Friday Update: Green-Circuit Mercs Deadlines

Got a chance to do some playtesting of Green-Circuit Mercs yesterday, and while the feedback was very valuable, it was clear there’s a lot of changes and a lot of balance needed before the game is ready for publication.

As the deadline for this is in less than a week, unfortunately I don’t think its possible to make these changes and playtest the revisions in a timely fashion to get it done and ready to go; that’s the downside to having only once/twice-a-week opportunities for game playtesting, something I’ll touch on in the closing thoughts. Still, several players expressed interest in playing/buying a final version of the game, and I’d rather revise it until it’s a solid hit concept rather than generate a bunch of assets and rush the publication of a game I know isn’t mechanically sound just to hit the contest deadline.

Revising our schedule to account for this, we get:

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The detailed breakdown of the feedback and my thoughts/changes on them is below the cut!

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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?

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Friday Update: Holy Press Submission and Brainstorming for Mistgore

Had a lovely playtest of Holy Press last evening with my wife, and managed to knock the last few corners off of Holy Press. While there’s still lots of room for polishing, I think the base game is ready for taking the gameplay video and submitting it this weekend!

In addition, I’ll be doing a little brainstorming on Mistgore and what my goals are for it, specifically underlying mechanics and statlines, as I want to make sure that’s not falling by the wayside while I’m working on these board game contests!

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Overall Impressions

She really, really liked it. My lovely wife is really good about giving honest feedback, and she’s also a board gamer like me, so she’s got a good eye for mechanics and gameplay that make sense versus those that need trimming or readjustment.

Mandatory Changes

I incorporated all of the Mandatory Changes and even quite a few of the Suggested Changes from Wednesday’s post, and overall I think they were perfect additions.

  • When book starts printing on a word tile, you don’t get that word

This was a clarification of the “Start printing where you left off last turn” change made

  • Shuffle dispensations and tithes, and just use 3 at a time from that deck

We played with 2 Tithes (of a deck of 6), 2 dispensations (of a deck of 6), 1 Global Tithe (of a deck of 3) and 1 Global Dispensation (of a deck of 3), for 6 total markers out at a time. The stroke of genius suggestion was that the cards just get shuffled into a single deck, and you have X cards in play at a time. Maybe everything is Tithes or Dispensations, but for the most part you should get a mix of both.

Another suggestion was that the # of cards from this deck in play be reduced based on the # of players. This might need some further playtesting, but currently I was thinking that players use 8 cards minus the number of players, to a minimum of 3 cards. That, or just a flat 6 cards for 2-4 players, and 3 for 5+

  • Play until someone hits 10 Scriptures

As it turns out, the “continue where you left off” method both feels like it flows more naturally, but also makes the gameplay really refreshingly dynamic on top of how it already felt, and it also makes it surprisingly easy to reliably get a unique Scripture each turn. As a result, we bumped the number of Scriptures needed to trigger the endgame up to a biblical 10. This would be just 5 for 5+ player games, though, as I think 10 would take the game from around 45 minutes to play to something more in the neighborhood of an hour and a half or more.

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If Holy Press sells out of even a single print run, I’ll be simply inconsolably happy

Suggested Changes

  • Optional game mode
    • Keep back 6 Factory tiles when laying out board
    • When you land on a Factory tile, after adding your word replace it with a Factory tile from the top of the unused tile deck and add your tile to the bottom of the deck
    • All players get a free rearrangement of 1 Route token at the start of their turn

This was an idea mentioned to increase the craziness of a given game, but one important idea my wife mentioned was to not introduce this alternate mode until the second edition of the game. I think this is a sound idea, as that way people’s first impressions of the game aren’t hampered by a rulebook with untested game modes cluttering it up.

With that said and done, I’ll be recording and editing the gameplay video, and submitting it this weekend to Cardboard Edison. Wish me luck!

Next we’ll be moving on to a discussion for my goals for Mistgore, on both a micro and macro level.

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Friday Update

Not a ton to update on today, despite general disappointment that the pumpkin dictator officially got sworn in today and immediately took up the wrecking ball.

Game-wise, I’ll be printing the prototype for Green-Circuit Mercs today, and ideally doing a playtest tomorrow for that and Holy Press. I’m also doing a bit more writing on Hardwired, hoping to make up for missing my Tuesday writing and hopefully getting both the 5 second-half pages written as well as 5-10 pages for posting today!

