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GameLab sets up on Mars

David Short
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Tucson
Arizona
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During one of the recent GameLab Hangouts, I presented my game, Mars:embarkation, to 5 other designers who were located across 3 different countries. It was great participating in a focused discussion with other designers. The feedback I received was very beneficial.

Here are the two main conclusions that resulted from the Hangout, followed by my thoughts on how to implement them and their repercussions in the game:

Combine Fuel and Supplies: As I've stated in previous posts about M:e, the game used to have 3 commodities: Fuel, Rations and Supplies. I decided after some playtests that Rations was superfluous and should be combined with Supplies to simplify transactions during the game. Instead of paying for actions with 3 things, now there would just be two currencies: Fuel and Supplies. After playtesting further, these 2 currencies worked out better than the 3, but I still felt like more streamlining was necessary. During the Hangout, this discussion surfaced and the idea to combine yet again arose. Combining Fuel and Supplies into 1 would definitely simplify things further. I would probably call them just Supplies.

Pros:
+ Steamlines the currency in the game
+ Simplifies calculations
+ Minimizes fiddly bookkeeping

Cons:
- Might water down decision tree too much
- Perhaps makes it more difficult to gauge a player's potential
- Removes the ability for Supplies to be a commodity that is carried on the Rover, instead it must be tracked another way

I'm pretty sure I'm going to combine them, but I need to be careful with the implementation in order to not dilute the decision tree nor alienate a player's ability to decipher an opponent's intentions. Previously, I could accurately see how far you could move by seeing how much Fuel you had. Now if I combine, then I only see your total Supplies, which could be used for not only movement, but also dropping off colonists.

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Mon Dec 5, 2011 9:33 pm
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