Day 84: Lens 36: The Lens of Chance
To use this lens, focus on the parts of your game that involve randomness and risk, keeping in mind that those two things are not the same. Ask yourself these questions:
What in my game is truly random? What just feels random?
Nothing. There is no randomness in my game. Everything that feels random is actually the behavior of other players that a player fails to predict.
Does the randomness give the players positive feelings of excitement and challenge, or negative feelings of hopelessness and lack of control?
Both I think. I have tried to make the game forgiving enough that suffering from the actions of another player doesn't ruin the fun of the game, but at the same time give the actions of players weight so that they feel that they can have a meaningful effect on each other. It's a tough balance and I may not have gotten it right yet.
Would changing my probability curves improve my game?
There are no probability curves, but I can adjust things like the rewards and penalties for specific actions in the game. That has a similar effect on the feel of the game as adjusting the probability curves on a game with randomness.
Do players have the opportunity to take interesting risks?
Oh yes. Just because there is no randomness does not mean that there is no risk. But rather than their being the risk that you will randomly fail the risk is that you have misjudged the possible actions of the other players. I think this is much more meaningful, but I recognize that it can also be much more frustrating because you can not blame your failures on chance or luck.
What is the relationship between chance and skill in my game?
There is no chance, so there is a complete dependance on skill in terms of the unexpected effects that you encounter in the game. That said sometimes players take non-rational actions and anticipating those is hard. Failing to do so can feel bad, and that's a problem that I am not sure that there is a complete solution to other than mitigating the consequences to within players tollerence for their own failure.