Nov 262008

At BGG.CON, both Ian and I participated in the Proto Alley, where designers tested their prototypes. Here are some snippets about my games:

Venture Forth

I taught Venture Forth to Patrick, Ben, and Gil. I was still a bit rough on the explanation of this game, but before you knew it we were up and playing. The game lasted about an hour for four players.

Theme: Some feedback I received was about the theme. The game is a fantasy adventure game and that genre comes with a lot of baggage. Players expect experience points, killing monsters for gain, gearing up your characters, etc. My game has none of these. I am trying to break new ground, but it is difficult when the feedback I get is that the game is not like the tried and true dungeon crawls. I’m sticking with my vision, but I am open to tweaking it to get more acceptance.

Level Cards: The new system for level cards worked, but as Patrick pointed out, it could be simpler.

Tension: The other feedback was about tension.  You just go through the motions of your turn with very few points of suspense. The punishments from the enemies that you encounter is not that severe, so traveling down a path with one isn’t so scary. I suppose I could crank up the consequences on some of the enemies. Other than that I will have to really think this one out.

Stellar Underworld

I played this one with Ian and Brad. I explained the rules fairly well, and there weren’t many questions to come up. The final score was 100 (Ian), 101 (Brad), and 102 (Dan). I was pleased that the scores were close because we all had different strategies. Brad took a lot of sectors, mostly the resource generators. Ian took a few sectors for their abilities, as did I.

After the game was over, Brad was a little quiet on the feedback. He did suggest a desire to be able to ship to any sector, not just your own. After thinking about it for awhile, and remembering other people giving the same feedback, I decided that I needed to address that. The current plan is to allow shipping to opponent’s sectors for twice the amount of assets. Thematically, it would make sense because you have to “outbid” them on their contract. I don’t think it is a viable startegy, but it does give the player an extra option.

Design Tip #1: Don’t tell the players they can’t do something. Tell them that they can do it, but it will cost ‘em!

Design Tip #2: Fine, tell the players they can’t do something. BUT, make a special power that allows them to do it

One Response to “BGG.CON Playtesting”

  1. Danno, I don’t know much about Venture Forth, but title makes me think of heroes in The Great War. Maybe a retheming is in order?

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