Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Week 5: New Playtesters and Corrections

This week in class, we had classmates play test our game. There were two play test sessions that provided great feedback on our rules and cards. 

In the first play test session, we identified some crucial errors in the game. First, it turned out that we needed a token to identify the round starter. Instead of adding another piece to the game, we decided the round starter would simply place the deck of event cards in front of him or her. Another problem that we noted was that some territory cards were too "godly", in that they offered both a bonus for selling a specific drug and higher defensive points. To correct this issue, any card that offered a drug-selling bonus was taken down a notch on the defensive scale. We realized weapons were a huge problem in the game because of the easiness to build an armory at a cheap cost. This was solved by weakening the weapons and adding a rule that limited a player to only buy one weapon per turn.

The second play test session went over smoother than the first after weakening the weapons. The weapons were no longer a cheap alternative to actually buying territories. Some of the problems that came up during the second play test was that the incentive to hold on to drugs for a bonus was very weak. Players stated that the event bonus about selling a drug, should apply soon as the event is triggered. This means that players cannot draw a drug on their turn and sell it for a bonus; it only applies on drugs that were being held previously. Another topic discussed was a way to have a cheap defensive weapon to help with the catch up mechanic on someone who gets too powerful weapon wise. We chose to create a weapon card that gave out more defense points and less attack. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Week 4: Wrapping Up The Nitty Gritty

This past week, after playing the game to ourselves once during class and once outside of class, we realized how changing some small details can really result in a different outlook of the game.

During our first play test, some changes in the game we made were the following: each player starts with $5000, territory defense points is now a new element to the game, drugs all equal to the same amount, while the value of all the territories have become neutral, introducing a star factor/risk factor (out of 3 for both territories & drugs), and there is one weapon we could only use once and that is the grenade. We were also toying around with the idea of using a die to maybe add a little chance and risk factor to the game for each person's turn. Other ideas we have introduced were to hide the money under your territory so when one is attacked, the attacker doesn't know who has what, and also that one could play an action card at any time. Towards the end of the first play test, we reached a conclusion that we didn't have enough cards, so we bumped the number up to having 20 of each card.

Our second play test turned out to be a lot better than our first play test. Along with making a couple more changes, our team really got to have a good feel for the game. During this play test, we solidified the order of operations during each turn. It is as follows: pick up a drug, sell a drug for money or keep the drug, if sold you can buy weapons. End turn. Upcoming turns: do the same as first turn but is not limited to buying a territory and/or attacking another player. Some of the small nitty gritty things we changed this second time around were having 9 territories instead of 6, introducing an attack/defense counter (being able to attack based on defense and offense numbers, making the most expensive territory $35,000, all territories under $25,000 with a bonus have a risk and defensive number of 2, no action cards (too much going on in the game already), making territories cheaper, weapon cards have an attack number along with a defense number which ranks each weapon, and changing marijuana to the common street term "weed".

We are sure there are more changes to the game are inevitable, but so far we all are very positive that our efforts thus far have resulted in a pretty good product/game. We are excited to see what our classmates have to say about the game when playing during the peer testing later on in the day!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Week 3: Finalizing some Details

Today we all brought in some cards to help visualize the game.  We also got down to work finalizing some more details of the game.

We needed to decide on the names / types of territories, so we brainstormed a bit on the names.  We came up with a nice list, such as a convenience store called 8/12 and a liquor store called Amy's Wine House.  Next we began deciding how much money each would cost.

The professor gave us the cool idea that territories should have risk levels, and higher risk places would have a higher pay-off when selling drugs.  We talked about this a bit and are still a little undecided about if / how we will implement this into our game.

Lastly, we talked about different ways of dealing the Event Cards.  Currently we had said that an event card would just be flipped over every round, but that didn't leave much room for strategy.  Now we are looking at a version where one player sifts off the top 5 Event cards and picks the one to play for the round.  Each round the card picker shifts to the left.  We also thought a little bit about having the card picker start with the player to the right of the player who goes first, and then continues to shift to the right.  This will somewhat alleviate the advantage of going first.

We picked who would make what cards so we can begin play-testing next week.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Week 2: Core Concept Design

After agreeing on the idea of having a game based on Drug Lords, this week we started working on our core concepts. Last week, we agreed the only thing we wanted to keep was the idea of selling drugs and becoming a drug lord. With that in mind, we took a week to incubate our thoughts on what we actually wanted to do with the game. During our in-class core concept brainstorm session, we changed a bit of the theme of the game. Rather than just trying to collect more and more drugs, the game takes place in a neutral city where the players are different drug dealers competing to own the city. The drug lords must acquire different territories expanding their control of the city.
We changed the mechanics/rules of the game as well, and added an uncommon twist to the game. Each round, there is an event that happens which effect all the players in the game. The events range from positive events such as “Corrupt Official Elected to City Board” where players would be able to sell a certain drug for extra money. Other events could be similar to “Cops Crack Down” where everyone must discard a specific drug card. Adding onto the events, a player may buy action cards during their turn which may give them a bonus or be used against other players. On a turn, a player starts off by picking up either a drug or a weapon card, and then sells their drugs into their districts (if they choose too – they may not want to because certain events may make selling a certain drug more or less valuable). After that, a player has a choice of buying a territory out of the neutral remains in the city, attacking another player, or playing an action card. After doing one of these, the players turn ends.
Our game is going to require a lot of play testing to check how the events and action cards are going to work, and whether or not they add too much luck or negative player experience into the game. Also, we need to figure out how the combat system in the game is going to work. There is a lot of work that we still need to do, but we feel our game is headed down the right path.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week 1

Our group decided on a game called Drug Lord (maybe Cartel) loosely based on the show Breaking Bad. This game has minimum players of 3 and a maximum of 8. The point of the game is to make your way from a lowly street dealer to the top which is the Drug Lord. Once you become a Street Dealer, then you progress to being a Supplier, then a Lieutenant, and finally a Drug Lord. There are also two types of cards, action cards and resource cards. After discussing with the group we have decided on a variety of resource cards ranging from money, and guns to drugs. We are still in the process of deciding what else to change so this is a loosely framed idea. Some action cards we have decided on are the police card where it causes you to "go to jail" and lose a turn. There are also a bunch more which we are figuring out. Working with a group to develop this game was an enjoyable process. Our group works pretty well on making decisions and having different minds lets us bounce ideas off of each other so that we end up with a more refined result.