As discussed in last week’s blog post, although the basic idea of my prototype is a PVP D&D style game, I moved away from D&D’s ability to run a game with a looser, more abstract interpretation of its rules, and instead decided to have materials as a necessary component of the game, because I found it more difficult to develop a game of the scale I wanted without concrete rules. Setting out a more structured game made it easier to identify problems with gameplay through theory and playtesting.
Because of that, the level of abstraction in the game is fairly low. The game is set on a board with a grid for movement tracking and positioning, and players are identified by tokens to represent characters; the characters have set details assigned by cards that are given to players at the start of the game, explaining their stats and skills. Conflict is resolved by player vs player combat, involving a rock-paper-scissors style of win/loss, and there are attack and health stats that are determined and tracked using numbers.
The game also has a clear theme and setting, which lowers its abstraction further. For the prototype, the theme of the game is inspired by the TYPE-MOON Fate/ franchise but not a direct spinoff; still, even taking the most interesting concepts from Fate/ and adapting them to an original setting means there will be an established setting, characters, and narrative, all in detail.
Playtesting for this week mostly involved making sure that combat and skill checks both worked in gameplay, as well as adjusting the numbers involved to keep combat fair but not tedious, i.e. how much health allotted and how much damage allotted would let combat feel like a significant part of the game, rather than an instant loss, without taking up too much time or becoming difficult to track. From this playtest, I decided to have variance in each character’s stats, so that some were “better” than others — and those with weaker characters would have to adapt a strategy for it — and the default health range was 100 – 150HP with a damage range of 10 – 20ATK, because we found that at this point in development, when there aren’t a lot of mechanics available for intricate strategy, anything else became tedious for the purposes of gameplay.