Friday, March 18, 2011

Alter Ego deck building - what a difference a day makes

OK, that title is unnecessarily dramatic, and probably misleading. I just mean that it has been 1 day, and this morning I did get a chance to attempt a dry run of an approximation of Alter Ego, using an Eminent Domain prototype! Andy Van Zandt is here at GAMA and he tried it with me. The prototype was limiting in a few ways, and I didn't have all aspects covered by the rules yet, but it actually went pretty well! I was able to fix one or two things on the fly, and it gave me a good idea about which parts were working which weren't. One major-ish thing I changed was to swap the order of Training and drawing cards- making the card draw the first thing you do on your turn.

Another thing that I didn't change on the fly, but that I think might need changing, is whether you have to discard your hand at the end of your turn. At first I figured people would just be playing their entire hand every turn, and so you'd draw a new hand for next turn. In practice of course there are times when you'd want to build up a certain type of card in your hand. So should you be allowed to hold cards from turn to turn? Or does the Alter Ego card mechanic sort of want you to rely on the composition of your deck?

There were a few other details, but overall a successful first run I think, at least enough to warrant continued work on it. Just so I don't forget, I'll jot down some notes about it here. This might not make much sense to you, so feel free to skip it:

* I thought the Patrol action would have to say "draw 1+N villains, keep 1 to attack" 1+N because otherwise you could have a situation where a player removes all Patrol cards from their deck, and then cannot Patrol at all. That is really not necessary, I'd rather have wimpy guys of each suit which give you partial (1/2 or 1/3) credit toward beating a specific Arch Villain.
* I played with the villains all just increasing your hand size by one. I think the abilities from defeated villains could be more varied than that.
* I need to think some more about exactly how Equipment should work.
Edit: Maybe some equipment should have ACTIVATION cost as well, so that neglecting your Job aspect really does hurt, even after you've used it to get some better cards into your deck!
* There needs to be some semblance of interaction, and I think being able to swoop in and finish off an opponent's partially defeated villain may be the way to accomplish that.
Edit: Then again, Ascension and Dominion don't have much if any interaction... maybe it can be solitaire and still sell well! Leave interaction for an expansion!

1 comment:

FlyingSheep said...

This sounds really cool. Will you make a beta prototype available as you did for EmDo?

Also, not to offer advice before actually playtesting, but consider that drawing at the start of your turn reduces the amount of time a player has to pre-plan, which could lengthen downtime. Drawing your hand at the end of each turn indirectly helps turns go faster.

I think the ability to hold over cards from a previous turn is a good direction. Either as a basic rule of the game, or as a special ability gained during the game.

I'll repeat my disclaimer that I haven't tried the game, so take this suggestions with a spoonful of salt.

Good luck (: