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Test session the 23 April

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Johan
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Test session 23 April

The 23 April we had a test session. In this session there was 6 participants and 5 prototype games (+ several new releases of games). The session started 09.15 AM and ended 10.45 PM with 30 minutes break for lunch (a heavy and tight schedule).

The scale we use when we grade the games are from 1-10 where 1 is a disaster and 10 is a rely grate game (the best). Grades under 5 are low marked games. Every person involved give there grade and then the result is the average. Normally the games get a grade between 6.0 and 8.0.

Just before I left home I dropped 3 games for the test (the time is limited) The games were The 4 elements (just a new design, the game is ready), Dragon attack and Space traders.

I will send out a more detail description to the persons that had a game in the session.

First out was Rats leaving the sinking ships (yes it is now ready with a first prototype)
Number of players: 3-5 (5 players at this time).
Time: around 2 hours. (Estimated 1,5h)
Grade: 7.4
Test number: 1 (first time ever).
Type of game: Board game driven by cards.
There is a big sea battle with ships of different nationalities. The players will together control the ships and the events, but the only thing that matter is the rats on the ships (each player has an own color of the rats). When a ship sinks: the player with the rat that last left the ship gets the points (this game is a chicken race on every ship).
After an easy start where everyone did watch each others moves, the game become a rely bloody mess and the players liked that. The winner manages to crawl back up on a ship that nearly had sunk and then leave the ship directly (and those 6 point did do a difference).
To be the first test, everything worked well. There were several minor design flaws, and the game was downgraded by that.

Sands of time
After several hours of work (making components (the components were in Letter format and I print in A4 format, printing, laminate (all components are laminated), cutting and reading (I probably spend more hours on this game than all the other games together (but I think it was worth it)), the game was ready for the test. I did set up the game just to find out that I had forgotten to bring the players marker (a rely anti climax). 330 markers in 3 different shapes and 6 different colors is nothing you can find a quick substitute for.
... but we decided to do a walk threw and there was some comments on that. Jeff, I will send you the list. The game will be up for test in May.

Pyramids
Number of players: 2-4 (4 players at this time).
Time: around 1.5 hours. (Estimated 1 h)
Grade: 6.5
Test number: 1 (first time ever).
Type of game: Tactical Board game.
Build a pyramid in layers (a labyrinth with 6 layers) and then plunder the pyramid.
This game had some bugs and become downgraded for that, but they agreed on that this game had the biggest potential.

Art Attack
Number of players: 3-6 (6 players at this time).
Time: around 40 minutes. (Estimated 30-60 minutes)
Grade: 7.5
Test number: 2.
Type of game: Party game
Draw your monster, and attack the others monsters. Quick and fun.
I did put in some work in to convert the cards to real cards and laminated those. For the feeling of the game, this was a good investment.
The only thing that this game is needed is tests to figure out what cards that needs to be changed. In this game the magic card was Handcuffs (this card destroyed one of the monsters chances to win).
Finally: The game should be played on an A5 of half letter sized paper!

Small devils deeds
Number of players: 3-6 (6 players at this time).
Time: around 30 minutes. (Estimated 30 minutes)
Grade: 6.14
Test number: 2.
Type of game: Card game.
You play a small devil living on earth. The other players know that you are a devil but not who. Your goal is to come in second from last and not to become an angel.
This game had too much randomness to get a high score. Still, the players wanted a rematch directly after the first one and a lot of ideas how to improve the game was presented.

// Johan

p.s. The next test session will be the 21 May.

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Re: Test session the 23 April

Johan wrote:

Sands of time
After several hours of work (making components (the components were in Letter format and I print in A4 format,

Oh, sorry about that! I wish I had known this in advance, I definitely could have provided you the files in A4 size without too much difficulty on my part. My apologies!

Quote:

printing, laminate (all components are laminated)

Hey, sounds like you've got a nicer set than mine; I'd love to see a digital photo if you took one!

