The concept I decided to focus on and start prototyping this week was based on the PVP D&D idea I had in the previous class. Using D&D as a skeleton for the game gave me basics to work with in terms of mechanics and materials — I knew from the beginning that I wanted tokens to indicate characters, dice, a board, and cards.
D&D can generally be played without any materials due to the narrative focus and the adaptability of its rules, but I decided early on that I wanted a visual aspect to the game in order to carry theme and, from a development perspective, to give me solid concepts to work with. While the group project we created was heavily ludic, I knew that I was likely to have more detailed mechanics this time, and felt it was easier to combine that with solid materials and clear-cut rules. This was the reason I wanted a board and character tokens.
Dice are one of the most iconic aspects of D&D play, and they also provide a means to randomise results while still maintaining a competitive air — players are often indignant when they roll a lower number than their opponent, but don’t consider it unfair or unwinnable, which is the biggest problem with randomisation. There were always going to be significantly fewer combat mechanics and number systems in my game than in D&D, so there was no reason to require a full set of d4 – d20 dice; since it would mostly be used for skill checks, I chose to stick with just a d10, and add more if they were needed during playtesting.
The cards were because I wanted to vary from D&D in one significant way — drafting. Character creation is another large component of D&D and can often involve micromanaging stats and skills in order to create the most effective character of a chosen class. However, because I was thinking about basing the game’s theme on the Fate/ franchise, in which classes are often randomly assigned, as well as the recent surge of mobile games featuring a gacha system, I decided it would make for more interesting gameplay to assign characters by drafting and have players figure out how best to work with what they were given. This works best with a deck of cards — first drawing a card from a deck of classes, and then drawing a card from a deck of characters in that particular class.
I was more focused on the basic concepts of the game this week, so there was no practical playtesting, just theoretical planning for how certain mechanics would work and discarding ideas that were too complicated to work out in my head.