Whodunnit? [19 Apr 2014] v10, p10 - Gameplay

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Whodunnit? [19 Apr 2014] v10, p10 - Gameplay

Postby degaston on Wed May 11, 2011 3:01 pm

ImageImage

Map Name: Whodunnit? (formerly Murder 1)
Mapmaker: degaston
Territories: 151
Continents:
  • 9 standard room continents - bonuses increase based on the number of detectives held.
  • 6 Suspects, and 7 Weapons have auto-deploys.
  • 22 Notepad territories provide one bonus troop each.
  • 6 Notepad sets provide additional two troops each.
Starting Positions: All crime scene rooms
Special Features: Winning Condition, Losing Condition, Multi-level Bonus, Auto-deploys, Decays, Killer Neutrals, One-Way Borders, Bombardments & Conditional Borders

Your aims/design style:
Basically, it's "Clue meets Risk". The style is that of the investigating detective's desk. The objective is to "solve the case" by controlling a Suspect, Location and Weapon on the notepad, plus the Warrant for one round. Initial distribution will be only within the "Crime Scene" rooms; all others will be neutrals of various amounts. (1's in the hallways, larger numbers on the important territories).

"Evidence" (as signified by magnifying glasses and pointing hands) leads, via one-way assault, to weapons stored in the evidence rooms or suspects in an interrogation room. There are two of these links for each weapon and suspect distributed throughout the mansion rooms. Other links in each room assault their matching entry on the notepad. All of these links are only enabled when the player controls the entire room. Mansion rooms, evidence rooms and interrogation rooms all give bonuses. Hallways are a -1 deploy to discourage "loitering" and make holding large areas of the map more difficult.

Uniqueness: I have not studied all existing maps, but I have not seen anything like it yet. I think the combination of conditional, one-way attacks, goals and bonuses make it fairly unique.

Relevant Experience: First map, computer programmer, familiar with graphics editing software and XML.

Map description and strategy guide:

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Latest Version:

Version 10 (4/18/2014)
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Last edited by degaston on Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:17 pm, edited 40 times in total.
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby Teflon Kris on Wed May 11, 2011 5:00 pm

Haven't checked this out properly yet but it looks very interesting at first glance.

:D
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby carlpgoodrich on Thu May 12, 2011 6:54 pm

I think this map has a ton of potential, and is a lot more developed then a lot of first drafts.
Here are my initial thoughts.

I think right now the objective is a little too easy. For example, someone who starts with 3 of 4 in the bedroom only needs to take 4 more territories to win. Even if there are high neutrals, thats kinda boring. I suggest instead of having the objective be ANY room, suspect, weapon combo, have there be a some specific room, suspect, and weapon combinations. Then, be sure that the magnifying glasses in a given room don't point to corresponding weapons/suspects. That way the player has to do some "investigating," e.i. move around a bit.

Can I also suggest a slightly different bonus structure for the weapons/people? Right now, I see the gameplay as being: attacking weapons and people, then stockpile armies to protect those bonuses. Instead, what if you got a bonus of 1 for 1 weapon, 3 for 2, 6 for 3, etc, or some sort of escalating thing like that (and the same for people). That is similar to the Clue where knowing 1 weapon isn't very helpful, but knowing 4 is VERY helpful. I also think it would make for more interesting gameplay.

Finally, I like that there is no way to go from the evidence rooms to the main rooms. There probably needs to be a losing condition there that if you don't have one spot on the main part of the map, you are eliminated.

Those are just my 2 cents, do with them what you will. I look forward to seeing this map develop.
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby Industrial Helix on Fri May 13, 2011 10:44 am

Hmm... very interesting. Pretty well thought out as well.

Here's a couple of ideas you could play with:

1) The weapon magnifying glass and suspect magnifying glass are extremely confusing with each other. Maybe use fingerprints or something for the suspect and magnifying glass for weapon. I dunno, be creative. But they should have different indicating items.

