Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Final Card Game!

Our Final Product!
The focus of last week's class was to present our final games to experienced game designers who would be able to share positive feedback about the game. In preparation for this class, we created new cards in color and made sure they had a uniform layout. We also created a back for the cards and increased the size of the cards. To make the cards feel authentic, we pasted the front and back on an index card.  And this was our final product:

Example of an item card.
Back of item & trading time cards

          We also changed the layout and design of the take a break and force trading cards. It was important to make sure the directions on both of these cards were concise and easy to understand. Both of these cards were put in in the money deck and recycled throughout the game. In response to last week's play-testing we decided to add a function to the take a break card. Not only did it allow anyone who played it to sit-out a round but also pick up five cards. This way if anyone was having bad luck with the money in their hand, they had a way to change 
that .

Day of Game Presentations:
        So the day our final games were due experienced game designers came in and played our games with other students to get a feel for the game. We also ran into a a small problem with our money because of miscommunication but it was quickly resolved by printing some emergency money.
        The game designers had some great suggestions to improve the gameplay of Auction War. For example 
  • On the item card where we showed small pictures of the other cards needed to complete that set, we should also include a little picture of that card and highlight it. This would fix any confusion about what cards a player would need to complete a set because some players were getting confused. 
  • A lot of the game designers agreed there were too many take a break cards. This problem occurred mainly because the money we used was not the actual money so there wasn't as much as there was suppose to be. We solved this problem by taking out some of them.
  • The point system we created was a little confusing. We need to make each set more closely valued in points so one person can't just easily win by making one difficult set. 
  • Creating a reference card for each player so they can easily determine how many points they would receive for a set. Or even putting this information on the actual item card so it is easily available to players. 
  • Dumpster Dive Card- Since during the game, we would turn over three cards at a time and only go through the item deck twice, there were some occasions where a person was trying to collect a card but it would become impossible because that card would go to the discard pile. If a dumpster dive card was included in the game, the winner of a bidding round would be able to choose from the discard pile instead of the three cards that are turned over. 
  • Wild Card- This type of card would be able to act as any card and can be used to build a set. For example, to complete a set of electronics, you can have the phone, tv, ipad, and a wildcard. 
  • It also suggested that everyone should start out with the same amount of money.
Overall, how were the play-tests?
         In general, everyone who played seemed to be having a good time. A lot of players would play strategically and it would get very competitive. For example, when a card came up that one player would need to complete their set, another player would outbid them so that person wouldn't be able to create a set. At one point, players starting hiding the amount of money they put down during a bid so no one who try to outbid them. Or, they would put down a lot of small value money and act like it was a high bet, but in actuality it was a bluff to ensure that other players wouldn't outbid them. The games generally moved at a good pace and never lagged. Every round, all the players had something to do so the game always had their attention. 

Thanks for reading! :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Last class we had a prototype testing with our classmates. Each game was played twice, by different groups so we could receive feedback and make necessary changes to our game. I opted to stay with our game to explain and hear the critiques my peers had for us. Overall, the game ran very smoothly and only a few minor adjustments need to be made for the game to be clear. One foggy area that we had was the question of what happened if there was a tie for the highest bidder. In our original brainstorming, we thought it would be feasible to have an open bidding war between the tied bidders. However, after hearing the suggestions of our outsider play testers we took the advice of one student and decided that in the case of a bidder tie, the tied players would chose one card from the money deck. Who ever held the highest amount of money would then be the winner of that particular round and therefore, take the item card of his or her choosing.

In addition to the mechanics and workings of the game, we also chose to enhance the appearance of our cards. With color added, we are now able to distinguish between the different categories and sets that exist in this game. We also tried to make the cards have little text as possible and chose to instead include mini pictures of what the finished set entailed. The appearance of our cards is simple, yet well thought out and easy to read and comprehend. We all are exited to see our game works out in class again!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Today we play tested the game and thought of ways on how to improve or alter our card game to make it more effective and re-playable while still being fun. We have decided, for the most part that the basic core mechanics of the game were well established however score keeping and bidding on items wasn't as clear. We added a point system in this point system each card will be worth a certain amount of points and the points will be worth twice the amount if the player has a complete set of items. The points will be added up at the end of the game and the player with the most points is the winner. In addition to the point system, we decided to add a total of three item cards for players to bid on as opposed to one. By doing this we hope to make the game play smoother  and faster and allow for players to acquire more items.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Details of the Game!

The main purpose of this week was to hash out the actual details of the game such as how many cards we should have or what they should look like. We decided to keep the idea of two decks of cards: the items deck consisting of sixty cards and the money deck consisting of seventy-five cards.

