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Subject: Do games nowadays have to be simple? rss

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I'm designing a card game that has inspiration from both Magic and Hearthstone. For those who have played those games, the mechanics are relatively straight-forward. What I've noticed though is that Hearthstone has done especially well, crushing the competition in it's respective market. It's a very simple game that has traditional card drawing every turn from a deck of 30 cards. One of it's keystone features is it's RNG factors besides card draw. Lots of card text produce random effects, for example:



Battlecry effects take place when a unit is put on the board. So this example, the Bomb Lobber, has his effect that he randomly hits an enemy minion before he gets plopped down. There are plenty of cards like this, but what I've noticed is that they don't see alot of play, unless the random effect is really good compared to the cost of playing it. Most semi-serious/serious players play static cards that have solid stats and effects that aren't random.

This is where I've gotten my idea. I'm one of those that doesn't like the randomness of these games, and I don't think much of the community does either (that includes card draw). It's a common complaint that it feels like you either get lucky or unlucky.

However, do you think there is a market for more complex games, that break those traditional elements? Or is everything going simple style in order to catch a person's interest in that 30 or so second time span before they giveup/lose interest?






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Paul DeStefano
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ForestDingo wrote:

However, do you think there is a market for more complex games, that break those traditional elements?


I think you need to browse through the top games listed on this site.

Then ask if there is any market for simple games.
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Kevin Eastwood
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If there are complaints about random card draw in card games, then it can't be a deckbuilder. With a deckbuilding you're directly in control of what you put into your deck - which modifies the odds of the card coming into play. It's easy to blame poor card drawing as the cause of losing when you're not an efficient deckbuilder.

That said, I know there are other games where you start with the same hand as someone else, and when/how you play the card is the game.

 
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Geosphere wrote:
ForestDingo wrote:

However, do you think there is a market for more complex games, that break those traditional elements?


I think you need to browse through the top games listed on this site.

Then ask if there is any market for simple games.


Obviously there is a market for simple and intuitive games... Mine is going to be more complex.
 
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eastwoodk wrote:
If there are complaints about random card draw in card games, then it can't be a deckbuilder. With a deckbuilding you're directly in control of what you put into your deck - which modifies the odds of the card coming into play. It's easy to blame poor card drawing as the cause of losing when you're not an efficient deckbuilder.

That said, I know there are other games where you start with the same hand as someone else, and when/how you play the card is the game.



Everyone in Hearthstone pretty much netdecks.

And yes, mine will be a deckbuilder without traditional card draw.
 
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I think he meant "Then ask if there is any market for complex games."

His point is that most of the people who use BGG are into complex games and you should do your research before asking questions like that.
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Darrell Hanning
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There is always a market for more complex games, if they are challenging to the player, while being of sound design.

It just isn't as big a market. Lowest Common Denominator prevails.
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Steven Tu
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Your question is moot if you look at the kind of games that are loved around here on BGG. MOST of them aren't easy to learn with RNG effects up the wazoo. It's kinda pointless talking about Hearthstone here when we *know* the top of BGG are games like Terra Mystica, Twilight Struggle, Netrunner, Agricola, etc.

Hearthstone wasn't even made *for* the typical boardgamer you'd find here on BGG. Hearthstone features RNG in a huge way mostly because it takes advantage of being a purely digital game, so instead of having to roll a dice every time an RNG effect is called for, it's worked out smoothly and automatically without any interruption.

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ForestDingo wrote:
eastwoodk wrote:
If there are complaints about random card draw in card games, then it can't be a deckbuilder. With a deckbuilding you're directly in control of what you put into your deck - which modifies the odds of the card coming into play. It's easy to blame poor card drawing as the cause of losing when you're not an efficient deckbuilder.

That said, I know there are other games where you start with the same hand as someone else, and when/how you play the card is the game.



Everyone in Hearthstone pretty much netdecks.

And yes, mine will be a deckbuilder without traditional card draw.


Look at Mage Wars Arena.

And I do think that simple is king in F2P and/or mobile games, but F2P/mobile should neither be taken as representative of video nor (especially!) board games.

There is a market for simple games, and it is larger than the market for (for lack of a better term) "proper" games, and Blizzard is arguably the best at creating unholy abominations that straddle both markets (Which is why I mostly stay away from their games: I like complexity, and they force you to dig it up from under a mountain of irrelevancies because they don't want their target audience to notice there is such a thing hidden in their products), but that doesn't mean you have to follow the fallacy "simpler = more money to snort cocaine through" that many financiers have taken to.

And btw. the card you show is almost certainly primarily made for the "watcher/voyeur/observer/whateveryouwannacallit" archetype players, who are a minority but do exist, and who are usually characterized by liking to play somewhat random/goofy effects just to see what happens.
 
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petrix wrote:
I think he meant "Then ask if there is any market for complex games."


No, I meant ask if there's a market for simple games because you won't find any in the top rated games.
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Jamie Vantries
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I'm missing something. What does the random cards have to do with simple/complex games?
 
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Geosphere wrote:
petrix wrote:
I think he meant "Then ask if there is any market for complex games."


No, I meant ask if there's a market for simple games because you won't find any in the top rated games.


I think we're getting to the same point, I just assumed more sarcasm in your statement.
 
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Burnham wrote:
I'm missing something. What does the random cards have to do with simple/complex games?


It depends on how they are implemented, but whenever you see "____:the Card Game", almost always it is simpler than the original boardgame.

Another example are Operation Point/Event Card Driven wargames. Before their introduction, strategic level games were usually extremely complex which special rules like event tables, and political rules, etc. Putting those events on cards greatly simplifies handling.
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ForestDingo wrote:
However, do you think there is a market for more complex games, that break those traditional elements? Or is everything going simple style in order to catch a person's interest in that 30 or so second time span before they giveup/lose interest?


