I had 7 friends over tonight for a great night of playtesting...
FrontiersFirst up, old friends Brian and Mandy joined new friends Garrett and Lucy for a 4 player game of a newly signed upcoming TMG title: Frontiers. Frontiers reminds me of The Oregon Trail, and I think it would be awesome if we could figure out a way to get a license to use the Oregon Trail branding.
Unfortunately, Mandy had to leave 1/2 way through the game, but the other three were able to play the rest of the game as if it were a 3 player game. The game went well, everyone seemed to enjoy it, and I got some good comments.
Pony ExpressMichelle, Russell, and Dave played a 3 player game of The Pony Express. I spent much of that game talking to the Frontiers group, so unfortunately I didn't get to watch the entire game. It wasn't the type of game Dave normally likes to play, but Michelle liked it the last time she played, and seemed to like it this time as well... though there was some confusion since I wasn't there to answer some of their questions.
In general, I've noticed that when I play Pony Express with designer types, it doesn't go over too well (such as the playtest from the last Game Design Attack). But when I play with regular folks, it seems to go just fine. It's definitely not the type of game I normally design, or play... that's one of the things that makes it interesting to me.
Russell had an idea for a new delivery type... sort of the opposite of the Express Delivery idea: a bonus if you delivered at least X parcels. There could probably be only 1 copy of that, and the Express Deliveries haven't been impressing me. I still need a few more delivery cards than that though.
In a previous playtest the idea came up to have deliveries that require 2 different locations - like "Visit towns #5 and #12" - I'm not sure if that will be too similar to just doubling the deliveries at each location though.
Alter EgoRussell, Dave, and I played a 3 player game of Alter Ego. I haven't played that game in quite some time, and I just sent the files to Andy to see if he could make any progress on it.
I put tokens on the Arch Villains as henchmen were drawn rather than as they were captured, and that worked very well. In fact, the entire game went very well. Russell and Dave thought it was appropriately difficult, that we were on the ropes for pretty much the whole game. They thought it felt pretty much like a cooperative game - in fact, a little less solitaire than some solitaire by committee games. That's pretty much what I was going for, so that's good news!
I felt like the game was a little too easy, but I think that's just a matter of tweaking and instituting the Arch Villain game effects I've got planned. Also, it could be argued that we played on "easy" level, only needing to defeat 1 Arch Villain. I am not sure I actually want players having to face more than 1 of the Arch Villains though, or it messes with the long term deck building goals.
All in all I'd call this a successful playtest night!