Friday, January 15, 2010

More Eminent Domain playtests!

Wednesday night I got the opportunity to play a couple 2p games of Eminent Domain with Mikey - I hadn't updated my prototype for the new ideas I've been having, so we played by the old rules, with the following exceptions:

1. Starting deck DID contain Warfare but DID NOT contain Trade cards.
2. The Colonize Role could also flip a planet (if desired, instead of adding to it) - the Follow could only add icons still.
3. Used "Collect 1 VP from supply" as the ACTION on Trade role cards.
4. The Warfare Role could also flip a planet (if desired, instead of collecting Armies) - the Follow could only collect Armies still.

The games went well! The first one dragged on a little longer than we would have liked, ending with the VP pool running out. For the second game Mike removed 5 cards from each deck and I reduced the VP pool by 8 (from 32 down to 24). That one ended with the Colonize pile running out, and it was over too quickly so we put the 5 cards back in each pile and kept playing, and it was a little too long. The third game we kept the setup the same, and the game ended via the Survey pile running out, and again it took a little too long.

My conclusion is that 19 cards in each pile is probably too many for a 2p game, but 14 is too few. Maybe 15 or 16 would be better. The VP pool at 24 is probably fine for 2p. With more players I'm sure there will have to be more VPs in the pool and more cards in the stacks, but maybe not many more... for each player in the game, the piles of role cards begins with 2 fewer cards in it... so in a 4p game there's only 11 cards in each pile! Will that be enough?

Overall I kinda liked how it played out. I think I would still like to re-organize the technology decks and have players "buy" the techs they want as I've described before, but I'm not so sure about the 2d array of planet cards anymore. I might try a Stone Age style row of Planet cards, like I've mentioned, but maybe put them face up so players know which one they want, and the 1str one in the display costs 2 Survey icons, the second costs 3, the third costs 4, and the 4th costs 5 icons. Then you'd take the planet and still have to "unlock" it via colonize or Warfare actions.

I was liking the idea of taking abilities off the planets and simply having Action and + hand size icons on them, but there are some abilities that are really good which would have to be static, like "play an additional Action card each turn" and "remove a card in hand from the game before choosing a Role" and "draw an additional card when not following a role" which kind of have to be on planets - unless I want to make Tech cards that are Static. I suppose I could do that - they could look different (different color text/background), there could be just 1 copy, and it would go in play in front of you rather than into your hand or deck.

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