Unbalanced gameplay?

Hey I decided to test this “new” game a bit. Seems funny, however very unbalanced leading to runaway wins (halfway the game it’s already decided who wins?).

I only tested “skirmish” versus the AI. But what happens is that while I develop a bit one of the AIs becomes a runaway, and then just “wins” each round, it is always an AI I haven’t even met, and the 30 points are “up” before I get a chance to meet them.

Thus the best “trick” to win seems to not engage with others and just patience youself to victory? Racking points as fast as possible, and each interaction just means you lose the first place.

Thanks for testing out the game @pulli23 and for posting your feedback!

The AI is still a work in progress and one or two of them usually break away at the moment to be stronger players. They are usually fighting against each other as well.

The skirmish is more just a training mode to get a handle on the game. If you could try out a multiplayer game and let us know what you think that would be great!

Well the “problem” is that a “victory” is achieved before I get even time to interact with all teams on the map. Especially due to fog of war it is quite possible to “lose” before you even see what the winner is doing.

Some of have been chatting in game that the exponential growth of the leaders might be a little too much.

We have been brainstorming some “catchup mechanics”

One idea I have is to give every player who didn’t get a victory point a random rare resource.

There is very little randomness in the game right now, so I wouldn’t mind just a bit more luck.

Well the problem is that “growing” and “points” go hand in hand: if you grow fastest (gain most resources per tick/have most firepower), you are both quickly going for a victory AND putting the rest of people behind you.

This will always lead to such unbreakable winnable positions. I think it would be better if the points were based on interactive things: like “boom: having done most damage” or “Bounty: donated most gold to neptune, the see god” (Would literary be throwing away money for victory points, and to make it non silly you would have a minimum donation of like 20 gold, and steps of 5 gold - only the one who donates most gets a point though). - Then someone ahead can use their advantage to gain points. Instead of “just getting points for free”.

I realize you copied catan’s victory idea with points: however an important aspect there is that often the “easy” points can be reduced, or they have an “upkeep”. (Longest trade route can switch, knights can be battled/taken over, cities can fall because of raiders etc).

I like both your ideas.

I would have some concerns though, that if the points were contrary to actually building military strength (ie: giving gold away) players would ignore them and just play for conquest, smash the other players so they literally didn’t have the gold to give away. You just ignore points until you are so big you can out spend anybody who has been giving gold away to Neptune.

I guess we would also need to be careful players can’t “game” the system. Set up paris of ships that simply do lots of damage to each other, but without trying to kill each other, just to get the damage victory.

We haven’t fully explored every possibility, and I’m looking forward to more playtesting to see how it works out.

Ultimately though, I want this game to be like Neptune’s Pride where you need allies, and trying to go it alone will always be tough. I want to play more to see if the smaller players can do any serious damage to a winning player.

So far in our playtesting Its rare to see somebody with a strong lead at the start actually win. Its pretty easy to knock a player down the ladder.

NP2 has a similar problem that I think has been discussed before: exponential growth is exponential. I think this might be OK with this point system (just in my first game and not really sure what I’m doing).

In NP2, if the win condition is 50% of stars the game is almost always decided by the time the eventual winner has a much lower percentage. More players probably exacerbates this and drags out the endgame too long a lot of the time. At least the victory condition is configurable though. I think you might find that a lower default is closer to an optimal number, but if you’re trying to conquer the galaxy it might also be somewhat unsatisfying.

I’m eager to see how it works with a lot of players and the points system. I think if you pick the right conditions, a player will win around the time it would have been inevitable anyway, and that’s probably the best you can really hope for.

I don’t think there is an issue with runaway games that are decided very early on. The games I have helped test so far haven’t been won by the player who was leading at the beginning.

The possible issue with BBB, as I see it, is that it is very difficult to move up the ‘table’ as it is almost always the person who is harvesting the most who also has the most buccaneers and boom, like what pulli said about growing and points going hand in hand. The main issue with this is not that you can’t fight back, it’s more that it could lead to insurmountable leads that are just to difficult to overcome.

Now, I say “possible issue” and “could” purposefully above as I think it is to early to say for sure. I have seen in at least 1 game that it is possible to make an alliance that can effectively stop the leader from getting more points. That being said, all that means at the moment is that the leader falls to second place and will likely stay there meaning someone in 3rd or 4th will likely never move out of those positions.

I have already made a couple of suggestions such as the pirate points handed out each round being decided by best in round scores rather than overall scores but don’t know still not sure that would work either.

Well the problem I ran (against AI) into was that the game was “over” before I could even see everyone. So in a real game I wouldn’t know who to make friends with. - So maybe it is indeed a “problem” seen only in 30 pts matches. For balance maybe “number_players * 10 - 10” points should be required to win (-10 to account for the fact that more players = higher chance of ties in the early game).

Howeve the point system and alliances could also lead to strategies where the number 1 helps number 2 or 3 to “hasten” the game; potentially making the ranking even more stale. So it’s important to end “soon enough” that a stale ranking = near ending anyways.