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online playtesters wanted for stlts

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Anonymous

Hi,

I've designed an abstract two player board game, 'stlts', and have set up a website where people can play online, either against other players or against a rather basic computer program.

I'd be very grateful to anyone who wants to try a game; I'm there on the site a lot of the time (UK waking hours).

Any feedback very very welcome, either here, directly emailed, or on the messageboard at the site.

Also if you have any trouble logging on to the site please please say. From my statcounters I see that some people go from the homepage to the main page, that contains a rather large applet, but never show up at the other end and would really like to know whether this is because they get bored waiting or whether the download fails.

Many thanks,

Wally

Yogurt
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Joined: 01/09/2009
online playtesters wanted for stlts

This is the URL, right?

http://stlts.com/

Yogurt
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online playtesters wanted for stlts

I like the look of the physical game a lot. The photos are very satisfying somehow, like a familiar game you'd dig out of a chest at the cottage. (Except wildly dangerous for dogs and toddlers.)

I found the choosing players screen very confusing. I'm not sure how I finally started a game.

You might want to frame the board with white lines on the vertical borders and black lines on the horizontal borders, to remind people of the movement rules.

Speaking of which, I had to re-read this rule a few times:

Quote:
A piece may move to any square that can be reached by a sequence of one-square horizontal and vertical moves where the maximum number of vertical moves is the number of white pins in the piece and the maximum number of horizontal moves the number of black pins. (A piece with no pins cannot move)

I'd break it down a little:

Quote:
Pins control how far your piece may move. You may move the piece one vertical space for every white pin it has in it and one horizontal space for every black pin it has in it. You may take these moves in any order. For example, ....

Pins stay in the piece until the end of the game.

A piece with no pins cannot move.

I didn't have time to get far into a game. I hope to try again soon though.

Yogurt

GeminiWeb
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Joined: 07/31/2008
online playtesters wanted for stlts

Hi, just had a quick game with the computer. I had a fairly easy win so I'm assuming the difficuly level with teh computer isn't set too high

Seems interesting enough and seems to offer a bit of depth.

At first I thought a piece could either move vertically or horizontally, but now I realise it can do both. the overlay sceen showing where a piece can move is VERY useful!

Nice job.

Anonymous
Re: online playtesters wanted for stlts

Quote:
I found the choosing players screen very confusing. I'm not sure how I finally started a game.

Yes, a few people have found this - it's simplicity itself once you understand it! If I get the time I might do a newbie version with text prompts that fade once the hang has been got.

Quote:
You might want to frame the board with white lines on the vertical borders and black lines on the horizontal borders, to remind people of the movement rules.

Yes, that's not a bad idea - I still get black/white dyslexia even now. But I might be a bit loath to break the 'pure design'! Maybe when and if I create the economy set I'll use it.

Quote:

...I'd break it down a little:

"Pins control how far your piece may move. You may move the piece one vertical space for every white pin it has in it and one horizontal space for every black pin it has in it. You may take these moves in any order. For example, ....

Pins stay in the piece until the end of the game.

A piece with no pins cannot move."

Thanks for that: I've found it rather difficult to express what is an essentially simple concept in simple terms, but I think you're getting there with that. Excuse me if I plagiarise you a bit!

Many thanks for all your suggestions.

Zomulgustar
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Joined: 07/31/2008
online playtesters wanted for stlts

If it wouldn't be too much trouble at this point in production, I'd recommend using different colors/patterns to indicate directional movement than those used to indicate player ownership, to avoid unnecessary confusion for beginners if nothing else. Also, from a practical perspective, if there's any way of making roughly the same effect with pieces that aren't potentially injurious, you'd greatly broaden your market. Not only do I instinctively expect to lose at least one pin only to find it the hard way, but doesn't the cork get worn out after a while? Why not use some kind of smaller plastic/wooden piece which will either stack or interlock without damaging the material?

As for the gameplay itself...looks to be quite the elegant abstract. Care to share your thoughts on how you arrived at your particular opening configuration?

Anonymous
online playtesters wanted for stlts

Quote:
If it wouldn't be too much trouble at this point in production, I'd recommend using different colors/patterns to indicate directional movement than those used to indicate player ownership, to avoid unnecessary confusion for beginners if nothing else.

I'm slightly retentive on that one - I like having the whole game two tone - and also it's a bit late in the day productionwise (the bulk order is in!). I should probably do a bit of research to see if people do find it easier with different colours. People (including myself!) do get muddled as to which directions are represented by which colours but I don't know if that's related to the choice of colours. Maybe it is. Incidentally if players sit diagonally to each other as opposed to opposite each other then the game is perfectly symmetrical in the black/white axis (if that makes sense!).

Quote:
Also, from a practical perspective, if there's any way of making roughly the same effect with pieces that aren't potentially injurious, you'd greatly broaden your market. Not only do I instinctively expect to lose at least one pin only to find it the hard way, but doesn't the cork get worn out after a while? Why not use some kind of smaller plastic/wooden piece which will either stack or interlock without damaging the material?

There again, a mixture of aesthetics and practicality. While the sets are being handmade then the pieces are fairly simple to make. As and when it looks like it makes sense to do a big moulded plastic run then we'd be talking pegs in holes. Having said that there is a certain pleasure in sticking pins in without any fiddle and maybe venting a small portion of aggression at the same time. I've been using the same set for a few years now and although lots of little holes are visible pins still stay in the same as ever. Who knows, there may be a certain kudos in having a well used set!

Quote:
As for the gameplay itself...looks to be quite the elegant abstract. Care to share your thoughts on how you arrived at your particular opening configuration?

Thanks for that! The opening position, along with the size of board, was arrived at through trial and error. The final configuration was actually a pairing down of an eighteen piece a side configuration to a twelve. Originally there were groups of four in the corner with pairs to either side. This made the game rather long and cumbersome with positions getting entrenched too easily. The final configuration overcame this and had the added benefit of bringing production costs down!

Many thanks for your input.

GeminiWeb
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Joined: 07/31/2008
online playtesters wanted for stlts

Hi again,

I've now played this game about 4 times and I can say that I like the game. the mechanics are nice and the play has a degree of elegance. However, the computer AI seems too easy to beat so its hard to say how well the game would respiond to a higher level of competition.

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