I was warned by a veteran tester that most prototypes have really rough first playtests. A lot of them don’t reach the end because of some unforeseen design flaw, and some don’t even go beyond the first turn.
So, how did the my playtest go?
It went really well. Players enjoyed themselves and told me they want to play the next versions, so I think I’m off to a nice start.
It’s amazing how they’ll will ask questions and find out strategies you weren’t anticipating. I spent as much time playing with them as I did writing notes about things to change for the next time.
I played two full games and some of the rules changed between them. I corrected a couple of things in the game boards and welcomed four new players. The new fixed rules were taught and I let them play as I peeked around and took notes. One of them saw a loophole and tried to break the game using it. I was glad to see the current rules balanced it out by themselves and he didn’t end up winning.
I intend to take the dice out of the game. It can create some tense but unfair outcomes when the effect of an attack or tie depends on a random factor. Its ironic though, because the original idea for the game came up as I was trying to design an original dice game.
It’s hard to recover your position when an overpowered player constantly attacks you, so I’m going to try something new – a turn phase called “Sacrifice”. At the end of the turn a player may sacrifice its position on the board for new crew members. Sounds a bit unbalanced, but I’m curious to see what the players will do with it.
The board shields were way too light and small. The most obvious situation was when a player made a specially clever bid and proudly laughed while looking at his board. The shield fell down, and now everyone got a chance to look at his boards and change their bids accordingly.
It’s really good to see that people enjoyed it and gave me a lot of suggestions as they played and after the games ended. They are a very important part of it, and the game is taking shape with every question and strategy I see.
Onwards to the new set of rules and prototype 2!