兇煞迴廊 (Fearsome Floors)

簡單的逃跑遊戲,玩家的目標就是躲開怪物,把自己的隊員逃到終點。也可以利用隊員的位置阻止對手的移動,或控制怪物的移動。

遊戲時間:中等(60分鐘)
玩家人數:2至7人
學習難度:易
部件大小:中等

遊戲簡介

  • 每人有3至4個隊員,不同隊員在日間和夜間的移動力都不同。每次玩家行動時控制一個隊員移動,反轉它表示該隊員已經行動了並顯示下回合的行動量,然後到下一個玩家行動。
  • 當所有隊員都已移動,怪物會根據怪物卡向前移動。當怪物發現任何隊員時,他會轉向最近的隊員並吃丟他!
  • 特殊情況:如果多於一個隊員和怪物接近,怪物會傻傻的繼續血前進。
  • 怪物碰到牆壁時會在另一個位置出現。即使怪物離開出口很遠也可能碰到牆壁傳送到出口附近!
  • 基本模式中會有一些石頭,可以用作遮擋怪物視線。複雜模式中有更多物品改變怪物的移動模式。

遊戲分析

  • 簡單的怪物移動邏輯,沒有隨機因素令它改變路線,在移動隊員時卻難以遇料怪物的走向,因為任何隊員都可能會令怪物轉向,或製造特殊情況令怪物不轉向。在所有隊員完成行動前,怪物的行動路線都難以確定。
  • 當大部份的隊員位置都確定時,玩家可以利用自己的隊員引導怪物轉向,令其他玩家的隊員被吃!

一網打盡(Cash-a-Catch)

搶拍的拍賣方式,對抗性的買賣,挑戰玩家對物品價值的估算速度

遊戲時間:短至中等(30分鐘)
玩家人數:3至5人
學習難度:易
部件體積:中等

遊戲簡介

  • 由某玩家開始一張一張地拍出貨品卡牌,首先按下按鈴的玩家可用十元購買所有拍出的貨品。拍賣完成後到下一位玩家拍賣。
  • 玩家只可以扣留三類的魚,多餘的魚要丟至垃圾箱,在遊戲完結時扣分。
  • 玩家拍賣前可賣丟魚箱內的魚,同一類的魚的數量越多價值越多。

遊戲分析

  • 搶先購買的拍賣方式很特別,而且變動的不是拍賣價,而是貨品。
  • 在搶先的情況下考慮貨品的價值,對手得到的獲利,和拍下下一張魚卡的風險,對遊戲的經驗有一定的要求。正如一般反應遊戲(twitch game)一樣,是一個易學難精的遊戲。

賽駱駝(Camel Up)

就是估算賽果的遊戲,完全是風險和收益的衡量(risk versus reward tradoffs)。

遊戲時間:中等(30至60分鐘)
玩家人數:2至8人
學習難度:易
部件大小:中等

遊戲簡介

  • 玩家輪流作一個行動:擲骰子決定駱駝的移動,拿取一張中段投注卡,放置影響駱駝移動的指示物,或放置一張賽果投注卡。
  • 先投注的玩家能獲得更多獎金。
  • 後來居上的駱駝會疊在同一格的駱駝之上,當下面的駱駝移動時會帶動上面的駱駝一同前進。這令賽果更難遇料,亦令遊戲出現搞笑的狀況。

後來居上的駱駝會得到戲劇性優勢,這令賽果難以估計。但如果不去冒險投注,擲骰子卻會令賽局明朗化,令後來的玩家得益。先行投注可能有更大利潤,但風險也比較大。

那金字塔型的骰子盒是一大亮點!本身就是一個外型很有趣的物件,也保證了只會出一粒骰子。

這遊戲的平衡性難以估量⋯⋯但這就是一個歡樂的賭博比賽,不要太認真就是了。

政變(Coup)

抵抗組織(The Resistance)的另一作品,也是每人有隱藏身份的遊戲,這次玩家不是隊制對決,而是個人對決:只有一個勝利者!

