After almost 2 weeks, I got all the parts together for a first play test of the complete game. For the most part it came together fairly well, but I don't like how the Merchandise mechanics work. I was simulating a fluctuating economy and I just don't think that it is needed. I am going back to the drawing board and I will make it much simpler.
Here is an image of the game at set up:
You can see the Money (small wooden tokens) on the left in 1s, 5s, and 10s. Combat and Event Cards at the top of the board. Cargo tokens represented by colored plastic blocks. Cargo Cards below the Cargo tokens. And then surrounding the board are the City Cards that show the Cargo Production and Cargo Value of each cargo type in each city.
I made many notes and several changes on the fly, but in the end, it was the cargo stage that really slowed down the game. Also, Events only happen if a ship is at sea, and that just wasn't happening that much. Ether I need to make Event Cards always happen even in Port, or I don't need so many Event Cards. Lastly, there were no pirate encounters...Since there is no player vs. player fighting, I need to increase the pirate frequency to add some tension and risk to the game...right now it just feels like a race.
Here is the game after an hour of play:
You will notice that the city cards have really piled up their cargo tokens creating a logistical nightmare of keeping track of it all. You will also note the yellow ship went off to the bottom of the board, this player was doing the best because he had no competition for buying cargo. The other think you will notice is one of the city cards has a huge amount of cargo...this became a big problem. Not only was it messy, but that made it easy to run out of cargo tokens.
My next big task is to clean up the cargo problem and then try the game again. I still have 2 weeks to get things cleaned up before I have a real play session for the NaGa DeMon contest.