Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Playtest 4298...

...or that's what it feels like, not least to long suffering Mike and Allan.

Despite thinking that blind testing could start just after Christmas, I (we) haven't felt that the rules have quite been ready for unleashing. There's a fine balance between overdoing things with being too precious about the game and letting more people loose on it when they may not enjoy playing.

I think we are now there - one last go on Thursday and then let it loose.

And so to a very brief run through from last Friday...


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This ended up as a three player game, as, ironically, the Ice player (Lynn) had a heavy cold and took to her sickbed. This left us with Fire (Paul), Dark (Allan) and Light (Mike).


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In The Snowy Wastes, something is lurking
The game is best with four, but we've had many good three-player games. Two player has really only been tried as a dry run by me.

It was agreed that three rounds would be played, due to generally busy weeks being had at various offices.

Dark went first and mainly consolidated their home region, with moves towards the outer islands. Light was second and mainly the did the same. This has generally been the pattern of the first turns. In this case, however, the Fire player had drawn a large number of Fate Card beasties, so proceeded to take over several areas in their turn, drawing the usual whinging refrain of 'x is winning' to draw attention to that player and not the others.

In the second round, there was more expansion, with some fighting between Dark and Fire over territories in the Ice home region, which was occupied by neutral defender units. The whinging (albeit justified whinging)  from round one had some effect and the Light player, after drawing a nice selection of Fate Card beasties and having resource cards to build a few Characters, proceeded to carve a swathe of destruction right up the middle of the Fire player home region. The Fire player responded somewhat limitedly, whilst bemoaning lack of the right cards to do the job properly.


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After the battles between the forces of Light and Fire
In the third round, there was further skirmishing between Fire and Light, with Dark mainly left to their own devices. Unsurprisingly, Dark was the winner, the man from Luncarty had played the long game and stayed out of trouble. As before, the scores were not too far apart, which is reassuring in terms of the core of the game mechanism being pretty well balanced.

Scores:
Fire:- 140
Light:- 146
Dark:- 160
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Fire player hand and deployed units at the end of the game.
Lots of characters and beasties, but not enough victory points.

Conclusions
Each round (of four player turns) was roughly half an hour, which would give a target of two hours for a standard four round game, but a couple of player turns took longer due to too many cards / choices of actions to take (or slowness of thought in the Fire player case). This is probably the only main issue left to resolve.  


1) Still too many fate cards, so need to revise rules to agree a fixed number of fate cards you get on your turn. 6, 8 or 10.

2) Add redeployment, based on Mike's description of Allan's idea, but minus resource cards, only for 'in supply' stacks (no

Redeployment Phase (immediately before ending turn): Discard a Fate card of the appropriate colour to move a single unit (make it either to or..?) from an area of that colour to any other stack belonging to the player. It may move anywhere on the map the player has an existing stack as long as there is a continuous line of your own stacks to the target area. Stacking limits still apply.

3) Revise the Rogue, as in Mike's suggestion:
Rogue (a teller of tales, a stirrer up of trouble): Once per player turn the Rogue may trigger a Rebellion in an adjacent stack. If the rogue is in a stack that is attacked, the rogue may cause one enemy unit susceptible to rebellion to rebel. No dice roll is required for these effects.

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