Saturday, October 12, 2013

Play Test Results and A New Direction

A lot of changes have occurred with my game since my last blog post. Firstly, I decided to make a minor adjustment to my game's concept or theme. I've decided that instead of mad scientists building an army of robots my theme will be super villains building an army of minions. It is not a huge shift, and there are some similarities between the two concepts but it was a change I felt worth noting. Secondly, I've had a few chances to play test my game and have been tweaking and changing any problems that have arisen from those trial runs.

"You mad, bro?"


First Round of Play Testing 
In this initial round my idea was to simply get the items I needed to play test and go from there. I ended up over printing a lot and came out with many more cards than I needed, which I believe caused the most problems.

Main Issues: 
  • Too many minion and money cards made the draw piles over saturated in terms of specific colors coming up much too frequently, and some not coming up frequently at all.
  • This problem also made the game very monotonous.
  • There weren't enough minion cards on the table, so it made it hard to actually buy minion cards which is an important mechanic in the game. 
  • Players didn't feel like they were really accomplishing or doing much in the game. 
  • The game's play time dragged on for way too long. 
  • Having only a single action per turn was another factor that made the game run too long and feel slow to players.


Fixes: 
  • I cut down the number of both minion and money cards significantly. 
  • I upped the number of minion cards on the table from 5 to 7. 
  • I upped the number of actions a player could take per turn from one to two. 

Mad Strats.

Second Round of Play Testing
For the second round I cut down the amount of cards drastically. This significantly improved game play, but there were still problems that arose during this round of testing. The game went faster though still not fast enough and the entire process felt more fun and strategic. I also got a lot of good ideas from the Juniors I play tested the game with in terms of aesthetics.

Main Issues: 
  • The Power Markers were determined to be redundant and more of an annoyance than a necessity.
  • The fight mechanic felt like it could be too easily taken advantage of. 
  • There are too many money colors on the board, which is another reason the game goes so long and hand size is a problem. They should be cut down to 4 as opposed to 7. 
  • The point system is too confusing, the points should just correlate to the actual cards being played rather than scale up. 

Fixes:
  • I've decided to cut the power markers entirely out of the game. 
  • I have decided to cut down the money colors to 4 as opposed to 7.
  • I've simplified the point system to be more straight forward.


Issues I'm still working on resolving: 
  • A Problem with hand limit came up in both play testing sessions. It was too easy to hoard money cards, and it got complicated to have essentially two separate hands between money and minion cards. I'm not sure how to resolve this yet, I am considering mandatory discards. 
  • The fight system is currently not quite working properly. Someone suggested instead of having the fights occur while the minions are in a player's hand, eliminate the hand step all together and just have them be instantly played in the player's army, and then having the armies actually fight. 
  • There is currently not enough player to player interaction within the game. Fixing the fight mechanic would likely resolve this issue. 
  • Because the "power markers" were deemed redundant, my method for ending the game has essentially been removed. I'd still like to keep the goal to be achieving the most points by the end of the game, but I need to figure out another way to end the game without the markers.