Friday, December 5, 2014

Writing things is hard

The question of the day is as follows:  What do you think the card below does?


At the beginning of each player's turn they either pay 1 Energy OR trash all of their Equipment.

Specifically, what does it do if you start your turn and have no Equipment in play?  Think on that a second.

In my mind this card gives you the choice to either pay 1 Energy or execute the function Destroy_Equipment(currentplayer, all).  Since you have no Equipment in play you execute the function and it does nothing.  Easy!  Unfortunately it became clear last night that other people read the Windy card and conclude that if you have no Equipment you must pay 1 Energy since you have nothing to destroy.  I think it is my math training that makes me think this way - I have no problem with performing an operation on all elements of an empty set.  Normal people don't seem to see it the same way though.

This is one of the things that playtesting thoroughly really brings out, especially when you get people to playtest without the game creator being involved.  Sometimes the numbers are right, the flavour works, and yet different people come to very different conclusions on what a card does.  This is why I find it so useful to test games with my hardcore math gamer nerd friends as well as more mainstream folks.  Tremendous insight can be found in the observations of people who have no real interest in the numbers at all.

The correction required for this card is a small one but it is critical to include so that the effect of the card is not warped completely out of shape.


At the beginning of each player's turn destroy all of that player's Equipment.  They may pay 1 Energy to prevent this from happening.

Hopefully this version makes it more clear that you are allowed to just ignore the card if you don't have any Equipment in play at the moment.  Of course I might be introducing some other issue into the mix because no one person is ever going to be able to see all the ways that other people will (mis)interpret a card.

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