遊戲時間:短(15分鐘)
玩家人數:2至6人
學習難度:易
部件體積:小

遊戲簡介

  • 每人抽取兩個秘密角色卡,代表玩家對該角色的影響力,每種角色有不同的能力。遊戲主要是收集資金,然後使用資金去解除其他玩家的影響力。當玩家失去所有影響力時,他就輸丟了該場遊戲。
  • 當玩家使用角色的能力時,並不需要展示該角色卡。其他玩家可提出質疑,如果被質疑的玩家展示了相應的卡牌,提出質疑的玩家則失去一個影響力,否則被質疑的玩家失去一個影響力。

遊戲分析

  • 隱藏身份直接影響玩家能力的遊戲可算是罕見。富饒之城也算是其中之一,但身份立刻在能力使用後被展示。玩起來感覺很像吹牛(大話啤),但卡牌的能力令遊戲變化很大。
  • 遊戲的對抗有自由的目標選擇,對抗方式也非常直接,所以被針對的玩家就會輸丟遊戲@@(小弟還是喜歡德式桌遊⋯)不過遊戲簡單明快所以輸了也沒相干~再來一局就是了~

正如抵抗組織的作風,遊戲只有很少部件(五個角色,每個角色三張,和一些金錢指示物),卻有豐富的遊戲性。卡牌製作也非常精美。

Zombicide

在KickStarter很有名氣的合作打喪屍遊戲,遊戲版圖很大,很多模型,但玩法卻很簡單。

遊戲時間:中等(60分鐘)
玩家人數:1至6人
學習難度:易
部件體積:大

封面

滿街都是喪屍!!

遊戲簡介

  • 遊戲有不同的戲情,包含不同的地型,特殊物品和勝利條件。不同的角色也有不同的能力。
  • 每回合在指定地點就會在喪屍進入,或者在打開房門時在室內會發現喪屍。喪屍每回合會向玩家移動一格,或向在同一格的生還者攻擊。角色被攻擊兩次就會死亡!玩家可利用物品發出的聲響控制喪屍的移動方向。
  • 特殊的喪屍能每回合行動兩次;大型喪屍只有特殊武器才能對付。
  • 角色停留在室內可以找尋武器和工具,也可能會找到喪屍!武器和工具可用作抵抗喪屍。
  • 角色擊殺喪屍會提升等級,但新加入的喪屍會因應最高等級的角色而增加,所以玩家要管理好每個角色的擊殺數,甚至減少擊殺喪屍來完成任務。

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

勃艮第城堡(The Castles of Burgundy)

在boardgamegeek.com排名11的遊戲,遊戲重點是擲骰子決定行動的可能性,買賣貨品或擴建城市。

遊戲時間:稍長(九十分鐘)
遊戲人數:2至4人
學習難度:易至中等
部件體積:稍大

封面

遊戲進行中!

遊戲概要

  • 擲骰子決定玩家可以拿哪些建築物,把建築物建在哪處,或賣出哪些貨物。玩家可使用工人去改變骰子的數值來增加選擇。
  • 大部份建築物在建造後立刻發生效果,只有少數建築物有持續效果。
  • 玩家可透過買賣貨物或建造某些建築物來賺取銀幣,用作購買建築物,但每回合只能購買一次,而且數量有限。
  • 玩家可透過建造農場,特殊建築物,或完成區域(用同類建築物填滿區域)來得到分數。建造同類的農場,或較早完成區域的玩家能得到額外分數。最高分的玩家勝出遊戲。
  • 建築物的選擇隨著玩家的拿取而減少,在每一階段開始時保充。每個玩家在每回合有兩個行動,每一階段有五個回合。遊戲在五個階段後結束。

