Today, we played a 3-player game with my friends A and C. Some of the rules changed in order to reduce the amount of time it takes to play the game.
In this test, technologies had different target numbers for each icon present. If there were multiple icons of the same type, they each had a different number. This was to simulate “bumbling onto a research milestone”. The numbers ranged from 2-5 on the die with 1 a failure and 6 a die ability.
Overall, it didn’t feel any different from requiring a 6 for success. I felt that it was artificial and didn’t really speed things up. If anything, it made it more confusing.
We used the new Wonder rules again, where the number of the wonder dictated who went first and how ties were broken. Also, everyone got a free die of a particular type to start.
The more I’ve been playtesting, the more I see that the game is missing the elements that I want for it. I want more press-your-luck. I want dice to mean something. I want technologies to provide you with something extra.
To that end, I think the rules are going to go through a major overhaul in how the dice and techs are used. Techs still need to provide something meaningful and they also need to be easier to acquire. Taking 5-6 turns to get a tech is too long. I want it to take 2-3 max.
Also, I want things to happen when you build Wonders. But I don’t want it to take longer to play the game in order to do it. So I think I’m going to build tech acquisition into Wonder building.
So, to tackle the techs, I think I’m going to take C’s advice and provide a range rather than a discrete number for successful research. In other words, instead of a 2, 3, or 4 (one number for each of 3 research icons of the same type) you’ll be able to research one with a successful roll of 2-4 for any of them. I want a 1 to remain a failure and a 6 to activate abilities.
Additionally, being stuck with 2 dice only until a new tech level is reached sort of sucks. I think what’ll happen is that you’ll be able to roll more dice for each technology you have in addition to being able to roll more Production dice for the tech levels. So if you have a tech that required Trade to acquire, you will have the ability to roll a trade die in addition to your Production and Manpower dice. Your Wonder may give you the ability to roll an additional die as well. I’m going to give the player the option of rolling the die associated with the Wonder, an extra Production die, or an extra Manpower die.
Stockpiling dice for additional rolling, production point storage, failures accumulation, and defenses will remain the same for now.
The dice abilities will remain as they are for now as well since those seem to fit. Though Trade and Enlightenment (wip name) might change with the way I want things to work.
The other bit is to set up the push-your-luck component of the game. Currently every time you roll a die for the first time, you get a free reroll. I think this works fine. Perhaps tech powers could use combinations of dice (straights, doubles, triples, full house, etc.) to do something or activate tech powers, similar to Alien Frontiers. A player’s cube could go on the power to indicate that it’s been used and it is removed at the start of his next turn…that’s a possibility.
Lastly, I think the amount of player interaction needs to be increased. Rolling more dice may also help with this, especially since everyone wants to do what they can with the dice they have.
Time to hit the design and work on the updated pre-alpha rules again! I think I’ll have something more concrete to work with next time around!