Another really good playtesting session showed me a couple of things that could be better about the player boards. Good thing that paper prototypes allow me to just write the changes on them and use them in the next game.
Those minor changes made the game a lot tighter. Some exotic ties were solved and now the boat can sink a lot faster. Going “all in” is an even bigger risk than before because now it allows the other players to make you sink even further.
I thought these changes would make the game a lot faster -and that would send the endgame spot on the board flying from 20 to 30 – but that didn’t happen. Both games lasted just as long, but this second one was way more intense.
It gets to a point where everyone sort of forgets about fighting and just wants to drain water out of their ships! The ending is very tense, but it’s balanced so that no players get too far ahead. So far haven’t found an optimal strategy because the real action costs change every turn.
Still need something to identify the players’s ID colors so they can plan accordingly. Asking a player’s color can reveal your secret plans and that shouldn’t be part of the game. Other than that I don’t think I’m going to change the boards for the next playtest because it’s really solid.
Time to think of a name for it!