Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Deities & Demigods playtests at Essen 2016!

I managed to get not 1, not 2, but 3 whole playtests of D&D in at Essen 2016! Well, 2.8 at least...

First off, I went to Motel One on Thursday night and joined the UK Playtest meetup. I mainly went there to connect with Matthew and maybe play D&D with him, but he was late, and the person herding cats got 3 players sent my way to play! I sat out to facilitate, since the playtesting round was only  hour long, and we had to do rules... we made it through 4 (out of 5) cycles and got some commentary afterward. 2 of the players seemed to grok the mechanics, and went about their business. One player had a really rough time grokking the rules, got nothing done, and predictably complained at the end that there wasn't enough time to do anything.

We used the recent Hera's Spite rule that when Hera arrives, players either sacrifice the demanded item or else take a Spite token. If they sacrifice twice, they can discard a spite token. Like previous versions of Hera, I think this just served to slow the players' progress without any real benefit.

Matthew arrived near the end of that game, and we got to talking, and ended up playing a 2p game of D&D, trying the same Hera rule. After that we both agreed that maybe Hera just isn't necessary at all. We also discussed changing movement to simply be 1-troop-1-hex rather than the whole Army thing (moving multiple troops at once), to make the rule easier to understand. We also talked a little bit about "terrain" meaning both some stuff to make movement more costly, but also some beneficial things such as a gold mone, and whenever you step on it, maybe you get 1 gold.

A couple of days later Matthew and I had a scheduled meeting to play D&D, so we played another game, this time with Andy as well, who had played only once before. This version is much improved from the one Andy played last year at BGGcon, but beyond that he didn't have much in the way of comment.

We played without Hera this time, and just counted cycles - neither of us missed her. So yet again, Hera has been cut from the game! Maybe she can come back as another expansion module, where you simply reckon her scoring condition at the end of each cycle.

In discussion afterwards I think we may have agreed that terrain may not be necessary after all. We did change to the simpler Ares movement, and added 2 to each level of Ares so as not to remove overall movement from the game, and frankly the added movement wasn't necessary. Next time I'll try without adding any movement, and if that seems too tight maybe I'll try adding just 1 movement instead. 2 was way too much.

We talked a little about theme, as Andy pointed out that Oracle of Delphi would share a description almost entirely, and especially where it comes to god tracks where you increment them until you eventually use their ability and reset them. of course, the two games are nothing alike, but it might be nice to avoid that conflation. Andy and Matthew suggested Norse gods, or Egyptian ones. I don't know if I have the impetus to make that change though, as I like the Greek theme, and by the time this comes out, people will likely have moved on from Oracle of Delphi anyway (or even better, this might re-invigorate sales of that title) :)

I would still like to get some player powers worked in, since players ted to expect those nowadays. I think I have a few already, but I'd like at last 4 different ones, and possibly more like 6 or 8.

As a minor note (and I say this mostly to remind myself), I think I'll add like 3 more troops per player to the game. Also, instead of placing a disc when you do a quest, maybe you should just lie your troop down, thereby losing it for the rest of the game. I think that could be good, and now that the number of discs remaining isn't a game end timer, there's no need for them to mark both quests and buildings.

I feel like this one is in the home stretch, so to speak!

1 comment:

Josh 'Dagar' Zscheile said...

Too bad I missed it. Since you post so much about the game, I would have loved to try it at Essen.