Fertessa
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My game requires players to collect evil deed cards each time they do something villainous. The evil deeds all have a value between 1 and 3, which count as VP at the end of the game.

Previously, I had players collect a certain amount of cards depending on what evil deed they pulled off. So if they built a diabolical invention, they'd get 3 cards, and if they won a duel, they would get 2 cards.

I playtested with some designer friends and they suggested that I tweak it so that players drew the same amount of cards, but they only chose 1 to keep and discarded the rest. I liked that idea because it then gave the player a bit of choice, and it also made it harder to guess who was winning because card values were unknown.

I playtested it that way and it works but it felt a little clunky to explain. So I wanted opinions on if this seemed unnecessarily clunky, or if it was an interesting spin that's worth keeping in.
 
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maf man
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if the cards are just giving points then your not really giving the player a fun choice your just upping the chances they get more points.
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Dan Bollen
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Sorry, just to clarify, are the players drawing cards that say how many victory points they earn?

If so, I don't think that system is too complex or clunky, but it does seem a little arbitrary. I think I would be a little annoyed if I do some big achievement and then draw all low VP cards, and wind up with fewer VPs just by luck of the draw.

I guess I don't know your game better than your playtesters; if they liked the idea of drawing several and choosing one, and that's how many VP you get, then I guess it works. It's not too complicated I think, although I think players may be resistant when they're used to a given achievement or goal being worth a set amount of points.

Really, I guess I'm not of a fan of this system not because it is complicated, but because I don't think the randomness of the points would add much depth to the game. But if it's been working then I it must be alright!
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Carel Teijgeler
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Quote:
The evil deeds all have a value between 1 and 3, which count as VP at the end of the game.

and
Quote:
that players drew the same amount of cards, but they only chose 1 to keep and discarded the rest.

makes it obvious which card a player will choose.

Unless those evil deeds cards have another purpose in the game or players can loose evil deeds cards, then it would be more interesting.

Now it feels boring and cliché to me.
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Dan Bollen
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mafman6 wrote:
if the cards are just giving points then your not really giving the player a fun choice your just upping the chances they get more points.


Right, this is a good way to put what I was thinking. This idea isn't too complicated, but it doesn't add any interesting decisions to the game, either. If I draw a low card and a high card, I would take the high card 100% of the time. Unless the low cards had some sort of immediate bonus that could be used in game or something, like a resource or power-up. That might be a neat idea.
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Jeremy Lennert
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It doesn't seem clunky to me, but I'm not sure it's doing what you think it's doing.

If the only difference between the cards is their point value, then this isn't giving the player a choice--the player will obviously take the highest value.

What it does is change the distribution of the results so that drawing more cards at once has lower variance and rapidly diminishing returns.

I'm not sure how common the different values are in your deck, but assuming for illustrative purposes that 1, 2, and 3 VP are equally common, then under your old system the average reward for drawing 1/2/3/4 cards was 2/4/6/8 VP, but in the new system it's 2/2.44/2.67/2.79

https://anydice.com/program/12b21

Your guess at how many points an opponent has should actually be more accurate if you can remember how many cards they drew at a time each time they scored.
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Russ Williams
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Shintotchi wrote:
My game requires players to collect evil deed cards each time they do something villainous. The evil deeds all have a value between 1 and 3, which count as VP at the end of the game.

Previously, I had players collect a certain amount of cards depending on what evil deed they pulled off. So if they built a diabolical invention, they'd get 3 cards, and if they won a duel, they would get 2 cards.

I playtested with some designer friends and they suggested that I tweak it so that players drew the same amount of cards, but they only chose 1 to keep and discarded the rest. I liked that idea because it then gave the player a bit of choice,

Like everyone else upthread, I don't see how this gives any choice. Why wouldn't a player always choose the best card?

Quote:
and it also made it harder to guess who was winning because card values were unknown.

And I don't see how this is achieved either. In the old system, weren't a player's VP cards secret also?
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Jeff Warrender
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Here's a convoluted answer that may not help given that you're in a late design stage.

I've said, in this forum and elsewhere, that the straightest path to innovation in game design these days runs through interesting and thematically motivated victory conditions.

So, what does a villain want most of all?

To be "the most evil"? I mean, you can hang a scoring system on that but it's a bit obvious.

Things that I think about when I think about this theme: First, that evil is parasitic. Villains can't work together because in addition to defeating the heroes, they want to defeat one another. As a villain, I don't merely want to be "the most evil", I want my opponents to fail utterly and be completely forgotten. Second, that like Dr. Evil or Mr. Glass, their villainy is some degree a reaction to some trauma that they experienced at some earlier point in their life. Villains aren't born, they're made, and their evil is the backhand blow to the society that rejected them. Third, that villains hate with the incandescent heat of 10,000 suns the goody-two-shoes do-gooders that try to thwart their plans. And so, it's never enough to simply defeat the good guy, they always have to do so in an elaborate fashion, in a way the enables them to sololilloquize (?) to explain to the heroes the depth of their (the heroes') failures and the vindication that they (the villain) achieve through the victory. Of course the very act of this triumphant chortling ends up being their undoing.

I can think of ways to build a game and a scoring system around these concepts, but I guess for you it's more a question of whether your existing gameplay and scoring can be made to accommodate elements like this.