2) What about introducing Detective stating points that can not be attacked by any other territory. That way players MUST solve the crime rather than kill off all the other players.

3) The motive... I would say the winning objective is enough motivation to take that territory. There should be no bonus for it, perhaps only a negative bonus to ensure it is the piece of the puzzle taken last.
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby degaston on Sat May 14, 2011 8:40 am

carlpgoodrich wrote:I think right now the objective is a little too easy. For example, someone who starts with 3 of 4 in the bedroom only needs to take 4 more territories to win. Even if there are high neutrals, thats kinda boring. I suggest instead of having the objective be ANY room, suspect, weapon combo, have there be a some specific room, suspect, and weapon combinations. Then, be sure that the magnifying glasses in a given room don't point to corresponding weapons/suspects. That way the player has to do some "investigating," e.i. move around a bit.

This is my first map, so I'm not sure exactly how things are supposed to proceed, but I'd like to be sure that there is a problem with the game play before I make a big change like having specific winning combinations. Because it's not winning 4 territories, but keeping them that will win the game. From my limited experience, and a discussion with someone who has played more than I, it seems that most of the time the winning objective is so difficult that once you can hold it, you could just as easily wipe the other side out.

Smaller steps I would consider first include requiring control of an evidence and interrogation room (not just a weapon and suspect), splitting the motive into multiple territories, and adding more clues to the mansion rooms.

It seems to me that as it is now, no matter how things start, it would require significant strength to take the motive and have enough armies to hold it and all the other requirements. Especially when you consider that the evidence and interrogation troops cannot help defend the mansion, and likewise for any troops on the motive. I'm not aware of any other maps having a similar combination of one-way attacks on winning requirements.

It may turn out that this is not the best map for two or even three players, but I think it may be very good for larger numbers or teams, and not every map can work well with all combinations.

carlpgoodrich wrote:Can I also suggest a slightly different bonus structure for the weapons/people? Right now, I see the gameplay as being: attacking weapons and people, then stockpile armies to protect those bonuses. Instead, what if you got a bonus of 1 for 1 weapon, 3 for 2, 6 for 3, etc, or some sort of escalating thing like that (and the same for people). That is similar to the Clue where knowing 1 weapon isn't very helpful, but knowing 4 is VERY helpful. I also think it would make for more interesting gameplay.

Finally, I like that there is no way to go from the evidence rooms to the main rooms. There probably needs to be a losing condition there that if you don't have one spot on the main part of the map, you are eliminated.

Both of these sound good. I'll work on adding them to the next version.

Industrial Helix wrote:1) The weapon magnifying glass and suspect magnifying glass are extremely confusing with each other. Maybe use fingerprints or something for the suspect and magnifying glass for weapon. I dunno, be creative. But they should have different indicating items.

Yes, fingerprints was my first choice for links to the suspects, but I had a hard time getting them to show up clearly without taking up too much space. I'll experiment some more and see what I can come up with.

Industrial Helix wrote:2) What about introducing Detective stating points that can not be attacked by any other territory. That way players MUST solve the crime rather than kill off all the other players.

I considered this at an early point in development, but it seemed that unless I made all the rooms essentially identical (something I did not want) it would probably result in some starting points having a big advantage over others.

Industrial Helix wrote:3) The motive... I would say the winning objective is enough motivation to take that territory. There should be no bonus for it, perhaps only a negative bonus to ensure it is the piece of the puzzle taken last.

If someone takes the motive and has all the other requirements, then obviously, his opponents must take something away from him if they can. If the troops on the motive are both trapped, and gradually drawn down, it would seem to be almost certain suicide to place enough troops on there to hold it unless you were already so strong that you knew you could not be taken elsewhere.

