Saturday, December 3, 2016

Day 26: FotLC through the 113 lenses from The Art of Game Design

Day 26 - Lense 33: The Lens of Rules
To use this lens, look deep into your game until you can make out its most basic structure. Ask yourself these questions:

What are the foundational rules of my game? How do they these differ from the operational rules?
Let me take a shot at this...
Players try to achieve dominance over three aspects the playspace. The three aspects are The Social, The Physical and The Historical. (Historical? Really? Yup...)
Players either gather resources or affect the play space at any one time.
All players affect the play space at the same time.
Players control where they can move in the playspace.
Players try to control the six parts of the playspace.
When the resources run out players may choose to gain dominance in the Historical area of the playspace or continue to gain dominance in the Physical.
Players gain dominance in the Social area of the playspace by interacting with other players.
In each social interaction players can trade social dominance or attempt to gain physical dominance.


Are there "laws" or "house rules" that are forming as the game develops? Should these be incorporated into my game directly?
Many house rules developed and either resulted in new formal rules or drove changes to the game. The practice of raising your fist to signal the end or the turn was a house rule. There is a rule around the edge case of placing warriors while someone is trying to take over your base that is strangely special case and I would like to remove... but I am not sure how.

Are there different modes in my game? Do they make things simpler or more complex? Would the game be better with more or less modes?
There are at least two distinct modes to the game, play and challenges. The types of turn actions may be modes for individual players but both modes can be active at the same time for different players. The two pats of the game, main play and the city siege are probably also different modes. I think all of these are necessary and while their combination does cause complexity I think that it is the kind of complexity that I am looking for.

Who enforces the rules?
The players should be enforcing the rules on themselves. No cheating is just a rule. However having a arbitrator 'The Teller' as a non player role also works well.

Are the rules easy to understand, or are they confusing? If confusing, should I change the rules or explain them more clearly?
The rules are simple enough once they are known, the set is relatively small and there aren't too many details, compared to games like Shadows over Brimstone, or even Chess. However they are different enough from other games and need to be fully understood before play can begin in earnest that they are difficult to explain. That required a interesting technique to teach the game by playing the first few rounds. It turned out that all of the possible moves are used in the first few rounds. I wrote a tutorial that is a kind of dialogue that seems to work well.