The story continues with another couple weeks, focused on designing of our latest board game, a team-based party game with social deduction and bluff elements. During our previous posts I told you about the general idea, how we structured each of the core-game mechanisms step by step, as well as some smaller addition that seemed necessary. Now we’re going to talk about our approach on balancing and improving some of these things.
One of the mechanisms that evolved a lot during this designing process was the action selection system within a player’s turn. And by “evolved” I actually mean it got a little more simplified every time we gave it some thought. This time, we reduced the four available player actions down to three. After all these play-tests, we came to realize that one of them was not as useful and it was there just for some special occasions; well, I guess that wasn’t enough to convince us keeping it. Although, there weren’t any changes to the three actions left at all. Everything missed from that fourth action was integrated into the ability deck and our game got much simpler, while suffering zero fun-loss!
As you might remember from a previous post, another aspect of the game that we struggled with for some time was the variety of the player roles. Of course, after adding the pirate role everything made more sense and the hidden roles mechanism seemed to be working much better, but lately, we noticed that it wasn’t quite balanced yet. Considering players were free to share any information with each other, it was pretty easy to spot a treasure map and find a way to warn everyone about it, without creating other problems for your teammates… Eventually, the game seemed to be turning into an unfair race for the poor, lonesome pirate. The idea that quickly answered to this balance-issue was to have a variety of different value treasure maps! This way, the pirate would not have to reveal all the maps, just a certain sum of it, always based on the player count. Adding this small layer of complexity made a big difference to the pirate’s gameplay-flexibility and to the strategic part of the general players’ communication.
With all these changes, as you can imagine, some of the previously well-balanced aspects of the game needed reconsideration. Starting the game with an ability card on hand for example or even some of the ability effects themselves, were some of the things that we also refreshed, based to our new rule-standards. These kind of little changes are nearly inevitable when you design a board game and you should always be ready to deal with them. That’s why we consistently try keep notes of our ideas, because something that almost worked at first, might fit perfectly to the game three weeks later; who knows?
Thanks to our loyal play-testers and to the community willing to help, we recently doubled our play-testing events and we tend to keep it that way, until the game is improved to the best of our ability. You could also participate and help us accomplish this goal even faster, by reaching us on discord and grabbing the play-tester role. A prototype version of the game is up on tabletopia and we’ll be more than happy to have you. Let’s share the fun of creating a game together!
Until next time, stay Oddly Legendary!