GeekGold Bonus for All Supporters at year's end: 1000!
8,281 Supporters
$15 min for supporter badge & GeekGold bonus
20 Days Left

Support:

Recommend
6 
 Thumb up
 Hide
18 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Need advice for making my game shorter rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
David Zumwalt
United States
California
flag msg tools
Hey all,

I'm working on a game where starships take over planets, gaining resources from planets they control. The problem is, the game can take upwards of five hours due to the back and forth nature of the game, where one side takes over territory, then the other side takes it back.

Has anyone encountered this problem before or does anyone have any ideas for solving it?

Thanks for any help!

Dave
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Debien
United States
Round Rock
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Make the value of the property go down as it keeps changing hands? Essentially, the planet should not be worth a lot once it has been rummaged for readily available resources.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
The War Chief
United States
Parkville
Maryland
flag msg tools
designer
BRING ME THE HEAD OF SETH NEMEC AND RIK FALCH!!!!!!
badge
In Memorial: Moose, my dog. B:? D:01/13/16. He died peacefully surrounded by those who loved him. You will be missed.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Check your victory conditions to see if they are too hard to meet.

Or come up with rules for a "short" variant of the game.

Also, test the idea suggested about diminishing returns for multiple conquest of the same planet.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
monchi
Canada
Burnaby
BC
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
kind of hard to comment without more info. There are some games that say you have to wait a certain amount of time or rounds before you can attack an area that has just been attacked. It makes some sense as if you just got attacked and lost you would need to regroup before being able to launch an attack. I like the idea of a planet losing value the more it is attacked. You could put something in place where by after a few rounds if the planet has been left alone that it goes back to its original production level as starving the game of resources could also slow things down.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tiger Uppercut
United States
Greensboro
North Carolina
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A common technique is find an aspect of the game that is the most fun and exciting and award victory points whenever it is achieved. Then set the victory condition at a certain number of victory points. Also, you can make turns represent a certain amount of time and set a time limit to the game, having players tally points based on what I described above.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Nicholson
Canada
Brantford
Ontario
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
davezumwalt wrote:
Hey all,

I'm working on a game where starships take over planets, gaining resources from planets they control. The problem is, the game can take upwards of five hours due to the back and forth nature of the game, where one side takes over territory, then the other side takes it back.

Has anyone encountered this problem before or does anyone have any ideas for solving it?

Thanks for any help!

Dave


You could start the game midway, where all of the planets are already taken. This would make it more like a tower defense game.

7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate K
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
What do players currently have to do to end the game? If that goal is simply taking too long, I'm sure you can find a way to shorten the length of the game. Maybe just put a turn cap on the game--like Warhammer 30K or Karnaxis. The game ends after X number of turns, and players get points for the amount of resources they have and the number of planets they control.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Abraham Drucker
United States
San Francisco
California
flag msg tools
MOAR GAMES
badge
Damn Dirty Ape I Love You
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I would check out games like Risk 2210, Nexus Ops and Halo Risk (or new risk or whatever) which have gone a long way towards solving this problem and turned 12 hours of Risk into a nice short game.

abe
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Zumwalt
United States
California
flag msg tools
snicholson wrote:
davezumwalt wrote:
Hey all,

I'm working on a game where starships take over planets, gaining resources from planets they control. The problem is, the game can take upwards of five hours due to the back and forth nature of the game, where one side takes over territory, then the other side takes it back.

Has anyone encountered this problem before or does anyone have any ideas for solving it?

Thanks for any help!

Dave


You could start the game midway, where all of the planets are already taken. This would make it more like a tower defense game.



I'm not sure how this would reduce the back and forth? I'm not sure what a tower defense game is. ?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Zumwalt
United States
California
flag msg tools
kurthl33t wrote:
What do players currently have to do to end the game? If that goal is simply taking too long, I'm sure you can find a way to shorten the length of the game. Maybe just put a turn cap on the game--like Warhammer 30K or Karnaxis. The game ends after X number of turns, and players get points for the amount of resources they have and the number of planets they control.


Currently the game lasts until one player surrenders or is obliterated, or until all 72 cards are used up, which takes a long time. I dislike games that just end after a certain number of turns. It seems arbitrary. Maybe there's a way to work it into the theme, I dunno.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tiger Uppercut
United States
Greensboro
North Carolina
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Maybe you should assign a certain amount of resources that a planet can produce. Place a stack of cards or whatever under each planet, varying the number according to size. This would help create tension as well, making some planets more strategically valuable than another. Players occupying planets that have dwindling resources will be forced to strike out against other players to avoid the decline of their empire.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sim Guy
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
davezumwalt wrote:
Hey all,

I'm working on a game where starships take over planets, gaining resources from planets they control. The problem is, the game can take upwards of five hours due to the back and forth nature of the game, where one side takes over territory, then the other side takes it back.

Has anyone encountered this problem before or does anyone have any ideas for solving it?

Thanks for any help!

Dave


This is a problem? I rather like long games, as long as the game play is enjoyable to the end. I'm an old wargamer; you're not going to scare me off with a mere five hour session.

However, I more than many, know that marathon gaming sessions aren't for everybody. If the game starts to get tedious or repetitive, and there's no end in sight, then length is certainly a problem.

There are several thoughtful suggestions in this thread, and I won't repeat my favorites. i'll just add some fuel to the fire.

The quickest way I can think of, from what you've described of the game (72 cards or surrender), is to reduce the number of cards. I don't mean deleting cards, I'm suggesting giving the deck a good shuffle and using the first 40 or 50 for your game.

