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Glorantha: The Gods War» Forums » General

Subject: Miscellaneous answers by designer Sandy Petersen rss

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Salman Qaisar
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Sandy was kind enough to answer few of my q's regrading the game + has permitted me to share them:

1. Have u actually playtested games at 6-8 player counts?
yes

2. How long do they last (ignoring first learning games )?
Around 30-40 minutes per player

3. How big is the core board's dimensions please?
30x30 inches

4. Is 6-8player board a map that is added to core map, or a whole separate map?
A whole separate map which is 36x36 inches

5. Balancing a game with up to 8 players - How on earth have you gone about doing this? Especially with asymmetric factions?
Sandy: Because of the nature of the Gods War factions, the Runes, the Gifts, and the special abilities, Gods War games with this many players are not really subject to normal balancing techniques. Any single game is far likelier to be decided by a clever ruse or a player's experience than by a faction's balance or imbalance.

6. have u had computer software go through the combinations?

7. Typical Dudes on a map problems - may I ask how you have tried to solve these problems in Glorantha?
Sandy: This is a big question and you have lots of sub-questions. In order of the subquestions:

GANGING UP and BASH THE LEADER - these are common elements in Gods War as in other multiplayer games. Frankly I don't see them as problems, but features. Diplomacy and planning are an inherent part of the game. As it happens, in Gods War it's rare for such an "alliance" to last more than part of a single turn.

PLAYER ELIMINATION - elimination is impossible. A player who is completely inferior to his opponents can virtually eliminate himself though. If this wasn't the case, there would be no skill in the game. That said, the game has a lot of elements which tend to boost those who fall behind, and keep the final score close.

RUNAWAY LEADER - as I said, the game has lots of elements which help those who fall behind. For example, each turn the Storm God chooses another player to receive either 2 Power or 1 VP. There are many little accumulative effects like this which add up.

WINNING DUE TO TURTLING - if you are familiar with Cthulhu Wars, you will be aware that turtling is not a successful strategy in that game. Nor this one.

ONE PATH TO VICTORY - fundamentally the game is based on victory points and board presence, but every faction addresses this issue in multiple ways.

SIGNIFICANT DOWNTIME - I hate downtime, so have addressed it to the best of my ability.

Many thanks to Sandy for answering!
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Niko
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Thanks for sharing these!
There seems to be an answer to question 6 missing though.
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Salman Qaisar
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Ze_German_Guy wrote:
Thanks for sharing these!
There seems to be an answer to question 6 missing though.


I know.
I'm not sure if sandy answered it directly, and didn't want to bug him about it!
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Sandy Petersen
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I have not used computer software to go through the combinations.

However, even when I was play-balancing the Age of Empires series, and there were 18 different civilizations all of which needed delicate balancing, we found that using computers was only useful for balancing single types of units vs. single types of units. When we needed to see the effects of an entire civilization, we needed to live-test.

This is probably a result of the immensely complex civs we designed in Age of Empires, but the Gods War civs are just as complex in their way, and far more asymmetrical. Therefore, wearing my hat as an extremely experienced game balancing expert, who spent over a decade doing this with the aid of powerful software, I do not believe that computers would enhance my balancing of Cthulhu Wars.
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Salman Qaisar
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Sandy Petersen wrote:
I have not used computer software to go through the combinations.
When we needed to see the effects of an entire civilization, we needed to live-test.

This is probably a result of the immensely complex civs we designed in Age of Empires, but the Gods War civs are just as complex in their way, and far more asymmetrical. Therefore, wearing my hat as an extremely experienced game balancing expert, who spent over a decade doing this with the aid of powerful software, I do not believe that computers would enhance my balancing of Cthulhu Wars.


Cheers!
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Ray
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Sandy you are far too modest.

and by over a decade of game balancing expert he means:

Video Games
Sid Meier's Pirates! (1989)
Civilization (1991)
Lightspeed (1990)
Hyperspeed (1991)
Darklands (1992)
DOOM (1993)
Doom II: Hell on Earth (1994)
The Ultimate DOOM (1995)
Quake (1996)
Hexen: Beyond Heretic (1996)
Final DOOM (1997)
Age of Empires (1997)
Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome (1998)
Age of Empires II (1999)
Age of Empires II: The Conquerers (2000)
Age of Empires III (2005)
Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs (2006)
Halo Wars (2009)
Osiris Legends (2011)

source: wikipedia
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Salman Qaisar
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wtrollkin2000 wrote:
Sandy you are far too modest.

and by over a decade of game balancing expert he means:

Video Games: Sid Meier's Pirates! (1989); Civilization (1991);
Lightspeed (1990); Hyperspeed (1991)
Darklands (1992); DOOM (1993); Doom II: Hell on Earth (1994);
The Ultimate DOOM (1995); Quake (1996); Hexen: Beyond Heretic (1996);
Final DOOM (1997):
Age of Empires (1997); Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome (1998);
Age of Empires II (1999); Age of Empires II: The Conquerers (2000);
Age of Empires III (2005); Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs (2006)
Halo Wars (2009); Osiris Legends (2011)

source: wikipedia


Wow!! Do I feel stupid. blush
Sorry for wasting ur time Sandy.

