Monday, March 13, 2006

Vacation and Playtesting Day

My friend Kevin brought a few people over to play a boardgame he was excited about. Hmm, that's not exciting... I'll try again:

My friend Kevin Nunn, designer of Dancing Eggplant's Nobody But Us Chickens, brought his latest almost-done prototype over, along with some of my Houston Gamers buddies, Lewis Wagner, Amy Pike, and Joy (the new manager up at Enigma's, my other FLGS). I took today off as a vacation day to do nothing but get a haircut and playtest Kevin's new game, Zong Shi.

Joy's adorable and well-behaved daughters, ages 4 and 6, played quietly in the front room and were just great all day.

Zong Shi revolves around 3-5 players trying to get promoted to the status of master artisan by making various art objects and projects in ancient China out of silver, gold, bronze, and jade. We played a plain-vanilla version first, and then played again and tested some tweaks. Kevin kept notes afterwards and we suggested a ton of ideas. This game is almost done, and we didn't find any massive rules holes or strategic secrets. We managed to play twice in 3 hours even with having to teach me the rules and chat about possible changes... that is a duration I can handle!

To cleanse our palates, I got down Entdecker, and discovered that the rules I learned a long time ago didn't match the rules in the box at all. My previous group had been misplaying at least 4 things, or using a different translation (very possible, as our original group ended up with a lot of German stuff with mediocre English translations printed off the 'net somewhere). Frustrating, since I was thinking I actually knew how to play!

Lee brought the girls home as we were getting into a third game of Zong Shi. Alexis sat in her high chair and ate eggs, diced tomato, carrots, and pretzels.

Overall, this day was a blast. Zong Shi reminds me of Goa, except faster and with more interaction. Kevin's planning on even more playtesting all this week, so I hope I can make it out to the Houston Gamers this Saturday. I'm also hoping he tries a couple of the other tweaks I suggested.

Kevin's been talking about doing limited-edition small runs of another trick-taking game he designed, The Great Migration. I'm a big fan, so it's cool to see him getting revved about bringing even more of his games into print.

Gamecount: Individual game sessions played for the year = 52, New game titles played for the year = 13.


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