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Big crazy games vs small ones

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8/6/2012 1:09:18 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
This thread is get the general feeling of players towards big crazy games as opposed to small ones. Which kind of game do you prefer, and why? What are the pros and cons of each? I will use this advice while designing my next game and other mods will likely benefit from this thread as well - which is basically all of us since we all mod games.

Big, crazy games
Some examples of big, crazy games are Bluesteel's Dexter game, BlackVoid's Sci-Fi game, Drafterman's CYOA game, TUF's DragonballZ game, and the most recent Redwall game.

The common theme in these games is the generally large size, multiple complicated roles, in some cases, multiple killing factions, an abundance of third parties and a general atmosphere of absolute confusion.

The pro's of this type of game is that when done right, it can be enjoyable, even epic although more so for scum than town. People revel in the confusion and appreciate the game.

The Con's would be that there is very little that is in a player's control. You might FOS 4 people and suddenly two end up dead the next day. You could be doing great as a mafioso only to have the serial killer kill you, etc.

Small games

These include games with fewer players. Perhaps, I should have titles it small, uncrazy games because some small games can be crazy too. Logic's death-in-mystere would be an example as would BlackVoid's companies mafia and my Action TV Shows Mafia.

Pro's - more control over what happens in the game.

Con's - no crazyness.

So, what type of game is better? If you could choose one type of game to play in, which would it be.

Don't constrain yourself to these two categories. Just describe your ideal type of game and why you would like to play such a game. What would the features of such a game be?

My ideal: I'd like to play a small game with no vig/sk or too many killing roles. No survivors. Just town vs mafia. Ideally an underpowered town so we spend a lot of time on behavioral analysis and a combination of mostly standard roles and few mod-invented roles. The theme would be not a single movie/book/show but spanning many of them such as "horror" as opposed to "house of wax" for instance.
Posts: 18,870
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8/6/2012 1:31:07 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I don't think there is any inherent base level of enjoyment for large vs. small games. I've been praised for both my Heroes and Horror games which were both relatively small (12 players).

Small games can be just as crazy, innovative, or unusual as large games.

So what's the appeal of large games?

As you mentioned: they have the potential to be epic.

I have a couple "large" games I'm eager to have played that I've designed (Magic the Gathering and Steampunk).

I'm also currently designing a World War II game that will never get played because it's currently a 28 player game. Alas. It's fun designing it thought.

The challenge, of course, is finding an appropriate number of roles, though that technically shouldn't be a challenge. I have a master list of generic roles that is huge, though many of them are similar. The point being, you don't have to invent new mechanics or roles in order to have a large game.

I think the current feeling is to have smaller, simpler, faster games. People seem to be getting confused more easily (people called my Horror game confusing, though all of that confusion was player generated) and have shorter attention spans. More games means that they need to be smaller, though you know we're working on fixing that.

Another inhibitor is the inactivity. Many players are notorious for signing up but not being active.

Ultimately, I think large games are fun to design, are fun in concept, and have the potential to be executed well, but requires player commitment in order to realize that full potential.
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8/6/2012 10:03:59 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Big games tend to have 1 advantage - certain roles can be created with truly amazing powers and such. Also, it is more feasible to have certain role set-ups when single deaths are acceptable. One of my pet design plans has 3 never before seen killing roles ... but it would be totally untenable in a small game because the townies would all die out. Of course, the game is totally unrunable in a large format as there's no Mafia...

Small games are my preference because absolute confusion and the difficulty of piecing various things together in large games is such a pain. It's not that large games have no possibility to be good, but the player calibre isn't good enough to sustain large games.

Also, small games allow for a great degree of control over the game style. It's hard to explain, but there's a style to smaller games that I like a lot. In large games roles conflict, CCs mean less, the chaos created... I prefer a certain style of game. My games, their size, their style are reliant on smaller designs. Indeed, filling out 15 roles is sometimes a challenge and the balancing requires the greatest degree of concentration.

Small games also allow for a great degree of innovation, with control over innovations being absolutely key. It's very difficult to explain, but larger games inevitably force certain elements that I don't like...

Ideally, a game along the lines of ones I've created. A game with a charming theme where the storyline is custom made yet insightful and part of a careful balance, a focus on behavioural analysis, be it through a lack of information or a torrent of misinformation, a series of odd roles with hints of mod deception... A hint of mystery must run through a game.

That must sound ridiculously vague, so good luck understanding me!
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