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Beta Test Log

This is where I will place all Beta tests so I can look back and note what was "good" and what needed work.

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BETA TEST #1
08/28/2017 - 18:38

Now that the game has proven to be quite exciting, I have invested more time into designing more cards. I have the Evangelist deck and the Prophet deck completed. Creating decks doesn't take that long. Probably about 4-6 hours each (balancing, graphic design, etc.). The graphics are not updated yet, but I will get to that.

I tested the deck customization and I think it might need some minor adjustments. Its cool because players who don't like to spend time customizing their deck can just randomly select cards, where as players that like to be more meticulous can choose which ones they want. Very welcoming to all types of players.

Finally, I just need to tweak the plant action a bit. Could be streamlined and the passion track seems a bit heavy. Hopefully I will be able to change it so that rolling the faith die isn't a MUST (as it seems to feel).

BETA TEST #2
09/04/2017 - 13:13

A few issues I've seen that I want to attempt to remove:

#1 At the end of the plant action you almost never max out on action but always have a ton of passion.

You gain way to much passion and you hardly gain action during the plant action. This needs to change.

#2 Symbols are difficult to match (not enough matches)

Pretty concerning actually. This causes problems with #1 one. Because there aren't as many of the same cards as alpha testing, there is a lot of diversity among tactics and their positions. So this tells me the population cards and alpha tactics were quite similar. We'll have to work around this.

I have a couple of solutions, but I need to test a bit more to see if these are the root problem.

#1/#2

a). +2 action for keeping a value
b). Possibly giving the die one extra 1 value
c). Giving populations four prongs instead of three
d). Changes to plant value/symbol outcomes:

Match
Value < +1 Softened and +2 Loyalty
Value = +2 Loyalty
Value > +1 Loyalty
Different
Value < +1 Loyalty
Value = -2 Loyalty
Value > +1 Hardened and -2 Loyalty

I'm excited about c). coupled with d). because its streamlined and will not take long to change. With the population cards having four prongs will allow players to have two different combinations to try and match, matching three slightly to the left or slightly to the right. Although, this will probably make the plant action longer which is not what I want either.

Example:

SRWP = Population prongs
PRW = Tactic prongs

Combination 1
SRWP
PRW-

Combination 2
SRWP
-PRW

These changes aren't final. I will be testing them soon.

BETA TEST #3
09/04/2017 - 13:22

Found a big issue today and will be in the process of fixing it

#1 Not enough card draw

Solution

#1 Allow players to draw cards at the beginning of their turn by making the Study option a pre-action and the Serve pre-action a grow option.

This solves A LOT of problems. First, you can refill your hand on the fly which allows you to feel more prepared while also preserving the tension. Second, the grow action is more balanced; the Serve option and the Pray option are both equally beneficial but what you pick will depend on the situation. Before, you basically had to Study or you would not be effective. This also balances the Action vs. Passion track as action will be used more. Coupled with the changes in Test #2, this will hopefully smooth things out.

BETA TEST #4
09/07/2017 - 01:23

Starting to reach equilibrium with the Passion/Action track. With the new pre-action, Study, allowing you to draw cards every turn, I was gaining WAY too much Action. This was because card draw is so important and needed. So I came up with a nifty solution to the following issues:

#1 Too much action gain

#2 The Pray grow option is unused and thus the Rejoice action is underpowered.

Solution:

#1/#2 You draw the two cards used to complete an answered prayer when you Rejoice.

This does two things. First, it gives you another way to gain card draw (specifically drawing cards while using Passion instead of Action). This then decreases the need to draw cards with the Study action all the time. Second, it gives the Rejoice pre-action a HUGE boost making it something players will WANT to do instead of HAVE to do. What is so cool about this change is the fact that there are now two ways to draw cards and they are both extremely different and have their pros and cons. Drawing cards with the Study pre-action is great because it is immediate. You can do it at the beginning of your turn; you don't have to wait. The negative is the fact that you are just drawing cards and can run into weaknesses pretty easily this way. Drawing cards through the Rejoice pre-action trades control for quantity. You won't gain cards as fast and immediate as you would with the Study pre-action, but you get more cards with less risk AND you get to change your action, giving you more flexibility and effectiveness on your turns.

What a CHANGE this is for gameplay. It is refreshing. The tension is back and I love it.

BETA TEST #5
09/07/2017 - 01:37

I am going to streamline the faith die a bit.

#1 Not enough tension per roll of the die

#2 Keeping track of how many blanks you received was annoying

Solution:

#1/#2 If you roll an "X" you cannot use the faith die for the remainder of the interactions.

New faith die face configuration: 1=X, 2=blank, 3=blank, 4=1, 5=2, 6=2 +1 Softened population

This is quite neat. Each roll is now pretty intense and the average amount of rolls per plant action is about the same (3-4) in terms of statistics. Rolling a blank isn't nearly as bad anymore and I like that. Rolling a 6 is still AWESOME, but now, rolling a 1 will really ruin your day. This is super cool as you might be really confident on your first or second roll and find yourself locked out from using the faith die sooner than you would have hoped. Or, you might stay in a bit longer, still, blanks are not good, but they aren't terrible. Also, when you don't roll a 1 you feel like you're cheating the die and getting away with more rolls as opposed to rolling three blanks; only after rolling two was it ever REALLY intense. I like this A LOT. Streamlines the plant action quite well while preserving its intensity (actually increasing it!!).

BETA TEST #6
09/09/2017 - 17:17

There are two main issues I see currently:

#1 The Harvest action is underwhelming, uninteresting, and makes the end game a bit weird (it promotes not reaching all of the populations... not a good principle)

#2 The Grow action seems to not fit well (just another action). Needs to be stronger and more defined.

