I’m currently working on a new mode for SkyBoats in an attempt to cut down on the time each turn takes, and generally smooth/speed up play. At the same time, I want to preserve as much depth as possible, while making it “breezier” to play! Enter ‘Breezy Mode’
Breezy Mode will be available in a sub-menu for now, and has its own ranking system attached to it. It is currently experimental and has no tutorial implemented, but if it is sucessful enough, it may be swapped with the main mode to be the new “Ranked” and appear on the title page. At this point the old “Ranked” will become “Classic” and will be moved to the Bonus menu.
The current changes for the mode are listed below, but if you’d like to become a part of the process, we’d love to have you on the discord to hear your feedback! Just click this link to hop in: https://discord.gg/UvyeDEN
Breezy Mode Changes
-Fuel removed from boats. Now the leftmost unused cell is always used to move
-Goods value only based on quantity for first round (random every round thereafter)
-Boats down to 2 (may go back up to 3 at higher ranks)
-Reduced board size
-Removed gold bonus for selling goods far from their origin
-Removed refuel from shop
-Replaced with “Refresh city demands”
-Allow moving out of cities for free
-Each city can only be visited by each boat once per turn
-Wind meter bonus reworked to be 1VP/5 meter (from more complicated chart)
-Modified Carrot pattern
-You can now pick up items mid-glide (dropping other goods if full)
-Added “goods” abilities to boats as default upgrades
-Two goods spawn at the end of each round
-Remove end of turn wind meter decrease
I’ve gotten scattered comments throughout BrainGoodGames’ history about players who would like translation of BGGs into other languages. So by all means, vote in the poll below (you can also add your own answers), and we’ll see if there is enough interest to start looking into implementing other languages.
Patch 1.05 is live on Steam! It features a ton of balance tweaks and quality of life reworks, as well as a big leaderboard update and a second major end-game win condition in the Castle! Go forth and spread your buildings far and wide, and bask in the grandeur of your kingdom.
Balance Changes: -Chopped trees give 3 wood (from 2)
-Barbarians don’t walk on bridges at all
-Gives 1VP/Worker die on construction
-Royalty VP face gives 1VP/5 player buildings
-Town hall card now gives 1VP/7 resources (from 1VP/6)
-Farms give 6/5/4/3 food, and are depleted at 3 rather than 2 (still gives 1 wood)
-Hunter’s Hut card “Move 2” -> “Move 5”
-Hunter’s Hut Spawn Rabbit ability now spawns a Rabbit within 3-4 spaces of a Hunter’s Hut (previously within 6-8 of a Home space)
-Killing Barbarian Spawners now gives 1VP
-Have a Church VPs: 4->5
-Have 2 Woodsmen VPs: 4->5
-Have 2 Masons VPs: 6->7
-Have 5 Roads VPs: 5->6
-Have 3 Farms: 7 -> Have 2 Farms: 5
-Added new ability to reroll “action objective” with Crusade face
-Fixed issue with Lumberyard Card (“Work then set to Gather”) rerolling die on board
-Reworked first phase scaling to cap out at 18 points (from 17)
Bugs/Quality of Life
-Added “Current BGG Update” link to Main Menu
-Added save corruption support
-High scores separated into two tables (“Current” and “All Time”)
-Rank updates on both tables when you win or lose, but “All Time” rank will never go down
-Top players page will show your global ranking
-Fixed a bug where quit popup would open multiple times if ESC was pressed again
-“Learn 0/3” text disabled if you’re past rank 1
-Fixed a bug where barbarian spawners would crash the game if there was no room to make a new one
As always, thank you so much for your help and support. Special thanks to Allan, Kenbutsu and K-Rez for awesome balance feedback, and to Gutsman and doiron5 on the Steam forums for submitting bug reports.
Leave a comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and feedback. I’d love to hear it! Onwards and upwards!
In truth, this commandment is actually very closely related to the commandment about Learning. This is because if there are no gameplay paths that the player can come up with that give a reasonable chance of victory, or if the player can choose an arbitrary path (i.e if the game is too easy or too hard), then the player either cannot or does not need to learn anything! If we accept the premise that learning is a huge aspect of the fun of strategy games, then providing the correct challenge level is absolutely critical in creating an enjoyable experience.
Games have tried many methods of tailoring the challenge level correctly over the years, some overtly, others more subtly. One classic example is the concept of “grinding” in early RPG systems like Final Fantasy. The ability to grind (gaining power through some repetitive action) ensures that players of any skill level can eventually surpass whatever challenge the game throws at them. In theory this allows players to correctly tailor the challenge level to themselves. In practice it often results in players grinding until the game presents no strategic challenge (as players will often use the simplest solution available, even if it is less fun for them!). Not only that, but grindingly inherently involves engaging in a low-value activity in exchange for power, which means part of your game system is inherently boring to engage with (setting aside the quirk of human nature which assign some base-line satisfaction with gaining quantifiable power, as evidenced by clicker games).
Another common method of scaling difficulty is to allow players to simply select the difficulty from a menu at the start of the game. This is problematic as the player has no way of knowing which difficulty level will be appropriate for them in your game system until they have engaged with it. A more modern “fix” is to allow players to re-select their difficulty at any time from a menu. The problem with this approach is that it again gives players a trivial way to bypass the challenge and learning of your game, and therefore a lot of the fun! Additionally, I think that part of the job of a game designer is to do upfront work to craft a game experience the player will find enjoyable, and to some extent that includes selecting the difficulty. Players shouldn’t have to do the designer’s work for them (although I will admit that at times this is not feasible, in which case practical concessions need to be made).
Am I more of a “Ultra-Violence” guy or a “Nightmare!” guy…
BrainGoodGames have taken another approach, as outlined in the article on Learning. They use a single-player ladder system to develop a sense of player’s skill, and then adapt dynamically to continually modify the challenge to be suitable for them! In my estimation this solves a lot of the fun-circumvention problems of other systems, and removes some design burden from players. Win-win! A further augmentation present in Militia, and likely soon to be included in other BrainGoodGames is the inclusion of a “Placement Match” system to allow players who feel the difficulty is incorrectly calibrated to quickly set it to a (ideally) closer challenge level. This also allows experienced strategy game players to skip ranks that are too easy for them, and players’ to opt in to re-calibration after a large balance patch!
I started BrainGoodGames last year because I felt a certain type of game was missing from the landscape. Over the years I’ve ravenously read watched and played as much varied game design thinking as I could, and I’ve come to some conclusions about the types of games I’ll strive to make. I call these the BrainGoodGames Design Commandments.
I may not meet all of these goals all the time, but they are the target that I’m aiming at. Also keep in mind that these are design guidelines for a specific type of game, and not applicable to all designs.
SUPER EXCITED RIGHT NOW!! We just launched our Kickstarter/Greenlight campaigns for our next game: SkyBoats! It’s another single-player strategy game with a procedural generation and a ranked ladder, using board-game-esque mechanics. It would mean a ton to us if you checked em both out, voted, and considered backing! (Here we go again with the Greenlight/Kickstarter stress!!)