Friday, December 01, 2006

Thursday night: Tim brings back his tweaked prototype

Chris, Tim, R.J., and Larry came over on Thursday, and a good time was had by all.

First, we played the new Cheapass Games title Enemy Chocolatier. In it, players compete as candy-makers buying up neighborhoods near a magical chocolate factory to either win the love of the people, or complete their secret recipe and dominate the people, love notwithstanding. There's a lot more meaty decisions than most of the Cheapass line, and we had a lot of discussion afterward about possible strategies and how the game would play differently the next time.

Lee came downstairs from putting Alex to bed right as we were packing up Enemy Chocolatier.

Tim brought back his cyberpunk game prototype. He'd already brought back a bunch of re-worked event cards sometime between then and now, for more advice.

It's neat, because after watching all of us play, taking notes, and hearing our feedback, Tim's produced a tighter and better game. As before, all the players are cyber-couriers, with 5 million generic currency to start, all hoping to make 20 million generic currency in order to retire.

The board layout had changed slightly, but is still a set of white squares separating various edge nodes that serve as as pick-up spots, delivery spots, or sources of cybernetic enhancement.

We played for almost two hours, bopping about from space to space, picking up/delivering/getting enhanced. I began yawning like crazy, and realized it was 11 pm. Announcing this started a mad rush for the door, as everyone had to be at work on Friday.

What Tim changed:

1. increased good stuff on cards drawn at Random Stuff spaces on the board.
2. added action cards that are saved for later play into the Random Stuff card mix.
3. increased players' starting money, thus their options.
4. added more powers.
5. changed how turn order works.
6. varied how stacks of jobs appear.
7. streamlined the "getting hacked" mechanisms.
8. added more cards, period, to the Random Stuff card mix.
9. increased payouts of all jobs.
10. greatly increased payouts of the "dangerous" jobs, since none of the risk-averse players took ANY in the last game.
11. added a second player-vs.-player combat system.
12. increased the amount of ways players could interact, encouraging negotiation.
13. re-worded cards and added minor flavor text for variety.
14. created money and little colored upgrade chits.

The more I typed, the more impressed I got. Tim, as it develops, was LISTENING to us.

His changes streamlined play, and the original design intent has been enhanced by his responses to our playtesting. This time, everyone had more fun, with much less random grousing. Tim took more notes and handled the whole session with the usual aplomb and enthusiasm that makes him an all-around good guy.

It's fun to see how the group acts and thinks about the new situations presented in the game. I hope we'll see more prototypes in the months to come.

Gamecount: Individual game sessions played for the year = 186, New game titles played for the year = 40*. I'm counting Tim's revised prototype as a new title, due to extensive reworking.


Post a Comment

<< Home