Alexander Stukalov

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I'm making a board game with darts. This game Round Ground originally was intended to be a strategy game. The only random factor was a dart throwing skill of the players. The map is divided into hexagons capturing which gives the players different advantages, such as armies, additional throws of the dart and such. Targeting the right hexagons in a specific order was the strategic part of the game.

Recently I decided to add playing cards to the game, some of which will include quests and rewards. Getting these playing cards is possible by attacking certain hexagons, but the players never know what card they are going to get next. It means that these cards are a new and quite huge random factor in the game.

That's why I'm afraid that many people can claim Round Ground too luck based and it might lose fans. I'm also very indecisive myself because I prefer games with a low random chance.

On the other hand, adding cards makes sense because Round Ground is already a very american-style game (as an opposite to euro-style game); it has a military theme (technologies vs. magic), not very simple rules etc. I play-tested the game with cards a few time and it seems like the players liked this new feature.
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Derry Salewski
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Well you have a Darts variant. Tacking on boardgame elements . . . I don't know.

Getting Random buffs works fine for games like Bloodbowl Team Manager. As long as none of them are way better than the rest, it shouldn't matter too much. Maybe how well the dart is thrown lets a player look at a few and choose.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Sounds viable actually. Its not a huge random element at all and everyone can get it. Its like taking over a research installation and not knowing beforehand what they were researching.
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I don't see much randomness really. Based on what you've said, there's only 1 "luck factor" in the game, which is the luck of the draw. I'll place the dart throwing part as dexterity. However IMO it does depend on (from more to less important):

a) what other mechanics are in the game?
b) how big of a factor does the cards have in the game
c) how long does game last
d) how many cards are there in the game.

For a),I think a good example would be the game "Agricola". The game has LOTS of cards, and certainly the luck of the draw WILL affect players. However its other mechanics are brilliant and fulfilling that even if you lose you have the great satisfaction, and it being no.2 in BGG.

b), as long as the cards provide only certain advantages and you CAN still win while pursuing other strategy/path, it should be okay. If the cards are so good that they out-benefit some other decisions in the game, not so much.

c) a 30 minute with lots of luck is okay. A 1 hr game with moderate luck is okay. A 2~3hr game that has winners determined by sheer luck is NOT okay

d) The less cards you have in total, the more people are able to gauge the probability,thus it's more like a "risk" factor.

That's just my 2cent ,hope it helps
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Zach Rosenfeld
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I'll admit, I have extraordinarily bad luck and tend to dislike random chance unless it's thoughtfully integrated. Seriously, if there's a 10% chance that I'll fail a given dice roll, I'll do it three times in a row. If we're playing Settlers of Catan, if I manage to monopolize a "8" resource then all the players will roll only "6"s, "5"s, and "9"s the entire damned game.

But even as a Bad Luck Chuck, I can like random factors.

Generally, I like randomness when it provides a certain (but FAIR) level of strategic uncertainty that players have to work around. Dungeon crawlers where the map reveals itself through random tile draws, for example, are pretty fun. Random card draws can be fun, too, as long as all the cards are more or less equally useful to the players.

What I really don't like is when the random chance can seriously hurt or benefit players, because then it tends to discourage strategic play. If you can draw an "I win/lose" card, even if it's extremely rare, chances are I won't like your game. If there's a chance that you can win the lottery or come up with nothing, chances are I won't like your game.

The thing about people is that they tend to remember bad luck more than they do good luck -- it's just human psychology. Even when there is a "statistically fair" chance that someone will get really lucky or really unlucky, he will tend to only remember the times that he was really unlucky. Take Thebes for example. The system is fair, sure, but the mere fact that there is a chance that you can draw NOTHING (even if it is statistically improbable) means that some players (like me) will get screwed over every once in a while, we'll remember it, and it'll sour our perception of the game.
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August Larson
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I think card drawing is a perfectly fine randomization. Cards, unlike dice, will get used up, so if you see four out five copies of a card get drawn, then you can still judge the probability and decide to manage risk. It also depends on how many cards each player will have drawn by the end of the game. If everyone is drawing every turn, or even every other turn (depending on how many turns in the game) players probably won't mind the randomness.

If drawing won't be happening all the time, you could possibly allow players to draw two cards and keep one of their choice. If you have enough variety of cards, then players will feel like they have more say in their fate and should be happier.
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B C Z
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alllexxx wrote:
The only random factor was a dart throwing skill of the players.


From what I've seen of dart throwing tournaments, this is NOT a random factor, it is a dexterity skill factor.
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Sean Boyll
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Having the random quests that are outside of the main objective could be a balance for the dart throwing skill part. These would allow players that are not as good a chance to accidentally hit the areas that would then complete quests. You would still want the direct path to winning to be a slightly better option and the quest bonuses to not be over the top so the pro throwers can't abuse the quests. This is something that is always hard to balance in dex based games.
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Andy

California
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Hi all,

Accroding to your words,i think your worry is not necessary.You can solve the problem by post a survey about your problem.I believe most of the boardgame players will solve your trouble.If anyone want to discuss the details ,please feel free to contact to me .
This is my account of skype: wingoandy
 
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Robert Beachler
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Random elements are important for a game because otherwise a less skilled player will always lose and no one likes to lose all the time.
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Andrew Rowse
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When randomness changes how different strategies are balanced against each other, that is a good thing if it happens up front - for instance in Dominion there is a major random element at the start of the game when the randomisers are drawn.

