Saturday, March 24, 2012

Traps & Challenges

I want to expand a little on my comment about traps & challenges.

It seem important to give the players information or ways to distinct between traps & challenges.
  • Trap = danger with no reward at the end.
  • Challenge = danger with a reward at the end.
(reward = treasure, clues, new area to explore, etc)

  • Trap = something to identify and to avoid.
  • Challenge = choosing to take risks to get a reward or to unlock content.

So, in a sense:
  • Avoiding to interact with a trap = good move or tactic.
  • Avoiding to interact with a challenge = avoiding to play the game.
(well naturally challenges are also about choice, so choosing not to face a challenge for a good reason is playing the game. This is different from avoiding interacting with something just because you are too prudent or careful and don't want to face risk & challenge.)

When players can't distinct traps from challenges, they will probably deal with challenges as if they were traps: they will avoid interacting with them. (because avoiding interacting with a trap that is just a trap is a good move).

So I guess it important to make it clear that traps are traps and challenges are challenges. Or to give means and ways to distinct each one.

It important that players know that a part of the gameplay is to distinct traps from challenges. So they will try to identify what is just a trap and what is a challenge.

Naturally the distinction between traps and challenges is not always clear. Sometime they overlap. For example tricks like drinking pools and magical mirror that randomly give boon or curses.

I agree that sometime it is interesting that the distinction is not clear cut. But I think that for a introducing adventure, it is good to make the distinction clear to avoid ending up with players confusing trap & challenges who mix them up together and end up fearing & avoiding them all.

Now I want to read all your blog posts about trap crafting. ;-)

1 comment:

azkiel said...

I think the easiest way to identify a trap vs a challenge is that the challenge is usually easy to find, while the trap is most of the time, if not all of the time, hidden.

A dominoes playing ghost is not trying to hide, it's there, hence it can be categorized as a challenge. On the other hand, a poisoned needle hidden on a chest, is of course a trap.

Like you said, sometime the line is blurry. If you see a chest waiting for you, it can be #1: a trap if the chest contains nothing, or #2: a challenge, if the chest is trapped but contains something interesting.

That's where I think the player's have to do some "risk management". For me, they should not try to avoid challenge, they're part of the game and that's where the fun is!