Wootfish wrote:I think Dave is right -- we should just get playable content to start with, and then worry about specializing later.
I think this is where we disagree the most. I believe the two are tied to each other a great deal in that you wont be able to create playable content in a timely manner without some focus and specialization. Say 100 cards end up going online by the deadline. Also assume they're randomly distributed among the different climates and terrains. Anyone who has played a trading card game knows that attempting to create a deck that spans all card ranges weakens the effectiveness of that deck a great deal. With the number of climates and terrains currently in game, a reasonably focused deck would only be able to choose from 10-15 odd unique cards.
I think the more effective way of doing it is paring down the range to a few habitats and building those 100 cards around them. That way, we begin testing with players able to create decks out of a greater pool of cards. The increase in playable variety as well as the tighter habitat focus will, in my opinion, lead to more meaningful beta testing. If people are using similar decks to play against each other, we start by shoring up the rules for this small set. We then bring more cards in to match this set of rules. This is much easier than taking a small quantity of highly different cards and attempting to playtest a rule set around it.
I see your point, and to a degree I have to admit I agree with it. However, I don't think that tight habitat focus is what the project needs at this point in time.
Surely, there will be a time when it's exactly what we need. But in my opinion, that time is after we've handled other aspects of the game.
The intent of the sentence you quoted was that we shouldn't worry about how to market the cards to our intended audience at this phase. We should just make cards we can play the game with, regardless of who's going to find these species in their back yards. I'm of the opinion that until the game is playable, our first priority ought to be taking whatever the artists / art-finders can get us and working with it. The cart of end-user appeal can't go before the horse of gameplay -- that's where almost every "edutainment" (wince) project messes up. If this results in a somewhat thin spread of species per habitat, so be it. We'll make it work, and there's always time to grow out the content of the game. Down the road, I'm sure we'll find that tweaking content is far easier than tweaking rules.
And honestly, I think 15 different species would really be plenty for basic play-testing. Bear in mind of course that you wouldn't want just one
habitat, most likely, due to environmental challenges that affect that environment. Having somewhere around two environments that your deck specializes in, plus some environmental challenge cards, should give you plenty of cards. And besides -- we wouldn't want many duplicate species cards in the actual game, but they're allowed in the current game rules, so what's the harm of having a few in playtesting? It seems to me like it would be a rather poor idea not
to include them, in fact.
Another thing to consider: since the rules are still taking shape, it's good to keep the content built around them somewhat general. Suppose for instance that we want Urban cards to work differently. Would it be easier to modify and playtest 15 Urban cards, or 30?
And lastly, if we only specialize in a few climates, then that gives an unrealistic view of how the game works. If we had, say, 3 "main climates", then species that bridged 2 or more of those 3 climates would serve a multi-purpose role that one would not find if there are, say, 10 developed climates, as one would find in the intended end product. So using a smaller set of climates would not only be mostly unneeded, it could actually have the potential to skew the results obtained from playtesting.
Edit-- Dave posted while I was writing this up, which is why his comment isn't addressed in the body of this message. Nothing personal -- sorry! Anyway, as far as I can tell, what Dave is saying is that the supply of cards is controlled entirely by the flow of artwork into the system, and so our supply of cards is rather diverse, but that this doesn't mean we should
make diverse decks. Instead, we should wait until we have more cards to work with, then start making good decks.
I agree with what he's saying to a degree, however I think that as long as there's a sufficient baseline level of diversity (like say a minimum of 5 species cards for a given climate, for instance) it won't be too much of a problem if we just repeat cards for now. Obviously this wouldn't be the final version that we distribute, but for testing purposes it'll have to do for now. I for one would like to get most of the kinks ironed out before
we build up a huge mass of cards, because if we change how a card works, we don't just have to change the text on it -- we have to test it all over again to make sure it hasn't become overpowered by itself, or that it hasn't become overpowered in conjunction with this card, or that it hasn't become overpowered with relation to this environmental challenge or that play strategy, et cetera. It's simply too difficult to do this with very large numbers of cards. It's wonderful to have lots of art to make into cards, but we mustn't get carried away quite yet.