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Winter 2006 Albany Playtest

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jwarrend
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Trying something different for the schedule this time around. Instead of trying to make all of our schedules mesh, I'm just going to throw a date out there. How does Jan 14th work for everyone?

It's possible that we could turn this into a 2-day event if there's sufficient interest (read: at least 2 people other than me).

If the 14th is bad for you, what days in Jan/Feb are good?

Let us know.

Thanks,

Jeff

IngredientX
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Re: Winter 2006 Albany Playtest

I can't do any Saturdays in January.

The first Saturday I can do is Feb. 25.

jwarrend
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Winter 2006 Albany Playtest

How about Sunday the 15th? Since the 16th is a holiday, Sunday (or Saturday and Sunday) would work for me.

-J

IngredientX
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Winter 2006 Albany Playtest

jwarrend wrote:
How about Sunday the 15th? Since the 16th is a holiday, Sunday (or Saturday and Sunday) would work for me.

-J

I can do that! As an added bonus, you will all get to watch me turn 32!

IngredientX
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Winter 2006 Albany Playtest

I wanted to say thanks to everyone... not just for the birthday cake you surprised me with, but for the playtesting and the friendship.

I'm looking forward to the next get-together!

sedjtroll
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Winter 2006 Albany Playtest

So when do we get to hear about the goings on??!?

- Seth

jwarrend
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Winter 2006 Albany Playtest

Seth,

Thanks for your interest! Bad weather and a few other committments kept the designer attendence low, so it was just me, Emphyrio, IngredientX, and nosissies, but Tom (nosissies) managed to get 8 of his friends to show up to playtest! So, a lot of games hit the table. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to say about any of the other guys' games, and I haven't talked publically about either of the games I playtested. But what the heck, I'll blab a bit now.

The first game I tested was a collaborative design I'm working on with SiskNY. It's an Indiana Jones-themed relic hunt. The idea is that you're trying to follow clues to identify the location of a lost temple, but you'll have to survive challenges and adventures along the way, and will have to make it through the traps in the temple. It's basically a turbo-charged deduction game, but with the advantage that the "solution" to the game is contained on a "solution key", and players check that rather than asking one another to see cards and arriving at the solution by process of elimination. Another "twist" is that you can choose to reveal information that you've discovered, and in return receive "adventure cards" which improve your abilities to travel and survive challenges.

This was the game's first playtest, and I think it went pretty well, but we found that the temple is a little too easy to get through and that it doesn't require enough prior planning (one of the things you can get clues about is the nature of challenges in the temple). It's also a bit hard to target your information search; there's sort of a feeling that you just bump into information. In other words, it's possible to find out where to go to get a clue, but not what that clue will be once you get there, so it may be hard to judge whether it's worth going to get it or not.

It's hard to have this make sense with the little bit I've said about the mechanics. I suspect we'll probably be ready to divulge a lot of the details of this game once we've had a chance to playtest it a bit more. One strong advantage is that it's playable as a solitaire game, and I suspect we'll be more than happy to have playtesting help if anyone is interested!

The other game I put on the table is a city building game called variously "Selectman" or "Anytown, USA", which I've mentioned briefly in my journal. The rough gist of the game is that the city is a 6x6 grid, and each turn, one player functions as the town's "selectman". Several sites on the grid are indicated as possible building sites, and then other players make proposals to the Selectman for buildings they'd like to erect. He then chooses one to accept, and the player builds that building. The key is that the buildings interact with each other; some become more valuable depending on what is placed next to them, and others modify the environment around them (for example, the "tavern" is worth income but makes nearby residences less valuable; the "mansion" is worth VP but reduces its value if other residences are placed nearby, the "stadium"'s income increases the more residences it's next to, etc...), so the idea is that you want to try to make an offer that the selectman will accept based on some perceived advantage to him. For example, he may smile on a proposal to build a residence next to his stadium.

This was the 4th or 5th time the game has been tested, and I haven't ever changed much, and it still seems to work pretty well. It's a bit of a thinker because of all the spatial relationships, and because every player is involved in every action, it seems to drag out longer than it should; it's a 60 minute game that seems to take 100-120 minutes to play except in fast-playing groups. On the other hand, I've never tested it with the same group twice so it might go faster with an experienced group. I tend to make my decisions faster than the other players, and that NEVER happens in real life so it must just be an experience thing.

Unfortunately, this is a game whose files were lost in my hard disk crash, so I can't really modify them much without some difficulty. Hopefully, I can get the game balanced just on the mechanics alone. It may be something I'll enter in next year's Hippodice, and we'll see if it goes anywhere!

Thanks for the interest; I'll let the others speak for their games if they want to! We'll probably have another session in March or April.

-Jeff

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