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Defenders of Wessex -- How it came to be

My last entry talked a little about the very start of what has become Defenders of Wessex. This will continue the saga!

With the foundation idea, and some mechanics in mind I began drafting v1.0 of the rules. That first edition featured each player working cooperatively to defend Wessex from the Vikings (that is still the story of the game), but it that first incarnation the players were all Ealdormen in charge of a single city. They could hire specialist in their cities to gain special rules, they could build armies to go out and fight the vikings, all with the idea of being able to stop the Great Heathen Army (thats how history remembers those Vikings) in battle.

I printed off a map of southern England, added some locations to it and then went over to Dads house to explain the game (remember last post -- he's my game cool factor barometer). I showed him what I had, explained game play, and he told me he's make a bigger game board. So he did. Using a projector, a piece of poster paper, a sharpie, and his boundless artistic talent, he whipped up a map of England that covered everything south of York.

I modified the map with the locations I wanted, added a few roads for travel purposes, and whipped up a few cardboard tokens to represent soldiers. I solo play tested many times, found he right balance, tweaked a few rules, etc etc. The first play test was rule set v1.5

It used random spawn cards and fixed locations to create small groups of pillaging vikings. Resource generation was the same as in Ticket to Ride. Combat was fought ala Risk. Cities and monasteries were actual historical locations that existed in 871. I arranged the first not solo play test with my dad. We played, it worked, he loved it, I thought we were golden.

So the next step was to arrange a play test with more people. Under the weight of 5 play testers the game collapsed. It became less of a cooperative game and more of a bunch of people out for themselves who all happened to be playing the same game...and most of the mechanics were unbalanced and did not work in the least.

Anyway, thats enough for now. Next time I'll tell you what changes were made to over come those shortcomings.

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blog | by Dr. Radut