As others have stated, if your perception of current games is that they tend to be simple, you probably haven't been exposed to very many modern games.

Many games created with mass market retailers in mind tend to be simple, but they only represent a small portion of the game market.

If you are going to create a game, the best thing you can do is research games in the category you are designing since your game will inevitably be compared to them.
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Giant_Monster wrote:
ForestDingo wrote:
However, do you think there is a market for more complex games, that break those traditional elements? Or is everything going simple style in order to catch a person's interest in that 30 or so second time span before they giveup/lose interest?


As others have stated, if your perception of current games is that they tend to be simple, you probably haven't been exposed to very many modern games.

Many games created with mass market retailers in mind tend to be simple, but they only represent a small portion of the game market.

If you are going to create a game, the best thing you can do is research games in the category you are designing since your game will inevitably be compared to them.


Yes, I'm talking from a mass market perspective.
 
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ForestDingo wrote:
Giant_Monster wrote:
ForestDingo wrote:
However, do you think there is a market for more complex games, that break those traditional elements? Or is everything going simple style in order to catch a person's interest in that 30 or so second time span before they giveup/lose interest?


As others have stated, if your perception of current games is that they tend to be simple, you probably haven't been exposed to very many modern games.

Many games created with mass market retailers in mind tend to be simple, but they only represent a small portion of the game market.

If you are going to create a game, the best thing you can do is research games in the category you are designing since your game will inevitably be compared to them.


Yes, I'm talking from a mass market perspective.


There is a market for more complex games, but your chance of getting any game you design, simple or complex, into a mass market retailer are slim without a major publisher backing your design.

 
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Giant_Monster wrote:
ForestDingo wrote:
Giant_Monster wrote:
ForestDingo wrote:
However, do you think there is a market for more complex games, that break those traditional elements? Or is everything going simple style in order to catch a person's interest in that 30 or so second time span before they giveup/lose interest?


As others have stated, if your perception of current games is that they tend to be simple, you probably haven't been exposed to very many modern games.

Many games created with mass market retailers in mind tend to be simple, but they only represent a small portion of the game market.

If you are going to create a game, the best thing you can do is research games in the category you are designing since your game will inevitably be compared to them.


Yes, I'm talking from a mass market perspective.


There is a market for more complex games, but your chance of getting any game you design, simple or complex, into a mass market retailer are slim without a major publisher backing your design.



Yes, I figured as much, but I like to dream big.

I'm curious if games nowadays should be presented in digital format ideally (if they can). Who really wants to present all these cards/tokens/whatever to a publisher to fiddle with, when digital would have everything in a nice clean package.
 
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Ken Lewis
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ForestDingo wrote:
Who really wants to present all these cards/tokens/whatever to a publisher to fiddle with, when digital would have everything in a nice clean package.


I think you are missing the point if you really feel that way.
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I'm starting to think you might be in the wrong place
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Ian Richard
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The thing about complexity is that the higher you go, the smaller your market will be. Most people would be willing to spend 5 minutes learning a game, not many would be willing to spend more than an hour.

The problem isn't "Does this market exist?" but "How can I reach this market?"

This is why video games, in particular, aim for the bottom of the pyramid. They have a high cost to make and they require a larger audience and can't risk "Missing" the target. All it takes is a few early "The Game Sucks" reviews from people who wanted simplicity to kill a new title.

Companies like Paradox can aim for a niche market because they have an existing audience. When they put the game out their, they are sure the people who see the game know what to expert.

The market definitely exists, but there are risks involved in trying to target them.
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Giant_Monster wrote:
ForestDingo wrote:
Who really wants to present all these cards/tokens/whatever to a publisher to fiddle with, when digital would have everything in a nice clean package.


I think you are missing the point if you really feel that way.


Do people on this forum make games for a hobby mostly, or for profit?
 
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I design games because I'm interested in them. While my games have been commercially published, I don't pursue publication or publishers. If a publisher approaches me in regard to one of my games, as they do now and then, I'm happy to talk with them. My royalties to date total considerably less than a single mortgage payment ($3K-$5K here-abouts for a single family home).
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ForestDingo wrote:
Do people on this forum make games for a hobby mostly, or for profit?


In my case it's a hobby, and it's clearly also the case for a number of others. But I think that regardless of whether we are working to just have fun making games or we are making a living out of it, most people here love making *physical* games that come in a box.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with digital games, and a computer platform offers some amazing opportunities, but for me at least, I want to explore the possibilities of physical components and opponents who are in the same room as you, also manipulating those physical components.
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ForestDingo wrote:
Giant_Monster wrote:
ForestDingo wrote:
Who really wants to present all these cards/tokens/whatever to a publisher to fiddle with, when digital would have everything in a nice clean package.


I think you are missing the point if you really feel that way.


Do people on this forum make games for a hobby mostly, or for profit?


My comment wasn't about hobby vs profit. It was about traditional tabletop gaming vs digital gaming.
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Michael J
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First, I think Hearthstone is more "streamlined" than "simple". Sometimes those two seem synonymous; a very streamlined game "feels" simple, even though it may, in fact, have a lot of complexity.

Secondly, I think most of Hearthstone's design decisions were not made just for the sake of simplicity, but moreso for what makes a good online experience. At no time is one player's turn interrupted by ANY decisions from the other player. This makes turns go by fast and smooth, and even allows one player to do "something else" while the other player is taking a turn (like keep studying or working). It also allows for 5m games that can be played in line at the supermarket. I'm not saying he mechanics are great or deep; but I do think they allow for the kind of on-the-go game that can compete with Angry Birds for 5m of attention.
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