually called the game to a halt because it just was not working.  You might expect that to feel rather negative but oddly not.....

Firstly there were a couple of things that did work.  The new hearts = man in defence, bangs = man in attack work.  Less felxibile but nobody got confused by it.  People liked the "each different symbol = new card" removing diminishing returns.  But the idea of renown as a resource - gained by attacking - seems solid and would drive the game play I want.  I just need to work out how to implement it......
Secondly I had a bunch of other ideas I want to test - again pretty damn radical changes - so all is not lost.  And if it continues to suck - well I'll just swing back to version 1.2 and implement some of the other lessons learned in that and go forwards.....

But if there is one take home lesson from this - it's remember what they said on the board game course.  Make your first version, play it solo (take all the roles), and that will tell you if it is basically ok.  If I'd of done that I might well have noticed the problems without wasting my friends time..... an important lesson.

Forwards to a glourious future that contains stone heads!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Starting almost from Scartch

The play tests for giant stone heads have given me a lot of feedback - and i've come to the conclusion that as a game it works if "you play it right" and fails if you don't.  Which is a problem.... Now obviously any game can have it's wheels fall off if players want to make it crash - or want to pick one player to be the winner - but I'm not talking about that.  It's players doing obvious, often sensible things, and the rules falling apart as a result.

So I need to think of ways of creating a game that a) rewards players for acting in certain ways without b) making it required and/or the only choice.

We've had two problems - which have been a) turtling and/or the disinterested player and b) the ease at which you can drag another player down at both your expenese.

Both of which actually revolve around the same issue - the lack of a positive economy in attacking.  Attacking costs you men, costs them men, and well the winner gets a benefit out of it - it's a fairly small benefit because more territotry is often not that impressive.  Lose 3 men to gain 1/3 of a man a turn.  Sure it might pay of in the end but it proberbly won't.....

Now the game works best when there are small battles - raids if you like -rather then wars of Genocide.  But at the momment players don't really have the option to engage in anything other then wars of Genocide.

So I'm going to create Giant Stone Head Version 2.01 and change a lot - just to see what happens.

The first thing to do is scrap the current resource system - I was heading towards this anyway.  So now we are going to have resource spots that tie directly into the two card decks.  So some generate projects and others generate ideas.  However rather then the value of these spots decreasing in a pyarmid numbers kind of way - what we are going to do is have different ones and you get one new card per a different symbol.

In addition the cost to play project cards will either be in cards (ala San Juan) or renown.  Renown comes from attacking so more later.  The upper half - the practical part of the card - will be paid in terms of cards.  The bottom part of the card will have a cost in renown (and cards) - this bottom part will most often involve building a giant stone head.  So to get the most out of there cards - and to stand any chance of winning players will have to attack.

So onto violence - we are looking at a big change here.  Players now have the ability to declare two sorts of attacks.  Raid and Conquests.  Raids are lower stakes and gain renown.  Combat as before - but in a raid the loser loses one piece, the winner loses none and gains a renown.  The attacker then retreats.  So they may attack - and gain a benefit without dragging themselves down and a small impact on the defender.

Conquests are old school attacking - winner is the person left holding the square with combat by elimination.  However such an attack costs renown rather then gains it - so wars over space will happen but a player doing it has to really want it.  And the new resource system makes the value of a space different for different players.

I'm sure these changes won't work out quite the way I expect but I don't think I lose a lot by trying them.