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Subject: How Much Is Too Much ... ? rss

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Kristian Mitchell-Dolby
United Kingdom
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So here's my question, my game has a similar feel to Pandemic in that the players are rushing around the board trying to battle "disasters" whilst simultaneously trying to achieve the win condition, the mechanics of which can change slightly from game to game.

So it's quick paced and tense with a constant threat of destruction, however, it's component heavy and relatively complex in the details so whilst it feels close to Pandemic it plays closer to A Touch of Evil. It's still a quick game but this largely results in constantly having to swap out the pieces and there's a lot of rules to keep track of some of which will never come into play during some games.

Does this sound like a terrible combination? Can a game be both quick and complex because trust me when I say the game plays quickly, there's just a lot going on and keeping track of everything feels counter intuitive to the quick, tense feel of the theme.

What I suppose I'm asking is; does just hearing this description turn you off this game idea?
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Mark Bauer
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KristianJMD wrote:

What I suppose I'm asking is; does just hearing this description turn you off this game idea?


not really... not yet
not before I've seen what you mean in detail. I would not reject a game because it looks too fiddly and complex. It matters what it feels like! Is it fun to manage all those things? Or is it 90% bookkeeping? Because bookkeeping is no fun and distracts from the theme you seem to establish.
A more detailed answer is only possible with more knowledge about the actual gameplay.
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Joseph
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I don't mind complex games and I don't mind quick games. I don't like complex and quick games. I don't really want to be setting up, moving and keeping track of a lot of pieces (and complex rules) for what turns out to be a short game.

It sound like it would lead to a lot of setup time and put away time. When I only have 4 or 5 hours to play, I want to play for a good bit of that time, not set up and put away.

With all of that being said, I could always make an exception for a really great game, I just haven't found a complex / quick game that qualifies for that exception ... yet, but then I haven't seen your game have I?
 
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Kristian Mitchell-Dolby
United Kingdom
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Anduin wrote:
A more detailed answer is only possible with more knowledge about the actual gameplay.


Fair to say. I did try to explain the game when I was writing the first post but couldn't seem to get the wording. Anyways, I'll try again. Bear with me this might be a little rough and ready.

It's a co-op game where you play the crew of space ship who have just barely escaped their last mission and are trying to limp their way home as the ship falls apart around them. So various minor disasters are occurring with the ship, fires, electrical malfunctions, collapses and the like coupled with an escalating series of major disasters that keep adding to the situation, maybe you mistakenly drift into a meteor shower, or it turns out an alien creature stowed away on board.

All of this is designed to utterly destroy the players in the most brutal way possible, fortunately though the players have a secret weapon, not only is the ship designed to travel the far reaches of space it just so happens to be a time machine. Whilst the time drive is broken it is still good for short bursts and when things get too much it can transport the players back to the beginning of the game, removing the accumulated disasters. Unfortunately those disasters are going to come right back at them just as thick and fast as they did the first time and the players just have to hope that their added knowledge of their fate is enough to see them through a second or third or even fourth attempt.

The goal of the game doesn't take that long to achieve but the players will be too busy counteracting the disasters to do it in one attempt. It is necessary to learn what is going to happen, work out what disasters can be ignored and what ones can be preempted and try and achieve the victory condition before the Time Drive gets overloaded and you are lost in the void forever.

Hope that might make things a little clearer. Any further questions feel free to ask.
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Rose
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I think that sounds pretty darn cool.
How's the replayability?
 
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Mark Bauer
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It really sounds quite cool!
However, I still want to hear how this:

"this largely results in constantly having to swap out the pieces and there's a lot of rules to keep track of some of which will never come into play during some games."

is actually turning out in the game. Can you explain that on a quick example of one of those disasters?
 
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Alexander Awesome
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If you cut out some of the stuff that might never happen in a game, will this hurt the game overall?

What i mean to say is - is the game fun enough with 3 things that might happen out of the possible 7? If yes, then thing 4-7 might be better off as optional that you can toss in if you need more varied or more hardcore play (as optional components in the base game).

The game sounds fun, a bit like Space Alert - perhaps its just the theme though

What worries me, personaly, is the sound of constantly swapping out pieces and lots of rules to keep track of (but rules can in most cases be either easily available on the board or thematicly imlpented so they make sense after they have been explained once...)
 
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Lucas Smith
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In a strategy game, I don't want to have any disadvantages because of thinking a bit slowlier!! (that's ligretto), so I'm not sure what exactly you mean by it plays quickly, but I'll ensure, that -in my turn- I have enough time. If I get it only 5 rounds afterwards, I failed, that's ok!

