Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
15 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Learning Through Failure Mechanism rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Eric Smith
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Has anyone seen a gaming mechanic where you advance by "learning" from failure? Or learn faster by failing? This proposed game mechanic was inspired/stolen from "Without a Thought" by Fred Saberhagen.

Each player starts the game with draw bag filled with 10 white tokens, and 10 black tokens. Task/actions in the game will require the player to draw tokens from the bag. The outcome is based on how the player can use the white tokens to fulfill the requirements of the task/action.

So for the first task in the game, if the game needs a 50% chance of success for the average player; The task will require the player to draw 1 token, and succeed on a white token (Notation:[ Draw 1 Keep 1 Success 1 ]). 75% might be something like [ Draw 2 Keep 1 Success 1 ]?

== The Hook:

If the player fails at a task, then all the black tokens are left out and only the white tokens are returned to the draw bag. The player has (hopefully) increased his chances of success/"learned" by removing entire sets of tokens that are a known failure.

If the player succeeds at the task, then only one black token (if any were drawn) is left out and the other tokens are returned to the bag. The player learns something through success, but it is not as compelling as learning from failure.

If the player ever has 8? black tokens in front of himself, It's time to level up! The player will place the 8 black tokens back into his bag and perform whatever "Leveling Up" action the game allows.

Wierd, dumb, seen it before? Where?


== Example of Possible RPG Style Implementation:

Combat in the game is resolved by [ Draw 4 Keep 2 Succeed 1 ].
Erik the Bold is a Fighter. Fighters have a base melee combat value of [ Draw+1 ].
Erik has a sword and the sword gives [ Draw+1 Keep+2 ].
So Erik reaches into his bag and draws 6 tokens.
It's a fresh bag and he gets the expected 3W 3B. Success!
He gets to keep 4 but he only has 3W.
He succeeds with 2 more White tokens than needed, so he does 2 extra damage to his opponent.
He throws 5 tokens back in the bag, and keeps one black token out in front of himself.
Failures happen... Successes happen... Time passes...
Erik defeats another opponent, but this time, his 1 black token added to the others totals 8. Level Up!
He throws all the tokens back in the bag and bumps his combat value up to [ Draw+2 ].

Talk about a nightmare for the DM! 8 unique baddies, 8 draw bags, 8 token stacks... discouraging...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Sevier
United States
San Diego
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The basic idea is sound, but that particular implementation does seem like it only works for very simple situations. Each player having their own bag, maybe.

I could also see an Adventure game (Like Runebound or Talisman) where you still get experience from an encounter even if you fail. You would just suffer any consequences of that failure in addition to the experience.

Hmm...thinking about it, that's actually a really good balancing mechanic. Prevents the runaway leader problem a bit, since failing is worse than succeeding but not nearly as much as most games have it. You'd be behind in loot, but still get as much (or more) experience from the failures to keep you from falling too far behind.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jake Staines
United Kingdom
Grantham
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I can't recall the game in particular offhand, but I'm pretty sure I've seen a game in the past where when you failed an attempted task, you gained a token which you could cash in at a later date for a +1 to your die roll when attempting either that task or any task, I forget exactly which. I'm pretty sure these +1s could be accumulated and spent all at once, as well.

It's not exactly the same result as your draw-bag mechanism, since the beneficial effect is a) a one-off and b) you get to choose when to spend it, but it's another approach toward the same problem.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sturv Tafvherd
United States
North Carolina
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
In Mouse Guard RPG, in order to improve your skill at a particular task, you had to "fail" X times AND succeed Y times ... the "failures" in that game are usually just "you fail to succeed the way you wanted".

For example, let's say the task was "build a bridge". If you succeed, you built the bridge without losing a lot of time / resources. But if you "fail", then the bridge is built but with some penalty of time / resource / circumstance.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kirk Monsen
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Bichatse wrote:
I can't recall the game in particular offhand, but I'm pretty sure I've seen a game in the past where when you failed an attempted task, you gained a token which you could cash in at a later date for a +1 to your die roll when attempting either that task or any task, I forget exactly which. I'm pretty sure these +1s could be accumulated and spent all at once, as well.


Airships

-Munch "there are probably other examples" Wolf
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joshua Lougheed
Canada
flag msg tools
There was an entry back a few months ago in the Board Game Designers Forum in their monthly game design challenges that might give ideas.

