Thursday, May 07, 2015

Revisiting Pony Express

It's been a while since I've talked about my most recent project - or any of my projects, really. Today while waiting for my car to be fixed I opened up The Pony Express prototype, re-read through the Game Lab feedback from GameStorm in March, and updated the rules and a few components...

* I was short 1 tile from an iteration ago when I turned a Tumbleweed into a 3rd Mountain tile (+5 cost, intended to mostly remove a path from play for the most part), and I'd been using a Bear tile to proxy a tumbleweed. I decided that maybe I should just leave the Bear in there, so I'll try it that way next time.

* I updated the text of the rules to match the current status of the game. I will have to update this electronically when I get home.

* Currently there are only enough Parcel cards for 4 players, so for now I'm just going to treat it as a 4 player game (not 5). In some ways that makes me sad, but it has the benefit of reducing the potential problem of the "claim everything for $3" strategy... so it's not all bad.

* One complaint players have had is that they want a reward for making a delivery. In fact, they got that reward already - the money they got when they claimed the delivery. Also, discarding the Parcel card absolves you of the responsibility of delivering it, and therefore unlocks the Post Office for you, which is another reward. However, those things don't FEEL like a reward to people. So perhaps I could shift focus by putting in the rules that the money you get for claiming the Parcel goes ONTO THE PARCEL CARD, not into your holdings... and then when delivering the Parcel card, you get to collect that money. Then maybe people will fell like they're being rewarded for making that delivery.

* The latest iteration basically just increased the costs of routes, to ensure that any given route would be different than another route, That seems to have worked at first blush, so I'll keep trying it like that. I am a little unhappy with the sheer number of routes on the board (29). I could re-do the map with a less symmetric route layout to reduce the number of routes, but I definitely think 12 is a good minimum number of towns. I hesitate because I like symmetry, and I like the idea of the Mountain type tiles which EFFECTIVELY eliminate some of the routes, but different ones every game.

I hope to get a chance to play Pony Express this weekend at the RinCon Fundraiser event. Looking forward to seeing how it goes!

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