Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Playtesting, Mysterious Groupless Gamers, More Playtesting, Progress

Meeples and Maelstrom?
All of the good advice on board game design states that any game must not only be playtested thoroughly, but that a designer must listen to all feedback, especially on anything about the game that is not enjoyed or is found confusing.

If you want to read more on game design, in particular I'd recommend Lewis Pulsipher’s excellent ‘How to Design Epic Games' and accompanying website at http://pulsiphergames.com/  as an excellent resource for anyone designing games. There's also the Board Game Designers Forum and a Facebook group called The Card & Board Game Designers Guild.

Following this advice means I find myself always asking people what they didn't like or found difficult about Magic Maelstrom. I'm now a glutton for negative feedback...in the hope of fine tuning the game.

So to recent stuff to do with Magic Maelstrom  Having already done a demo at Black Lion Games here in Edinburgh, I have signed up to do the same at Claymore in August and also recently met up a couple of times with the mysterious 'Groupless Gamers' who meet regularly in the Edinburgh Games Hub.

If you are looking for a friendly gaming bunch in Edinburgh, have a look at the Boardgame Geek Edinburgh pages to see what's happening each week. There's also the strangeprawn website for more chat on local gaming experiences - go on, try it out.

I explained a bit about Magic Maelstrom to the Groupless guys and got some first impression feedback including the suggestion of making the game more Euro by using meeples for units. As there were more players than Magic Maelstrom could cope with, we played City of Horror, at which I proceeded to die horribly whilst having fun.

The following week, we playtested Magic Maelstrom, playing with open stacks of units and the new red resource card powered special skills (steal, assassinate, rebellion, spy) instead of these being units, plus a Maelstrom value of 6 mana (up from 4). I think it was enjoyed (mostly) and it became clear that there is still new player confusion over what the cards can do and when to use them. Nothing major, but something I can improve in the card designs. Thanks to those who playtested for your time and patience!

So on to this week and a try out with the following changes with the usual crew:

  • Meeples scrounged from Carcassone and other games used to represent Armies, Mages, Cities and the Giant. Any units losing a life are placed on their side.
  • Purple cards removed from play and revised resource generation and build tables. Purple areas (bogs) are now black areas and black cards build characters.
  • Red resource card powered special skills.

In conclusion on this playtest - quicker and easier to play, as you can see your own and opponent forces easily. Removal of the purple cards giving one less resource card choice was also seen as good.

Next up, card revisions - re-design and new ideas, plus new character / beastie units that can either be played as standard counters or upright in stands, the latter to go with the meeples.

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