We're excited to share a way for you to earn real-world loot while doing what you love most: playing board games! Announcing the Expedition Loot Club!
Expansion pack development is kicking into high gear in preparation for the August 17th launch. Click here for a sneak peak of the new rules and cards that you can print and play at home.
This week, we thought we'd try something a little different and share some insights from our game design and playtesting process.
Our goal with the expansion is two-fold: create more roleplaying depth, and more interesting mechanical options. Expedition's core philosophy is to be a simple a game that's fun for a wide audience - which means we want to avoid adding a lot of new complexity, while creating mechanics that are appealing to new and experienced RPG players, as well as players who enjoy roleplaying and those who prefer to focus on the mechanics.
To achieve that, we're adding a new "Persona" mechanic, including a new "Influence" class of abilities and new "Horror" enemies. Persona provides you with more roleplaying depth, allowing your adventurer's personality to improve or decline (your optimistic adventurer could improve to become courageous... or decline into being overconfident). These states also grant you a power (such as increased damage from being courageous).... or an affliction (such as making your rolls harder from being overconfident).
How do you balance such a broad-reaching mechanic? Especially one that adds a new type of card and new enemies, abilities, adventurers and loot?
You can try playtesting hundreds of times to uncover every possible mechanical possibility... but that's time better spent on adding more features to the app and quest creator!
Instead, we use a set of mathematical definitions to automatically balance the game. We assign each mechanic a value and a conversion rate to other mechanics, similar to currencies and exchange rates. For example, losing one persona is worth two health, and gaining one persona is worth three health. Then, by going through the abilities and multiplying their effects' values times their chance of succeeding, we can arrive at an "expected value" for playing each ability. We go through and make sure that all abilities' expected values are similar, and voila!
This frees up our playtests to focus on the feel and interactions of the game. Sometimes, even though an ability is balanced correctly, players still shy away from it because it doesn't seem worthwhile. Or, they discover an overly-powerful combination with another ability or loot. We also use playtests as a chance to make sure players are playing in a good direction. For example, we generally want players to be progressing in combat, attacking and dealing damage rather than continuously healing. While you could set up the balance so that healing is just as easy as damaging, that would lead to a pretty boring game where combat never ends because you aren't dying... but you also aren't dealing damage!
We're excited to hear what you think of the new expansion. Click here for a sneak peak, and visit ExpeditionGame.com/kickstarter on August 17th to be taken directly to the Kickstarter. The Kickstarter will include discounted copies of the base game when purchased with an expansion, so it's a perfect chance to share the adventure with friends!
That's all for this week - if you found the playtest log interesting, let us know on Facebook / Twitter / Reddit and we'll make sure to share more in the future!
Todd & Scott