Balancing a game is really important. Making sure players have different paths to victory and giving players unique players that are not over powered is required if you want your game to work properly. When games are out of balance, people are less likely to play them more than once.
To help yourself in building process, build in as many adjustment points as you can so when the time comes to make tweaks to fix the balance of the game, you have different places where you can play with the numbers to make your game work.
For example, we have been working on a game where players are moving around a map, collecting resources, fighting each other with their main characters and the secondary characters each main character controls. We have yet to make a full playable prototype, but we are building in as many adjustment points as we can early on so we can deal with over and under powered players and strategies later on in the development process. Maybe we have a really strong main character that we think is a lot of fun to play, but we limit the amount of secondary character they can control. Maybe we find out that a main character that is allowed to control lots and lots of secondary characters needs to be weakened as a main character or having the number of secondary controlled players to be reduced. If we wanted to add various items for players to use or equip, what are the characters that need more/better equipment to make playing that character more interesting?
Do you use this method in your design process? What kinds of adjustment points have you used in your designs?
If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment here or email Chris at email@example.com
If you have made it this far, would you like to go a little farther? We have a regular Google hangout with other designers. We talk about the games we are working on and share helpful tips and ideas on how to make designing our game easier. We meetup every other Saturday. Either comment here or tweet me or email me and I will add you to the list and send you a link to the Google hangout.