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CCG gameplay help (balancing experience advantage)

Started by williamhessian, February 22, 2008, 07:00:24 PM

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images and concepts of my game can be found here:

My main gameplay problem so far is balancing out the advantage to skilled players as to novices. My game is very simple in design, and also heavily favors those who have played more often. It tends to be a game in which the first lead is taken by the more skilled player and usually can keep the lead until the end of the game.

Games (best of three) last from 20-35 minutes on average. Each game specifically has the ability to go in either players favor from the beginning, but the first few turns seem to determine the winner in most cases. My game is a grided card game, most relatable to Triple Triad final fantasy mini game. I have an overtime period in which decks are exhausted and cards on the field are then free to move about the grid (as long as they are not under attack). This almost always leads to a back and fourth exchange of you kill a monster, i kill a monster until no more moves remain. The lead has never changed in this overtime period.

I have recently cut the deck size from 15 to 10 (i may bump it back up to 12) in order to emphasize defense and keeping your few characters alive as long as possible and not simply sacrifice one monster back and fourth until the game is over. I have also changed the 'winning the game' rule from 'first to capture/kill five monsters' to 'whoever kills the most until all moves are exhausted wins'. Both changes have increased possibilities of lead changes but does not solve the problem. I am trying to add new cards, see the end of my linked thread above for some of this special cards to hopefully add some diversity to gameplay.

My game favors people who have played more (no matter which cards they have) at a 85% win ratio. The player who has played the most, wins 85% of the time. A lot of this is the learning curve, however makes it hard for a new player to jump in a feel like they have a chance to compete.

Is there solutions for this problem? The best thing I have found to do, is simply always have new players play each other and have an experienced player simply help explain things. Any help is appreciated...



My question:

Is experienced players winning 85% of the time a problem? After all, you want players to feel they have the ability to get better at the game in terms of strategy. If there is no gain from experience, it means that it is effectively a game of chance, which does not have much replay appeal. Might as well flip a coin, it's faster.

What I'd suggest if an experience player is teaching a new player is to set up a demo game where the experienced player has enough of a card handicap that they have to play an A-level game in order to win against the novice.

Greg Porter