Finally got to try out the game with 2+ players. Managed to convince three friends to sit down and play with me which was immensely helpful. But before all that happened I’ve been pondering a problem with the game: since it’s player elimination whoever gets eliminated is excluded from the experience. Not a new problem at all: modern games rarely allow for players to be eliminated – and when they do it is often immensely difficult to accomplish. Up until now I’ve been adamant about my game staying a strict player elimination game – I happen to like the unforgiving cutthroat nature of player elimination games – so I’ve been looking for ways to minimize the negative feelings for the eliminated players. I’ve reduced playing time as much as possible, I’ve tried to pace the game so that elimination doesn’t occur too early, and even considered adding a feature that lets an eliminated player have some influence over the game even after being eliminated. But, and this will sound stupid, I realized that there was a much simpler solution: just change the win condition.
I think it struck me while listening to an episode of the Ludology podcast (great show!) that maybe I could keep the feel of a player elimination game while removing the negative experiences associated with being eliminated before the game ends. The solution I came up with was to just change the win condition to a point system and add an end condition that states that the game ends whenever someone is eliminated. Simple really: keeps the cutthroat nature and ends whenever someone is eliminated. Judging from today’s play test it’s going to need some additional tweaking since the points system came with some unforeseen disincentives. Turns out that if players are awarded points for taking out each others units then you’re not that willing to use your units in combat if you can avoid it. I’m gonna try and increase the reward for defeating enemy units and see if it tips the scale.
Anyways, here’s a pic of the game setup as it looks right now in TTS, I forgot to snap a picture mid-game so this will have to do.
Until next time!