遊戲分析

基本分析

  • 由於建築物種類比較多,新玩家需要花一些時間去了解建築物的功能。
  • 遊戲的平衡性:
    • 每階段保充的每種建築物的數量都是指定的。
    • 玩家可透過建造船隻改善行動排序。
    • 玩家的建設規劃是預先設定好的,不會出現太極端的建設規劃(例如全部都是農場⋯)。
  • 遊戲中很少正反饋系統(positive feedback)。大部分的建築物也沒有持續效果,即使有也不會有很大的影響力,未見到一些疊加性效果令回合效果倍加的情況。
  • 玩家的取捨主要在於優化行動的順序和工人的消耗上。消耗工人能得到更好的選擇,但消耗得太快的話會浪費更多的回合去獲取工人。由於較早完成區域的玩家能得到額外分數,而且回合有限,越少回合則能建的建築物越少,浪費回合意味著得到較少分數。
  • 玩家之間的主要競爭在於建築物的選擇上:農場的種類,先完成哪類建築物,特殊的建築物,有限的出購建築物。

衝突輕微

感覺上就是哪種和一名玩家爭同一資源就令第三者得益的遊戲。遊戲得分的方向很多,在遊戲進行的前部份衝突較少。

回合效益

和卡坦島比較,這遊戲令每個玩家的行動質量都相差不遠,不會出現像卡坦島中獲取資源的差異很大的情況。幸運性也只在工人的消耗上去體現,這也能由資源分配上去改善。與其說它是骰子行動遊戲不如說是使用工人的考量。整體來說主要都是回合效益和分數的計算。

mda2

Dynamics in MDA for Game Design

Mechanics-Dynamics-Aesthetics framework (MDA) is a tool of game design to analyse game, and more importantly, it’s a fundamental concept to make a game. In my opinion, “Dynamics” is the key concept of MDA, and which is the most useful concept for game design. Understanding of dynamics would immediately imply the understanding of MDA, and a clear picture for clarifying a game idea.

What is Dynamics?

Mechanics and aesthetics are easy concepts that people would understand: mechanics is about rule and aesthetics is about good feeling. For the players of certain game, they would understand and discuss about the rules and feeling of the game intuitively, such as the understanding of the rules, how to make use of the actions in order to achieve the best performance, and how they feel through the gameplay. Thus, it’s a common mistake to design about the mechanics directly without dynamics, for who want to make a game without knowing MDA. They may sooner find themselves lacking of the direction of the mechanics design, or the final product is not as good as they’ve expected. Understanding of dynamics would help to solve such situation.

For instance, Monopoly (skip this paragraph if you know how to play it), it contains a board with a circular path, players roll two dice to indicate how their character move on the path, and they can choose to buy the unoccupied land their character met. Players collect the land cards, and they could build their house on the land if they collect all the cards on a street of that land. Players have to pay fees to the landowner if their character met the opponents’ land, according to the land price and the properties on that land.

That’s a fairly detailed description of a part of the concept of Monopoly. Let’s make it shorter by focusing the player decision and behaviour:

“Players collect the lands, prefer them on the same street, build properties, and they would collect more money later on if that goes well, which would form an unstoppable positive cycle”

And may be adding some linkage with the aesthetics: as the players get the positive cycle, they would feel like the monopoly in real-life. This abstraction of the player behaviour is the dynamics, which is actually independent with the mechanics. Think about Monopoly Deal, there are no dice and board, thus no rule and mechanics of Monopoly would apply there, but it’s achieving the same dynamics: to collect lands on the same street, and to get more money for more lands on the same street when the rent card is played.

Once the game rules are confirmed, it cannot be changed through the game play, as a static factor of the game. The players would make their decisions provided by the game rules, but how they choose is up to their own, to make every match different from each other. The collection and behaviour of this factor are the “Dynamics”.

From a player’s point of view, a dynamics can be an abstraction of rule, but actually at a game designer’s point of view, a dynamics can come up with no mechanics in the first place. You may know how to manage a football team and come up with the idea of a football management game without controlling the football player movement, or you may play any existing game and you want to do something that the game doesn’t provide it, which is not necessarily related to the game rule. When you want to implement a certain dynamics, you may seek for many different mechanics to achieve that.

Here is the summary:

  • Dynamics is how players make their decisions, which would be different for players and every game plays
  • Dynamics can be a abstraction of game rules, focusing on the player behaviour. It can be the concept of a strategy, tactics, or a behaviour that link to the aesthetics
  • Dynamics is the goal of mechanics to achieve, and it would bring out the feelings to achieve aesthetics

Why talk about Dynamics?