I feel some reward is due for having the guts to try this, but I don't want to make it "the only" strategy. By using a negative deploy, positive bonus combination, the player can decide whether to maintain the troop levels on the motive, or let them draw down to be placed on other territories. The numbers may be adjusted to make this a possible, but not highly attractive strategy, but I would prefer to have many viable strategies and not design the game so that the motive must be taken last.

Thanks for the suggestions. More are welcome.
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby AndyDufresne on Sun May 15, 2011 12:00 pm

I like the idea of this map, and the general look that it may evolve into. I look forward to coming back to it once it is a little more developed and further on in the process! It looks promising.


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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby degaston on Mon May 16, 2011 12:40 am

Version 1.1 is out now with the following changes:

1. Adjusted the army "circle" positions to make them neater and fit better.
2. Re-did the connection paths to make them neater and more visible.
3. Changed the suspect magnifying glasses to bow ties.
4. Added a "glow" around evidence markers to make them more visible.
5. Made holding an Evidence Room and Interrogation Room a requirement for the winning objective.
6. Added escalating bonuses for holding multiple Evidence or Interrogation rooms.
7. Specified elimination from crime scene areas as a losing condition.

Any other suggestions?
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby degaston on Wed May 18, 2011 2:05 am

Version 1.2 changes:

1. Added two territories (to Dining Room & Office) to get to the "golden number" of 52 starting positions
2. Adjusted bonuses and "special connections"
3. Made army "circles" and paths 100% opaque. (up from 50%)
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby carlpgoodrich on Wed May 18, 2011 8:37 am

I still think the winning condition is stalling the gameplay. Right now there is virtually no incentive to move around in the crime scene, which totally ruins the idea of simulating a Clue game. If I'm playing this game right now, I pick either the Bedroom, Garage or Office (which ever I drop more in), take that bonus and stockpile on the single door. Then I take a weapon and a person and build up until I have enough to take the motive. Or, if I don't drop a lot in any of those rooms, I go for a lot of weapons or people. Boring.

I think the idea of having starting positions is definitely a suggestion you should strongly consider. You have plenty of room in the middle of the map, so thats not a problem. If you are worried about unbalanced starting positions, that can easily be fixed. First, I would suggest adding more hallway territories, so that each starting position has at least two hallway positions between it and a room. If you think a room is too "attractive", you can do things like play with neutrals at its door.

Also, I really think you should reconsider the winning condition being so general. Make players look around a bit to try to find the correct combination of suspect and weapon. I don't know any crime scene or clue game where you could just go to one room and solve the case/win the game. If you want, I can go into more detail about why I think there should be specific winning condition combinations and how you could implement it.
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby degaston on Wed May 18, 2011 3:24 pm

carlpgoodrich wrote:I still think the winning condition is stalling the gameplay. Right now there is virtually no incentive to move around in the crime scene, which totally ruins the idea of simulating a Clue game. If I'm playing this game right now, I pick either the Bedroom, Garage or Office (which ever I drop more in), take that bonus and stockpile on the single door. Then I take a weapon and a person and build up until I have enough to take the motive. Or, if I don't drop a lot in any of those rooms, I go for a lot of weapons or people. Boring.

Thanks for the comments. In case it wasn't clear from the current map, I did change the winning objective to include holding the evidence and interrogation rooms, not just a weapon and suspect. But the comparison to Clue breaks down from the start anyway because you can't just leave one room and move to another, you have to take it from someone. Unlike Clue, you can be in more than one place at a time, etc. Aside from that, to paraphrase a comment from another board-game based thread, this is still a game of "RISK", not Clue. I don't want to make design decisions based solely on how closely they match the original. My goal is for this to be its own game, not a substitute for Clue. That being said, I am perfectly willing to consider making drastic changes if necessary, but I would like to have proof that there are problems with the game play as it is before I do that.