Ok, it's coop so second this, but anyway...
 
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Kristian Mitchell-Dolby
United Kingdom
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anjulka wrote:
I think that sounds pretty darn cool.
How's the replayability?

Alex Awesome wrote:
If you cut out some of the stuff that might never happen in a game, will this hurt the game overall?\
\
What i mean to say is - is the game fun enough with 3 things that might happen out of the possible 7?
\cell \lastrow\row}

I can answer these two questions at once. The game relies on it's unpredictability so no two plays will be the same or even especially close. The game takes place over 20-30 rounds which are actually just 8-10 rounds on repeat with the time travel mechanic.

Me and my friends who helped me brainstorm the idea mocked up a board and used pieces largely from Mansions of Madness and Pandemic (unlikely bed fellows) to simulate a play through and the more variety the better. If there are only a limited number of disasters and it's the order that is unpredictable it was still possible to plan ahead enough to win the game without ever engaging the time travel mechanic.

The way it is now the players start the game not knowing if they'll need to fight fires, rush to fix electrical faults, battle invading enemies or man the bridge to fend off an alien attack or evade a meteor shower and so forth.
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Kristian Mitchell-Dolby
United Kingdom
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Anduin wrote:
It really sounds quite cool!
However, I still want to hear how this:

"this largely results in constantly having to swap out the pieces and there's a lot of rules to keep track of some of which will never come into play during some games."

is actually turning out in the game. Can you explain that on a quick example of one of those disasters?


Effectively it's about the equivalent of Mansions of Madness or Descent wherein it contains a lot of pieces but you don't use them alone in every game. And disasters all have their own set of rules that alter the game in some way, for example Enemies boarding the ship add a combat element that isn't there otherwise. Unlike these examples you wouldn't know which pieces were needed until they come up in the game and there is no GM type character keeping track of them, that is the players job.

I've been thinking what if every disaster element had it's own rules card. You keep this stack of rules cards nearby during play and refer to them as need be, taking them out and putting them nearby or even on the board is designated sections.
 
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Jin Juku
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If there are components that are sometimes never used, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Cosmic Encounter has tons of races, but you never use all of them in any given game. But it's exciting that they're there.

However, there shouldn't be any bookkeeping based on components / game elements that aren't being used. Extending the Cosmic Encounter analogy, no one has to worry about an alien power that isn't in play.

There's always too much when you start a game. But you're not going to know what until you playtest, playtest, playtest. The great thing is you can take things out, playtest, and you can always put them back in.

So if the game is playing smoothly, and is fun, go for it. Also, though, you've got to playtest with wildly different people. Your one group knows the game already, really, especially if they helped you put it together. That's a good start, but it will alter their perspective of the game.

So I guess my suggestion boils down to: playtest with lots of different people before you pull anything out, but don't be afraid to pull things out.
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Mark Bauer
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my suggestion: try to boil down all those events so that you can explain them very briefly. Then you can print those rules on reference cards and theplayern can refer to them when they need to. I think about those reference cards from Mage Knight..
Its important that the players are not forced to learn rules they dont need in the current game. Therefore they need to be learnable 'on the fly' duringa game session.
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Derek H
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Anduin wrote:
Its important that the players are not forced to learn rules they don't need in the current game. Therefore they need to be learnable 'on the fly' during a game session.

+1 for this. The ideal would to be have different sets of "modules" (linked to events? or encounters? or places?) each kinda self-contained in terms of rules. So when the "module" comes into play (along with any game pieces, tiles etc.) you check the rules that are special for that module and then keep playing. I am assuming that the fun and interest would be that different combinations of modules would happen each game, which in turn would cause different interactions, and this would keep replayability high.

PS "Too much" would only be a problem if you allowed so many modules to come into play during a single game, that players would be spending more time trying to keep up with all those "special rules and pieces" than they would actually playing the game... i.e. add enough to create "fun" in the same way a cook adds enough herbs and spices to bring out "taste" in a meal
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Davey Boy
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This sounds really cool! I'd definitely be interested in taking a look at a game like this.

I would second the concerns above about learning lots of rules that might never be used. The game sounds like it might lend itself to scenarios (linked to the major disasters) so perhaps you could specify in the scenarios which rules will be used. Mage Knight did something similar, and it helped to create introductory games and lead into more advanced games.
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