Moving to the Whiteboard……finally.
I started by drawing a simple diagram of players adding cards to their hands and the hands moving around the table.
This may not look like enough but it is what I need to get myself started. My process is to stand over the table and pace back and forth and talk out what I am trying to do. I will then look back at the basic diagram and keep working my way through the thought process. I worked like this for at least an hour and I kept running into the same problems. How do I keep people identified, how do I keep the hand in order, how do I prevent players from taking too much time with the hand? I was able to generate solutions for all of these issues but the solutions either made the game more complicated or required players to do extra accounting. Accounting, in my opinion, is ok for a game, but if the accounting does not have a direct effect on the game, I think it needs to go. The accounting in this case, was only there to manage a mechanic and not add any richness to the game.
The result of all this pacing and talking to myself is the realization that a hand moving around the table to too fragile a thing to make this complicated, so this kind of blind negotiation is out. I could keep working the problem but I don’t want a game to fall apart when during the second to last turn, the hand is dropped and the game is ruined. I don’t remember a hand of cards ever being dropped in all the games I have played, but I remember cards falling off the table and if there is ever one instance where players have to reveal who they are in order to keep the cards in order, that is a weak point in a game I don’t want to build. So blind negotiation is out.
Just a quick aside, does the idea of seeing a game created via YouTube sound interesting to anyone? I think what this kind of development blog lacks are the times I spend pacing back and forth talking out what I am thinking. It also misses the detail Aidan and I talk about during the weekends when I check in with what I have. There are times when game ideas are spawned that, to me, are really interesting to hear. However, I am really close to this process and I don’t know if an edited video showing the most interesting moments of game design would be worth watching. Please leave me a comment or send me a message on twitter.
With blind negotiation out, I still wanted to use a blind bidding system. The idea is to have players work for each other and not know they are working for one another until the job is done. That means the jobs need to get to the board anonymously so players can bid on them. It also means players need to be able to bid on their own jobs to keep their contracts a mystery. My plan is to go over the mechanic is detail in another post. Just know for now, I am happy with there the game is now headed. I spent about three hours working on the whiteboard. In that time, I was able to attache a theme, work my way through a full turn, and I started the alpha prototype.
Using the whiteboard notes above, I was able to get the first prototype cards done and I was able to build a list of cards that need to be created. Some of those needs are straight forward and others involve some more work. Most of that work is stat creation and stat creation means balancing. The balancing can be taken care of later but I still need to sit down and create a number of cards that have a decently spread of stats.
In our next post, we will talk about the main mechanic and how it works, complete with pictures. After that, we will talk about the theme. If you want a preview of what to expect, you can look at the photos can get an idea of what where the game is going. Please feel free to comment on whatever you want, anything you see in the notes. Or anything that is too chicken scratchy to read.
If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment here or email Chris at email@example.com
If you have made it this far, would you like to go a little farther? We have a regular Google hangout with other designers. We talk about the games we are working on and share helpful tips and ideas on how to make designing our game easier. We meetup every other Saturday. Either comment here or tweet me or email me and I will add you to the list and send you a link to the Google hangout.