Sketchnote/Response Game Balance

The first thing that surprised me about this reading was the time in this class in which it was addressed. It seems as if we should have learned about balance some time while we were making out first two games. I’m glad, then, that the reading immediately addressed this issue by saying that having a well designed game is much more important. This reminds me, then, of the fact that many unbalanced games or games with unbalanced mechanics can be quite enjoyable. People complain about more powerful Pokemon coming out, but kids always love having strong Pokemon! I’ve always thought that balance was something of high level importance, but in reading this article, I am beginning to understand that balance is a choice, and that a properly “balanced” game is fun, not perfectly fair. This is reflected in the part where we learn about different types of balance in different types of games. How is it that single player games have balance is balance is meant to refer to fairness? The answer is that it does not in fact refer to fairness! Rather, in single player games, we are looking to make the game appropriately challenging. This concept of striving for balance in terms of enjoyment rather than fairness is carried over the in other types of balance we learn about.

When thinking of Asymmetric games, my mind goes back to Daybreak, where each player was a different region of the world. Despite the game being collaborative, the fact that the game was so difficult for the player who started with the poorer region made the game less fun for that one player. This brings up the interesting idea that even games that are collaborative need to consider balance for individual players.

In reading about balancing player starts, I am reminded of my own P3 project, where the starting player, by getting to play their policy card first, actually has a disadvantage as they are unable to react to other players. We solved this my making policy cards anonymous, but this then made the starting player a bit too advantaged by being able to implement their policy card first, as that means they have more information about the state of the board when the policy card is played. By rotating the players, this meant that the first player would in the next turn be the last player, allowing the advantage to even out over time.

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