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Peer Review: Art of War Op Blood Diamond

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Old August 15th, 2013, 13:58   #1
Scarecrow
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Peer Review: Art of War Op Blood Diamond

As promised here is version 1.0 of AOW: Blood Diamond.

The purpose of this posting is to seek peer review for the game. This PDF contains the main game story, combatant, mission and goals, gameplay, medic and respawn rules.

The idea is to tune the gameplay, bulletproof the rules, and raise the gameplay quality to make it as enjoyable as possible.

My personal goals for this game are:
1) easy to understand
2) rules that eliminate ambiguity
3) gameplay is almost the same from both sides
4) mission goals are measurable at the player, group and team level

Please review and let me know how I could make this game better.

We intend to "beta" the game in a capped 40 player low cost test. Beta testers will enjoy benefits such as:
- Free food at the Op
- Chance to be in the videos for the game rules and promotion
- A chance to perform in a workshop/gaming environment (new concept)
- Low cost - using cost recovery model, field rental cost only.
- All beta test players will be listed in the final game document as co-authors of the game.

That being said, we will be picky on the participants as we need people who will contribute to the development of the game and be willing to do concept testing. Positive can do attitudes are a must.

Thanks in advance!
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Blood Diamonds Game Outline.pdf (600.0 KB, 63 views)
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Last edited by Scarecrow; August 16th, 2013 at 08:23..
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Old August 15th, 2013, 18:12   #2
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i like the idea it seems well laid out cant wait to hear how the beta play test goes
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Old August 21st, 2013, 17:30   #3
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I've taken a good look at the game organization and rules.

here is my impression

Too many cards
too many "items"

Players will lose the cards, give the wrong ones away as kill cards.. and generally not pay attention to the cards.

Players will lose their diamond pouches.. and the diamonds and generally not care about them.

From a game control standpoint this will result in a lot of time dealing with complaints regarding guys not having cards, replacing lost cards .. or dealing with guys who have lost their pouches.

and for what? mostly players don't care about "scores" and tallies.
no one really cares who "wins" at the end of the game.

Sure the Commanders on each side may care, a few players may get engaged in the accumulation of the scoring items. but for the vast majority of players they just don't care.

Players will remember the fights they had, the experiences, the intensity of emotion and stress in the moments that stand out for them. These things they may talk about even years later. They won't remember how many diamonds they had in their pouch at the end of the game.

Commodity acquisition games must trade in "REAL" commodities to get players to engage.
There are only 2 commodities that have any relevance to players. Bullets ( BBs) and Lives. if you limit these commodities and make the fights about them you will generate real stress and real emotion, and real memories. If you link these commodities to objectives, Such as "attack and hold the ammo dump" = a full reload for everyone on your side. You will see a hard fight for sure.

There was a time when the player base could be engaged in a good story line, and would engage in roles and buy in to sophisticated "commerce" + violence game designs. Games like " drug wars" and Trifecta are notable examples of past events that were successful.

The player base of today is more focused on the immediacy of pay off. They are looking for intense fighting experiences without the need for arithmetic or ledger-keeping, even very simple game dynamic elements that require attention to specific items such as kill cards are often lost on the players of today. This is not to say that they are stupid, or immature. or anything like that, it's just to say they are looking for a more immediate pay off for effort.

If you can build a game that offers direct tangible pay off for effort then you will have a group of players that will engage, and will dive right into your game and play it to the fullest.

The players in the community have changed over time, Game design must change with them if hosts are to present events that players want to play and will get engaged in.
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Old August 22nd, 2013, 10:42   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian McIlmoyle View Post
The players in the community have changed over time, Game design must change with them if hosts are to present events that players want to play and will get engaged in.
Thats an interesting perspective that I've struggled with as what you described sounds like an advanced skirmish.

I took Trifecta and reduced the ruleset and the card set. You only have money to buy, decks of cards and the diamonds. I thought that simplified it enough.

Let me ponder your feedback on it.

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and for what? mostly players don't care about "scores" and tallies. no one really cares who "wins" at the end of the game.
I disagree with that part. I've watched players and teams play passionately to win based on all kinds of measures, including the current group.
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Old August 22nd, 2013, 10:58   #5
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The Rush Hour series hosted by Renegade) completely disputes your POV Brian. Its a points based game with items and intel that are seized in the field. Its been running for 2 years and he has lots of attendance and almost no issues as you outlined. People didn't lose their cards or any of the items they were required to keep track of.

