Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Mechanics, Mood and Paralysis

Here are a few more concept sketches for the monsters (Galaxy Note 8 using Sketchbook Pro) before we dive into mechanics and design etc.

I have been working through a suite of specific little mechanics for the Loch Maiden game both in terms of large sweeping changes to tiny tweaks. While this design process has been consistently revealing interesting ideas, quirky mechanics etc, the complexity of a board game design has led to a little analysis paralysis. This term is often used in game play itself where players end up spending too much time thinking about their moves due to the complexity or amount of options before them. Whether it be chess and trying to see a horde of moves ahead or a game with many players and options like Descent 2E this problem can drag things out. As for my game design I think I need to get a version into a playtestable form so the ideas can escape from my head and my notes and get input from fellow players on the elements they like.

One example of this evolution of the mechanical design is how the Maiden's mood works. Things started out with a Mood deck or Maiden deck, the advantage here is that the cards were tied directly to the central character and moved the focus to her, though it was really the simplest solution - just make another deck to control her state. Then when looking at simplifying the game and the number of decks the Mood cards merged in with the event deck - to become a special event type that would show the different mood colours in order of her preference. This ties in with how players pay for charms using resources the value of which is impacted be their colour in relation to the maidens mood. At the same time other triggers and changes were folded into the events which had the potential to streamline things and move the learning of the game a little more to the cards themselves.
The most recent idea around the mood is to still have the mood controlled by events, but rather than the mood card itself moving to the board with all of the colours represented in order, the mood card just states which colour the maiden now likes most and on the board separate little markers are moved to reflect the change. This means her mood swings aren't quite so dramatic, allowing players to at least try and collect resources she might like. If multiple mood swings come up in quick succession then she is still going to feel very moody which is good.

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