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Thinking Out Loud

Friday, November 11, 2005

Playtest Reactions >> So Far, So Good!

I ran 5 playtests of the initial prototype Wednesday, from 10 am to about 10 pm... With teaching the rules, brainstorming after games and documenting discussion, it was a long, exhausting day. The game is a science fiction "adventure" card game... You portray heroes vying for control of the galaxy for their factions. There's map building, exploration, mission resolution, combat and all sorts of things that make this more a boardgame that is played with cards than a traditional card game.

Initial feedback was very positive. Everyone's favorite elements were the combat selection/resolution system and mission resolution. The biggest area for improvement is the way the combat threats are implemented -- trying to find a balance between being worth the investment in actionsand cards while not being overpowering and railroading the game one way or the other.

I typed out about 10 pages of notes, session reports and errata of how we played, what we tweaked each game, and overall feedback and commentsfrom the testers. It recaps the games, discusses card concepts and abilities, how to balance certain features, etc. After the games, we went through the prototype decks one card at a time (all 110 cards) and discussed each card's utility, value and function.

The good news is that the underlying mechanics work very well. The math for combat values can be juggled as needed. The role and impact of combat can be modified. Card effects can be altered to fit more thematic "faction" flavor and play style. But regardless of what changes lie ahead, I'm confident that the underlying chassis is sturdy and flexible, ensuring that this is the right direction to make this a robust, entertaining game.

Consider the firt playtest a huge success!

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