Friday Update: Green-Circuit Mercs Playtest Revisions

Got a few games in for Green-Circuit Mercs (The first time in a few weeks), as well as getting a chance to play the old-but-awesome Games Workshop game Chaos Marauders! It had a great system for rubber-banding from behind, and a great risk element I really enjoyed in addition to the boatloads of Warhammer lore injected all over the place.

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Never has tableau-building been more cutthroat. Or fun!

Still, though, got some great feedback on the Green-Circuit Mercs. The first game had to be aborted early due to a big rule issue I noted, but after a few tweaks, I now think the base game is both really interesting, as well as surprisingly balanced at this point.

More detail below the cut!

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Because who doesn’t love a good bit of Biopunk?

Overall Impressions

While the first game wasn’t overly great, the second seemed to be fairly decent, and it seemed like players were quite engaged after the tweaks made when we played the second game. I still want to get some games in with the newest iteration, but I think there’s a lot of promise in terms of player interest in the game at this stage.

Mandatory Changes

  • Recycle the deck of bidding cards at end of every 3-card bidding round, but shuffle discarded cards into deck. If you win bid, the cards used in your bid are permanently lost and not just discarded

This was a change due to the extended # of cards. A player brought up the valid point that just 3 rounds of 3 cards was both too short to get into the “feel” of the game, as well as too short to really get a chance to use your abilities. This change means most players will have cards to use when bidding on nicer stuff, but also drastically increases the risk factor in play for overbidding on something few people want, and adds a great bluffing element into the game as well.

  • 3 sets of 3 cards for Phase 1, 2 sets for Phase 2, 1 set for Phase 3.

A must-have. It extends the game-length a fair bit, but bidding rounds still tend to be very fast, and this way there’s a real feeling of build-up rather than each Phase being over almost before you realize it.

  • Reveal Threat before bidding

This was a change due to slight annoyance by players at having the frankly unclear and vague goals early on. The extended number of cards in the first phase means players will be bidding towards a goal, rather than just bidding blindly, it also gives you a last-ditch “oh shit!” response available if you’re missing out on a small-yet-crucial set at the end of the game.

  • Increase difficulty of meeting Threat goal due to higher card #

Definitely needed, even if the other changes hadn’t been made. I changed up the way they scale for multiple-player games, so the largest-needed set is smaller but in correlation the other sets grow in size since other players will be more likely to have and complete them.

Closing Thoughts

So with the rules and card list docs updated, I think the game just needs a bit more playtesting, preferably with two players, before I get final art and such in there. The deadline is rapidly-approaching, the 7th of March, so I want to try and make sure the gameplay tweaks are finalized this weekend so I can crank out the art assets ASAP. I’ve been using Paperize for my prototypes, but I think for the final version I’m going to try out the TCG Proxy Generator I got off of itch.io’s A Good Bundle a few weeks back.

So, what do you think of the gameplay and mechanics changes? Please let me know in the comments and reblogs below. Cheers!

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