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Friday Project Update

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Friday update after returning from vacation!

Not a huge amount to report; game testing for Holy Press never occurred (Despite finishing all the components, and getting some ideas for an alternative victory condition that would be a bit less swingy/exploitable).

The testing for Ruin also didn’t physically occur, but a good lesson was learned. The feedback was that the game mechanics had some solid promise, but there were some really good suggestions regarding the stacking system and making it more interesting. In addition, a key point raised was to make sure the base game was fun and smooth to play, and then adding in Legacy elements.

Whoops.

I had been so focused on the legacy aspect covering the bumps in the base game that I’d lost sight of a key tenet of Legacy game design: the base game has to be fun to play, especially since most Legacy games have a “final” board/gamestate that in theory you should be able to continue to play and enjoy that final state as much as you would any other game.

Next order of business with Ruin is to revise the core game to be fast, tight, and enjoyable. However, Ruin is taking a backseat to Mistgore as I work to revise the rules for that and get it ready for playtesting. I’m also going to see if I can convince some of the local gaming groups to sign on for a playtesting group, since not only will that give me a chance to get regular and vital playtesting done, but also help enable others with game designs to do the same!

Until next week!

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Oh I am so looking forward to this you can’t even imagine

Friday Project Update: Ruin and Holy Press

This week was dealing with life events and updating my game projects to be ready for beta testing with friends and family around Christmastime. I’ll briefly touch on the changes and planned changes so far:

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Ruin

This week was focused on reworking the cards, including adding the Coin cards in to add a different level of mechanics, adding a play cost for cards (and making Locations inherently valuable with a constant 0-Coin play cost). I also worked on trying to make the cards a bit more unique, but I may end up revisiting it and making every card unique rather than just most of them.

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I gotta get me one of these

On a side note, while I love Paperize’s beta, I do not love my lack of a guillotine-style paper cutter. I ended up shearing the everloving daylights out of about a dozen cards, cutting off crucial text on most of those. I think this may go on the wishlist for Valentine’s Day or as a personal indulgence.

Speaking of indulgences…

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Holy Press

Yup, I loved the Monday Game Design so much that I wanted to expand it into a full game. Currently I’ve got the core gameplay fairly well ironed-out, but I’m working on peripheral cards and mechanics to help complement the main game.

I’ve been working on the Game Crafter to figure out how much I have available if I’m shooting for a $30 MSRP for a large-print-run game, and to my surprise found out that the additional costs and such for non-bulk orders on GC mean that $30 of raw GC components would end up being only about $6ish if bought in bulk for a large print run, so the GC price ends up matching the target MSRP anyways!

I’m still trying to find a good source of hex tiles, but I’m hoping that I can figure something out, as the alternative I have with using fewer tiles but each tile having a card of some sort doesn’t match quite as well with the Tithes and Dispensation cards I have planned.

Next week I won’t be working on games for most or probably all week, but the following week I hope to finish the work on Holy Press and get it into a testing-ready state so I can bring it along too.

I’ll also be bringing Negative Pressure along with as well, although I need to do some heavy reworking with that one at some point: I need to start nailing down the limits of what the game price and component count will look like, so I can better outline which and how many of each are available. That will probably have to wait until after the holidays, and I’m not even sure Ill have sufficient time to give it a playtest anyways!

Until next time!

“Friday” Update and The Monday Game: Holy Press

Apologies for missing the post on Friday regarding updates to current game projects. So, I’m adding this as a footnote above the Monday Game design.

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The downside of Cool Text fonts is forgetting which non-default font I used…

While I know I said previously that I’d be working on Mistgore, I’ve revised that to be Ruin. I think Ruin has a ton of potential, but it needs playtesting, My brother, who I’ll be seeing over the holiday break period, is an avid Magic the Gathering player and should form an ideal playtester to bounce ideas off of to try and balance the game in a competitive fashion.

Overall, I’ve completed most of the list of changes to the game. Ability triggers are gone, and there’s a much larger array of power values. Unit counts have dropped, so there’s theoretically more unique units. Coin cards have been added, which kind of mess up the overall card counts but should make for a really cool setup for game pacing and risk/reward for player resources. Overall, a lot has changed, and I’m super excited about it all and how it’s shaping up moving forward.

All righty, onwards to the Monday Game!

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