Warning: Keep Options Limited

Topher
2 min readJan 23, 2019
Top two powerups with the stack on the right

In my previous articles, I focused on the importance of player choice and how I was trying to add more of it to Battle Bash. I came up with five power ups that players could get by going to a certain location. To maximize choice, I decided to allow players to choose between all of those power ups when they got one, and tried to balance the power ups so they would provide difficult and meaningful choices.

Power ups are a fun addition to Battle Bash, but during the first play test, they really slowed the game down. Every time someone decided to get a power up, they had to spend a minute or two looking over the power ups and figuring out which one they wanted. This was a problem, because although I want choices in Battle Bash, I also want it to be fast paced. Even in the second test, where testers were more familiar with the power ups and knew which ones were good, they still had to spend a bit of time looking at power ups.

But recently, I tested a new mechanic that really helps fix the issue of pacing, and will also make OP power ups less of an issue. Instead of letting players pick from all the power ups, they are shuffled in a deck. When a player sacrifices a heart for a power up, they turn over the top two cards in this deck and choose from those options. This makes the choice go faster, because players only have to look at two cards instead of five. It allows for more imbalance among the power ups, because you won’t always be able to choose the best ones. The power up deck adds mystery to the game, since you don’t always know what you’re going to get, and makes the whole game much better.

So the lesson of the day is that if people have too many options, your game will run really slowly. Fix this and add tension to your game by only having one or two choices available at a time. Sometimes, too many choices can be bad.

Thanks for Reading!!!

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