Inevitably, we come to the very last blog post I will write for this subject – and what a ride it has been.
For someone who avoided card and board games like the plague before the course, I have been exposed to more board/card games than a hotel room without a TV. For the most part, I think that this has been a good thing. It has broadened my horizons as a gamer, and has shown me that there is more to the gaming world than digital games.
Ah, Master’s of Hollywood: Director Face-Off. You were absolute hell to put together, but I enjoyed making you.
What began as an homage to Top Trump cards (and it’s gameplay mechanics) has ended, as it’s own fully-fledged game. After conducting a few solo and group playtests, I have worked on iterating and transforming my game over the past few weeks. These tests identified three key areas that needed work.
Oh boy. The original iteration of this game was near impossible to beat.
Originally, my “Event” card deck was implemented to stop players from winning early, particularly when playing in groups. These on-set disasters (inspired by real life set disasters), were brutal when implemented and often powerful enough to cause a stalemate between all players. In some cases each player would hit a certain amount of points, until there was absolutely no way for them to earn anymore, and the game would repeatedly take away points until they were back at zero.
To break this stalemate, I have since mixed in a few positive Event cards and tweaked a few character abilities that (at this stage) have prevented any game-breaking moments from occurring. This has been a direct response to the research I have undertaken regarding this:
“If the player is given a sense of incremental advancement against reasonably challenging obstacles, then the game will probably be enjoyable.” (Ham, 2010)
Character Effects/Strategy play
As this is such a huge part of my game, playtests have helped identify the strengths and weaknesses of implementing character effects. In the early iterations of my game, each character only had one generalised effect, which could be used ONCE per game during one of their turns. I quickly realised that no matter which character each player used, they may as well have all been the same. I have since added additional effects which reward players for achieving certain combinations, and punish them for achieving poor ones.
This benefit/hinder system will encourage players (especially those returning for another playthrough) to plan each game strategically, and seek certain card combinations to ensure their victory.
One thing I have noticed over the last week or so is that my game is extensively expansion-friendly. While my base game includes only the core aspects of filmmaking (I.e. Director, Actor, Composer, Studio cards etc.) future expansions could include Producer, Theatre or Marketing cards which might build on the overall meta-narrative of the game, perhaps even extending the end-game state.
These would feed seamlessly into the gameplay of my main game, and would only have minor impacts, but would appeal to veteran players who want to change up the experience a bit. The fact that the game is “mod-friendly” might also encourage players to create their own expansions to work into the main game as well.
So how do I intend to represent all of this in my game dossier? Very simply I hope to elaborate on the expansive research I have undertaken before and during this project and how it has helped my key gameplay elements evolve and refine. As my game is also a satirical representation of filmmaking, my dossier will go into detail about the inextricable connection between my game and the real life perceptions of filmmaking in games, and how my game represents somewhat of a reform for the film-game genre.
This will be elaborated upon within my dossier.
I look forward to completing my game and dossier, and having the final product ready to go. Wish me luck!
1. Ham, E. (2010). Game Studies – Rarity and Power: Balance in Collectible Object Games. [online] Gamestudies.org. Available at: http://gamestudies.org/1001/articles/ham [Accessed 10 May 2016].