Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
For this Critical Play, I am going to revisit Totally Accurate Battle Simulator, specifically talking about the three ways to balance game objects since the game almost totally revolves around its objects.
1. Transitive Relationships
A transitive relationship is also known as a cost curve, that is, as things cost more they become more powerful and ramp up in an exponential way. This comes through very clearly in this game since each theme of units ramps up to have more powerful units that cost more. This can also be seen across themes as more powerful units from other themes will be more powerful than cheaper units from a given theme.
In this example, the single 1000 gold unit will actually win the fight, so we can see that the transitive relationship holds.
2. Intransitive Relationships
An intransitive relationship is also known as a rock-paper-scissors relationship which shows that some units simply have an advantage over other units. We can see this with the same 1000 gold sword thrower in the above screenshot. It wins that battle over melee units, but there also exists a class of units that either have shields to block projectiles or other such ways to defend themselves. As such, they have a unique advantage over ranged units. This relationship goes to an extreme with the sword thrower and the cactus unit as seen here. The cactus here will never actually take any damage from the sword thrower due to the protective suit it wears, and the archer then only needs to hit a single arrow for the fight to end, showing the advantage the cactus unit gives to the battle against a sword thrower.
3. Apples to Oranges
Lastly, we can see that some units are so vastly different from other units that their strengths and weaknesses are almost purely situational, which makes them very hard to compare to other units. Specifically, each theme has a type of either vehicle or super long range unit that have very situational because their AOE effects vastly differ, and the vehicles offer hugely different benefits that these units are much less comparable to other units.
I would say that these balancing choices really make the game viable at all. The designers do a really good job to make sure that players have to think through all of the balancing decisions in order to actually do well and progress in the campaign mode of the game. The different abilities given to each unit create a lot of fun as players must think around the obstacles given to them in the form of balancing measures as well as the resource limitations.