Greg's Design Blog

A collection of posts by game designer Gregory Carslaw, including mirrors of all of his blogs maintained for particular projects. A complete index of posts can be found here:
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Group Building

United Kingdom
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Context: Dauntless Hunters

First thing: Look at this cool concept art! It's still very much a work in progress but the very excellent Megan Woodfine has volunteered to throw together some images for this project really is really exciting.
Rules wise I quickly dispensed with the tasks for last week, tweaking the trait that didn't work and modifying the three player rules. Now if one hunter group is more than double the size of another then the smaller group get more reinforcements - however if they run out the game ends in failure. This should mean that all players are meaningfully interacting until the end (rather than one having no pieces to play with) and gives some motivation for a stronger player / group to play more cooperatively. I worry about it when the monster is human controlled though - does it become optimal to victimise one group?

It'll take testing to be sure.

The next step was to implement a way for players to build their own groups of hunters rather than grabbing the pre-made ones. I was really excited about this as something I wanted to make possible, I think a lot of people really dig the "army building" part of this kinda game and want to make it excellent - but what I've written feels kind of lackluster.

There's nothing wrong with it in theory: You pick a type of character, select from a few different move or attack diagrams and can pay some extra loot (the generic currency of the game) to throw on some extra abilities and bells and whistles. It's pretty tried and tested.

Yet somehow it just falls really flat. It could be the lack of theme - Katie gets a lot out of an inaccurate attack with loads of dice representing her chainsaw. It's not really the same to pick "generic hunter" template and add some dice and throw on an accuracy penalty to keep the cost down. It could be that there's going to be some dull optimal for the system as is.

I'm not sure what, but it needs something that it doesn't have yet.

For the first time in a while I feel like I might be running into a wall with a game. Generally I have an experience of steady progress and building excitement, but with this project I'm having a harder time pushing it forwards for some reason. It could be that I'm not getting as much active testing and feedback - all of my other games have (at some point) been actively requested by people who've played before. This one isn't generating that reaction yet, but I can't quite put my finger on why.

Maybe it's a passing mood rather than something that's actively up with the game. I'm not 100% sure I can tell the difference between a game designer's highly honed instinct and indigestion. I may write something about mood and design and such in a future game design theory post.
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