Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Games on BGG - follow up

Last time I mentioned that I'd submitted Dice Works, Alter Ego, and Exhibit to the BGG database. All three have been approved and now have BGG entries, so if you have played, do play, or are interested in information about those games, feel free to use the power of the internet! Now that the entries exist, I still intend to post Print and Play files for each of these games (eventually) for people to play until the games are published.

Dice Works
My last post contained a crappy rules draft for Dice Works, and I'm still interested in help writing a succinct but complete set of rules down before I upload the files. I should probably be able to upload that one soon. I think Dice Works will make a good Print and Play game because all you need are a couple of player boards, a couple of markers per player, and a grip of standard 6-sided dice.

I got a chance to play a few games of Exhibit lately, and I have implemented a couple of tweaks which I think have had a positive effect on the game:

* Leave un-taken tiles for next round: if everyone overbids on an auction (so nobody gets the tile), that tile used to be discarded. Now I have been leaving it in play so that there are *2* tiles for that particular auction. When there is more than 1 tile for an auction, the winner of the auction gets their choice of tile, and then the next highest bid gets the remaining tile and so on. On the down side, when there are auctions with multiple tiles, it cuts down on the tension of the bidding a little bit (if you're happy to get 2nd place then you don't fight). However I think on the whole this is a positive change and I like it.

* Grants: My friend Andrew, who has played Exhibit several times at various conventions over the last few years, suggested that players be allowed Grants, which are effectively 1-shot weapons. The game used to have 1-shot weapons in it's very early incarnations, but they didn't do exactly this, and the game has changed a bit since then. The current plan is that each player starts the game with 1 Grant for each Culture (i.e. 1 per color but no purple). They can be discarded when resolving an auction to add 1 virtual die of that color that only you can see (like the Weapon ability). I suspect the net effect of this will be two-fold...
    - It gives a player some small recourse from being bullied by players with weapons. The ability for a player with weapons to simply outbid you by 1, making it impossible for you to win the auction, occasionally left a bad taste in people's mouths. On one hand, that's kind of what weapons are for, but on the other hand I don't want the game to be disappointing. This may be a good compromise.
    -It softens the blow of overbidding when a crazy distribution of colors is rolled. Like with 20 dice, you bid 3 Yellow, and this time it so happens there's only 1 Purple and only 1 Yellow (for a total of 2). The Grant allows you to win that bid as long as you've only overbid by 1, and only once per color. This could be especially important in the early game where there aren't a lot of dice out there and it's easier to get shafted that way.

I have only played with Grants once so far, and I thought it was OK... I'd like to try it some more. I wonder if 5 Grants is too many, and if it would be better to limit it to 3, they could be generic rather than color specific, and you could be allowed to use only 1 per auction on any auction except purple. Another possibility could be to discard 2 Grants to get +1 Purple as well (graphically, the grants could show 1/2 a Purple die on the back for example).

* Consolation = Extra bid Token: I've been using this rule for a while now, and I am very happy with the result.

* Tweaked Purple tile abilities: I have tweaked a couple of the purple tiles, and I think I like the results. I will need to re-examine them and figure out how I want to stage that stack.

Perhaps I'll get print and play files for this one together as well and post them on BGG. I think the game is very close to done, and hopefully this means it'll be on Kickstarter some time soon, perhaps later this year!

Alter Ego
I'm less far along with Alter Ego, but I'm happy with how it's progressing, and I eagerly await having more time to work on it. I have a pretty strong vision of where I want to go with the game, and I just need to get some time to work on it. When I get that done, I'll probably post it as well - as a card game (with just cards and some tokens) it could make a good Print and Play game as well.

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