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Very Alpha Test

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Eleri
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Joined: 12/24/2011

So, I've got this little board game I'm working on, and it needs a good hard alpha-level poking at. I've done some run throughs, and it works as far as I can tell- but can't see the forest, y'know?

Some things I'm looking at/for:
The movement mechanic is unique- how does it play out? Is it a PITB? Awkward? Frustrating? Enjoyable? Sneaky?

How obtainable is the goal? Is it to hard? To easy? Confusing?

How does the board feel, space wise?

How useable are the rules?

Anyhoo, everything you need for testing is here: http://eleri.tezhme.net/game/SSAlphaTest.zip
It can be printed out on card stock or plain paper- cards will get cut out, little ships made (or you can use other tokens the same colours) and the board taped together.

Have at it, be gentle, it is my first time :)

Kirioni
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Joined: 09/20/2009
Vital Stats

Can you give some more information to help people who might be interested in testing.

Game name:
Theme/Genre (if applicable) (Rpg, dungeon crawl, area control etc)
Number of players needed (solo, 2, need 4 etc)
Play time (15-20 or 2 hours etc)
Assembly/resources needed (i.e. 50 cards (x sheets of paper/cardstock), 1 board, 6 tokens to make or have)

I appreciate you have some feedback questions you would like testers to answer, they can give a good stucture to a play test, having an online form to fill out might be helpful as well. Do testers PM you feedback? Email, carrier pidgeon :)

Thanks for taking the leap to share some of your work in progress!

PaulBlake
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Joined: 05/22/2009
As a designer, I know just

As a designer, I know just how frustrating the phrase "I haven't played it yet, but..." can be. That said, I haven't played it yet, but...

  • Movement cards are unbalanced. If each card is played once, Blue moves a total of 68 spaces, and Violet moves 58 - All others move 63. (I suspect this is due to transposed values on at least one card)

  • Planets 1, 3, 8 and 9 are all sources for only 3 jobs each, while all other planets are sources for four jobs each. Planet frequency as a destination varies wildly: Planet 1 receives goods from 6 jobs, while planet 11 receives goods from only 1 job (This may be intentional for purposes of strategically interfering with other players movement - however, if it is, there needs to be some information which communicates the relative frequencies of each planet).

  • Number of goods received and sent also varies wildly: Planet 8 ships a measly total of 4 goods, while planets 5 and 7 ship 8 each. Conversely, Planet 1 receives 10 goods total, while planet 11 only receives 1.

  • Can a player have more than one job at a time? The rules regarding encounters imply that yes, a player could hijack other players' jobs, even when they already had a job. Since jobs require your widgets to come from a specific planet and go to a specific planet, this would require keeping the cargo for each job separate (although you could just stack cargo underneath the relevant job). For example, I have a job that tells me to pick up 2 cargo from planet 3 and deliver it to planet 7. I've already picked up the cargo, and I encounter another ship, defeat it, and steal their job, which tells me to pick up 2 cargo from 8 and deliver it to 4 - but they haven't picked up cargo yet. I've got two cargo from my first job, so I need to keep it separate from my second job's cargo.

  • Apart from being the starting point for the GP, does Planet Galactic serve any other logical purpose? Can I make planetfall there?

  • The game is very luck-driven, and progress would be difficult in a 3+ player game. It seems there would be little competitive strategy other than to try to keep your opponents from landing at any time. From the board layout, it looks like it would definitely be possible to juggle a player for an annoying number of turns in the long path between planets 2 and 8, even taking into consideration the branching path to planet 1.

  • Given their current distribution, an average job requires delivery of 1.775 cargo, and an average cargo is worth 1,625 credits - which means, on average, winning the game will mean an average of 8.67etc deliveries. Given the amount of interference a player can encounter in completing just one delivery, I'm thinking this game would have a tendancy to drag.

  • I didn't do a truly comprehensive analysis of the average number of movements needed to complete each job, but from cursory glance, it looks like most of your jobs require at least 10 movements. Factor in the fact that each movement card provides an average of 3 movements per ship, and that means you need more than three movement cards to go right for you in order to successfully complete a job - but in a 3+ player game, every space you move can be countered by more than one space in another direction.

I feel like you're going for a sort of bluffing game, where other players interfere with my movement based on where they think I'm wanting to go, so I try to get them to think I want to go somewhere else - but there isn't much in the game's rules to allow me to try to communicate that. You could leave that aspect up to the players to table-talk, but that seems somewhat disconnected with the rest of the game, and still wouldn't provide much information on which to base meaningful decisions.

Bottom line: I would play it once, for one hour. Unless it amazed me in that hour, I would call it quits there, regardless of anyone's progress - and I have a sneaking suspicion than this is a 2 hour game unless the players are playing "nice".

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