As for the incentive to move around the crime scene, it's the same as in every other map. If you don't, your opponents will, and they'll start collecting more bonuses than you. The bedroom is the only room that has just one entrance (because of the secret passages), and it has the smallest bonus. While you're collecting an extra 2 to 5 armies each round, your opponent may soon be collecting 7 to 10 or more. In my first draft of the XML, I put 6 neutrals on each weapon, 3 on each evidence room, 8 on each suspect, 4 on each interrogation room, and 12 on the motive. I can tweak all of the bonuses and neutrals if it seems too easy, but right now I don't expect that to be the case.

While you build up enough troops to take the motive, what is everyone else doing? Are they building up in the crime scene waiting to wipe you out in the bedroom and eliminate you? Who controls the other attacking territories for your weapon and suspect? Is someone building up in an evidence or interrogation room waiting to attack you from across the hall? Or do they just pile up troops on a suspect so that once you expend your armies to defeat the neutrals there, they can kick you out? I think there are plenty of options that should keep the game interesting.

carlpgoodrich wrote:I think the idea of having starting positions is definitely a suggestion you should strongly consider. You have plenty of room in the middle of the map, so thats not a problem. If you are worried about unbalanced starting positions, that can easily be fixed. First, I would suggest adding more hallway territories, so that each starting position has at least two hallway positions between it and a room. If you think a room is too "attractive", you can do things like play with neutrals at its door.

I realize that that would make it a bit more like Clue, but I think distributing the starting positions throughout the crime scene will lead to more varied play and a better game. Besides, I just don't like that style of map as much. :)

carlpgoodrich wrote:Also, I really think you should reconsider the winning condition being so general. Make players look around a bit to try to find the correct combination of suspect and weapon. I don't know any crime scene or clue game where you could just go to one room and solve the case/win the game. If you want, I can go into more detail about why I think there should be specific winning condition combinations and how you could implement it.

I haven't completely ruled this out as a possibility, but I'm skeptical about it working well in practice. Would you list the winning conditions in the instructions, or do you leave it to the players to find out through trial and error? I've never heard of police showing up and having the details of the crime spelled out in a note. What about repeat gameplay? Once people have figured out what the winning combinations are, doesn't that limit the enjoyment of repeated "investigation" and/or give a big advantage to experienced players over newer ones? I don't know of any crime scene where it's always the same location, criminal, weapon and motive, so trying to compare this to reality is always going to be problematic.

If I could make different objectives based on the number of starting players, (ex: requiring three of each type of room for two players) I would gladly do that, but I'm not aware of the XML supporting that.

I do appreciate the input, however, and would be happy to hear any other comments on it. I just ask that you give it more of a chance as is before declaring it to be boring.

Thanks.
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby degaston on Wed May 25, 2011 1:23 am

Version 1.3 changes:

1. Changed floor textures and fonts to try to make map more readable.
2. Removed 1 hall territory outside foyer.
3. Shows starting neutrals.
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby AndyDufresne on Wed May 25, 2011 8:46 am

Are the hallways reverting neutrals or just starting neutrals?


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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby degaston on Wed May 25, 2011 10:09 am

As it stands now, they're starting neutrals with a -1 deploy (from the map: "All hallways lose 1 army per round"), though I could make the negative deploy larger or make them killer neutrals if the game-play doesn't work well this way.

My intention is to balance the cost of leaving armies in the hall with the benefit of protecting more space with fewer troops. So, for example, if you hold the dining room and kitchen individually, you have 5 borders to protect. But if you put troops on hallway F (and continue to protect Dining Room 7 and the secret passage), then you can protect the same area with just three borders at the cost of 1 army per round. whether it's worth it or not probably depends on many factors including average troop strength, bonuses, spoils and reinforcement settings.
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby danfrank on Mon May 30, 2011 10:07 pm

.


Why is this map still in the drafting room ? Its definitly further along then a draft :-s
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby Boler on Mon May 30, 2011 10:20 pm

Awesome! I voted Can't wait to play it. The bedroom looks like the classic "Australia" bonus, though. I guess some people like that, but I never liked places with over +1 bonus with only one entrance. Also, it is even better that Australia as it has a magnifying glass, and a bowtie in it, and one-way exits are useful.

