Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why you shouldn't "balance your game"

"Is the game balanced?" is a question a lot of people ask... when they don't know how to ask more precise questions. Overall game balance makes no sense, it is a misleading idea. Balance takes at least two different sides, so to just say a game is balanced leaves the question, "with what?" or "in what way?"

You can balance one aspect of a game against another, you can make sure two opposing sides are equal in strength and have the same chance to win, you can compare the amount of time invested in learning a game against the time a person might be willing to invest in playing it.

The two sides in chess are balanced, meaning they are of equal strength. In Monopoly, at the beginning, everyone has the same chance of winning the game, so you could say that one player's chance of winning is balanced when compared to any other player's.

You can pick any aspect of your game and see how it relates to any other aspect, and this is a good idea. You can balance the cost of items in your game, you can balance the strength of the enemies against the strength of the character at any particular point, you can balance the difficulty of a dexterity game, or the intellectual challenge of a strategy game, against the age level and sophistication of the players you expect to have. It's always good to compare and analyze different game elements.

So don't balance your game, balance elements of your game against each other, against your goals for the game, and against the intended players.

No comments:

Post a Comment