Wednesday, February 17, 2010

OrcCon playtests

I had a fun weekend at OrcCon in Los Angeles, hanging out with several friends from California, playing lots of games, and I even got a chance to playtest some of the games I'm working on.

Eminent Domain
I played a 2 player game of Eminent Domain with Andrew, using the new and improved Trade rule (2vp/resource). It seemed to work ok, and it warrants more testing. I probably need to adjust the number of VPs in the pool for it to work properly.

In the game we played, Andrew concentrated on Harvesting and Trading, and I concentrated on Research - trying to get to a level 3 Research card. While I did manage to get 4 Level 2 research cards into my deck, I did not reach that level 3 card. Further, the way they are organized now, the level 3 cards really needs to be in play for a while before they really pay off...

Maybe the Level *2* Techs need to be the stay-in-play ones... and the level 3 could be bonus scoring conditions I'd like to add such as "2vp per Fertile planet" for example.

Ground Floor
Later I played a 4 player game of Ground Floor with Andrew, Eric, and Grant. Grant had to leave before the game was over, so it turned into a 3 player game near the end. The game went pretty long, owing to rules, newbies, and the convention atmosphere - one of the things about the game I'd really like to tune better is the timeframe, but I feel like there are some game related issues that need work first.

I enjoyed how the game went, though I inadvertently messed up part of the setup. I did not properly set up the Economic Forecast deck, so our economy was not entirely realistic. However, it wasn't that bad and probably didn't make all that much difference to the game.

Eric and I were close in points, while Andrew was behind - owing largely to misunderstanding some strategy in the early game. Andrew had the Meeting specialty, and he spent a LOT of actions paying 2 Time units for 3 info. He also did a LOT of Marketing, and it didn't do him as much good as it could have because he wasn't also producing goods. We all observed that the Meeting specialty seemed like a pretty bad deal - the Meeting room seems bad, and getting it for free therefore isn't anything to write home about. We thought maybe it should be improved to what is currently the Teaming Room TI.

Anyway, after the game we discussed each of the Floors and Tenant Improvements. There were some that we all agreed were either too good, too lousy, or didn't come out at a useful time. I made some notes and will try some of those changes the next time I play.

Train of Thought
I played 2 games of Train of Thought over the weekend, and I still love that game! I saw a little more of the "give the required word, then an unrelated 2 word clue" dynamic than I'm used to, and that's a little disappointing. One guy who did that scored 10 destinations in 1 turn, which is pretty high. A "good" round is usually more like 7 or 8. I'm not sure there's any way to fix the rule, but maybe a simple thing like phrasing the rule as "3 related words, 1 of which is the starting word or a prior guess" - so the words could be related by being part of a sentence, or by free association even, but the unrelated 2-word clue would be clearly outside the spirit of the rule.

I wonder if the game should be tested with merely 2 word clues - one of which has to be the starting word. That would certainly eliminate this issue!

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Actually, producing goods was one of the few things I was doing effectively; I had the other Assembly Line.

Perhaps I would have done a little better if the economy hadn't zigged when I was zagging (a couple of times), but I still wouldn't have been competitive (and I don't think I got burned badly by the economy ... just sort of singed).