Game Balance and all that.

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rekard
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Game Balance and all that.

Postby rekard » 23 Sep 2016, 19:59:04

So we know GMing a game always has its kinks, specially if it is a game that has modifications from standard formats. But sometimes the variants can lend itself to imbalances for one of the two sides at times or lead to obfuscation where players get lost about what the game is about. And in the end the game is still a competition.

So when making a game, what aspects do you consider first? Do you start on a baseline and move from there?

Or do you start with a setting and make up the rules to serve the setting? Basically, how do you define fairness?

Personally, I think balance is one of the goals to aspire for every game. I even take out potentially "cool" stuff because it becomes just too hard to make things to advantageous for someone.

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Okaros
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Re: Game Balance and all that.

Postby Okaros » 23 Sep 2016, 20:45:09

When I go to turn a theme into a standard-ish game. I generally start with a bunch of core power/feature ideas and try to work through likely lynch/maul scenarios, testing to make sure that the game doesn't end too quickly or too slowly with different numbers of wolves in play. That's my first major balancing point: That Super Master Exploder idea that blows up on turn one and kills everyone probably gets cut or reworked. Next I'll look at the overall roster of powers for the humans and wolves and compare it to the relatively standard no wolf specials/humans with GA/Seer/Vig game. Adding or removing powers from one side should generally correspond to a compensating power balance change on the other. Powers/features are less likely to get dropped entirely at this stage and are far more likely to get reworked to be more/less powerful as needed (i.e. a serial killer that kills every other night, or a GA that can't protect themselves). I try to carefully watch the shortest/longest game scenarios as I tweak things so that I don't accidentally break things in that dimension, and I usually do a final set of scenarios once I think I'm satisfied with the powers.

I almost never mess with wolf numbers, as it's very very difficult to judge the impact on gameplay (fewer wolves means they lose easier/faster, but it also makes it easier for them to hide their votes...). I also like to experiment with various mechanics, so game balance doesn't always wind up where I expect it to be. But I do try to aim for a relatively balanced game, as I think it's part of the formula for fun.
I kind of assume Okaros is out to backstab me until proven otherwise. - DOM

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rekard
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Re: Game Balance and all that.

Postby rekard » 24 Sep 2016, 19:20:01

Is there any ground rules that should or are ideal to be used?

For example, personally I use something like with a seer and N wolves, for humans to lose it should take N+1 mislynches. More than that, the game is biased towards humans. Fewer and the game is based towards wolves.

Also, I try to make a player engaged into the game as a factor of balance. If a player end up doing nothing or feel that the what he/she does is irrelevant, then it's not they best design.

Right now, the common thing we see in a Standard game is a seer, a vigilante and a GA with an extra wolf for balance. Is this what it sold be guys, or dues it need a tweak for real balance?

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Re: Game Balance and all that.

Postby Okaros » 26 Sep 2016, 07:29:34

I tend to think in terms of "X number of days, minimum/maximum" and "N number of missed lynches" and derive the # of wolves from there.

Player-engagement as a balancing tool has, in my experience, turned out to be a mistake/problem. What happens when someone gets assigned a high-engagement role and then no-shows two days in a row in the middle of the game? Or if the person that gets the role doesn't like that aspect of the game and doesn't engage? (See: PM or sub-team communication powers, which a number of people have an extreme disinterest in). In the in-person version of the game these things generally aren't issues, but on internet forums it's substantially different.
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Re: Game Balance and all that.

Postby Ryvvn » 26 Sep 2016, 13:16:55

Yeah there's no way to balance for non-participation; I'd have more fun playing in an imbalanced full participation game than a perfectly tuned one where even just one player fails to participate.


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