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A Faster Start

6 replies [Last post]
Joined: 07/03/2013

I've been working on a Mad Scientist-themed game for some time, as many of you know. At my latest public playtest, I discovered that the players felt that it developed too slowly, although it had great tension later on. Their suggestion: reduce the time it takes for the game to get fully underway.

They were playing sub-optimally, since I gave them no strategic hints as they played, which may have delayed the game's pace. However, in your own games, what have you done to speed up the start of the game? Other than having each player have a unique start position, I can't think of how to approach it...

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
If there is some sort of

If there is some sort of build up. Make the first "stone", a cheaper one.
Some extra starting material/resources in the first round might help.

Other than that, I don't know.

Joined: 06/07/2016
There are two things I have

There are two things I have done in my game to put in tension and urgency from turn 1, and to make the game start faster.

First, each player gets 3 resources at the startime of the first turn. 3 isnt enough to build anything, but it's a good start and gives them some momentum going into turn 1.

Second, enemies spawn before turn one begins, but it takes them 2-3 turns to move to a place where they are a threat to players. However, the entire time players can see them coming and I find it greatly affects the way players operate, since the enemies can spawn in random locations. It adds an element of pressure to turn 1, knowing they are coming but not knowing whicheck direction they will turn to attack.

Rimmsolin's picture
Joined: 12/13/2013
What are the first moves?

Is the common strategy or only strategy to do a few things at the beginning of a game? For instance in Magic, one may try to get lands out quickly or draw extra cards to prepare for later turns. If so, then consider starting players at that point. For Magic each player could start with an extra card and one land of their choice already in play.

Or in the case of Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn, players choose their starting hand instead of waiting several turns to farm out the correct card combo.

Can you describe the first 10 minutes of play? (Not familiar.)

Joined: 12/25/2012
Play with the game pace

If it's that easy to play sub-optimally, than the game needs reworked, not the gamer. (Unless these aren't typical gamers and don't have typical gaming experience/intelligence. I wouldn't expect my mom to win a game half as easily as a typical gamer.)

If these are gamers, though, it sounds like the game needs revised so 9 times out of 10, players have an optimal experience.

My game is a moderately difficult tactical, cooperative, strategy game, so the first phase is designed to be simple so the game is forgiving and players don't lose or get frustrated b/c they don't understand something. But by the second phase, the stakes are raise, and by the third phase, the game is nearly at it's normal difficulty (there are five phases).

I would just recommend raising/lowering the learning curve as needed. Play with the pace of the game.

Garage Gamer
Garage Gamer's picture
Joined: 11/07/2014
I had a problem like this in

I had a problem like this in Reign. To give a bit of background, the win condition of Reign is to get to 9 points and hold a special crown card. You got 3 points for winning a round and 1 point for helping another player win that round.

I found that a game was taking 1+ hours when I wanted to get the game played in 45 mins. It also delayed the fun and juicy end game. The fix? Double the points that a player got for helping someone win a round. It worked beautifully.

What I am trying to get at (having never played your game I am not sure how this would work) is if there is any numeric value that you can double or half early game to speed it up, give it a try. Sometimes it can just be a number balancing game.

Joined: 07/03/2013

Garage Gamer, your idea will work perfectly - I'll just provide double-points for the players who accomplish public objectives first, which will push them to work more quickly along those routes, but the game will slow back down once all the public objectives have been scored for the first time.

Thanks again!

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