Team Name: Keyboard Smashers
Team Members: Jeremy Diamond, Tabitha De La Cruz, Alberto Hernandez
Game Analyzed: Dungeons & Dragons
Dungeons and Dragons is a pen and paper roleplaying game and generally the most archetypal, or probably just infamous, example of one. If D&D were to be mapped on the play matrix, it would be directly in the middle of chance and strategy, and completely into the mental side of gameplay. Dungeons and Dragons has a very large chance element due to relying on dice rolls, but there is a lot of strategy involved in statting your character in ways that will bend the dice rolls in your favor and making choices that will avoid unfavorable odds.
Dungeons and Dragons is analogous to real life in that neither have a set hard and fast script they adhere to. Everyone has free will and can make any choices. Just like real life, people are unpredictable.
The fun of Dungeons & Dragons comes from the interaction between players and dungeon master. Having a human element in the game makes it very surprising and fun.
The difficulty in Dungeons & Dragons comes from the element of chance. Even with the best odds, the dice can still roll poorly and put you in bad situations. Also, more clever dungeon masters can challenge players with more complex puzzles or clever enemies. Overcoming such challenges requires thinking outside the box and clever strategies.
The game’s interface can be confusing for new players and requires a bit of learning to get the hang of. The game features many new terms and concepts that can be intimidating at first.
The core gameplay of D&D is just pure decision making. A player decides what stats their character will have, which influences what die rolls they’ll have an advantage at, and decides what actions they will take to take advantage of their characters’ strengths.
The gameplay mechanics all work together just fine and create a cohesive experience. Earlier editions of the game were prone to being smashed together hodge podges of rules, but the later editions such as 3rd or 4th are more cohesive.
The “story” of Dungeons & Dragons is whatever the dungeon master says it is. There is a “canon” setting and backstory for Dungeons and Dragons, but Dungeon Masters are free to use or ignore it. Even with the dungeon master deciding what a plot will be about, the full “story” is ultimately decided by how the characters react to it. The story does not affect interactive play. Interactive play affects the story.
The strategy of Dungeons & Dragons is to minimize weaknesses and exploit strengths. A character could be designed to be an unstoppable physical force, but have terrible speaking skills. That player would try to emphasize his strengths by smashing everything in sight, while try to minimize his weakness by leaving social situations to other party members. Someone extensively familiar with the rules of Dungeons & Dragons could “hack” the game in unexpected ways by exploiting the rules in ways that are not expected. The most infamous of such cases is this creature/character called “The Pun-Pun” that was a kobold that a player found a way to elevate to godhood. Fortunately, even the most deviant of players are still kept in check by a vigilant Dungeon Master.
Dungeons & Dragons is a pen & paper game. The genre is Roleplaying Game. Audience of the game is young adults and above. The game is targeted towards more mature players. Later editions of the game are marketed towards younger players, but this may not be the best choice.
The gameplay is innovative because it was one of the first roleplaying games ever created. Roleplaying games as a genre did not exist before. The first RPGs for video games were based on Dungeons & Dragons. D&D is the first instance of a game having classes and levels and XP and “Hit Points”.
Dungeons & Dragons in the past had rulebooks sold in bookstores and specialty game stores. With the advent of the internet, book sales have gone down and most roleplaying game companies are switching from physical books to a digital distribution system. Physical books are in the $30 -$60 range, but digital PDF files are available for $1-$10.
If I were to change the core mechanic of the game, I’d switch the dice with a deck of cards. Draw a card to determine a die roll instead of rolling a die.
The game’s difficulty is largely dependent on what kind of dungeon master is presiding over the game.