Recently, I spoke with Mark Venturelli who designed the game Star Vikings. We’re going to dedicate a cast to the game soon, but there was a really good topic we talked about that I wanted to bring up. Probability is a major part of many game designs throughout the years, but comes with its own set of hurdles to deal with. For today’s post, I want to explore the trouble of balancing probability in your game.
Today’s post is about an unusual topic: Luck. Luck may be an intangible resource, but it has become a major component of any game built around risk: From rogue-likes to strategy games and anything with abstracted systems. Luck can be a cruel mistress; a fact that anyone who missed a 95% shot in XCOM can relate to, but its use in game design presents an interesting debate around the player’s lack of control.
This week, I was joined by Alex who is a friend of mine to discuss strategy games and the implementation of Meta-Game Design and tactical gameplay.
A recent conversation I had for a podcast (which won’t be going up for some time I’m afraid) reminded me of one of my favorite games of recent years and possibly of all time. XCOM Enemy Unknown was Firaxis’s take on one of the most popular titles for PC gamers and they managed to create something that evoked the spirit while going in a new direction. While it’s not perfect by any means, the design decisions and streamlined approach are worth discussing.