Playtesting – You vs. The Horde

Play testing the first iteration of my card game went, well…

You vs. The Horde was definitely the most popular name of the game, so I guess that’s sorted, which was a good start to the session. However upon playing a few rounds of the game, it became incredibly apparent the game required either a whole lot more balancing on my part, or the blessing of RNGesus, to win. I tallied around 5 losses to a win with a full team of 4 players. While I do want the game to be difficult, this was proving too difficult for the players testing the game. Interestingly, it also became apparent that the players thought it was random chance of the shuffle of the deck that decided whether they win or lose.

After the playtesting was over, I decided to have a crack at balancing the cards, below is a few of the calculations, hopefully I can explain them well enough without showing the cards themselves.


Under enemies I have calculated how many of each card type I want, and then how much damage they do in total. 20 x 1dmg cards, 10 x 2dmg cards, etc. Then I’ve calculated roughly how much damage each unique (referred to as wildcards) in all other documentation) does. So for example, CB which stands for Cursed Blade, does roughly -2dmg, but would also roughly go through 4 enemies (-4e) before being discarded, the same goes for the Mana Blade (later renamed Energy Blade). Then there are the calculations for how many health and mana potions there should be in ‘The Horde’ to offset the amount of damage taken in total (-97). However testing the real world implications on how negatively balanced or positively balanced the game should be would require more than just a few playtesting sessions. In fact, according to my maths, I’d require another 5 playtesting sessions to get anywhere close to balancing the game perfectly, and that’s just for playing with a full team of 4, playing with fewer players would need further playtesting to see if I need to take cards out of ‘The Horde’ to make the game win-able.

Basically, to conclude, the game needs more balancing, and it’s looking like a bigger monster than I previously thought that’s for sure. For what I considered a fairly easy game mechanics wise it’s proving increasingly more difficult to get right.

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