Friday, February 17, 2017

Day 94: FotLC through the 113 lenses from The Art of Game Design

Day 94 - Lens 43: The Lens of Competition
Competitive games can satisfy the basic human urge to determine who is the most skilled. Use this lens to ensure that people want to win your game. Ask yourself these questions:

Does my game give a fair measurement of player skill?
Yes, in that the game is symmetrical and involves no chance. The game rewards situational awareness and both tactical/strategic thinking and politics.

Do people want to win my game? Why?
Yes, in that players usually want to win a competitive game that they sit down to win. The game reinforces that though the course of play by setting up conflict situations where players act against each other and then later inevitably (or at least very often) sets up situations that allow revenge. By the end of the game players are often more interested in who is 'winning' a particular back and forth with another player than in winning the game as a whole. That is intentional and both reinforces my theme and allows players who do not win the game (5/6th of all players) to feel satisfied with their performance. One could call it 'facilitating the formation of secondary goals', or maybe just 'revenge is sweet'.

Is winning this game something people can be proud of? Why?
Yes, because it's difficult. The note that players read when they win points out all of the things that they have to have demonstrated to win the game, and that it's really something to be proud of. At the same time, the game tries to point out through play and explicitly in the victory text that the kinds of behaviors that allowed the player to win are not necessarily positive qualities outside of the game space.

Can novices meaningfully compete at my game?
Yes, particularly if playing against other novices, or working together with other novices against experienced players.

Can experts meaningfully compete at my game?
Yes, I think... I have not had a chance to playtest with the same players dozens of the times. But again the game is symmetrical and has no chance, so if if provides enough place for deep strategies then it will hold up to expert play.

Can experts generally be sure they will defeat novices?
One to one yes, though several novices working together would make life very difficult for an expert. It's possible that in more even matches, say three experts and three novices, that I could give a larger pool of warriors to the novices to even things out, or an extra ally token. But for now I am keeping things symmetrical.