In fact the lack of a solid story line was one of the most voiced complains at Art Of War.

I think it's a bit early to give up on complex events just yet.

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Originally Posted by Brian McIlmoyle View Post

Players will remember the fights they had, the experiences, the intensity of emotion and stress in the moments that stand out for them. These things they may talk about even years later. They won't remember how many diamonds they had in their pouch at the end of the game.
True, but those experiences come from game strategies that PUTS them in those firefights, and its keeping those assets that makes the engagements passionate enough to remember. I will go one further and say that a manufactured firefight or force on force contact at a skirmish, with nothing at stake, is not remembered at all. Its the spontaneous engagements that happen when an event is well structured but free enough to allow out of the box thinking that get talked about afterwards for years.
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Old August 22nd, 2013, 13:53   #6
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Thats an interesting perspective that I've struggled with as what you described sounds like an advanced skirmish.

I took Trifecta and reduced the ruleset and the card set. You only have money to buy, decks of cards and the diamonds. I thought that simplified it enough.

Let me ponder your feedback on it.



I disagree with that part. I've watched players and teams play passionately to win based on all kinds of measures, including the current group.

if that is the only game presented that is the game people will play, some people play every game passionately.

Resource management is critical to an effective Military simulation. but the resources have to Mean something and have a real effect on your ability to fight. Failure to manage the resources should result in significant negative impact on the ability of that faction to fight. When you are loosing.. it's obvious.. you can't deploy resources . you are short people and short Ammo.

I've used Kill cards in the past.. and as a symbol of "lives" it's effective.. but they should only "mean" something to the carrier.. if he starts with 3 .. then that means that they have 3 opportunities to be deployed outside of the base. If he get all three cards taken, then he can't leave the perimeter of the base without risk of being captured. Possession of a Kill card is your" respawn" license. If you are caught by the enemy without a card, you are captured. A time penalty would apply, you could be held out of the game for a specified period by game control as a "prisoner" impacting in a very real way your commander's ability to deploy resources.

For example, lets say you have a game with 30 people on a side.. which is a pretty typical situation for a "weekend game" Lets say you provide those people with 3 "lives" .. effectively you have provided each commander with a resource pool of 90 people. that can be deployed in "outside the wire" missions.

Then you grant a ammo loadout-- for the side of ten thousand rounds. for that commander to distribute.

This sets the resource side of the equation.

Then you put in place your objectives. Lets say that one objective is a forward ammunition dump of the enemy. If the objective is taken, you could grant an additional Ammo supply to the victor of 5000 rounds ..

Lets also say .. that you set a territory to be held objective, because you have to push your front far enough forward to establish a forward aid station for you faction. If you are successful you can establish the forward aid station and get a grant of additional "lives" for your faction.

Lets set a very common objective, but provide it with relevance.. Lets say you have to seize a communication tower. Place a small box on the prop. with a lock.. give each commander a key. put inside that box a frequency .. or a codeword phrase that "unlocks" a resupply drop. If you fail to capture the objective, no resupply. Even better.. you unlock the box.. and find a coded message.. which you have to call in to game control to receive a decode key. all the while you must Hold the objective.

you can make the objectives as complex as "puzzly" as you want.. but all of the objectives must play back into the resource pool. Bullets and Lives.

at the end of the game it will be obvious to everyone who "won" the successful faction will have access to resources, be able to deploy outside their base .. the loosing force will be low on ammo and placed on a defensive posture because they lack the "lives" to deploy to the field.

from a game control basis.. you have the absolute power the inject balance .. and to poke the game in whatever direction you want by presenting objectives that can restore the resource balance.

