One of the things we’ve mentioned before in our posts is the tough decision around whether or not to add a theme and story to the game. We’re very happy with the choice to do so! It’s been a lot of fun playing with artwork and crafting the story (more to come on that!). It also helps achieve one of the main games of the project – to make an accessible family game which can be picked up in one or two tries.

It does however have an interesting effect on the complexity of the game. Pure skill games such as chess and Go contain no randomness. This means the contest is a true “contest of wills and intellects” between the players. At some level this is purer as form of game that luck based games. It’s possible to think of games on a sliding scale from “pure random” at one end to “no randomness” at the other that correlates pretty strongly with the ability of someone to play the game successfully on the first opening. In highly random games, with a bit of luck even a first timer could win.

In Mitropia we have two sources of randomness:

  • Dice: these determine the range of movement per player each turn (and whether they receive a card).
  • Action Cards: these are randomly drawn throughout the came and bestow a range of special moves.

Both of these give players opportunities throughout the game which could make up for poor play.

There are two other ways in which Mitropia affects the complexity of the pure gameplay when compared to ordinary Go:

  1. Board shape and size: board size directly correlates to complexity in games such as Go and Chess because it determines the number of possible moves. In chess there are 20 legal opening moves, in Go there are 361 on a 19×19 board. The tree of possible games branches out from there. Mitropia’s different board configuration can be both bigger and smaller than a standard Go board.
  2. The movement restriction: when using dice in the game, the die roll determines how far from a player’s existing stones they can play. This naturally reduces the number of possible moves over time – reducing game complexity.

These changes both help make the game a bit more varied and accessible (it is bewildering to be able to move anywhere on a vast board!), but one could argue they reduce complexity.

We’re currently play testing this and also trying to make sure we pick the right board sizes and configurations for different numbers of players so the playing time is right.

We are also thinking about having a no randomness version of the game which has no cards or dice (with either a fixed movement limit or none) so that Go aficionados have a version which is pure skill)!

Interesting to see all the game tests play out!

One thought on “Accessible v’s Strict Games?

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