Saturday, November 07, 2015

A quick Odysseus update

I played Odysseus: Winds of Fate twice recently, once at 2am at Sasquatch, with a simplified version of a new version of Timeline and Destiny payoffs that I don't think I've mentioned yet:

If you are right on with your prediction, then you get 3 cubes (i.e. 6vp). If you are off by 1 space in either direction, then you get 2 cubes (i.e. 4vp). Otherwise, you get nothing.

This seems like an OK way to do it, and for now I think I'll keep it that way.

When taking a Destiny action, then number of cubes placed on the destiny card depends on the location of the round marker:
Round 1-4: 3 cubes
Round 5-8: 2 cubes
Round 6-10: 1 cube
At the end of the game, players with any cubes on the correct outcome simply take them. Thereby a correct Destiny prediction is worth 6/4/2vp depending on how early you made it.

This ended up being very simple and easy to understand, and it did reward early Destiny bets more than late ones (one of the design goals), but it did not address certain concerns that exist - especially with the Destiny bet. The biggest concern with the Destiny payout is two-fold. For one thing, if 1 player is betting on Dead and 2 players are betting on Safe Return, then it's easy to feel like you're playing 1 against 2 and that feels unfair. That leads into the other issue, there's some incentive for players to bet on the same outcome as other players, and that becomes more true the more players are already invested in any given outcome.

To combat this I have tried many things, from hidden Destiny bets, to complicated payouts based on horse racing. This latest version does have the advantage of being simple, but it does not address that major concern. After playing last night, a new solution has presented itself based on the combination of a couple different player comments:

This is a little tough to describe in text, but I'll give it a try. I've already split the Destiny cards into 3rds to manage the 1-4/5-8/9-12 round aspect I mentioned above. Now I will take that 1 step farther and split each of those zones into three areas. So looking at the first zone, there will be 1 spot for a cube that's worth 15 points, 1 spot that's worth 12 points, and a 3rd area that can hold any number of cubes for 10 points. The key here is that ALL cubes in that zone are worth the LOWEST amount. So if you're the only one to put a cube in there, then it's worth 15 points! If any other player (including yourself) put another cube in there, then they're each only worth 12 points - but in theory the 2 players with cubes there will be helping each other out.

The 2nd zone (rounds 5-8) will start fresh, but the values will be 10/8/6. Players adding their cubes in the mid-game therefore won't have an effect on the players who committed to that outcome in the early game (got a cube in the first zone), but will effect each other if people pile on at that time. Similarly with the 3rd zone (rounds 9-12), with the values 6/4/2.

I think this will be pretty clear and easy, as the card will have a spot where you put your cube, which will tell you exactly what it's worth. And I think it will address all the major concerns and design goals for the most part.

God tiles:
I tried making Zeus a wild tile - that is, he counts for all Hades, Hermes, and Dionysus actions. It seemed good to have the god events be more impactful, but in some ways it seems unfair or overemphasizes getting a god tile in the first round (which may just reward luck of the draw).

Instead of awarding 2 Zeus tiles in the Troy adventure, and making Zeus wild, what if I put 1 of each of the other gods (Hermes, Hades, and Dionysus) there, so everyone gets a different god to start off with.

Or perhaps for scale-ability, in a 3 player game use Hermes, Hades, and Dionysus, and for 4 players, add 1 Zeus, and for 5 players add another Zeus (where Zeus is NOT wild, just needed to max out a set score). Then players can choose whether they want a god for the ability, or for potential set scoring.

I like the sound of that. I guess it means I have to make ANOTHER 3 god tiles... sheesh :/ (heh, just kidding, it's not a big deal).

I look forward to playing this one some more. I think it's getting closer and closer to "done!"

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