Clarify the dynamics of the game idea during game design is important. Here are the reasons:

  • To widen the sense of Aesthetics
    If the whole process of game design focuses on the mechanics without dynamics, it would be hard to get the sense of how players feel. Imagine how to get the feeling of being the millionaire in real-life by rolling dice and moving around a circle, without the dynamics in the first place. If the dynamics that would carry out certain aesthetics is confirmed, the aesthetics are guaranteed no matter how the mechanics are refined. The effect on the dynamics of changing game rule would immediately remind the effect on the player’s feeling.
  • To define the goal of mechanics
    If a mechanics are defined at the very first place, it’s hard, or even no way to measure and analyse if that is good for the game or not. Think about why we roll 2 dice for Monopoly. What about 1 die? What if the players decide the movement within 1-6 themselves and make it more real to the real-life? Ya it would break some concept, but why not? The goal of mechanics should be defined or it’s too hard to refine, especially in the iterative game design process.
  • To seek for the possibilities of mechanics
    If the game is mechanics oriented, it’s hard for the game designer to seek for other mechanics for the game, or another sub-mechanics that work with the original one. In contrast, The game design with a dynamics first would be open to different possibilities of mechanics, and act as a bridge for different mechanics to work together.

What if a game without Dynamics?

To make a mechanics oriented game without dynamics is hard, but of course, there are many of them, like “Threes!”, “Blokus” and so on. Inventing a new game mechanics that is entertaining by itself is a way to go, which is actually pushing the gaming industry forward like a new theory in science. Here are my prompts for such approach:

  • Knowing the difference between “Game” and “Puzzle”
    As described in ”What is a Puzzle?” By Scott Kim:
    “Puzzles are rule-based systems, like games, but the goal is to find a solution, not to beat an opponent. Unlike games, puzzles have little replay value.”
    It’s a pity for many of the mechanics oriented games fall into the category of puzzle with low replay value, while they focus too much on the problem of player to solve. To make your idea more “game-like”, you should consider a game with different players and how they compete with each other, which would generate a large range of variation of the game play and make use of the social effect to spread your game out to the market.
  • The fun of puzzle is a mystery
    Different people would treat puzzle differently. Someone would feel certain puzzle as an addictive challenge, some would feel it’s a fool to the idiots. Correct me if I’m wrong, as the nature of different puzzles are independent and almost no correlation at all, there is no standardised theory for all puzzles and the funniness generated by it. It seems like a question of life the universe and everything. You can make a category list for all puzzles, but you can never explain who and why people love to play them. If you go for the new mechanics, you have to understand your idea in deep and to know why the player would like to play.
    Comparing to MDA framework, it clarifies the solid key that people would feel happy with, and work out the dynamics and mechanics to achieve them, which is a much easier and clearer way to do so.
  • Similarity to other game mechanics
    It is also possible to modify the existing game mechanics to be a new game, but to define the dynamics is still recommended for such modification, in order to measure how well the change is, and reason your change with respect to the dynamics. Otherwise, it’s likely to be very similar to the original game, or it may not be better than that at all.
  • It is all mathematics
    Mechanics, i.e. rules and logic, is all about mathematics. The orange street in Monopoly has the highest payoff percentage, under those mechanics there. It is somehow a dilemma for the designer to make a game with an entire new mechanics that have to focus on the mathematics and avoid it become a puzzle game, but proofing the equations valid is very essential.

If you are going to design your game, dynamics is an aspect of gaming and a tool to help the communication of game design group discussion, which don’t limit the way you design a game. You could take it to widen your perspective on a specific game, or go with your way as you know what the core of your game is.

Reference

Wiki – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MDA_framework

Paper from Northwestern University - http://www.cs.northwestern.edu/~hunicke/MDA.pdf

“What is a Puzzle?” By Scott Kim - http://www.scottkim.com.previewc40.carrierzone.com/thinkinggames/whatisapuzzle/index.html