Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Day 73: FotLC through the 113 lenses from The Art of Game Design

Day 73 - Lens 73: The Lens of the Story Machine
A good game is a machine that generates stories when people play it. To make sure your story machine is as productive as possible, ask yourself these questions:

How can I add more player choice?
I am not sure that I can, but let me list the points of player choice:

  • Every turn the player may choose to recruit or take a 'move action'.
  • If they move they may choose 
    • what path to place or pick up
    • where to place or pick up a path
    • how far to move along paths
    • whether to pick up or put down pieces
    • how many pieces to pick up or place
    • whether to move next to another player and challenge
    • whether to ally or fight in a challenge
    • which enemy base to destroy if they win a challenge
    • what order to do the above in
  • At the end of the game whether to challenge for control of the city
  • whether to claim victory

How can I allow more conflict to arise?
The game is centered around creating situations that will bring the players into conflict. All opposition in the game is generated by other players. There are two primary drivers of conflict, the need to control territory and the need to gather allies. To control territories you need to place bases, you only have two so if you want more you need to take them from another player. To take or defend bases you need warriors, you get them by taking recruit actions, but how many depends on how many bases you control, so taking bases even more important.

You get ally tokens by engaging in challenges, but you can be betrayed by the other player to their greater advantage.

How can I let players personalize the story?
The game is pretty abstract and impersonal. Despite the good world fiction I have wrapped it in there is little to differentiate the players from each other. The story generated by the gameplay is always unique within the possibility space of the game... but maybe doing something like asking the players to name their tribe might be good? That might get in the way of my diversity ideas of giving the tribes backgrounds in the fiction...

Does the game produce stories with good interest curves?
I think so, the mechanics of the game create a early game of exploration and diplomacy, then increasing tension then a final battle for the city which is the major factor in deciding the winner of the game.

Are the players excited to tell the story of what happened in the game?
Yes, I often listen to the post game talk about the details of the game... it is more than what you hear in a game of Kitan, but less than what you might here in a more story focused game.

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