Vu dans les commentaires, le détail de leur travail de conception et de playtest :
We’ll explain our process for game design and then the play-testing part.
The first step is obviously defining the core idea of the game: aim, core mechanics, setting, and elements. Then, we define the single actions of the game, such as gaining 1 Mana, Travel, Trade, spending 1 Fight, etc., and assign a value to each of them. This is our toolkit from which we build the more structured elements (Spells, Heroes, Trinkets, etc.). Values and elements are defined in a structured Excel file, and they are all linked together. So that when we modify the value of a single action, all elements linked to that action are updated coherently. Formulas to define values are of different types and not always straight linear, I.e., spending two Mana is not equal to spending 1 Mana x2. Obviously, it is close to that, but not exactly the same.
It takes a couple of months to complete the first version of the game. It already has almost all the elements, not only in terms of types but also for their quantity. Elements are designed starting from name and flavor text, as it is our way to trigger creativity.
We homemade print the first version of the game and start playing it. Usually, it only lasts 2 or 3 matches to discover enough parts that need to be changed in terms of structure. I.e. in the first version of the game, Heroes were captured by Lumen and sent to the Hammers prison. The mechanic proved itself too complicated and not fun.
We start over the process, update the core of the game, and review all its elements coherently. After 1 month, the second version of the game is ready, so we are back to playtesting. The second version survives for 8-10 games before showing issues. Another month of design, and we got the third version. At this point, we are able to play 15-20 games, during which the game proves to be stable in terms of flow and core mechanics. This completes the general design process, and we can now start with fine-tuning the single elements. One more month to review all the elements, having now a stable structure, and we are now generally satisfied with the results. The game can see the light and bring it to the tables of our friends and playtesters.
We have a trusted group of hardcore gamers across Italy, and we opened to playtesting at the end of 2022. The game is complex, so we prefer to invest in a limited number of playtesters that can assure us a good number of games instead of sharing the game with many players for only one game. We did some first-game playtesting, but they were only useful to improve the first-game experience and have feedback on icons and a general understanding of the game. They are not of any use for playtesting.
We spent the last 12 months playtesting Fall of Lumen. We played around 10 games per week, from Solo to 4-players. We spend a lot of time playtesting our games. Having fun while doing it is a key element for us, so while balancing the game, we always keep in mind that the game has to be enjoyable and balanced. Only one of the two is not enough.
Fall of Lumen has a relevant number of elements, around 500, but it also has a good number of mechanics that help the balance. The first stabilizer is that every card can be spent in two ways: the flat way is to discard/exhaust it for Skills, and the other is to perform its effect. The flat action defines the base value of the card, while the effect has to be in close range to it but slightly better. Once we defined the value of each base action, the building of the different elements was smooth. In one of the releases, we introduced the opportunity to infiltrate agents directly without spending a rescued Keeper. It was fun for the player able to do it, but not for the rest of the table. The action was too powerful, and we cut it from the game.
The dual use of each card is not the only helper. Having five markets, each with a different intrinsic value, assures that there is always something that you can afford to buy. All core actions of the game are available on the map as Gather. The conversion is not advantageous, but if you need one of them, you can gather it.
The most difficult part to balance was the Heroes, as they have a triggering ability that can be exploited by players. We made a relevant number of Solo games with each Hero until they reached to close the game with similar results. It was also useful for playtesting the Solo and all the other elements.
As this is our second game, we have some budget and experience. In June, we have been able to print some prototypes to increase the number of playtesting and send a couple of them to some German and US reviewers. At the same time, we have uploaded a very extended version of Fall of Lumen on TTS, enabling players to try it.
All of these opportunities to share gave us feedback. The most relevant have been one about the Trinkets. In an early version of the game, Trinkets provided any kind of Skills with their flat action. They were too powerful and a must-have strategy to win the game. So we downgraded their flat action to provide only the less valuable skill of the game, 1 Deception.
Another useful feedback was about the endgame scoring, which was too flat and lacked of some twist. We redesigned the Voyager district to provide endgame awards.
These are the main changes. Overall, all elements have been part of the fine-tuning process the more we played the game and got feedback on it.
Other hints were interesting, but they did not improve the game. They were just viable alternatives. So we thought about adding Scenarios that provide options that are not part of the regular version of the game, but that can be fun for the players to explore. We will illustrate them in the next update.
On top of all this, we are hardcore gamers since we were children and never stopped playing. One of us has a degree in statistics and 20 years of experience in developing models for the calculation of probabilities, which is helpful in reading data and finding patterns.
We have full responsibility for our games. We design them in a way that we find enjoyable, following our guts about the structure and fine-tuning all elements in order to have a final result that is balanced and entertaining.
We hope this can give a better view of how Fall of Lumen has been made.
Je pense que la personne qui a posé la question ne s’attendait pas à une réponse aussi détaillée !
Le prochain update fera un focus sur les scénarios