Also i think you should change bowties to fingerprints, bowties lying around a house seems a little random.

But seriously, i'd play it where it is! Those are just things you could keep in mind
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby degaston on Tue May 31, 2011 9:16 am

I'm working on changing the bow-ties to pointing fingers (Image). That way, both the fingers and the magnifying glass handles can point in the direction of the room they connect to (using clock directions from the center of the evidence and interrogation rooms), so the map works for the colorblind.

I printed the map and tried playing it on paper (3 players), and from that it seems like I will probably need to reduce or restructure the crime scene bonuses because the first one to control a room took over the game without ever having to go into the police station. I could give each room a smaller bonus, or I could set up an escalating bonus like the evidence and interrogation rooms. I'll have to think about it. I think there's a feature to limit the number of starting territories a person may get that I'll also have to look into.
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby degaston on Tue May 31, 2011 9:23 am

danfrank wrote:.Why is this map still in the drafting room ? Its definitly further along then a draft :-s

This is my first map. Do I just have to wait for a mod to move it?
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby degaston on Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:33 pm

Version 1.4 changes:

1. Enlarged army circles to hold 3 digits.
2. Changed bow-ties to pointing hands.
3. Angled magnifying glasses and hands to indicate weapon or suspect attacked.
4. Reduced bonuses for crime scene rooms.
5. Made all magnifying glass and hand territories start with 2 neutrals. Map now has 26 starting drop territories.

Click image to enlarge.
image
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby degaston on Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:21 pm

carlpgoodrich wrote:I still think the winning condition is stalling the gameplay. Right now there is virtually no incentive to move around in the crime scene, which totally ruins the idea of simulating a Clue game. If I'm playing this game right now, I pick either the Bedroom, Garage or Office (which ever I drop more in), take that bonus and stockpile on the single door. Then I take a weapon and a person and build up until I have enough to take the motive. Or, if I don't drop a lot in any of those rooms, I go for a lot of weapons or people. Boring.
...
Also, I really think you should reconsider the winning condition being so general. Make players look around a bit to try to find the correct combination of suspect and weapon. I don't know any crime scene or clue game where you could just go to one room and solve the case/win the game. If you want, I can go into more detail about why I think there should be specific winning condition combinations and how you could implement it.


carl, I don't know if this is what you were thinking of, but I'm considering changing the winning combinations to:
Image
...where the direct connections from each room are excluded from the winning combinations for that room. So, for example, if you hold the Motive and the Garage, then any suspect except Mr. Pink, and any weapon except the Chainsaw will give you a winning combination. Logically, it doesn't make much sense that clues would exclude a suspect or weapon, but it does match the concept of the original game a little better. I guess I could call them false clues.

This would require someone to either take two rooms, or to move around the police station in order to get a winning combination. I kind of like it from a game-play perspective, but I'm concerned that it may make it too confusing for a lot of people.

Does anyone else have an opinion on this?
Last edited by degaston on Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby carlpgoodrich on Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:26 pm

That is what I was thinking of (more or less). I agree with what you said, it makes sense from a gameplay perspective, but might be a bit hard to explain. Hummmm....
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby degaston on Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:36 am

My first attempt at describing the above situation - I could replace all the text at the top with this:

CASE SUMMARY: While investigating the discovery of a body at a local residence, seven weapons were found, and six suspects were taken in for questioning. The suspects have left numerous false clues in the residence in an attempt to frame each other.

OBJECTIVE: Control a Crime Scene room, a valid suspect and weapon, and “The Motive” to win the game. The weapon and suspect connections in a room are the only ones that will not make a winning combination with that room. For example, Mr. Pink and the Pickaxe will not make a winning combination with the Bedroom, but any other weapon and suspect will.


