Friday, November 17, 2006

Thursday night: Tim gets feedback

Chris, Tim, and R.J. made it over.

Lee, Tim, and I played half a game of San Juan while waiting for Chris and R.J., and when Chris arrived, Lee took Alex upstairs to put her to bed. Chris finished out the game, and won by a point (final scores 26-25-22). R.J. got here just in time to watch us count.

After that, Tim brought out a pack of re-written event cards, changed based on our playtest of his initial prototype of a cyberpunk game modeled around a Johnny Mnemonic-type scenario. Tim had only seen the movie, and I loaned him an Omni anthology with the original William Gibson short story version of Johnny Mnemonic in it.

Tim took notes as R.J. and I listed off different ideas we had. Chris waited patiently during this, since he had missed the original playtest session, and helped provide more hardcore gamer knowledge.

What are some elements of a good game?
  • Isn't too long
  • Length isn't crazily variable
  • Offers multiple paths to victory
  • Has compelling theme
  • Has meaningful choices
  • Has risk mitigation - players can be risky or play it safe
  • Offers player interaction
  • Rewards are somewhat variable
  • Value of rewards are not able to be exactly matched to risks
  • More cowbell
Tim's already got a good theme, and I'm fascinated by the way he's picking out and developing the ideas and comments we have. Cool stuff, even if we keep listing games he "ought to play." Tim endured about 87,000 such comments, mostly centered around Merchant of Venus, a sci-fi pick-up-and-deliver game that's not much like Tim's game at all, in the final analysis.

We then played Ark, which was universally agreed to be more complicated than they expected. I think we're going to figure out a beginner version or starter rules, or something.

Gamecount: Individual game sessions played for the year = 175, New game titles played for the year = 35.


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