One key question was worked on during the development of Damask, ‘How are players interacting with each other’?
We didn’t want to make Damask a multiplayer solitaire, and wanted to have real interaction between the players. Clearly there’s the opportunity to influence what other players can take by taking it first, but we wanted something beyond that. For one thing, that can lead to ‘hate drafting’- players taking cubes not because they need them, but instead to deprive others of them. This is something we tend to find players don’t really enjoy, whether its feeling they have to make a subpar move to stop someone else, or being stopped out of spite. So how can we prevent this, whilst still making the game interactive?
The overstock board was originally just a storage space for a player’s own silk cubes. Really it was just to make it clear which cubes were yours for either tax or filling damasks. Our first change was to put it as a separate tile with light and dark colours separated (this is so players can quickly see which is which).
Next we wanted something to prevent players from taking the last cube someone else needed and just have it sitting there- having to pay 1 tax isn’t much of a penalty if you’re preventing someone else gaining 3. That’s when the idea of taking someone else’s overstock came in. At first this was just an action instead of taking from the wheel. The issue with that was it slowed the game down when chosen, but was also hardly ever chosen. We wanted actions which always felt viable, to make it a genuine choice. That’s when the idea of doing it as a secondary action, instead of mounting a Damask came from. This worked well, and players were taking from each other, but then it led to players only taking cubes they could immediately use. Again, this restriction of choice is the opposite of what we wanted.
So we decided to reward players who had their cubes taken. Previously the only reward was not having to pay tax, but if a player planned to use them anyway that wasn’t really a reward. The guild favour seemed the most obvious solution, and also the best one. Now when players had their overstock taken, they could get something incredibly useful in return. Taking cubes from another player could be more beneficial to them than to you. And because this became a tactical choice, it meant that when taking cubes that’s another thing players could take into consideration- if you take a cube another player needs, they might take it off you, granting you a Guild Favour in the process.
Ultimately, the game is a lot more interactive, with more options to get want you want from other players, and these lead to far more thoughtful decisions than before, and just a more fun game.
Damask launches on Wed 27th April. If you’re interested in Damask, please check out our Gamefound Page here: https://gamefound.com/projects/draft/ic2bvhn5ukdlxfvumwwom4pzj8s?refcode=q0S4ahDQeE-Yt48v5NiOFw If you follow us on Gamefound we’ll also give you a free Damask promo pack to say thanks!