Having talked about the background of the game yesterday, it’s time to look a bit closer at the details we need to consider when replicating it on the board. The changes between DB and DBX in terms of play style as well as the differences in background throw up a number of issues that we need to address. These include:
1) The greatly decreased life expectancy and poor medical facilities in DBX makes using individual players as the basis for increasing a team’s overall experience impractical. A different approach is essential.
2) I want people to be able to pick up and play DBX as easily as DB. This means that team-building cannot be mandatory.
3) Hiring players for a team should not just be about money. A system that only uses money is too open to exploitation and the randomness of a single lucky win or unlucky loss. It doesn’t adequately allow for rewarding veteran Sponsors (people who have worked their way up the ladder over time). There needs to be an additional means to allow for longer term improvement.
4) Every Sponsor should be able to hire almost every player. At least in theory. A tiny minority (c5-10%) may refuse to work for someone under any circumstances, but the guiding principle should be that the team is up to the Sponsor to pick. All these options do not have to be available at the start, but they must be achievable in a league.
5) However, even with (4) being the case, the system cannot be so open that the forums decide on a single “best” team and gamers only play that. Different Sponsors should arrive at different teams based on their relationships with players (and the gamer’s preferred style of play). Which brings me to…
6) There needs to be a way to show the trust (or otherwise) that a player has in a Sponsor and this should make it easier or harder for a given Sponsor to hire an individual player.
7) Finally, Sponsors must be encouraged to field good teams rather than just fulfilling the minimum requirements (and there must be minimum requirements).
I resolve these issues as follows:
1) Focus on the Sponsor instead of the players. The Sponsor is a permanent feature and will not die. Increasing his overall game value increases his team regardless of the changes in individual players within it.
2) Every Sponsor/team combo in DBX comes with a recommended 100mc version that you can pick-up-and-play in the same way as the Trontek 29ers from the first DB book. You can use this for a one-off game or as the basis for a league, or ignore it completely and tailor your team to your own tastes. This gives a wider set of options for the gamer. However, because they all use the same basis to build a team you won’t be seriously disadvantaged if you choose to take the easy route.
3) Obviously players have a cost. However, you may also need to do a favour for them before they will play for you. Limiting the ability to do favours at the start of a league gives a Sponsor an ideal measure for showing his increase in power and influence alongside his increase in wealth.
4-6) By linking each Sponsor and each player to one or more Groups, and then having players charge less to the Sponsors they know (share Groups with) you can easily give each Sponsor the ability to access a wide variety of players without making all of them easy (or cheap) to afford. This also makes a given player a different option for each Sponsor, and this balance helps make Sponsors different.
7) Each team has minimum requirements in both numbers and cost (on mc). This ensures that every game is worthwhile. This also means that a Sponsor’s earnings for a match need to at least cover these minimums.
Having looked at the challenges and the some ways round them, tomorrow I’ll put it all together in a more traditional rules approach.