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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Looking for Some Advice/Tips rss

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Matt Pedersen
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So I am currently working on a city building style game and was wondering what some tips would be for balancing buildings. Imagine something like Suburbia where each tile has some special action, VPs, Production,cost, etc. The only thing I could think of for the stronger buildings is a higher cost.

Second, in the same game with a selection of buildings out, should the buildings be changed every round or when someone buys them the next card is revealed?

Thanks in advance!
 
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Terry Kirk
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When balancing the only real way to do it is with trial and error.
Play, and change , play and change.
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J C Lawrence
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I find it much more effective to build a numeric model against which I fit the various items in the game, and then to playtest. If the playtest reveals that things are wrong/imbalanced or whatever, then go back and correct the numeric model, re-fit the items against the model, and only then playtest. The premise is that you are using the playtesting to confirm the accuracy of your numeric model, not as a primary data source.
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Nicolas Leuenberger
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Yes, cost ist a nice way to balance things. And yes, you need some kind of numeric model, because even with only a few tiles you can't possibly playtest all the combinations.

For your second question: I like the buying track (no idea if that's what it's called) of games like Through the Ages: Buildings start out pretty expensive and get cheaper every round. The interesting decision is whether to wait for another round because the building will get cheaper, but might get bought by another player.

This also helps with balancing, because it lets you get away with less-than-perfect balance: If an overpowered card comes up, people will recognise it and buy it sooner and pay more.

As Peter Olotka (I think it was him) said on Ludology: Balancing is for wussies ;-)
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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Some of the previous advice I've given on balancing abilities in a few different contexts:
Resource Conversions
Actions Saved
Overall Value = Rate of Output * Time in Play
 
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Josh Zscheile
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This blog post (and the one it quotes) by
Seth Jaffee
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might also be helpful.
 
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Matt Pedersen
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What do you mean by numeric model?
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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mped68 wrote:
What do you mean by numeric model?

A math equation that predicts how strong something is going to be.

It's very hard to make a formula that is perfectly accurate, but you can often get close enough to be useful (depending on the game). And just having the equation will often help you reason about your options.
 
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Matt Pedersen
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Antistone wrote:
mped68 wrote:
What do you mean by numeric model?

A math equation that predicts how strong something is going to be.

It's very hard to make a formula that is perfectly accurate, but you can often get close enough to be useful (depending on the game). And just having the equation will often help you reason about your options.


Where or how do i find/make one of these?
 
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J C Lawrence
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Bluntly: you figure it out or make up something that you think is reasonable and the process of playtesting and correction evolves your model towards being accurate. When your numeric model matches observed behaviour and values over many trials, it is probably also good enough for the task.

Uhh, I'm going to guess that just having a card versus no card is worth about 5, and for each XXX stat the card has the value goes up by about Q, and for each YYY it goes down by about R, but for each Z stat the card has the XXX value increases by a ratio of about 1.5. Yada yada etc. And...I think I don't want cards that are worth more than 12 or less than 7 or else they'll be overpowered or too wimpy... Okay, let's make up some cards in that space, value them according to that function and see how that works...
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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mped68 wrote:
Where or how do i find/make one of these?

I talk some about that in the links I gave above.
 
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