The Items Deck:

  • 52 Item cards. (arranged in sets of two or three. making a set will double the cards value and help a player gain more points.
  • The item cards will have the following sets: Animals (3), Electronics (3), Luxuries (3), Concert tickets (3), houses (3), Cars/vehicles (3), and autographed items (2)
  • The sets will be repeated in the items deck to make it easier for players to collect them. 
  • Also, we decided to change the idea of a "trading period" and instead have ten trading time cards in the items deck. When a trading card comes up, players have the option to trade. 
  • Within the items deck, there will be 5 cards that are considered "big ticket items" When this card comes up, layers will have to bid on it blindly, that is not knowing what the actual item is.
  • We decided to categorize the item cards in a point system to determine their worth at the end of the game. 
Money Deck:

  • The money deck will have sixty money cards: 5 $5000 cards, 10 $1000 cards, 15 $500 cards, and 30 $100 cards.
  • Dummy Bid Card: allows you to skip a bid and exchange as many cards as you want. (10 will be in the deck)
  • Trading card: This card can be used when a trading time cards shows up in the items deck. It allows the player to force a trade between them and anyone of their choosing. 

What would actually be on the card:
  • Name of the item
  • Picture of the item
  • Category of the item
  • Point value (for use at the end of the game)
  • List of other items that belong in its set.
Now that all the smaller decisions have made made about our game, we can work on creating the cards and actually playing our game. By testing the game, we can fix the unexpected problems that may arise that would only be noticeable when you play. We'll see how it goes. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Core Mechanics:

In our second week, we developed the details of the core mechanics of our game.  There will be a pile of cards which represent money and a second pile of cards which represent items.  The game, as described previously, will be based on bidding on items with cash cards.  Each time a player bids, he/she can retrieve cards from the cash pile.  This pile will be faced down and the cards will therefore be picked randomly.  The player will retrieve one less card than what he/she has bid.  For example, if a player bids $2, the player can retrieve 1 cash card from the pile. The money given away will be put back into the cash pile and will be shuffled during the trading period.  The game will end when there are no more item cards left.

Trading Period:
After each third round, there will be "Trading" period.  At this time, players can trade with someone who has cards that the player may want.  Instead of trading, the players can also decide on purchasing the item from the other players at an agreed price.  The goal of this trading period is to obtain more cars of a set in order to increase the player's net worth.

There will be different sets of cards with different values pertaining to each set. We have decided on the following sets, which we believe will be interesting to the players to collect:

Low Value Sets:
Concert tickets

High Value Sets:
Vehicles: Cars, Trucks, Buses, SUVs
Luxury Items: planes, yachts, helicopters

Variable Values:
Animals: tigers, polar bears, chinchillas, dogs, cats

Bonus Cards:
There will be bonus point cards in the cash card pile which will be worth an extra bonus point at the end of the game.

The details on the values of the sets and final structure of the game will be decided on this week, so stay tuned!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Brainstorming Ideas

During our first meeting, we decided to share our ideas for a card game and get a clear understanding of what the goals and mechanics of each game were. We then chose to commit to a game that would involve some sort of auction theme, knowing that this would create a competitive atmosphere between players and would be entertaining as well. The general idea of the game is to have players be the highest bidder of a particular item and maintain the most amount of money as possible. We continued to develop the basics of the game, regarding the types of cards available to the players, catch-up mechanisms and a points system.

The game will have 2 decks of cards; one will be referred to as the player money cards, the other the auction item cards. Each player will receive 5 randomly dealt money cards and will also have 2 other cards that will be of value (the exact distinction of these cards has not been clarified). Through out the game, each player will bid on a particular item that is flipped from the auction item card pile. It is the player's responsibility to bid high enough for the item, but also be responsible about how they spend his or her cards. It will be a rule that at least one money card MUST be put down for every item auctioned, and one less card will be retrieved than the number that was put down. So, if a player decides to use 3 money cards for an item, they will take back two from the money bank after that turn. Our motive for this is to encourage the players to think wisely about what items are important to their success in the game. 

We also began to think of ways to change up the game to make it fun and unpredictable. Discussion was made about having certain categories of auction item cards that would be worth more points if a whole set was bought. We will also include dummy cards as well as cards known as Big Ticket items that will either be worth a significant amount of points at the end of the game, or be worth very little. These features of the game will allow for the game to remain unpredictable until the scores are tallied at the end. Ideally this game seems like it would be best for 4-5 players.