Quote:

, cutting and reading (I probably spend more hours on this game than all the other games together (but I think it was worth it)), the game was ready for the test. I did set up the game just to find out that I had forgotten to bring the players marker (a rely anti climax). 330 markers in 3 different shapes and 6 different colors is nothing you can find a quick substitute for.

Wow, what a bummer! It's not strictly necessary that you have 3 different shapes (my set only has 2). The tougher bit is the six different colors, and the large number of "peasant" pieces required, because most games (Carcassonne, e.g.) only have a few pieces in each color. so it's hard to find a big enough game to mine for pieces. My set uses pieces from Risk and from Samurai Swords, and any of these big box games would work fine as sources for the player pieces. As you say, not an easy problem to solve on the fly!

Quote:

... but we decided to do a walk threw and there was some comments on that. Jeff, I will send you the list. The game will be up for test in May.

Sure, I'd be very eager to hear comments; hopefully the game will be even better by the time it hits your table for real! And just so you know, you're more than welcome, if you want, to post comments here in the forums; I'm doing this game in "full public view", so I don't mind publicizing your comments, be they good or bad, unless you'd prefer to keep them private.

Thanks again! Hope the game rewards the amount of effort you've invested.

-Jeff

Johan
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Re: Test session the 23 April

jwarrend wrote:
Johan wrote:

Sands of time
After several hours of work (making components (the components were in Letter format and I print in A4 format,

Oh, sorry about that! I wish I had known this in advance, I definitely could have provided you the files in A4 size without too much difficulty on my part. My apologies!

No problem. I added all images into InDesign. The part I had problem with was the double sided cards.

Quote:

Hey, sounds like you've got a nicer set than mine; I'd love to see a digital photo if you took one!

Sure, I'd be very eager to hear comments; hopefully the game will be even better by the time it hits your table for real! And just so you know, you're more than welcome, if you want, to post comments here in the forums; I'm doing this game in "full public view", so I don't mind publicizing your comments, be they good or bad, unless you'd prefer to keep them private.

I'm planning to add photos for all the games later, and the comments. Some of the games are mine and some of the games are others. I will check what games I can present here.

// Johan

Hamumu
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Test session the 23 April

Thank you very much, Johan! It always seems to be good news with Art Attack... I need to get to serious work on that.

Hedge-o-Matic
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Test session the 23 April

Hey, this sounds great! Where does this playtesting take place? Do you accept other games for blind playtesting?

Johan
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Test session the 23 April

Hedge-o-Matic wrote:
Hey, this sounds great! Where does this play testing take place?

First question: the tests take place here in Sweden.
It has taken me some time to build a dedicated test group that give me feedback on my games. Today, the group consist of 8 persons (each session has 3-8 players and we plan the session from that) in the age of 14-45 (both male and female). This is our fifth year.
We have a session every month (actually around 14-15 times per year) when we play for 12-14 hours.
We play board and card games (and some tabletop games). One of the members is a game collector and try to get every game he can find. We also test prototypes (most of them are mine).

Hedge-o-Matic wrote:
Do you accept other games for blind play testing?

Both yes and no. I'm trying to using the Exchange work program, and I have some contacts that help me out. Normally I put in around 40 hours per week on the games (and need some help) but right now my job is killing me (its is rely boring and I just want to quit).
If you send me the rules (via message) and I will take a look at it.
The session in May is completely overbooked (and I believe the game you had in mind is the Diplomacy liked game for 7 persons) but there can be an opening in June (we running a prototyping session in a game convention). Otherwise will the next possible session be in August (July session will only have 3-4 players).

// Johan

Johan
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Test session the 23 April

Hi Mike

Hamumu wrote:
Thank you very much, Johan! It always seems to be good news with Art Attack... I need to get to serious work on that.

Since your game has been up in the GDW, I hope that it is OK to present the result here.

