Friday, November 2, 2018

Drafting Pokemon #04: Top Percentage

"Drafting Pokemon" is the blog post series chronicling the design of a Pokemon drafting card game. It was first started as a National Game Design Month project during November 2016. It wasn't completed. November 2018's #NaGaDeMon is a revival of this project.

Pokemon Gold/Silver

Pokemon's got a lot of variance in its core handheld game series, during battle. Every attack has a percentage chance for landing a hit. Many, if not most, moves are 100% chance of hitting (ignoring the very, very small chance of randomly missing just for kicks, even for 100%-chance-of-hit moves). And then all moves have a chance to land a critical hit. That's not all - some moves have a chance to inflict a condition upon hit, whether it's poison or paralysis, etc. Luckily, a computer game can handle all these calculations for you to make for an well-managed variance-fest.

For the Pokemon drafting card game, since it's a physical tabletop game that requires manual dextrous manipulation of game pieces, having so many aspects that are randomized isn't exactly a boon. For example, there are moves that land a hit only 85% of the time. To simulate this percentage exactly, you'd most likely need to roll 2D10.

Let us consider one of the most dooziest of moves to randomize for, manually - Fire Fang. Fire Fang is a move that has a 95% chance to hit, 10% chance of causing burn, and 10% chance of flinching the opponent. Simulating these stats exactly might then look like you're rolling four ten-sided dice. A cumbersome resolution for a chosen move.

Rather than try to match the video game exactly, I propose capturing the spirit of these percentages - have the chances be accurate relative to one another. It should be that one of he hardest things to do is to freeze a pokemon. And so on.

And with going for the "relative to one another" angle, that means a mapping of the video game percentages can be done to whatever dice with a number of sides you choose. But what dice to go with?

D4 - weird, but the least number of sides
D6 - familiar, comfortable, but still more sides than four
D8 - different, yet more flexibility
D10 - allows for the closest and most elegant matching of percentage chance to the video game - yet has many sides, which is diminishing returns when it comes to dice face real estate

...and we're just about out of time for this blog post. But the goal is:
1) Have percentages be relative to one another, instead of mirroring the video games
2) Have the manual rolling of dice be as pleasant as can be

Together, this should make fo a more fun physical card game experience than otherwise

Pokemon I Choose You!


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