TGDRT #44: Competition & Endgames

Episode #44 is live!

Jon and Dirk discuss Solium Infernum and City of Remnants in-depth, and along the way delve into the issues deep competitive games have and the reasons why endgames are typically so bad. Dirk then provides an update on his forty projects, and Jon talks about the challenges of design and engineering and the thinking that goes behind when to start playtesting.

In this episode Dirk grilled me on why I I’ve fallen so deeply for Out of the Park but have had trouble getting into Solium Infernum, despite both having a massive learning curve. This led to an interesting conversation about direct VS indirect competition. Making a mistake in either game is brutal – but in Solium Infernum it’s someone shoving your face in that brutality. Not only are you weakened, but your opponents grow stronger. The thrill of victory can be greater when it’s a zero sum proposition, but there’s an interesting trade-off that comes with that.

– Jon

2 thoughts on “TGDRT #44: Competition & Endgames

  1. Regarding the discussion of the end game problem, I thought of traditional board games like chess. There you can have very long games but they aren’t boring, because either player can lose very quickly at any time by making a few mistakes. The complaints about boring end games seem to assume that many turns must be played without a chance of such fast failure. I wonder, isn’t that really the core design problem here?

    1. It is common though for high level chess players to surrender the games they expect to lose. If they always played everything out, it probably wouldn’t be the case that the end game is still an interesting struggle that either player could potentially win. So the lesson to be learned might be that play sessions that won’t reach an interesting endgame need to end before it reaches the endgame.

      One other thing chess does well is that the complexity of the endgame is actually reduced compared to the complexity of the early and the midgame, since the number of pieces and therefore the number of possible games only decreases as the game goes on. A large problem I personally have with X4 games is that the number of things you need to keep track off just increases as the game goes on. For a turn based game this never-ending increase in micromanagement really bogs down the pacing.

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