Art Attack

- Like or do not like it: One of the players did not like this game at all. He did give the game a 5 and that was his lowest grade during this session (The game was playable but not more). Two players did give it a 9.
- King maker: We did get a kingmaker situation. The last player in the last turn could decide who is going to win (depending on the card he would play). I think that you should see how this would be minimized (I don’t think that you can avoid this in the game). We had a very even match. We were 6 players and there were 5 wounds between the winner and the looser.
- Permanents: Permanents are potentially strong cards. You got an attribute and the new cards in hand. We tried a version where you could claim permanents after a redrawing (If you look more like a vampire, then you took that permanent). That worked well since you could never know for 100% that nobody else is trying to get your permanent. (That is how I swapped the Handcuffs (Look! No arms!)).
- Marks: I would like to have the cards in 5 categories: Direct attack: One monster attack others, Global attack: An attack from anywhere (as lightning), Defense: You can play this card out of turn (but will lower your hand), Temporary: Will increase your monster or set a new rule in play for this turn, and Permanent: This card will permanently be in action (on a monster or globally). Now it was some questions about if you were protected from a player attack or from a monsters attack.
- Paper size: We got better looking monsters when we use A5 instead of A4 paper. The players did use the time to draw more details to the monster when the paper was smaller. Since we are going to run this game in June, I will do some experiments with this.
- Draw cards: Instead of fill up your hand to 5 cards, the players should just get 3 more cards each turn. Then it would be some point in making the players loose cards or draw more cards.
- Who goes first: This was a question the last time and this time to. The numbers of jet-motors and rockets escalated during the game. To go first has a edge since there are cards that prevent other players from doing there moves. One way is that you have a body part and an attribute on every card (either in the text (written in bold), or in the bottom of the card). When the turn starts, flip the card and see who starts the turn. One option is that you flip the card before the redrawing.
- Wound markers: We wrote wounds on the paper and as it came out we had 5! different ways to mark wounds. In the middle of the game, we had to make a short break and sort that out. One way to solve this is to add wound markers to the game (then in some later expansion you can add other types of markers).
- Real cards: I converted your cards to real cards and that game the game a better feeling.

Still, the group agreed on that the game could be used as is.

Hope this helps.

// Johan

Hamumu
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Test session the 23 April

Thanks! I do need to straighten up the cards so they are easier to use. I'm not sure there's any hope Kingmakerwise, because it'll always come down to having a hand of cards that would affect different opponents, and you get to pick which one. Maybe just an increase in the number of defensive and healing cards.

You mentioned Defense cards you can play out of turn to protect yourself - the game actually doesn't have those! I think I need to clarify the protective cards. They are meant to played on your turn, and they offer whatever protection they offer for the remainder of the round (until new cards are drawn). That's why I had to tone them down from being "takes no damage". I like the idea of "instants" to protect you though, I could add some things like that... "Reflect - any monster holding a mirror reflects damage back at the attacker" - then people would see you drew your guy with a mirror and would be scared to attack you!

I wonder if I can come up with a way to make it not always best to go first...

That's a lot of good ideas, and if I ever again have some free time between selling/buying a house and writing PC games, I will try to move it closer to a finished work.

FastLearner
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Test session the 23 April

I don't know if this will help your kingmaker situation or not, but in a design I'm finishing up, there's some final scoring at the end. There's a possible kingmaker problem because when you score points for yourself, you commonly score a small amount for some other player(s), too. As such the last person to reveal his/her final cards has some kingmaking potential (as does everyone as they're revealed). To fix this, the rule is that at the end everyone places the final cards they want to play face-down in front of them and discards the rest of their hand. Then we just resolve them one-by-one -- you can't decide whether or not you'll play a given one based on whichever other ones have been resolved so far because you've committed to it by playing it face-down. Sounds kinda random but it's not at all. Perhaps something like that could work for you.

-- Matthew

Johan
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Test session the 23 April

Hamumu wrote:
You mentioned Defense cards you can play out of turn to protect yourself - the game actually doesn't have those! I think I need to clarify the protective cards. They are meant to played on your turn, and they offer whatever protection they offer for the remainder of the round (until new cards are drawn).

I know that (and we did not play any cards out of turn). That was just an suggestion.

// Johan

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