Iteration seven

by Chris F

The feedback for iteration six was good, as I mentioned in the previous post. The only negative comments were made about the wording of the rules of the game and the balancing in the missions.

First, some players thought that the wording in explaining the THR and NUM challenges. Here’s the old wording:

NUM – All players think of a number between 1 and the number of players. They each take an amount equal to the number of players of tokens in your hand and without the other players seeing you, move as many tokens as you want from a hand to the other, keeping at least one in the first hand. If your number of tokens is the highest unique number (nobody had the same number in their hand), you unlock the tag.

THR – All the players throw a token on the board. If you are the closest to the Key area of the amenity that you’re trying to scout at the moment (bank if you’re scouting a bank when doing this), you unlock the tag.

For NUM, they didn’t know which hand was which and which hand to use when. Also they didn’t understand when the hands should be shown, and whether they should be shown at the same time.

With THR, the players were confused as to whether there were any special styles in which you could throw, and if all the players needed to throw at the same time.

These are the rewordings I did:

NUM – All players think of a number between 1 and the number of players. They each take an amount of tokens equal to the number of players in their right hand and without the other players seeing you, move tokens to the left hand until you have the number you thought of in your right hand. All players place the right hand, formed in a fist, over the table. At a signal, all players turn their hands palm-up and open their fists to reveal the tokens. If your number of tokens is the highest unique number, you unlock the tag.

THR – All the players throw a token on the board at the same time. If your token is the closest to the amenity that you’re trying to scout at the time, you unlock the tag.

Secondly, I mentioned that the players thought the missions would take too long to complete, considering that the game only lasts 15 turns. Taking into account that I’ve written the missions when the game finished once all the amenities were claimed, it’s understandable that they weren’t exactly balanced. I’ve tweaked them a bit now,and players should be able to complete at least one, if not two missions per game.

It’s also been suggested that a partially completed mission (only one or two of the three tasks) should get points. I agreed with that, and now each task is worth 2 points, while finishing all three gives the player 10 points.

Definitely the most rewarding moment for me as a designer was when I saw that once an amenity was claimed, as the players were taking out the card to reveal nothing underneath the last tag they unlocked, the players would make a triumphal claim. Some would make a fist-pump in the air, others would simply squee of joy. I absolutely loved that, and I think that’s one of the best feelings you can get as a designer, seeing that your design worked.

It’s also been suggested that I add some sort of delimitation between the tags, so players know when to stop pulling out a card. This is an example sheet of PoIs before and after the change, where I added a bullet-point at the beginning of each tag. I also realized that having the challenges at the end of a card is a problem, since youțd need to take the whole card out before seeing the challenges. As such, I moved the challenges at the top of the card, underneath the title.

Before on the left, after on the right

Before on the left, after on the right

The last mandatory rule addition/change that I’m going to make is that once a player has claimed a PoI, they immediately take an extra turn in which they can move up to six hexes (instead of three). Something similar has also been suggested by Rob, and I’ve definitely seen the need for it in the past few games. You need to give the players a reward, and sometimes points are not enough. It’s good to know that they’re encouraged to have “streaks” of claiming PoIs if they can.

That’s about it for iteration seven, and this is the iteration that the game will ship with for my dissertation. There are a few additions, but this is the core game.

Next I will talk about targeting the game at different target audiences and where the minigame ideas came from.

Chris F.

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