Today, I tried a few different things with the playtest, which was a 2-player game with my friend D.
- I set the number of techs to the number of players +1 per tech level,
- I drew a number of techs equal to the number of players -1, and
- Extra white dice were added only when a player got a cube on the next level tech.
What did this accomplish? Not much that was good. First, the player who finished the face-up tech first was able to pull away with points much faster than the other. Second, this did nothing to speed up the game. At. All.
Also, some things where highlighted: while Production Dice had something they did whether they were successful or not, research dice did nothing. There was no use in the research dice at all except to use for other game actions.
It is of my opinion that dice need two functions. One that relies on successes and another that relies on face value. To that end, I’m going to utilize research dice in another fashion which will help speed up tech acquisition.
I think what I’m going to do is make it easier to acquire techs. I found it was rather difficult to score the number of successes needed, even with the failure mechanic (luck mitigation). Basically, you can store a die as a failure and after a certain number of failures plus an amount of production points, you can get a success of a certain type needed for the tech you’re working on. While this is awesome, in theory, in practice it was a bit slow.
Also, the number of successes and production points required for a card are a bit over-inflated. Basically, I want to be able to make tech purchases possible, but not dirt easy.
To make tech purchasing easier, I’m going to employ the first of the ideas bandied about tonight. You’ll be able to use the face value of the research die to use as research points if it is not a success. After a certain amount of points, you gain a success on the card. It might make it a bit faster since you’ll be able to stockpile the points on the card for what you’re looking to get if you can’t roll a success to save your life. I’m thinking the average of 2 dice, each rounded up. Since the average is 3.5, that would round to 4 x 2 = 8 points to buy a success instead of rolling a 6 to gain a success immediately. The points you can spend would be limited by your white dice as normal and you would still need production points (reduced from current levels) to purchase the tech.
So, you’ll be given a choice, use that research die to put into buying a success or use that research die toward production points to buy the tech when you’re ready. Also, white dice become more important. This also gives research dice added reason to be in the game.
We’ve found that white dice and pink dice (the two production dice in the game) work very well the way they’re set up as limiters and how successes are utilized. The dice are meaningful when they’re rolled and that’s what I’m aiming for with all the other dice.
So next playtest:
- Research dice produce an automatic success (a 6) or
- Research pips can be used to purchase success at a higher price, probably 8.
- Number of techs in the deck is equal to 1 per player per tech level and
- Number of face-up techs is equal to the number of players.
- Production points to purchase a tech will be modified to account for the use of research pips as research points or production points.
- The number of successes for lower-tier techs should also be looked at, maybe that plus #5 above will be tied together…
Victory points, Tech powers, Wonders, and Achievements will all need to be examined. I want techs, Wonders, and Achievements to be interconnected somehow and I want one achievement to deal with victory points.
For now, I’m going to concentrate on the 6 elements for the next playtest. I am also going to be doing a lot of single-player playtesting to see what kind of appeal this might have for solo gamers.