Jan 102008

Due to scheduling changes, at least for awhile, our game design meetings will be on Thursdays. Tonight I plan on testing Space Port to get it ready for a convention this weekend.

But first, a recap of last meeting…

First Drey, Ian, Marc, and I played Space Port. Actually we didn’t get very far. The whole thing fell apart gameplay-wise so we stopped. It worked fine last time, but I must have tinkered with the wrong gears and apparently made it unplayable. Surprisingly, this turned out to be a good thing. I got a lot of feedback about my train wreck… a lot of good and diverse feedback. This had me theorizing that “great” games cause enthusiastic responses, “ok” games cause silence or apathy, and “bad” games cause productive and creative responses. I think that the last one may be because they know that everything is changeable because nothing really worked, so all suggestions are more likely to be implementable.

Then we played Marc’s new re-theming of his old game Pangaea, called Coalescence. The old theme was about continents merging into land masses. The new theme is about star systems coalescing. He fixed some rules from the last time I saw it where the end game was hard to determine. This was fixed by making most actions irreversible. This worked perfectly and the game wrapped up nicely without any confusion. Both Ian (or was it Drey?) and I had a problem with the new galaxy board design. It was too busy and distracted us from the game. Other than that issue, and the need for a tie breaker rule, the game looks and plays pretty good.

Finally, we played with some hero cards and tactics cards from an expansion to Ian’s Taktika. The hero cards are “always on” abilities. The tactics cards are “one shot” abilities. Overall, the concept worked pretty smoothly, although the actual content of the cards will probably need to be tested and tweaked a lot.

Now for tonight…

I have been solo playing Space Port as a two-player game this week for testing. Tonight, I hope to try it out with more players. Right now, the game allows two to four players. Any more and the game would probably be too crowded. I suppose I could create a different board for more players with more spaces, but that is a problem for the future. A two-player game comes in at about 21 minutes, according to the four times that I timed it. I am going to speculate that four players will take twice that amount. Of course, my timing was based on me playing as two players, so it may be more or less that amount.

Part of my plans this year is to playtest as much as I can at conventions, especially easy-on-the-wallet local ones. This weekend Ian and I will be attending a convention in Round Rock where we plan on playing, playtesting, and selling some of out games. I’m trying to get Space Port to a solid enough state to where I can play it with strangers without having to apologize every minute about a hole in the rules or about a clunky mechanic. I am also printing up another copy of Travelogue to play. I haven’t played it since July when I sent it away to Italy, so I’m curious about my new perspective on the game.

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