See previous post: http://cartesiandaemon.livejournal.com/996269.html
I've settled on a name for now, and polished off the teething troubles that made some of the earlier versions a little hard to get started with. And I'm playing it regularly with Liv and Ghoti which is a pretty good sign. I've playtested it with some of the children, with Liv's brother (thank you!) and with Alex and Douglas (thank you!)What I like
I've said some of this before, but there's quite a lot I'm really pleased about, most of which was there right from the initial idea.
* Some of the feel of robo-ralley
* It's physically compact, the whole thing fits in a pocket
* It's very quick to explain, most people are able to start playing with a minute or so of verbal explanation, and almost never feel "how should I have known that"
* Each turn is easy to play, it's rarely hard to know what to do
* It's *physically* easy to play. You don't need to hold a hand of cards, each turn is quite short.
* Hits sweet spot of "few decisions, every one is meaningful"
Now, some of those are more obvious than others. I think being physically easy to play is useful for children, and a lesser extent non-gamers. But is mostly irrelevant to people used to holding hands of cards for every game. But I am reaching a point where some of the goals conflict, and I need to decide to go one way, the other, or try to make versions that work for both.Overall direction
There are some minor things I'm still resolving:
* I have an idea for an improved start row that works for more than two players, but I need to try it. (Multiple toys can be placed in a queue to enter the board behind any of the four rows, but can't enter the board pushing another toy.) It will still be a bit congested the first couple of turns, and I don't want a big risk of someone not being able to do anything.
* I need to test with more people, and get a wider baseline of experience
There are some things I know I can do, but I'm holding off on:
* Variant rules
* More cards, or more complicated cards
With both, there are lots of things that might be fun, and I welcome more suggestions, but I want to winnow out the idea that might improve the larger goals below before branching outward.
But the two biggest questions follow, in their own sections.Good to great
Right now, it seems like the game is fun, which is a very good place to be, but I think I need to evaluate what works best, and anything which doesn't really contribute, and see if I can amplify that into *really really really fun*.
Often you can't, often you have a game that's already as good as it can get. But it's always worth trying. Partly because a game which is really really really fun to *you* is probably necessary before other people are interested at all.Strategic complexity
Here is a point of divergence. My main playtesters are enthusiastic about the game as-is, and I basically want to leave it alone without any major changes.
But I feel that I'd enjoy it more if there were a little more what I think of as strategy. Things like:
* a greater incentive to place tiles several moves ahead, instead of usually right in front of a toy
* more potential to set up fun combos with "move twice" squares and "extra toy" squares, where they naturally allow maybe a couple of turns before the opponent breaks them
* more potential to establish winding paths, where there's a reason to follow them more often instead of just automatically overlaying a straight path
I'm not sure about my games evening playtesters. I think they'd enjoy that change if it were possible, but they weren't looking for it and weren't sure if it would be possible. Does that sound about right?
I am interested in trying that in parallel to testing the current version, even if I end up deciding it doesn't work out.
I don't have any firm ideas, but ideas I've considered:
* More magnetic latches, or features that function similar to that, so there's more incentive to plan ahead and to go round things. (Need to avoid just piling on locks on bad squares on the start row, though. Maybe more locks with "choose direction" arrows on?)
* Instead of having a linear race to the end of the board, have the game be to pick up presents placed on random tiles, or to knock opponent into pits. (Thanks Douglas)
* Lock counters, where the players can place to lock a tile in place (probably need some way to remove, but maybe not as easy as placing?) (either move lock every turn, or have a fixed number for the game, or something) (or just randomly happen every so often?)
* restriction on playing tile overwriting tile opponent has just placed
* restriction on playing tile directly in front of toy
* make plastic tiles not cards and have restriction on playing based on number of tiles already there (eg. each turn roll a dice, may only place on stacks that high or lower) (playtest by twisting stack so number of underlying tiles is visible) (I just thought of this last week, but I'm really interested to know how it would work)
Do any of those sound attractive?( Complete RULES (05 Sep 2016) )