“The best way to learn games is to play games. The best way to make games is to work.” – Alan Emrich
Your Weekly Homework Game:
If your game was not envisioned with Random Events Engine, guess what? Marketing just told you they want one in the game, so now you have to figure out how to add them.
This week's homework builds on your Weekly Homework (i.e., “Ship”) Game’s current Concept Document (i.e., its Title, High Concept, Hook, One-Sentence Marketing Description, and a single paragraph description of the game’s setting, Epoch, scope, scale, and who the player represents). You're required to hand in a written document that includes your name plus the Concept Document information from last week’s homework assignment (with the Ship Matrix, Victory Conditions, Conflict Resolution, Economic Model, Magic / Technology Tree, and Special Abilities).
After copying and pasting that information from last week, you’re going to extend that Concept Document by adding this week’s homework assignment information at the end in a new section.
That new section is entitled, “Week 7 Homework: Random Events Engine” and, specifically, you must write:
A Listing of at least 3 and no more than 6 Random Events that can occur in your Ship Game. Be a good designer and do not devise events that would unbalance your game.
A description of each Random Event’s effect on game play. In other words, what it does or what happens when this Random Event occurs.
A description of the methodology that your game will use to introduce these Random Events into play. That is, their delivery method and frequency.
Your Graded Course Project Game:
Production, Part II: Gross Playtesting: Last week, you made your first prototype copy of your Graded Course Project Game. That means that by now you make a working version of every single component: board, pieces, cards… you name it. A “working component” is one that is separated; that means, for example, that your playtest cards are not “working” until they are cut apart!
Armed with your first draft of the game’s rules (from two weeks ago) and your first working prototype of the game (from last week), you’re ready for the next step of Production: Gross Playtesting. This is where you, playing solitaire or with your must trusted playtester / developer, must actually sit down and play the game! Your goal is to make sure that the larger systems and mechanics in your game actually work together and to find and correct the most egregious errors in it.
After each Gross Playtesting sessions, you should iterate a new version of your game rules and components, and then continue with another Gross Playtesting session. Your goal is to get the game into better shape – that is, to a state where you can inflict playing it on a few more trusted friends and playtesters without them hating you.
Article: Playtesting by Nick Schuster and Steve Jackson
While this article focuses on wargaming in particular, you'll find the lessons very helpful for any kind of game that you might be making. Note, this week for your Graded Course Project, you will be doing the stuff in the section marked "Designer Playtesting."