Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Finalizing the Mechanics

Last evening, the group decided to meet at the Livingston Apartments to discuss the final plans for our core mechanics. We went into the meeting feeling like we were not in a position we wanted to be in. We knew the very basic premise of our game, but we didn't know the details of the game that would make it smooth, enjoyable, and, most importantly, fun. However, after working diligently for 90 minutes, we felt very confident with where we stood.

 Our first order of business was to play test the game and see what we noticed. We started off by having all players receive three cards that represented the attractions that they were trying to build in addition to 10 tokens. The three cards proved to be a sufficient amount of cards as the materials required to build them took longer to acquire than we thought. We decided to have 2 material cards faced up that would be replaced every round if nobody picked them. Players had the option to pick one of the 2 face up cards or purchase a random card for one token. That still did not give us the result we desired, so we came up with the idea that players should have a "for sale" pile where they could show the cards they were willing to sell. We sold them for 1 token.

Then we decided that players would be able to have two actions per turn. It could be a combination of clearing land, buying a card, swapping cards, or offering to trade with another player. The land that the players cleared revealed one number. The number would allow the players to receive extra tokens if the dice that is rolled once per round is equal to that number. In the beginning of the game, there were very few attractions built so the dice rarely hit the number. We then decided that each place should have two numbers to increase the chances of the dice being that number.

The decisions we made last night made the game a lot more smooth and fast paced. It was a very fun time play testing and figuring out the little details of the game. We are very happy with where we are and we are excited for the game to come to life.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Prioritizing Features

The meeting of our group last Friday marked the third time we were officially able to meet in person as opposed to the online discussion we have been continuously engaging in from the beginning. As the class session started, the entire class discussed about functionality, completeness, and balance along with the importance of prioritizing features. These features would include our group's core mechanics and structures, which, to name a few, would be the rides, concession stands, resource cards, and images used for our game pieces. On Friday's group session, Tiffany, Jon, and I discussed and divided the items we would need for our next session such as play money, a temporary board (till we would order a finalized one), rides that would be cut out, temporary resource cards, and tokens with numbers labeled on them to be used as balance markers. We also went over what kind of shape the temporary board should take on and mutually agreed that a rectangle board with triangle pieces would suit it the most.

The temporary board

The land pieces

For tentative rules about our game, we discussed a pattern each player would take on their turn where they would draw three cards and keep two or draw two and keep one card, which would equal three cards in total. We went over a mechanic on the player's turn where they could either buy resources, build rides, take a random card, put an item up for auction, or roll dice for money, and along with these, the player would also be able to buy a token. These tokens would have a limit on them that would only last three turns in order to keep a certain balance. There was also a discussion about using a draft method where you can pick two cards and pass one or pick one card and pass two in order to boost up the interaction level among players. Our group also categorized the rides under certain titles in order to set up a certain theme in our game's ride values such as rides for kids.

Our group also debated how the attraction value would fit against the thrill value. Although we did not come to a common consensus about this, I believe we will discuss and finalize this in the next class meeting. Another thing that we will finalize during our next meeting is the usage of ingredients and resources in our cards, and whether or not we will mix the two together or place them in separate decks when drafting cards. As we finished up the session, we went over and assigned roles for each of the members before leaving the class. I was in charge of creating the board along with writing up the blog post for this week. Tiffany was assigned to buying the toy money and figuring out costs along with cutting out rides and token. Jon was placed in charge of making the cards, which including rides, foods, and resources.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Mechanics and the Development of Group Flow

         During our second group meeting, Jon, Matt, and I were able to brainstorm a general consensus of the game's presentation and mechanics. We knew that we wanted it to be theme park related; however, when it came to discussing the actual rules and visuals, we were coming up short. After voicing some thoughts that came to mind, Matt suggested that players start off by eradicating forrest land in order to build the rides to their park. Jon and I agreed that it was a good idea because in order to form property, one must have to buy and clear the land first. This would facilitate in the overall them of the game. I further contributed to his idea by proposing that a player would be able to build on another players' property as long as they pay that player for the land that they are taking. In addition, I suggested that we have a second layer to the actual board in which players could physically remove, which would be the land that they want to build an attraction on. This way, they could differentiate the pieces they have already cleared.

          Jon proposed an idea similar to Ticket-To-Ride for the mechanics of the game. Players would draw three cards and these would be the rides that they would have to build. This seemed a bit unfair, though, because other players could draw better cards and end up with the better attractions. Soon after, we changed it so that players would start off by drawing three cards; however, they would only keep two that they wanted and put the order card back at the bottom of the deck. Then, they would draw two more from the top, then keep one. This would make it more fair for all of the players because they would have a choice in the rides they could make. Jon then suggested that each "ride" card would have a set of pieces/resources that they would have to acquire in order to actually build it. I thought it would be a good idea to use play money to buy the resources, like one would use in real life.

           After deciding on these basic mechanics, we came across some issues that could occur such as a player not having enough money to buy anything. This would cause them to skip their turn, which we want to prevent so that everyone always has a turn to go. Jon first suggested that instead of buying or building something because they cannot, there would be a separate pile in which players could pick up a random resources. I, then, brought up the issue that players could end up having a bunch of resources they do not need and they would have no use for them. This is when Matt and Jon recommended an "auction" action, which would enable a player to sell the resource to another player or to the deck for a sum of money, which would also help them make more money.

        To finish our discussion off, I advocated a great way for players to additionally earn money. Each spot or attraction would have a certain number or cost, and if a dice were rolled, those players with the number in which the dice landed on would acquire some money. This would symbolize people riding their attraction, which would contribute to the theme of our game.

       By the end of class, we assigned each group member a task in which they would have to complete to get the game's formation in play. Matt would create a simple design of the board, Jon would make samples of the cards, I would find pictures of the rides and attractions that we could use, and since Jini was unable to be there, we assigned her the duty of reading over the Google document we created which basically summed up our class discussion. We also asked her to come up with more ideas that we could use, and to get Matt's portion of the visual game before the next class since he will not be able to make it.

By: Tiffany Rose Villa

Friday, November 6, 2015

Choosing the game

Picking the game

Last week, each student presented their board game to the class and we had to vote on which board game we wanted to work on. All of the games had really nice themes and I was genuinely surprised when my game was one of the ones to be worked on. Of course, it is no longer my game; it is my group's game.

We spent our first meeting exchanging contact information and decided GroupMe was the best way to communicate. We talked a little bit about how communication in our old groups can be improved and figured that everyone should have an easier time because we all live on campus. I talked about the basic game mechanics I had in mind. I also sent a document that went a little more in depth on the mechanics in the beginning of the week. I thought that this would help my team get a better feel for the game and come up with ideas to improve or change the mechanics during Friday's class. Overall, I am excited to work in my new group and cannot wait to get started.