But compared to mustache twirling and triumphant chortling and pathos inspired by traumatic childhood events, I would suggest that "take three cards, keep the one with the highest number" is a missed opportunity!
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Jeff Warrender
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Here, based on the above post, is how I'd design the scoring system for this game, keeping in mind that I know absolutely nothing about your actual game.

I'd probably go with a "modified Tigris" system, meaning that I have three scoring categories, and the winner is the player with the highest number of points in his/her lowest scoring category, but as a twist, each category has an in-game meaning as well.

Hence:

Mustache-twirling: This pertains to the intrinsic badness of the actions you perform. The badder the better, but the higher your intrinsic badness score, the more you're a target for the heroes.

Chortling: This is about monologuing, and it takes time. The more of this you do, the more time the heroes have to potentially catch you

Pathos: You don't want to heal the hurts of the past, you want to nurse your grudges until they're white hot. But the higher your pathos rises, the more readily it can be brought crashing down by something from your past, e.g. your childhood teddy, your Mom, your lost love, etc.

Integrating this with your card-based system, if you drew 3 cards and whichever you choose gave you points (cubes) in one category, THEN you might have a reason to take a one point card over a three point card, perhaps because you already have lots of pathos but not enough chortling, or because you don't want to put the target on your back with more mustache-twirling, etc.
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Fertessa
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jwarrend wrote:
Here, based on the above post, is how I'd design the scoring system for this game, keeping in mind that I know absolutely nothing about your actual game.

I'd probably go with a "modified Tigris" system, meaning that I have three scoring categories, and the winner is the player with the highest number of points in his/her lowest scoring category, but as a twist, each category has an in-game meaning as well.

Hence:

Mustache-twirling: This pertains to the intrinsic badness of the actions you perform. The badder the better, but the higher your intrinsic badness score, the more you're a target for the heroes.

Chortling: This is about monologuing, and it takes time. The more of this you do, the more time the heroes have to potentially catch you

Pathos: You don't want to heal the hurts of the past, you want to nurse your grudges until they're white hot. But the higher your pathos rises, the more readily it can be brought crashing down by something from your past, e.g. your childhood teddy, your Mom, your lost love, etc.

Integrating this with your card-based system, if you drew 3 cards and whichever you choose gave you points (cubes) in one category, THEN you might have a reason to take a one point card over a three point card, perhaps because you already have lots of pathos but not enough chortling, or because you don't want to put the target on your back with more mustache-twirling, etc.


Thank you for such a thematic answer! This actually inspired me to go in the direction of Valley of The Kings-like scoring. The Evil Deeds all have flavor text, and the deeds they describe can be categorized by certain themes. So I'm thinking I'll make it a bit of set collection, separated by theme, while some are worth pure VP. That way there is actual choice on what type of villain you are, and what kind of book you create. You got the ball rolling- thank you!
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Fertessa
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Thank you for all the thoughtful answers
As I suspected, this is still an element of my game which can be reworked. I am a strong believer in destroying bits of my game and rebuilding it, and I think it's important to keep that mindset for as long as I'm taking feedback on my game. It's not finished until it's published, so I appreciate everything said to me, and I am considering all of it.

I can see why you say there is no choice, since you would only go for the card with the highest points. Perhaps my playtesters found this new method interesting because my old way of collecting points was too bland, compared to the gameplay and theme? If that's the case, then I clearly need to refocus on my endgame, since gameplay has become more solid. I have never been satisfied with my endgame, but I wanted a second, third, and fourth opinion before I went changing it (in case it was one of those situations where you mess with something that's fine so much that you mess it up).

I will follow this Valley of Kings scoring idea and see if it integrates as nicely and thematically as I'm thinking. If not, back to the drawing board! Again, my sincere thanks to you all.
 
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DnDDmDb wrote:
Sorry, just to clarify, are the players drawing cards that say how many victory points they earn?

If so, I don't think that system is too complex or clunky, but it does seem a little arbitrary. I think I would be a little annoyed if I do some big achievement and then draw all low VP cards, and wind up with fewer VPs just by luck of the draw.

I guess I don't know your game better than your playtesters; if they liked the idea of drawing several and choosing one, and that's how many VP you get, then I guess it works. It's not too complicated I think, although I think players may be resistant when they're used to a given achievement or goal being worth a set amount of points.

Really, I guess I'm not of a fan of this system not because it is complicated, but because I don't think the randomness of the points would add much depth to the game. But if it's been working then I it must be alright!


Yes the cards only tell them how much VP they earn. And in case your train of thought is why are there cards at all, it's because thematically, my playtesters all love the flavor text on the cards (the actual evil deeds). I added VP to the cards to make them more relevant to gameplay, but I still haven't integrated them as well as I want.

The premise if you're writing a book of your evil deeds, to shoot yourself to fame and fortune without having to do the actual work, so you're collecting these pages of evil deeds to complete your book. I'm just trying to make them more mechanically interesting.
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David Gibbs
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Eclipse uses a system where you draw (I think three) chits from a bag/pile and keep one, returning the other two to the bag/pile.

What this means is that winning earlier battles is, on average, more valuable than winning later battles. So, it doesn't make the "take which VP chit" an interesting choice, but it makes the decision between "take a VP choice now or later" more interesting.

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Wim van Gruisen
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You could also think about putting not only VP cards in the deck, but also special action cards. Players can then choose between VPs and actions.
 
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