If a random strategy-changing element of that magnitude occurs mid-game, that is not so good - players will be punished/rewarded for a strategic decision they were forced to make without knowledge.

If your cards reward players in a way that is not well balanced, I don't think they should be fully random. Have them instead be revealed from the beginning, so that players can exercise skil (and a bit of luck) to go after the ones that they like.

Randomness is often more compelling when it is used to create interesting situations, rather than to determine the results of actions.
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M J
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im not a very lucky person myself so im always a little scared when the outcome of the game involves any form of chance, but it doesnt discourage me from playing the game.

"highest die roll wins" is indeed unpopular and makes people feel like there deccisions are meaningless and thats something you really should try to avoid

"win this battle on a 1 to 5 but lose it on a 6" is already better it involves calculated risk
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Brook Gentlestream
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People get caught up in weird prejudices that show up in their language. As a general idea, "luck" is always bad to have in a game and "risk" is always good. Which word you use depends on whether or not you like the mechanic.

Take a game like Zombie Dice. At its core, both players roll dice, and whoever rolls better wins. This would be the luckiest player.

But there's a "push your look" element which introduces some risk management into the game. Based on a lot of information you have available (including how many points you've achieved so far, how many dice of each type are left in the cup, and what likelihood each die is to produce points), you can decide to wager all of your points for the possibility of getting some more points.

Yes, a "lucky player" will still win 100% of the time but the game isn't about winning by being lucky. It's about winning by studying the odds, and deciding when risks are worth taking and when the gains are not worth the risks.

Don't discount this as simple "luck", it's an awesome element of many great games. I always want some risk management somewhere in my games, whether I'm trying to predict the odds of a random result or the whether I'm trying to predict the odds that my opponent will take a particular action.

I mention that last point because random die rolls is not the only way to introduce uncertainty and risk management into a game. Card games especially give an opponent the means of producing an unknown result, and predicting what that result may be can be based on an analysis of risks and possible gains. Did he place the "red" card that gets him two points or the "black" card that gets 1 point? If you have the anti-red card in your hand, should you play it now or save it? Is the answer totally random, or can you actually figure one likelihood as being more probable based on other conditions in the game?

Luck is awesome to have in a game, but its a tool, not a thing in itself. It's a little like asking "Should I have colored squares on my board or not?"

If luck creates opportunities for risk management decisions, or really any kind of decisions, then its serving a useful game function. Just like randomly putting colored squares on your board does nothing for the game, introducing an element of luck that does not support or enhance risk management decisions does very little to improve your game.

If you see elements of luck in your game, try finding out its purpose. What is the purpose of having the luck element. What is its function. Why is it important to roll for initiative? To roll for your movement? To draw a card each turn?
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Joe Mucchiello
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byronczimmer wrote:
alllexxx wrote:
The only random factor was a dart throwing skill of the players.


From what I've seen of dart throwing tournaments, this is NOT a random factor, it is a dexterity skill factor.

Expanding on this, the difference between luck and a dexterity skill is that luck should even over the course of a game or a series of games. Dexterity skills will not even out ever. You might improve slightly over the course of many games, but over the course of a game, if your ability with darts sucks on the first turn. It will suck on the last turn. That's not luck, nor random.
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Alexander Stukalov

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genesyx wrote:

a) what other mechanics are in the game?
b) how big of a factor does the cards have in the game
c) how long does game last
d) how many cards are there in the game.

The other mechanics in the game (beside throwing darts and playing cards) are moving around the map 2 types of armies, soldiers and towers. The soldiers defend the hexagons and have to be killed with a dart or outnumbered by other soldiers. The towers are big pins that physically protect the hexagons from the attacking darts.
There are 7 types of hexagons that players can conquer, including the one with the playing cards. I'm doing my best to make all these 7 types equally powerful/important.
The game last about an hour for 2 players and hour and half for three.
So far I made 20 different cards but I want to make as many as 30.
ChopperDave wrote:

If you can draw an "I win/lose" card, even if it's extremely rare, chances are I won't like your game.

All the cards are usefull. But the conditional ones (quest like) are more powerful since they require an effort before providing a benefit.
colmustard21 wrote:

Cards, unlike dice, will get used up, so if you see four out five copies of a card get drawn, then you can still judge the probability and decide to manage risk. It also depends on how many cards each player will have drawn by the end of the game.

To get a card a player has to hit a special hexagon with a dart. A player also can get a few cards at a time if he/she already owns a few Playing Card hexagons.
I have over 20 playing cards and it's hard to predict which cards every player has on hands, unless all the player go card-crazy and start getting/using cards every turn.
SPBTooL wrote:

Having the random quests that are outside of the main objective could be a balance for the dart throwing skill part.

robbdaman wrote:

Random elements are important for a game because otherwise a less skilled player will always lose and no one likes to lose all the time.

