Revamping the wizard’s power

Topher
3 min readFeb 26, 2019

In my last article, I talked about how players kept forgetting the Wizard’s power in Battle Bash. After months of feeling that it somehow didn’t fit in the game, I finally figured out what was wrong by using the core mechanics model. This analysis showed me that the wizard’s power didn’t fit in with the game because it forces characters outside the current battle to lose hearts instead of modifying the dice rolls like the other powers. Players constantly forgot to use the wizard’s power, so it needed to be changed.

Now that I knew the power was out of place, I needed a new ability to replace it. This ability needed to be more like the other powers: modifying the dice roll to change the outcome of the battle instead of transferring damage that to a piece that should be unaffected by that battle.

The problem is that recently, I’ve been running out of ideas for unique player powers that are balanced with the rest of the game. When coming up with the wizard’s power, I only had one fully developed idea I had that seemed balanced and wasn’t already in the game. This ability would let you lose no hearts if if you roll one or two in a battle, even if your opponent rolled higher than you.

I tried making this the Wizard’s power and play tested it once. The reaction was one of mild annoyance when a different player won a battle against the wizard and didn’t get any hearts from it. Added to that, this power felt more like a shield you blocked the attack with than wizardry. In my mind, wizards should feel distinctly magical, and this ability felt depressingly mundane.

My only other idea was to let the wizard teleport anywhere on the board instead of moving, but I didn’t think that teleportation, which affects movement, would be balanced with the other powers, which all impact combat. Instead, I made this a power up, and kept trying to think of ideas for the wizard.

Right as I was out of ideas, ready to quit my quest to revamp the wizard’s power, I got a suggestion from a player. He had the teleportation power up, and was talking about how it should let him teleport out of a battle to avoid taking damage. I didn’t want to add this to the power up because having it give multiple effects would make it more complex than any of the other power ups. Then, it hit me. I could make this into the wizard’s power! The ability to teleport out of battles would affect combat like the other character powers, while also feeling distinctly magical. For the next play test, I decided to change the wizard’s power to the following: If you lose or tie in a battle when you roll an even number, you can teleport anywhere on the board instead of losing a heart and going behind your portal.

I’ve tested this mechanic a couple times now, and so far it’s working really well. This power feels much more magical than before the wizard could teleport, and so far no one’s forgotten to use it. I made it come into play a bit less often than the other power ups to make up for the creative ways players might use the ability to teleport. So unless something drastic changes in the next couple play tests, I’m calling this new power a success.

The lesson today is to listen to your play testers, cause even if you don’t want to implement their advice, it can give you game changing ideas that you never would have thought of on your own.

Thanks for reading!!!

Next week: How I made movement and the corners of board much more important after months of trying to come up with a solution

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