Game Design # 3 ADD UP- Remix
This is a post mortem about our( Sherman and myself) process in changing the existing game ADD UP into our own.
The original game ADD UP was fun. It was simple, generally fast paced and generated a good competitive atmosphere. Although it was a fun game it was far from a perfect game, before I get into the issues about the game I just wanted to give a brief overview of the originals objective and game mechanic.
The game mechanic was elimination and was implemented quite successfully and the goal of the game was as follows: a card game where players must play the highest value card and after 3 losses he/she is out of the game. Each player received 5 cards and had to be placed face down in front of them. They could look at one card per turn and decide whether or not they wanted to play that card or another one from their respective cards. The original version of the game was simple, concise and really no wasted turns in a sense, however like I said before it was not perfect and there were some flaws which I will now discuss.
In our opinion( as well as Professor Tran ) the most important issue with the game was the factor of chance was too high and not enough strategy was available. So right away we made a conscious effort to try and diminish the element of chance and increase the strategy aspect. The first change we made was increasing the life tokens from 3 to 7, and we added the player actions which cost life tokens to use. Our thought process behind those decisions were: 1. To make the game longer because it ended to quickly before any meaningful play, 2. By adding player actions it added an element of strategy to the game at the cost of sacrificing life tokens and made it less one-dimensional.
The first play test we had went well. The new elements added to the game were well received however some of the player actions had to be cleaned and polished. Some of the actions were a little unbalanced and the cost too high so after feedback from our peers following the first play test we made our second round of changes. The second changes we made were increasing the life token count even higher from 7 to 10 based on how quickly the life tokens were used/lost because of the player actions. We also cleaned up the player actions and rebalanced them thanks to the feedback like I had previously said. The final two changes we made to the game were: 1. Adding a second deck of cards we created called Buffs/DeDuffs, which the player who had the highest value card of the round got to draw from. The function of these cards served to up the incentive of using your high value cards and not playing so conservatively and added another element of strategy by being able to positively affect your cards and hand as well as disrupt those of your opponents. We decided that this deck would be the game component that Sherman would create on the illustrator. 2. A smaller change but a good one was all cards start vertically but when you look at a card in your hand it is turned horizontally to serve as a reminder that you have already seen it. This took out a small element of chance regarding forgetting what card you looked at and its value, and not wasting a turn looking at the same card over and over again.
With all of our final changes in place we had conducted a final play test. It went great, all the players commented on how much they loved the game and its competitiveness. The rules were easy to understand and they could get into the game right away without feeling confused. The balancing issue had been fixed and the majority of the chance element was eliminated, surprisingly enough the most well received aspect of the changes we made to the game was the inclusion of the Buff/DeBuff deck. It made players play more aggressively and added a fiery competitiveness level unlike other games.
Overall this entire experience was a fun one. Unfortunately we had a small setback ( myself missing multiple classes due to Tennis ) but this was easily solved by our teamwork and communicating constantly outside of class. The pay off of all our hard work was great, because we got to see everyone who played our game really enjoy it. All in all this process was a learning experience and one that we will never forget.