For example, if you have a side that is struggling.. and running short you can present an opportunity for them to recover by presenting a mission that if completed audaciously will provide a high payoff in resources and get the faction "back in the game"

What you end up with is a game that is distinctly "mission based" focused on real resources and very demanding from a command basis to manage and control the deployment of resources. Every fight will be about real needs and have a real impact on the outcome of the game in real terms.

if that is not "milsim" I don't know what is..
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Old August 23rd, 2013, 03:00   #7
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Things I like:

I like the clear defining teams camos... I always feel that camo vs pmc is the best. Sure a black shirt or jeans might stand out, but ive found guys dont mind because they feel "cool" ... I know I do

things im not sure of:

The diamonds and cards thing sounds like the jaguar kings game but alot more complex. Seeing how players forget how simple regular rules work, this seems like something that would confuse alot.

maybe use the cards as regular kill cards and maybe only allow players to carry 2 diamonds at a time. and when someone gets killed they hand over a card and any diamonds they might be carrying?
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Old August 23rd, 2013, 08:36   #8
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Having attended AoW my main concern with how the game was structured is that nothing that we did up to the final mission really mattered, at least that is how it came across in the debrief.

What I would have liked would have been to get X points per Kill Card taken and X points per frago accomplished, X points for special things such as taking enemy commander or raiding enemy base.

At the end of the game points get added, side with the most points wins. Both sides should know how many points you get for completing certain things so they know where they need to disrupt the enemy or which objectives are more important.

I think the new system you implemented with Blood& Diamonds makes sense but in my opinion could be expanded and yet simplified.

But once again I really enjoyed AoWI and I am sure AoWII will be a blast again. I hope my input helps.
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Old August 23rd, 2013, 09:56   #9
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But is killing for points really MilSim?
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Old August 23rd, 2013, 11:41   #10
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But is killing for points really MilSim?
no it's not..it's an easter egg hunt, and as productive as masturbation

the only reason to shoot anyone is to reduce available resources to the enemy. you drop a body, that is 1 less body that can shoot at you, or defend a location or carry a message, or radio an observation. You kill a commander you deny their influence on the field. Arbitrarily assigning "points" to random people is just another pointless object to chase.

Points are meaningless. when I'm involved in playing a game, I want to know right away if i'm "winning" by observing that the faction I am on has freedom of movement, ample ammo, and enough bodies up and moving that missions can be accomplished.

I want to see that the opposition is struggling to deploy, are not able to present enough firepower to deny my mobility, and are holding or falling back rather than advancing.

If I'm commanding, I have a care for everyone on my side, I want to drive the other side from the field, demoralize them and and force them to retire. The more guys I see getting fed up and packing their toys and leaving on the other side, the better. That tells me that their command is faltering, they can no longer motivate people to fight and it's now turning into a rout.

And I want the other commander to be trying to do the same thing to me.

It should be up to game control to be monitoring the flow of the game to re-balance things so that successes don't turn into a rout, and result in a lot of players quitting the fight.

Regardless ..
I don't want to have to hang out until all the beans are counted to find out who "won"
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Old August 23rd, 2013, 22:01   #11
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Old August 25th, 2013, 01:16   #12
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Regardless ..
I don't want to have to hang out until all the beans are counted to find out who "won"

I used to feel the same way, only because it was obvious who "won" by the end of the game. On both sides of those outcomes its not fun.

Its not fun to crush your enemies so bad they pack it in half way. and Its not fun getting killed over and over again that theres no point in even trying.

Thats why having multiple ways of counting up points and "winning" the game prevents that.

I bring up wolfpack's jaguar kings milsim alot. But it was basically vets vs noobs. With firefights noobs were at a disadvantage. But there were all these side missions that if completed gave us points. So there was always something to keep us motivated and in the game even if we might have been losing the fighting part.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 01:30   #13
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Its not fun to crush your enemies so bad they pack it in half way.
I disagree. That is the base of war. That is the most obvious goal of a milsim victory.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 01:46   #14
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I disagree. That is the base of war. That is the most obvious goal of a milsim victory.

I guess its a personal opinion,

but when I pay a premium and drive for hours out of the way to play a milsim I dont take away any satisfaction dominating to the point where the other team gives up half way through.

Its like playing a video game on super easy mode. I want a challenge, so when you toss in multiple ways of winning you give the game more elements of challenge.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 01:50   #15
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for instance.

When I play call of duty online. I stay clear of deathmatch games, because theres only one way of winning.

I usually play domination because if my shooting game isnt at par with the otherside then at least I have another way of winning.

i dont actually care about winning as much as i care about staying in the game.
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