Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Crushing Defeat

Yesterday we played Terran League of Defense Robots at work for the first time. It went really badly. One player thought it would be funny to play all of the hardest foes that he was dealt, so the players lost pretty quickly. Despite this, three of the players expressed interest in playing again.

The easy mothership
Multiple of them seemed to understand how to build a robot and most of them wanted to try to fight off the alien threat.

The mothership that they drew (which was played on the second turn by the turncoat player) was the easiest mothership possible, so they still had a chance when it came out, but they quickly lost as more and more killer aliens appeared.

I didn't learn nearly anything at all from the playtest that could help the game, so it was almost a complete loss for me. The only two take homes were the fact that I need to balance the motherships against each other, and that I need to stress the necessity of cooperation to the playtesters when I introduce the game. It is hard enough that the players must cooperate or die.

We also played a game of The Age of Vikings, which went fairly well. The players had fun, and they brought up some good points of contention with the game. It needs more work than I thought it did, which is good to know, however sad it is to hear.

We tried the new "half income for the last person to pass" rule, which worked well. We refined it to "Half income round up". We also decided that the "Start Player" marker is useless, and that a "Current player" marker might be useful. We decided that Thengil and Hilmir should cost 1 to draw an extra token (That was already fixed, but I haven't printed cards since I fixed it apparently).

The point bonus for attracting deification followers seemed too much for one of the players. I am considering changing that, but this is a balancing point: if it is too much then the player with a good god benefits too much from having followers (though the followers should really police themselves, honestly). If the bonus is too low, the person that originally deified might not want to do it, since they would worry that their foes would benefit more than they would from the deification.

More than one player also said that Attack and Threat felt disjointed. They said that Threat was not damaging enough, and that it felt like two different systems for losing stuff were too many to keep track of. I am going to have to address this one for sure, since I need to make the game smoother.

I went to the Board Game Design Guild of Utah meetup last night as well, and while there played an unnamed game that was very interesting. It was pretty early on in its development, but the game had a lot of potential. It was an abstract 2 player game where each player tries to make a connected line of pieces from the middle of the board to the farthest edge of the board (and prevent the opponent from doing the same.)

There were three pieces - basic, artillery, and bomb.  Artillery should have been named cannon, since it attacked all the squares in its range, not just the last one. The game played a lot like a mixture of stratego and go, but it had a lot of elements that were all its own. The biggest problem with the game was the likelihood of a tie was really high if the players both played well.

I have also been working on new art for the game formerly known as "Space Game", which is starting to be called "Jurassic Galaxy" again. I have made a bunch of planets for making into tiles (using a really cool website that can render planets from images), and I now have started on revamping the system for planets wanting different animals. I also rewritten the text rotation portion of my card image formatter website. I have made a bunch of icons and uploaded some of them to the Noun Project (though they are all still pending moderation, I have used them myself in my icon font.)