Thursday, October 18, 2007

Terra Prime (revisited) (again)

I got a chance to play a 4 player game of Terra Prime tonight. The rules explanation went well, and the game plus rules took about 1 hour 15 minutes - which is probably a little quick. The game did seem to end abruptly as we ended up exploring all of the Yellow tiles quickly while no one was doing a lot of delivering.

Here are the things I'm going to change for next time:

1. Swap cargo upgrades. Currently the first cargo upgrade is one that increases (doubles) the capacity of 'wild' cargo holds (which can hold any type of good, including a Cryo Chamber). The second upgrade is an extra 10 credits (1 unit) per delivery. I think those are backwards, and I think holding 2 Cryos per tile is too much. I'm going to switch them so that the first upgrade is the extra money per delivery, and the second one increases carrying capacity.

2. I'd like to see the initial cargo hold 2 cubes or 1 Cryo Chamber. I think the best way to represent that is to print the pre-printed one sorta like the other boxes on the ship, with a big diagonal line through it. On one side it will show a green and a blue cube, and on the other it will show a single 'wild' cube. Thus, a player from the outset can carry either a blue and a green cube, or a Cryo chamber, but not both at the same time.

3. While I'm adjusting how the Cargo Holds work, the second upgrade will be changed to simply allow players to flip over their cargo hold tiles at will. The front side has 2 boxes of specific color and the back has a single 'wild' box. Cryo Chambers only go in 'wild' boxes. Making this change to the upgrade means that the upgrade allows you to increase your Cryo carrying capacity as well as your cube carrying capacity rather than having to choose when you buy your hold. I think this needs to be the second upgrade, because as a first upgrade it seems that all players will just buy a 'wild' hold, then immediately get the upgrade to increase the capacity. AS a second upgrade I hope it'll introduce more of a decision as to what you want to do with your cargo holds. My concern is that it might not be a good enough benefit to warrant getting that second upgrade. I guess I'll have to wait and see.

4. Bonus points for tiles are screwy. I thought I had decided that the bonus should be X-1, where X is the number of cubes on the tile, but they appear to be X on the tiles I have. I may reduce that before I demo the game at BGG.con

5. The Yellow tile game end trigger is still kinda lame. The next idea to try is to mix in some Red tiles into that game end trigger. I think if the trigger is something like 12 Yellow/Red tiles total, then it could encourage exploring Red tiles more, and could make the game end trigger a little nicer. It means at least 3 Red tiles MUST be explored, and it's also possible to trigger the endgame with several red tiles explored and not all the Yellow tiles explored.

6. Make colors (of cargo holds) scarce: I'd like to eventually reduce the number and types of available cargo holds so that they're not all available all the time to all players. If there's only, say, one of each combination, then that might make for more player differentiation. It might also make for a more interesting cargo hold purchase in the early game.

These are the only changes I'm going to make at this time, I hope to test with those changes really soon. I want to send the rulebook off to Hippodice ASAP.

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