Game Balancing Questions

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Game Balancing Questions

Postby Blackswimmer » 21 Jan 2015, 16:37

I've been playing around with a few ideas for mafia setups, and in doing so I've run up against a problem trying to figure out how to balanced things. So I wondered if an experienced GM could give me a couple of pointers on how they go about ensuring that a game is balanced.

I can see how to balance a game with limited roles, but as more roles, or any non-vanilla mechanics are added, I can't really tell if it's balanced or not. So, any advice or information on how you balance your games would be gratefully received.
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Re: Game Balancing Questions

Postby asudevil » 21 Jan 2015, 17:22

Ask Rolan or crunkus....they will have the best answers
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Re: Game Balancing Questions

Postby Crunkus_old » 21 Jan 2015, 22:42

Blackswimmer wrote:I've been playing around with a few ideas for mafia setups, and in doing so I've run up against a problem trying to figure out how to balanced things. So I wondered if an experienced GM could give me a couple of pointers on how they go about ensuring that a game is balanced.

I can see how to balance a game with limited roles, but as more roles, or any non-vanilla mechanics are added, I can't really tell if it's balanced or not. So, any advice or information on how you balance your games would be gratefully received.


It depends how complicated things get. Balancing a significantly complex game system basically means looking really critically for broken or unfun mechanics, understanding the interactions between those mechanics sufficiently, and keeping in mind that that the more complex the game is and the less informed the town are about the mechanics, the scum are going to benefit more than is typical.

I've got a fully designed game right now that I think might be balanced, but I honestly am not sure. It's just too damn complex to know without playing it. That, and the roles aren't alignment fixed...so the setup might be more or less balanced depending on the initial game state. But it's a pretty large game, and the time just isn't right to run a game that size.

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I don't think this was too helpful. You screw up a whole bunch of times, try lots of different things, and you amass a bit of an intuition about it. Sometimes you can even explain parts of it. But it's really hard to talk about without some particulars.

If you have info you don't want to release, share with Rolan...he prefers to GM most of the time so you're not subtracting anyone from your player pool.

But I'm usually willing to look set ups over. Sometimes something shiny distracts me and I don't get around to it or take too long, but I will try.
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Re: Game Balancing Questions

Postby Blackswimmer » 22 Jan 2015, 10:26

Thanks Crunkus, that actually does help. I was wondering if there was some kind of quantitative or semi-quantitative method for balancing a game, but it seems from what you're saying that there's no substitute for experience. I appreciate your offer, I may well take you up on it, once I've honed my ideas a bit more myself.
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Re: Game Balancing Questions

Postby Rolan A Doobie » 22 Jan 2015, 11:22

A standard part of my design process is to leave a game sitting in a folder for a month or more without ever looking at it.

I find that when I first start putting a game together, I often get a flood of ideas for roles/mechanics/whatnot that I want to put in it. It's very easy for me to overload a game in the early stages.

By walking away from it for long enough to put it almost completely out of my head, I can come back to it with a fresh perspective and see what really fits in this particular game and what might just be unnecessary.....or just a bad idea period.....or a cool idea that just doesn't fit here and might actually need an entire game built around it instead.

That's actually how the voting mechanics of the Crime Family mafia game started, as an "add-on" in that really needed to be split off and polished into its own game, rather than being shoehorned into another.



I would agree with Crunkus that once you get away from the very basic setups, the ones that have been played thousands of times across dozens of sites, it becomes more of an intuition thing than a formula or blueprint that you can follow.

And yeah, if you want to send details my way, I'll take a look and see what I see.
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Re: Game Balancing Questions

Postby Blackswimmer » 22 Jan 2015, 16:42

Rolan A Doobie wrote:A standard part of my design process is to leave a game sitting in a folder for a month or more without ever looking at it.

That seems like a sensible idea, I'll be sure to do it. And thanks for the offer of looking over stuff, if I ever get anything off the ground I'll probably take you up on it.
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