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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

franchise and similar games

It's important to be knowledgeable of existing work when working on a game design. I want to be aware of what is already out there not only to know if my design has already been done, but even more so to steal utilize the good ideas from existing games. Most existing sports games fall into one of two categories:

  • Play the game with varying degrees of simulation

  • Manage a team for a season

I'm not trying to accomplish either of those with Franchise. I want "playing the game" to be part of the experience, but only a small part. You could argue that the auction is managing the team, but it's not the same as dealing with match-ups and injuries and other factors that might go into a team management simulation. At its heart, Franchise is an auction game with a sports theme. Strangely, I didn't find much else out there like this.

Then I stumbled upon BasketBoss; I don't even remember how. It's published by Cwali, which appears to be the name of Corné van Moorsel's self-publishing company. Regardless, thanks to a video review from Tom Vasel, I discovered that BasketBoss accomplishes some of what I am setting out to accomplish with Franchise. In particular, the players are drafting a team through multiple seasons, and a draftee's value changes from season to season.

BasketBoss handles variable valuation by giving each player a color (which appears to translate to their position), height, and fame value. The colors affect the team's final strength, height is used for a tie-breaker, and fame increases the team's income. In Franchise, players aren't defined to play in certain positions, but their attributes will make them more effective in certain positions. I like the way that I'm handling the variable valuation as it affects how the players are used in playing the game.

That is where the biggest difference lies between BasketBoss and Franchise. In BasketBoss, you never play a game. The outcome of a season is determined by which team has the highest total strength plus number of different colors, with height as a tiebreaker. I think this loses something. I like to have a little bit of randomness effect the outcome, which is why I wanted the teams to actually play against one another in a season. As in real sports, you can try to build the best team possible, but you have to play the game to determine the winner.

I don't want to take anything away from BasketBoss. It looks like a fun game that accomplishes exactly what the designer wanted to accomplish. For me, it's refreshing to know that a game similar to Franchise exists as some indication that I'm not the only one whole likes the idea. It's equally refreshing to know that there are differences which separates Franchise from existing games.

On a separate note, I think I have all of the cards created and ready to print. I need to print them out and find a suitable 2-sided token to use for stamina tokens (at this point, pennies are the best thing I have). Once that is complete, I think I'm ready to actually try the game out. Hopefully it's fun!

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