I've gone back to only requiring the weapon and suspect instead of the room they are in. I think it makes more sense logically, and I don't think it will be too easy considering the weapon and suspect connections are starting neutrals. I could go back again if it is.
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby natty dread on Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:56 am

I'm not sure why I haven't commented on this earlier.

This map looks really nice. The graphics are of high quality and I love the style, it fits the theme very well. Overall, it shows that you've put lots of thought in the design of the map.

Only things I would criticize graphically are the legend and the territory font, and I was hard pressed to come up even with those. The legend could use some spicing up: while the typewriter font does fit the theme, the way you've laid out the legend makes for a sort of bland look. You could try to a different typewriter font, one that's a bit flawed, worn out here and there, like it's written on an old typewriter... you could use a post-it note with handwritten text for part of the legend, to give some extra flavour to it... and maybe add some slight shading to the legend background to make it less flat? Just some things to try.

The territory font, well... again, while the typewriter font looks good for the legend, it isn't the best font to use for the territory names - typewriter fonts usually work best when they're black on white, white on black tends to make them look scruffy due to the thin letters and all... You could try a more modern looking small sans font for the territory names.

Oh, also... there's no need to make the army circles hold 3 digits. It's better to size them for 2, since most games you'll have less than 100 troops on most territories, and also because the 3-digit numbers won't be centered the same way as 2-digit ones - 1&2 - digit numbers get centered to the coordinates, but 3-digit numbers just add the 3rd digit to the right of the 2-digit number...

The gameplay also looks interesting. The police station bonuses look a bit too high, though.... 19 troops for holding 7 territories? 21 for 6? Seems like a bit much, especially considering the low bonuses on the crime scene...
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby degaston on Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:19 pm

Thanks for the comments, natty.

Earlier versions used "My Underwood" font (you can see these listed in the first post), but I found it a bit difficult to read at the small font size I needed to fit everything in. The latest version is using "Selectric", but I can take another look at all the fonts and legend and see what I can do to improve it.

I'll switch the army circles back to 2 digit size. I wasn't sure what was expected there.

As for the police station bonuses, being too high, there are several things to keep in mind:
1. The bonuses are for each room, not just the weapon or suspect, so it's 19 for for holding 14
territories and 21 for 12.
2. Each room has two territories in the crime scene that one-way assault it, and a hallway border. If you hold all 7 weapons rooms, then you have 17 territories that can attack you.
3. You have to kill 11 neutrals to control a weapon room, and 14 to for a suspect room. With low bonuses in the crime scene, it will take a while to build up enough to take one room, much less several.
4. Any armies in the police station can't be used to reinforce the crime scene.
5. I would expect the other players would make it difficult to get more than your share of the weapon or suspect rooms.
6. With an escalating bonus structure (as suggested in an earlier comment) it's difficult to get the top bonus much lower anyway. (The suspects start with a 2 bonus because they are more difficult to get, there are fewer of them, and they are important for their role in attacking the motive.)

Finally, I would not be surprised if many of the neutrals and bonuses need to be adjusted, but it's hard to know how much without being able to play it.

And, hey mods, while I don't mind discussing graphics and game-play here, what's a guy gotta do to get a draft stamp?
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby danfrank on Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:32 am

[/quote]

And, hey mods, while I don't mind discussing graphics and game-play here, what's a guy gotta do to get a draft stamp?[/quote]


I have to agree, if support is what they are concerned about , moving it to gameplay or graphics would surely gather more support, imo. The discussion so far is balanced between the 2 but i think gameplay comes first just so you can tweek graphics after the rules are decided.. :P
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Re: Murder 1 (Clue variation)

Postby carlpgoodrich on Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:39 pm

Humm, maybe the fact that there are only 2 pages of discussion is the holdup? Although I think most if not all of the comments have been very detailed and thorough. Anyways, I agree this should definitely be in gameplay workshop.
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