It is "What kills you makes you stronger" by Gizensha, the first entry here: http://www.bgdf.com/node/6889

It looks like a lighter game than yours but with the same basic idea.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Crane
United States
Sherman Oaks
CA
flag msg tools
mbmb
The attacker's siege weapons in Stronghold do a simple version of this. When you build a siege weapon you build a deck with 5 "miss" cards and two "hit" cards. Any time the weapon fires, you draw a card. On a miss, then that card is removed from the deck, meaning you are more likely to hit as the operators correct their aim. If you hit, then you reshuffle the deck. The defender can sabotage the weapon (add a miss to the deck), and you can focus on aiming the shots (draw two cards, pick one as your result).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Smith
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Mephansteras wrote:
The basic idea is sound, but that particular implementation does seem like it only works for very simple situations. Each player having their own bag, maybe.


Yes, I agree that epic role-play is probably the least attractive setting for this and that a smaller, controlled space is better. Especially since I'm haven't thought at all about how this would scale.

Stormtower wrote:
In Mouse Guard RPG, in order to improve your skill at a particular task, you had to "fail" X times AND succeed Y times ... the "failures" in that game are usually just "you fail to succeed the way you wanted".

For example, let's say the task was "build a bridge". If you succeed, you built the bridge without losing a lot of time / resources. But if you "fail", then the bridge is built but with some penalty of time / resource / circumstance.


That's pretty close to what I was going after. "My" system is less specific about requirements to improve, and totally non-specific about how improvements are applied. (in the example give at least)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Smith
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Bascaria wrote:
The attacker's siege weapons in Stronghold do a simple version of this. When you build a siege weapon you build a deck with 5 "miss" cards and two "hit" cards. Any time the weapon fires, you draw a card. On a miss, then that card is removed from the deck, meaning you are more likely to hit as the operators correct their aim. If you hit, then you reshuffle the deck. The defender can sabotage the weapon (add a miss to the deck), and you can focus on aiming the shots (draw two cards, pick one as your result).


Yes, that's pretty close. Leads me to think this has a lot in common with deck building... or maybe even that cube tower combat resolution of... (had to find it) Wallenstein.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aaron Morgan
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Friday is a deck-building game with a mechanism by which failure allows you to remove low-value cards from your deck.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Patrick Robles
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
I'm working on a dungeon crawler which is a stripped down version of a more fully featured RPG that requires a certain number of failures for the best possible level advancement. I took it out of the dungeon crawler as it was too much bookkeeping.

I'm playing around with a more streamlined replacement that requires a critical failure or success to trigger advancement in any skill. Early on critical failures occur about a quarter of the time but are easily avoided by spending resources, so the player is faced with balancing quick advancement vs failing checks and tests. Critical successes occur fewer than 1 out of 90 attempts and the cost to buy one is quite high.

As long as a character is advanced without min/maxing stats the odds get much better, about 1-20 for failures and 1-40 for successes for a maxed out character. Allowing more failures would see those odds swapped, and the price to buy a success drastically reduced.



 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
chris lake
United States
Hewitt
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Airships gives you an additional +1 token when you fail
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Barry Hood
United Kingdom
Coventry
flag msg tools
badge
Microbadges by request, geekmail me for details!
Avatar
mb
Mephansteras wrote:

I could also see an Adventure game (Like Runebound or Talisman) where you still get experience from an encounter even if you fail. You would just suffer any consequences of that failure in addition to the experience.

Hmm...thinking about it, that's actually a really good balancing mechanic. Prevents the runaway leader problem a bit, since failing is worse than succeeding but not nearly as much as most games have it. You'd be behind in loot, but still get as much (or more) experience from the failures to keep you from falling too far behind.


I really like this idea for Talisman, since there are more than a few characters who are either very heavy on strength and very light on craft or vice versa, and for all but the weakest encounters it's pretty much an automatic wound (not to mention strength seems marginally more useful so pulling a high craft character from the start can be disheartening). At least this would allow you to build your weak characteristic up over time and have a fighting chance.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
B C Z
United States
Reston
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
VivaJava: The Coffee Game has you learn by researching, or learn slower by 'blending'.

It also puts beans in bags that you draw from, with ways to manipulate what's in the bag and how you draw.

-=-=-

Yggdrasil has bags of fire giants and warriors that you draw from. If you draw for warriors, giants return. If you're trying to purge giants, the warriors return. There are other ways to manipulate the bags with special powers in the game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alexander Awesome
Norway
Oslo
Oslo
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
When players fail your attempt at killing Dr. Lucky you gain a spite token, making your next murder attempt more deadly.

But your version of the mechanic makes more sense within its setting imo
 
 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.