Jul 14, 2006

DexCon 9

Yesterday I decided to go to DexCon 9, contrary to my previous plans to skip it because I'm busy this Saturday. When I first got there I just milled around a bit and said hello to people I knew. Carl Olson, who played Television Executive at the mass-designer playtest last Saturday, did a dobule-take when he saw me, as I'd told people there I wouldn't be making DexCon.

The main purpose of going was to help Andrew Parks test one of his designs-in-progress, Elemental Wars. Andy had a couple of playtesters coming, but they got delayed and his test was postponed until today. So, this was a good opportunity to try out the second version of Conglomerate. We grabbed a third player and got down to it.

We played for over an hour before stopping. I have not come up with an end goal or trigger yet in this early stage of design, so we just played to accumulate victory points. I was glad that the game stayed interesting as long as it did. It means that the central mechanic of manipulating and meeting market demand was compelling to people who are not named Michael Keller.

Afterwards we hashed out some issues with the game. Below are my notes from the kibitzing. But Andy was very complementary of the game. He felt it was the best design of mine that he had seen yet and said that it had some "Euro" elements. Even though there were those issues, they were more fiddly and not core to the thrust of the game and Andy said the design was on the right track. It was nice to hear this from a designer and friend whom I respect as much as I do and from someone whom I know would thankfully not pull punches at a playtest. Anyway, here is a transcription of my notes on Conglomerate:

Conglomerate 2.0

end-game trigger
- when all filled, go around once + consume, player who filled first shot at empty
new potential vehicle on segments 4-6
gametext on cards
- accelerate the game
bonuses for being the sole seller of a good to a type of place
- geometric increase
stone needs to be more important (stone-> Factory)
oil rig 2 steel
office 2 stone 1 steel
balance good - prevent mass buy
careful of lynchpin player
increase competition for markets
bonus for house owners
season changes more predictable

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