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Feedback on instructions for my game "Galaxagos"

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lonacker
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Joined: 11/05/2013

Hi guys,

For the past 9 months or so I've been building out a 2 vs 2 strategy space exploration game called "Galaxagos" (like Galapagos, but a galaxy). I'm hoping a few folks would be kind enough to give some feedback on the clarity of my instructions.

The main mechanics of the game are: movement speculation, area control, mild set collecting, and sabotage.

I threw up a preview page with an excerpt from the story to give you a flavor of the game. You can also download the instructions there.
http://www.galaxagos.com/galaxagos-playtest-preview/
Password is: stubbs

After 10+ playtests, I've gone through 4 major iterations of the components, and almost 10 revisions of instructions. If you have time to critique the clarity of setup, mechanics, and gameplay I would be much obliged! Feel free to throw in some comments on theme while you're at at!

UPDATE: changed the password to "stubbs" ; added direct file download from this post; updated the download site to better use some of the game concept art

gdhvence
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Joined: 05/26/2013
Instructions looks great!!

I think your instructions are clear and precise. No problem in getting the game play.

Vence

lonacker
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Joined: 11/05/2013
Thank you

Hey thanks for taking a look. Appreciate it!

vtbassmatt
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Joined: 04/28/2009
My take as an amateur game designer

(I've deliberately avoided reading other comments before writing this. It's possible my feedback echoes or contradicts what others have said.)

Web page

I dig the theme, the concept, and especially the art style. The paragraph itself is awkward - for instance, the point of view shifts several times in just a few sentences. Do you have someone who can act as an editor? I took a run at a rewrite but couldn't quite capture the emotion you were going for. "Hook" copy like this is really hard to write but would help set the tone (both the in-game mood as well as the general level of quality).

Rulebook

Definitely engage a neutral third party who can edit for you. I've spotted several usage and grammar mistakes on just the first page. I won't belabor this point any further.

Stylistically, I like that you jump right in to the two factions and give a succinct preview of their guiding motives and win conditions. I'm totally hooked!

The quickstart guide doesn't feel like it gives me enough information to actually play. Even in the first step, you reference 2 additional pages of material. Consider renaming this an "overview", which sets a more appropriate expectation about how much reading I'll have to do before I can play.

Overall, the rules themselves seem clear and logical. Your structure is good, building from general to specific and ending with an FAQ.

I really want to play this game now :)

lonacker
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Joined: 11/05/2013
Great critique

Thanks, vtbassmatt! Going through a set of instructions like this takes patience, and I really appreciate the feedback.

Webpage
The theme was very important from the beginning of my prototyping, and the artwork/style is based on all of the emergent narrative I've had from my playtesters. I'm happy you picked up on this.
Fun Fact: The art palette is influenced heavily by Alex Toth(especially his colors/tones).

I agree with the awkward writing - the idea is there, but I'll definitely seek someone out who has more skill in that department.

Rulebook
Yup - definitely need an editor for this. I'll add some more polish when I make a print run for remote playtesters, and in the meantime will look for someone who can help.

Quickstart - Good point. It could be frustrating to think that you'll be able to just pick up and go, when in reality you'll run into "gates" of complex mechanics. The quick start guide was a response to playtesters asking me to, "introduce rules as they are needed for gameplay instead of having to read through the entire rulebook." I think instead of "overview" I might literally add a statement about the purpose of the section.

Thanks again. I'm working on digitizing the artwork so I can run some prototype copies to send out to remote playtesters. If you have a group of 4 willing to play & give feedback let me know and I'll put you on the list.

:)

vtbassmatt
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Joined: 04/28/2009
Great, glad the feedback

Great, glad the feedback helped. Thanks for posting here.

As much as I want to play, I don't have a solid group of people who share the same urge. So I'll have to decline the play testing offer :( When you're able to publish somewhere, I'll hopefully buy a copy then!

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