Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Gridiron Solitaire #800: Probably Won't Happen, but...

I've been kicking around the idea of a college football tie-in to Gridiron Solitaire.

This is very preliminary, obviously, and it won't happen unless I can leverage a fair amount of the existing code.

32 teams (4 conferences)
10 game season (7 conference, 3 out-of-conference)
Recruiting mini-game each week
College "power rankings" each week
4 team playoff
New stadiums

That's all somewhat straightforward (the details aren't, but it's all doable).

What was preventing me from considering this more seriously was that I couldn't think of a way to distinguish college gameplay from pro gameplay. The college game is faster, with more big plays and turnovers.

How could this be modeled in the game in such a way that the gameplay truly felt different?

I asked someone whose design skills I very much respect for advice, and he responded that multi-purpose cards would provide more strategic options on the tableaux. So instead of a card being a red five, for example, it could be a red five/six.

That sounds like a small change, but it opens up quite a few additional decisions during the course of a game.

This was an interesting idea, and I liked it, but why would those cards be in the deck in the first place? They had to get there in a manner consistent with the game itself. Without that, they might just be seen as a gimmick.

I thought about this for a while, and realized that I could make those special cards part of the recruiting process.

Let's say you're recruiting a five-star quarterback. Instead of just adding X points to your team Passing rating, that quarterback has unique abilities as a card. So you're recruiting a five-star quarterback who is a red 10/11, for example, and as long as he's on the team (max four years), he appears in the game deck.

I like the deck-building aspect of this very much, and the circumstances under which the cards appear can be tailored to their role. So a quarterback's special card wouldn't appear while you were playing defense, for example.

Like I said, this is all very preliminary, but that's at least an entry point into offering a unique experience in gameplay.

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