Monday, December 5, 2011

I guess we're back

Being "done" is sort of frightening. Fortunately, I'm not done. There is a point where the diminishing marginal return of number crunching and theorizing is so diminished that it really doesn't make much sense to continue. I probably hit that point about a month ago and just walked away to see if when I came back I felt any different. I didn't and the gripes I have with the game are probably best measured and rectified after getting feedback from some fresh eyes. I have some formatting and what not to wrap up, but I think a lot of the shortcomings of the document can be smoothed out by just throwing a rambling post up to explain in many words whatever it was I couldn't explain in few.

I hadn't looked at my list of elements in a while, so I decided to round back and see how I did.

  • Easy to add. Probably better than I originally imagined. This element was first for a rather important reason--that if you want to crowd source content, it is an absolute must--but it sort of became the focus of the game. I think it will be really, really easy for people to add and customize stuff.
  • Tools and guides. They aren't done, but I think they'll be easy enough to produce and very informative. I really think the learning curve is short and the mastery-curve is long. That's a good thing.
  • Quicker combats. The potential is definitely there but I really have no idea. I think this is where fresh-eyes and play testing will be important. The details can be easily tweaked to have quick combat, but it might not be there just yet.
  • Less grid-reliant. Absolutely. Zones make a grid largely irrelevant but miniatures are still useful for showing relationships. I think it is the best of all worlds; you get the fun of minis and physical objects but not the drag of counting squares.
  • Less to remember. Like quicker combats, it definitely *should* work out that way but I guess we'll have to see. Marking didn't jump out at me as a horrible mechanism at first either.
  • Less to memorize. I think this will be a success as well. The game is designed to put smaller decisions to the player more often instead of a few huge decisions. As a result, a lot of the information can be withheld until the moment of the decision, which just means you need to keep less in your head. I think that will be a win for experienced and new players.
  • Strong core system. The system is certainly "strong and clearly communicated" but I'm not as sure anymore what this means. If I meant "clearly defined and delineated math" then I guess no. If I meant a robust system that performs consistently across many dimensions, then I guess yes.
  • Character building. Absolutely. The idea I kept going back to is that I wanted to "build" a character instead of "pick" a character. I think that'll happen.
  • More room for adjudication. Yeap. The system trades a few useful tools for the bulk of rules that go with a lot of games. Those tools work really well with just a little adjudication. The trick, though, was to put some thought into the range of those tools to push the adjudication to be fair. I imagine this point will take some selling and will meet with initial resistance. I think I can sell it, though.
  • Favorable system assumptions. Not really. Instead the system is just flexible enough in the content that it really isn't an issue.
When I looked back at the list of elements I was surprised, in truth, at how well I did. It is probably still a pipe dream to think that enough content will ever be crowd sourced to make a full game, but I can always plug away and have fun. I concluded the first list by saying that if the game "achieves these goals, it will at least be worth giving a look." I think that, at a minimum, has been achieved and I'm excited to be ready to share stuff about it again.

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