I played the heck out of original Doom in high school!
Sal
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Arthur Petersen
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wtrollkin2000 wrote:
Sandy you are far too modest.

and by over a decade of game balancing expert he means:

Video Games
Sid Meier's Pirates! (1989)
Civilization (1991)
Lightspeed (1990)
Hyperspeed (1991)
Darklands (1992)
DOOM (1993)
Doom II: Hell on Earth (1994)
The Ultimate DOOM (1995)
Quake (1996)
Hexen: Beyond Heretic (1996)
Final DOOM (1997)
Age of Empires (1997)
Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome (1998)
Age of Empires II (1999)
Age of Empires II: The Conquerers (2000)
Age of Empires III (2005)
Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs (2006)
Halo Wars (2009)
Osiris Legends (2011)

source: wikipedia


To nitpick, because I'm sitting in China in my hotel with only access to certain websites (e.g., not even my gmail) and pretty poor internet, but hey, BGG works!!! And for the moment I'm too tired to do anything else.

- I don't think he was very involved in Hexen (that was not actually deveoped by Id where Sandy worked at the time, and Final Doom was also just the same as Doom I with an additional episode that Sandy did not work on iirc).

That said, this also leaves off plenty of projects he was the lead designer on during his time at Ensemble that were ultimately canceled for this or that reason (in my understanding, basically b/c they weren't RTS games, and Microsoft only wanted RTS games out of Ensemble, hence the only titles ever released in its entire existence were RTS). Some of these games were pretty far along, and I'm trying to lobby Sandy to perhaps turn some into a great board game or two.
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Chris Lemens
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I should note that the lack of software-based balancing is kind of offset by the fact that we've been intensely play-testing it for three years. It is highly balanced. In our play tests, it doesn't matter how experienced you are (after the first few games) or which faction you pick, or how far behind you are on turn 2. Anyone can win.
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Michael Off The Shelf Board Game Reviews
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Semi derailing the thread but it truly was a sad day when Microsoft announced they were shutting down Ensemble Studios (7+ years ago now, time flies).

I think we can partially blame it on the MMO bubble bursting.
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Diederik D.
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Grumsh wrote:
Semi derailing the thread but it truly was a sad day when Microsoft announced they were shutting down Ensemble Studios (7+ years ago now, time flies).


I second this. I've more than once wondered what for wonderful games we have missed so far because of this event... And now they've also shut down Lionhead Studios! Kidding me, those were my 2 favorite gaming studios
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David Andersson
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wtrollkin2000 wrote:
Sandy you are far too modest.

and by over a decade of game balancing expert he means:

Video Games
Sid Meier's Pirates! (1989)
Civilization (1991)
Lightspeed (1990)
Hyperspeed (1991)
Darklands (1992)
DOOM (1993)
Doom II: Hell on Earth (1994)
The Ultimate DOOM (1995)
Quake (1996)
Hexen: Beyond Heretic (1996)
Final DOOM (1997)
Age of Empires (1997)
Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome (1998)
Age of Empires II (1999)
Age of Empires II: The Conquerers (2000)
Age of Empires III (2005)
Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs (2006)
Halo Wars (2009)
Osiris Legends (2011)

source: wikipedia


I thought he worked on Age of Mythology also.
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Darren Semmen
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Chrislemens wrote:
... In our play tests, it doesn't matter how experienced you are (after the first few games) ... Anyone can win.


This worries me a bit. If no players consistently win more often than others, perhaps chance is the decider in games between non-novices.
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Adam Starks
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He's not saying that everyone has equal chances of winning, just that having the most experience doesn't guarantee you'll win.

The reason for this is, I imagine, the same as with Cthulhu Wars: if somebody takes a clear lead too soon, the other factions have time to gang up and take him down. Thus, part of the strategy is to be in a good position without it being obvious to the other players.
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Greg Robertson
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AdamStarks wrote:
He's not saying that everyone has equal chances of winning, just that having the most experience doesn't guarantee you'll win.

The reason for this is, I imagine, the same as with Cthulhu Wars: if somebody takes a clear lead too soon, the other factions have time to gang up and take him down. Thus, part of the strategy is to be in a good position without it being obvious to the other players.

Well stated Adam! Let me further enhance this statement by adding in the "randomness" that dice rolls bring to the table. You can have the best abilities in the game; but fail miserably by rolling poorly. I've had this happen to me NUMEROUS times.

Do you have what it takes to be a "God"?
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