Friday, May 20, 2011

Chrono Gallery - Another playtest, and needs a new name

Marty, Jasen and I played a 3-player game of CG last night, and it went well. Marty liked it and ended up winning by just a couple of points over me - he had scored maybe 5 sets, 1 with 5 tiles, the rest were double-scoring 3-tile sets. I on the other hand had a large endgame 6-tile set (21vp) including 4 art (10vp bonus) for 31 points at final scoring, to go along with my 2 other 3-tile sets (I think one was double-scoring)

We played that "double scoring" a set was not fully doubling, but rather a double set was worth the regular 1+2+3+... as well as an additional 1vp per tile (so in total 2+3+4+...) so most of Marty's sets were worth 9 points. I think I might like to try it next time without the added complication of double scoring sets - if you have a double-set, it gives you flexibility in what to turn in when cashing a set, maybe it doesn't need to be worth more points as well.

After the game we examined the Purple tiles and re-ordered them into 4 stages:
Stage 1: Wild (Type/Era/Culture), One-Shot Double Virtual Purple, +2 Dice
Stage 2: Extra Bid Token, Outbid by 2, Hand Size +1
Stage 3: Virtual Purple, Overbid with Tie (Marty thought this one was one of the strongest)
Stage 4: 4vp

The purpose here is to ensure that certain tiles don't come out at the very beginning where they would be too powerful, and that certain tiles don't come out past the point where they'd be completely useless. I think this might be a better distribution, and if it's been done correctly then I think David's suggestion to add 1/2/3 points to the Purple auction at the last couple of rounds could be avoided. If need be I can add a VP to the Stage 3 tiles by printing it on them.

We discussed the Consolation rule, and agreed that the extra bid token (which we tried this time) is a fine and appropriate consolation for getting no tiles. On the down side, it's relatively easy to forget it, and while I verbally checked each of the first few rounds to see if everyone had gotten at least 1 tile, as soon as I stopped asking, Jasen started losing out on tiles and forgetting to take his consolation.

We played with "Overbid with Tie" meaning only 1 such overbid at a time. I got that tile and found it frustrating to only be allowed 1 such overbid, as I was frequently winning a bid with a tie, and wanting to tie on a track I cared more about. Maybe with that tile coming out for at most 2 rounds of use, maybe players could have more than 1? With 2 players I imagine that would be ridiculous though. Maybe 2 - so in a 4 or 5 player game ALL of your bids can be overbids... Another question, SHOULD this tile combo really well with the Extra Bid Token tile? Not sure, jury is still out. It may be a preference thing - I do not see the overbid with a Tie as such a powerful tile, while Marty thought it was the most powerful. On the other hand, I thought the virtual purple die tile was much better than Marty thought it was, and in essence they are kind of the same thing.

Community dice
I forgot to use any community dice, but that's kind of OK for a 3 player game. I definitely think for a 4 or 5 player game they'll be necessary though. The first thing Marty said when I described it was the exact same thing I had first considered - he said he'd rather each player roll 1 more die and then choose 1 to reveal. I think that would be more strategic perhaps, but the problem isn't that there's not enough decisions or complexity - the problem is that people don't get enough info, and I think it's simpler to just roll the community dice. It could be an "advanced rule" to role-and-reveal-1 and the standard rule just to have community dice.

Purple dice
I think the simplest rule is to just leave it swingy and have the purple dice be wild, rather than try to nerf that somehow. I'll keep an eye on it and see if people are really disappointed by it.

So - for next time:
* No bonus for double sets
* New purple tile stack order setup
* You're allowed to bid on the same track that you're on, but not directly over your own token.
* Not sure about Overbid With Tie rule
* Double Purple Virtual Dice (1-shot) worked well, will try hat again

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