Dust Pan Game Resource Pages

Friday, April 19, 2013

Maths, and Guts


Maths, and Guts

Any one who knows me knows I am many things but there are two things I am not. I am not a writer, and I am not a mathematician.
However over the years gaming and writing games has given me an appreciation for basic statistics and probability, and even a “practical” knowledge of the stuff.

When I start working on a game, once I sort out themes I start sorting out mechanics. Some times I give a lot of thought to what is going on mathematically and try to sort though exactly what I want. For example the 3d20 die mechanic in the block game is purposely built to work how it does for the sake of math. With about 89 skills now there needs to be some mathematically non-stupid frame work to hang all that stuff on.

However often times I like to go with my gut, and let the theme dictate the dice. If I am working on an idea that is over the top, giant robots fighting trolls or some such nonsense. I want to roll a hand full of some thing to make the big actions feel big. A more refined tactical or thought full game I might want to slow it down make each roll count for more so that players rely have to feel the weight of a die in their hands before committing to an action.

For example, My first thought when working on Phase was the bigger a pile of D6s you throw the more risk, but the more likely you get to ride the Sharktapuss (or narrate some other Epic action). The math part came latter, I figured the math out post design, and though I still like it the D6 mechanic was originally all Guts no Maths.

So that's what I'm thinking about which approch suits me better, figure a die mechanic that you know is going to constantly work the way you want it to, or build a game and use the mechanics to grow from the play style and theme more naturaly. I know those things are not mutually exclusive, getting both things right is the end goal. How a designer ends up at that goal, those ways to approach the idea of mechanics are however, distinctly different.