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Defenders of Wessex Update and after action report

So, I had a few weeks where I did't have access to play testers. Back to school combined with late summer vacations took them all elsewhere. During that time I took a good, long look at some of the results and feedback I had from the most recent version of Defenders of Wessex, and I realized something: Having 1 out of 12 wins means that my game is too hard. I admit, several losses have been close, only by a point or two, while others have been spectacular. But the common thread in all of them is that the Panic mechanic is what causes the loss in every game, even with careful management.

So I toned down the difficulty of the game. One of the thigns that caused panic was Viking spawns, which I reduced (1/3 the number of cards), and replaced by cards that cause a smaller amount of Panic. So the net result was that every turn, there is about 4-5 points of Panic generated, which can spike to around 10-12 points in a bad turn. Opposed to having 2-3 points generated every turn that spikes to 14-15 on a bad turn, this is much more manageable.

In fact, the results of the first test on this configuration indicate that it is actually (nearly) too easy. 4-5 Panic is easily controlled by careful playing and deliberate strategy.

But the game was still lost. During the Vikings turn, when Panic is generated, we ended up drawing a card that lost us the game. Clarification: the game runs a set number of turns, and there are cards that reduce the number of turns to be played. In this instance we drew the cards for the Vikings and the first few generated a little Panic, spawned some Vikings, and then the 5th card reduced our turns remaining by 1, which ended the game. We counted points and took the penalty of our Panic and found we were 1 point short!

So, this raises the question - obviously it was the reduce turns card that lost us the game. One more player turn and we would have had it in the bag, and the game would have ended at the close of our turn, so no Panic generating cards or events. So really, the end of the game was legit, and if we had completed one more mission (missions score points) we would have had it. Anyway, that question: do I accept that this is legit and leave it in, or do I rule that regardless of what happens during the card draw, the players always get one last turn?

I'm inclined to leave it as legit, but I'm on the fence. Obviously I need to test it a little more.

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blog | by Dr. Radut