It's a very good point. I never thought of this before. It's also a good reason to keep the cards in the game.
KAndrw wrote:

If a random strategy-changing element of that magnitude occurs mid-game, that is not so good - players will be punished/rewarded for a strategic decision they were forced to make without knowledge.

Randomness is often more compelling when it is used to create interesting situations, rather than to determine the results of actions

Any player can get a card any time. All he/she has to do is to aim for the Playing Card hexagons. Collecting and using a lot of these cards could be a ninja way to win the game since the rest of the players don't know what to expect from a player with a lot of cards on hands.

I'm also thinking of creating a second action for some weak cards that allows to combine them together to receive a powerful bonus.

lordrahvin wrote:

Luck is awesome to have in a game, but its a tool, not a thing in itself. It's a little like asking "Should I have colored squares on my board or not?"

Such a good quote! Now I feel like there is a good reason for me to have luck in the game. The purpose of it is to create an interesting way to win the game, give a chance to players with a weaker dart throwing skill, and may be to make the game more strategic since the players will have to manage the risk by trying to figure out what cards have been used and which ones are still in play.

jmucchiello wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
alllexxx wrote:
The only random factor was a dart throwing skill of the players.

From what I've seen of dart throwing tournaments, this is NOT a random factor, it is a dexterity skill factor.

Expanding on this, the difference between luck and a dexterity skill is that luck should even over the course of a game or a series of games.

I agree with jmucchiello but have to add one more thing. There is an optional game mode in the game that can be used by one, two or all the players. Instead of throwing the dart, the player can use a 10 sided dice to determine where his/her dart has landed. I don't know if this mode will be popular but I definitely want to include it in the game.
 
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Andreas Pelikan
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I've heard of a few attempts to combine darts and boardgames, but not yet seen any successful project. Many people have a table and chairs, but not so many have an empty wall to which they would mount a game board. Darts players tend to stick to regular darts, sometimes to the point that double-in double-out players are reluctant to play cricket (the darts variant, not the outdoor sport).

From the brief description it sounds like the game is more geared towards gamers than towards dart players. I'd recommend to replace the dart throwing mechanism by something that is practical in a tabletop game (might still involve dexterity, e.g. flicking).

Failed example, using a dartboard shaped game board to keep scores in challenges that are resolved by playing regular darts on a real dartboard.
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Brook Gentlestream
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Puschl wrote:
I'd recommend to replace the dart throwing mechanism by something that is practical in a tabletop game (might still involve dexterity, e.g. flicking).


Foosball?

Outside the Scope of BGG?

Labyrinth?

Crossfire?
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Pieter
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It is really very simple:

Randomness is only a negative if it makes playing the game futile.

So, if players draw strategic cards which are random, but they can use them tactically, then that is fine. But if it does not matter what is on the cards because they cannot be used by a player to increase his chances of winning, then they are just useless padding.

From your description I don't see a problem with your game from this perspective.
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Drew Gormley
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Randomness, for me, affects everyone equally. In Trajan, the demand tiles are random, but everyone has to respond to them. I'm fine with that. Luck, in terms of "I should win this but your dice were lucky" I don't enjoy at all.
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ElKitch Tasso
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It also depends on how much the players are affected by the randomness.

If you lay out a completely random catan game, then it does not have much effect on the game because everyone has to place.
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James Sitz
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BGG =/= board game buying public

Make a game you enjoy playing and then find out how to market it to like-minded individuals.
 
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Alexander Stukalov

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Puschl wrote:
I've heard of a few attempts to combine darts and boardgames, but not yet seen any successful project.

I've started this project a couple months ago. The first thing I did was searching for the board games that involve darts. I found only one and it wasn't popular. It's called Dart Wars http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/25144/dart-wars
I see a few reasons of its low popularity. First, the reviewers of the game are complaining about the magnetic darts that don't stick to the board unless thrown really hard. Second, I find the map of the game pretty boring, it's just the map of the world. Third, the mechanics are very much like in the game Risk with very little innovation.
The dartboard game Elite Dart Challenge has similar problems, it's not entertaining. The theme professional darts could be interesting only to the pro dart players.
Puschl wrote:
Many people have a table and chairs, but not so many have an empty wall to which they would mount a game board.

My board game has an optional mode, it can be played with a dice. It makes it a regular board game with very original mechanics.


ElKitch wrote:

It also depends on how much the players are affected by the randomness.

bchlax944 wrote:

Randomness, for me, affects everyone equally

These two quotes made me come to the conclusion that it's also about the balance between the luck and the control the players have over the game.
Jexik wrote:

Make a game you enjoy playing and then find out how to market it to like-minded individuals.

I don't think it's that simple. For example, I love chess and the first version of this game was a lot like chess. I didn't realize it till my friends pointed out that to me. I had to change the rules to make the game enjoyable not only to people like me but to a broader audience.
 
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