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Subject: PnP Design Compromises rss

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Scott Allen
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How do you balance desired gameplay “feel” with practicality of printing (and cutting) and playing? Does gameplay ALWAYS come first, or do you compromise in order to make the print and play version doable for the players?

For example, I have a 2 player 4X-ish game where I’d like to have a limited resource pool that both players pull from. The pool is made up of the following:
32 Construction Crews (1 needed to build each building, military vehicle, or to repair a disabled military vehicle)
12 “1 Gold”
24 “2 Gold”
12 “3 Gold” (Military units cost 1-8 gold, buildings and walls cost 1-8 Gold).

Original Plan: Have these 80 resource mini cards shuffled, then 4 are placed face up. Each player’s turn consists of 4 actions to collect resources, build one unit or building, move, and/or attack. I like the idea of the shared resource pool so if two “3 Gold” cards are face up, I may choose to grab both of those on my turn so my opponent doesn’t get them. Everything is fine, EXCEPT, this requires would-be players to print out and cut out 80 more cards in addition to the game pieces. Is this OK?

Less Printing Option: A less printing and cutting option would be for each player to have the chance to simply use one action to acquire 1 Construction Crew (and keep track of how many they have on a small player board, and keep track of how many are left in the game on a shared resource board), and/or roll a D3 to acquire 1, 2, or 3 Gold (and keep track of how much they have on a small player board, and keep track of how much gold is left in the game on a shared resource board). Works fine, but the “I’m going to take this so my opponent can’t” element is gone, and the record keeping is a little more of a pain. So, gameplay goes down some, but ease of printing the game goes up.

Should gameplay come first (original option), or should “If no one is going to go through the hassle of all that printing and cutting, so they won’t even try the game” be factored in?

Thanks.
 
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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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If the game is good, I will print the cards.

But first I have to be under the impression that the game is good.
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Adam Nikolaus
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For me gameplay should always come first. Some games just don't translate over to PnP very well and you are only going to get the most dedicated people to go through all of the hassle of assembling a complex and time consuming PnP.

I guess the big question is what are you hoping to get out of putting it up for PnP. If the main focus is how the rest of the game operates outside of the resource cards then you could simplify it with your second option. However if the goal is to get peoples opinions on the overall game where the resource cards are an integral part then cutting that out would essentially be getting feedback on what is a different game.
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Jeremy Lennert
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This sort of issue isn't unique to PnP; even if you were going with professional manufacturing, you'd still need to decide whether those extra 80 cards are worth increasing the price of your game.

The best option, of course, is to come up with a clever way of doing everything at once. Have you considered drafting dice? I.e. instead of choosing gold, then rolling d3, you could roll 4d3 and put them in a pool for players to draft from (or maybe create a table where some faces of the die are varying amounts of gold and others represent crews). Seasons uses dice drafting as a major game mechanic (it has custom dice, though).

Barring that, I think it's really a judgement call about how much it helps the game vs how much expense or trouble it adds. It'd be nice to say that gameplay always comes first, but that's just not realistic if you want to actually release a game and have people actually play it. On the other hand, gameplay obviously counts for a lot, because the cheapest option would be to not make the game at all...

The last time I did a PnP, I made a huge number of cards, but I also split about half of them into a separate file and said "these add more content, but you can play without them if you don't want to bother."
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Nat Levan
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If you use half size cards (like mini-euro) you can get 18 on a standard sheet, which means only 5 sheets to cut.
Don't compromise the game just to make it easier to PnP. But it's also worth considering if some of those changes make the game easier to play, or simply a better game. As you noted, in this case, it sounds like it would get less strategic and interesting
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maf man
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Narrow Gate Games wrote:
Works fine, but the “I’m going to take this so my opponent can’t” element is gone, and the record keeping is a little more of a pain. So, gameplay goes down some, but ease of printing the game goes up.

Last time I heard you talking about this it was a fairly large part of the choices you had in game. So I'm for keeping it just for that reason but it kinda sounds like your wavering so I'll give you a few more:
....actually lemme ask you this, how complex are the gold cards?
If their just one sided cards, which is what it sounds like, thats not much work. To cut it down just make them smaller, no reason to have full size cards just to have one number on them. Heck, if the cards are square inches thats just one sheet and its really not that much cutting if their basic squares. Sounds easy to me.

ha idea ninja'd (im so ashamed it took me 5mins to type out my thoughts lol) but still micro cards may be overkill size wise, take a look at the size of game tokens, their tiny, why go bigger than what you need?
 
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Scott Allen
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Thanks all for the replies.

I think this resource gathering piece of the game is important (maybe not critical, but important) to the feel of the game. So, I think the best answer is to make the resource tokens smaller.

I want the "feel" of limited resources, so I want them to physically run out during the game. I could simulate that with a "resource track" that counts down as players roll dice or whatever, but I like the original idea best.

The dice drafting mechanic is very interesting. I'll have to keep that in mind in the future.

Thanks all.
 
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Grace McDermott
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Could you have an alternate rule for people to place counters/gems/whatever spare resources that they have appropriate numbers of into a bag and draw four of those, instead of printing the resource cards?
 
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Scott Allen
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Thanks. Yes, that could work, it would just be a little more abstract: "OK, the white cube = 1 gold, the yellow = 2,...

Thanks.
 
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Grace McDermott
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Narrow Gate Games wrote:
Thanks. Yes, that could work, it would just be a little more abstract: "OK, the white cube = 1 gold, the yellow = 2,...


I think people will figure it out just fine.
 
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