Saturday, November 19, 2011

A play test of pilfered parts!

So I got all the cards reprinted and sleeved, and while I was at it, decided to snag some parts from games I am not currently playing.  This is a great way to get the parts you need without having to make them yourself or use ugly placeholder tokens.  The only important thing to remember about doing this is to put the pieces back when you find suitable parts to use.
Here you can see I used Ship Tokens from my copy of Cyclades and Money Tokens from my copy of Constantinopolis.  They look so much better than the little wooden disks I was using last time.

Playing my game today, things went a lot better this time.  First, I fired up Slacker and played my station that is all about Sea Shanty Songs and Pirate Music for some mood music. Then, I got to play about 10 rounds and touched on every aspect of the game from Movement, Buying and Selling, Combat, and Action Cards gained from the Event Deck.  After about 2 hours of playing and making notes, I started making "on the fly" changes and playing with them for a few round before my list of notes got to long.

At the Start of the game I have three ships starting in Hong Kong.  There is a random City Card placed at the edges of the board for each city (Except Hong Kong which is on the board).  These tell the players the values of Cargo in each of the cities.  I drew an Event Card to determine the starting number of Pirate Tokens (the result was 1) then I drew a Cargo Card to determine the City the Pirate is placed near (in this case Nagasaki). Note the Red Token at the top right of the board just east of Hong Kong, the Player's starting point.
Very early on Blue ran into some Pirate trouble and had to hobble into a port for repairs.  This put him well behind the other players who were already at about 12-15 money while Blue was back around 4.  I have to admit that it was partly my fault, because every time I have done combat, it was never very challenging.  This time the cards were not on Blue's side and he got lots of "Misses" while the Pirates kept scoring hits.  Bad Luck Blue!  Because of this I have decided to create a "Run Away" option to combat.  Pirates will get one attack while the Ship running away will not.  The ship will not leave the space it currently occupies, but it will be free of the combat.

I played with a lot of different rules.  The big one was the Run Away from Combat rule.  I had a Storm happen and didn't like the way it played or the penalties for being blown into land, so I will be making some changes there.  I also played with what happens when a player drops cargo off in port. I was looking at making the price drop after a shipment arrives to show the market was flooded, but I never got another ship in the same port going delivering the same cargo so it never got tested.  I switched around Play Order.  Moved the Events to the beginning before Movement.  Moved Combat to before Buying and Selling.
Here is what the game board looked like by the time called the game done.  A lot less cluttered then the last few play throughs (Check previous posts to see the past Play Tests I have posted).  Most of the changes will be made to the Event Cards.  Since I moved Events to the beginning of the Turn, and all players draw an event, it is now possible for players in Port to draw cards that were only designed for ships at sea.  So there will be some big changes there.

These are the player's add-hoc Ship Cards at the end of the game.  After that first big fight with Blue and the Pirates I realized that I had no record of how many Cannons players had, no list of ship spread, or how many Cargo Spaces they had.  The next big addition will be different ships with different stats. You can see Whit there has 32 Gold with Red trailing at 24 and Blue way in last place with 2 and about 15 Gold in Cargo (depending on where he sold it).  Blue also has 2 Damage Cards, both Sail Damage which makes him move slower, this is also not very fun and I will be looking at changing how damage works.

With any luck I will get these changes made quickly and have another version to play maybe by tomorrow, but it will most likely be sometime in the middle of next week.

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