You could reduce the number of exploitable planets, or cause the players to do so by giving them the option to overdevelop a planet, depleting it of resources at a higher rate, for a shorter time and ultimately rendering it useless. Alternatively, a planet could be developed and exploited at a slower rate for a longer time. Developing quickly would get you fewer overall points (or whatever), but you get them sooner. But ultimately, a number of planets would get used up and would not be worth fighting over, thus shortening the game some.

You could try a graduated victory points system where greater points are awarded as the game progresses, possibly reflecting the benefits of improved technology on planetary development.

You could designate some planets or systems (we are really grasping in the dark here) as critical and make the holding of X number, or a certain combination, of critical planets a victory condition.

You could offer multiple paths to victory to reduce the back and forth nature of play - e.g., make stability and development of your core holdings a valuable factor, over shear conquest.

It sounds like the game is pretty far along, should we watch for it commercially or as a PnP soon? Best of luck in whichever path you choose.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sturv Tafvherd
United States
North Carolina
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
davezumwalt wrote:
kurthl33t wrote:
What do players currently have to do to end the game? If that goal is simply taking too long, I'm sure you can find a way to shorten the length of the game. Maybe just put a turn cap on the game--like Warhammer 30K or Karnaxis. The game ends after X number of turns, and players get points for the amount of resources they have and the number of planets they control.


Currently the game lasts until one player surrenders or is obliterated, or until all 72 cards are used up, which takes a long time. I dislike games that just end after a certain number of turns. It seems arbitrary. Maybe there's a way to work it into the theme, I dunno.


Look into Risk 2210 A.D.. The original Risk is essentially "the game goes until only one player is left" which took a long time. Risk 2210 basically took the idea of playing for a certain number of turns.... and in my opinion, it works pretty well.


Another way is to have some kind of "doomsday clock". Runebound (Second Edition), for example, forces the players to face the dragons once a certain number of failures take place.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Zumwalt
United States
California
flag msg tools
Thanks a bunch to everyone who responded with suggestions!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Zumwalt
United States
California
flag msg tools
SimGuy wrote:
davezumwalt wrote:
Hey all,

I'm working on a game where starships take over planets, gaining resources from planets they control. The problem is, the game can take upwards of five hours due to the back and forth nature of the game, where one side takes over territory, then the other side takes it back.

Has anyone encountered this problem before or does anyone have any ideas for solving it?

Thanks for any help!

Dave


This is a problem? I rather like long games, as long as the game play is enjoyable to the end. I'm an old wargamer; you're not going to scare me off with a mere five hour session.

However, I more than many, know that marathon gaming sessions aren't for everybody. If the game starts to get tedious or repetitive, and there's no end in sight, then length is certainly a problem.

There are several thoughtful suggestions in this thread, and I won't repeat my favorites. i'll just add some fuel to the fire.

The quickest way I can think of, from what you've described of the game (72 cards or surrender), is to reduce the number of cards. I don't mean deleting cards, I'm suggesting giving the deck a good shuffle and using the first 40 or 50 for your game.

You could reduce the number of exploitable planets, or cause the players to do so by giving them the option to overdevelop a planet, depleting it of resources at a higher rate, for a shorter time and ultimately rendering it useless. Alternatively, a planet could be developed and exploited at a slower rate for a longer time. Developing quickly would get you fewer overall points (or whatever), but you get them sooner. But ultimately, a number of planets would get used up and would not be worth fighting over, thus shortening the game some.

You could try a graduated victory points system where greater points are awarded as the game progresses, possibly reflecting the benefits of improved technology on planetary development.

You could designate some planets or systems (we are really grasping in the dark here) as critical and make the holding of X number, or a certain combination, of critical planets a victory condition.

You could offer multiple paths to victory to reduce the back and forth nature of play - e.g., make stability and development of your core holdings a valuable factor, over shear conquest.

It sounds like the game is pretty far along, should we watch for it commercially or as a PnP soon? Best of luck in whichever path you choose.



Thanks so much for your suggestions I'll start some experiments, starting with simply reducing the value of all non Home World planets in the game.

The game is very far along and it's a great game. I hope to publish it commercially some day. Thanks again!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Cassar
Australia
Adelaide
South Australia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I would recommend what Nexus Ops did.

Basically the players decide how many Victory Points they want to play to which will affect the length of game.

Everytime players made a successful attack they got 1 Victory Point. This encouraged people to be pro-active and not sit back.

At the end of each players turn they also recieved a "Secret Mission" card, which gives the players alternate missions to earn extra points (between 1 and 4 victory points).

For example a secret mission for your game could be to control the most of a certain type of planet, to destroy a particular type of space craft, or to attack another player with a particular unit and win.

This adds something different to the game as you do not know what the other player is trying to do, is he trying to get to your home base or is he heading for a particular planet to destroy a ship factory and complete a secret mission?

This way it does not matter how "back and forth" the game becomes as your Victory Points will continue to move up.

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Nicholson
Canada
Brantford
Ontario
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
davezumwalt wrote:


I'm not sure how this would reduce the back and forth? I'm not sure what a tower defense game is. ?


In a tower defense game, one side is trying to hold a tower while the other side is trying to take it over (it's a video game genre, but we've seen a few board games with it, like Stronghold). Each side has a different goal. I know you said you don't like arbitrary timing, but it would be easy enough to apply some type of limit - instead of time, a limited pool of resources for each side.

It's then an asymmetrical game - each side has a different goal. The back and forth is then limited, as is the time.


Basically, I'm trying to get you to think about making the game only a snapshot of the most interesting part of the larger game.

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Hutchings
Australia
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
davezumwalt wrote:
Currently the game lasts until one player surrenders or is obliterated, or until all 72 cards are used up, which takes a long time.


Have 36 cards, with each card giving a choice of the effect of 2 of the old cards.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.