#3 The Water action is uninteresting and frustrating. Needs to feel like you are building up and gaining more options.

The following are what I plan to do:

#1 I'm actually not sure yet. Something to do with balancing reached populations vs. unreached.

#2 Might rework the Pray and Serve option. I have to keep in mind that I haven't tested multiplayer (co-op) yet so this may change, but it is still an awkward action.

#3 I am actually working on reworking the Identity decks (your decks in game consisting of 30 Characteristic cards and 5 Sin cards). The following are the changes:

5 Blessed tactic cards with a maximum of one each. Only used from your primary Characteristic.
5 Skillful tactic cards with a maximum of one each (instead of two). All used from your primary, you may choose any amount from your secondary (maximum of 10 total tactics of any kind from secondary).
5 Common tactic cards with a maximum of two each (instead of three). All used from your primary, you may choose any amount from your secondary (maximum of 10 total tactics of any kind from secondary).

Instead of each tactic having two Support abilities (formerly known as Watering Tools) each tactic will only have one Support ability. During the Plant action, if you place a tactic as an outreach on a population that already has an outreach, slide the old outreach card down and place the new outreach card on top so that both abilities show. Support abilities gain an additional fruit of any kind to execute the Support ability for every outreach card above it. You can have any number of outreach cards on any given population.

This allows players to feel like they are building their support. It will also reduce some decisions needed as the number of abilities has been reduced on each card. The number of abilities you have out at a given time will be just about the same. Once I rework the Harvest action, this will make it much smoother and more interesting. What this means though is more design editing. Will it be worth it? Will it help or make things worse? Are there other changes that are more pressing? I'll be working on figuring that out soon.

BETA TEST #7
10/06/2017 - 17:17

Huge amazing changes. I am beginning to focus gameplay; its starting to make sense. I have reworked the Harvest and Grow action extensively. They are not much meatier and feel just as important as the other actions. Without either one, the game could not function; this is good.

Current Issues:

#1 Grow action is boring and doesn't hold any value.

#2 Harvest action is boring and holds no intensity.

#3 Still an imbalance of passion vs. action.

#4 Pre-actions are not balanced.

Current Solutions:

#1/#3/#4 Placing prayer and study as pre-actions and rejoice and serve as grow action options.

Wooah. What a massive change. Basically from what the grow action was before, it has totally switched all of its options with what were once pre-actions. The reason for this was I needed something for both passion and action to change at the beginning of your turn so that you could have more say as to what you wanted to do with your action. Each action (Plant, Water, Grow, Harvest) now has two different ways of executing: one through passion and one through action. Each one deals with this differently which is why each one is very unique from one another.

Now, as your pre-action, you will be able to study (draw cards directly into your hand) to increase action, or pray (place cards out for others to use the serve action) to increase passion. Both of these are great ways of gaining cards in your hand, but you risk drawing into a sin card and ruining everything. You gain more control over your passion and action on your turn but risk drawing sin cards. This is excellent balance.

The grow action is now focused on increasing the loyalty of your disciples and increasing the honor given to God. Initially you would count all of your honor at the end of the game. This was interesting, but lacks finesse. The grow action instead gives you the option to rejoice (exhaust your disciples to gain their respective honor) and to serve (match your tactics with other players' prayers to gain loyalty). This gives players a more interesting decision tree for the Grow actions: "do I exhaust my disciples for honor or increase their loyalty while helping other players?". Since now disciples can be exhausted, this throws a new dimension into the action. Exhausted disciples cannot gain loyalty, but they can lose it. This makes your disciples vulnerable but this also gives the grow action it's power. At the beginning of your Grow action, much like the Water action, you will be able to refresh one disciple. This has changed gameplay drastically.

#2 Added a location map where players will traverse to minister.

At the beginning of the game, you will draw a location and a map. Maps will have four different types of spaces on them: one green start space, blue peaceful spaces, yellow neutral spaces, and orange dangerous spaces. You will be able to move through the map (gaining passion) to commit to an area and minister (gaining action). Although, when you pass through spaces, you may trigger negative affects. The following are what will happen if you commit to or pass through an area:

Peaceful
Commit: gain 1 disciple
Pass through: nothing

Neutral
Commit: gain 1 disciples
Pass through: place a softened population in the lost area

Dangerous
Commit: place a hardened population in the lost area
Pass through: place a lost population in the hardened area

This creates, yet again, a more intense environment. "Should I commit here or continue?" Allowing for this intensity to be a part of every action makes for an awesome gameplay environment.

BETA TEST #8
10/09/2017

Came across a disastrous outcome that shook the beginning game. I rolled an "x" on the first roll for the first population. This caused me to lose all of my disciples haha. What a great first experience for these disciples. Just goes to show how much faith they really had: not that much. Very interesting, but it is something that broke the game.

Current Issues:

#1 The plant action can be too hurtful in the beginning and too easy in the later on.

Current Solutions:

#1 the give option for the plant action allows you to discard a card from in hand with the same help symbol as the interaction you are currently on to add the values.

Consistency; that is what I'm after. Making it so that both the give option (+ Action) and the provide option (+ Passion) will allow you to increase the values. Before only rolling the faith die through the provide option (+ Passion) would give you that options. This is cool because the faith die can really hurt you if you roll an "x" but now you have a back up plan. The only thing is, you lose a card from in hand. Haven't tested this but I will see how it goes.

Comments

Beta Test #8

Very bad occurrence that caused me to lose all my disciples and this slogged the game down. It was interesting and I love how each game can be drastically different, but This was bad. There was no way to stop it. Completely random.

Update is above!!

Huge Update!!

Massive update that deals with almost all issues. See above for the Beta Test #7 update!

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gamejournal | by Dr. Radut