In shorter level-based strategy games, I wonder how designers decide on which parts are random and which aren’t.
Obviously these things go through iteration, but it’s interesting to think about. Playing (the scarily addicting) Ironclad Tactics recently, I noticed a small anomaly in the design. At the start of each level (in campaign mode), you get dealt 3 random cards. But, since there’s no penalty for quitting a level, and the time to restart the level again is fairly short, it’s a pretty obvious tactic to quit and restart until you get a starting hand that’s advantageous to the level design.
There’s no way the designers intended for this though. I think in this type of scenario, there may be a few options for alternate design. If players are going to do this anyway, just let them choose their starting cards. It’d be simple to implement in the UI (say, click the R3 button on PS4) to allow the player to “star” up to 3 cards in a deck that they would start with. This could be completely optional, and any number of cards they didn’t star would still be randomly chosen as normal.
If the levels are a bit too inconsistent to allow for that (maybe for example you don’t always start with 3 cards), then a reshuffle mechanic could be introduced. Maybe within the first round of the game, the player can use a button (maybe L1 on the PS4) to discard and deal themselves 3 new cards.
I may not have even thought to end the level and restart if I had either of these options available. That said, I certainly realize that the majority of players aren’t going to think about this or bother doing it, and will just play the game the way it was designed. ;)
[ Today I Was Playing: Dragon Age II and Persona 4: Golden ]
August 10, 2015