Jun 15, 2008

Titans of Industry v8

Last Thursday saw a playtest of version 8 of Titans of Industry.

Here is a recording of that playtest. Following that is a brief analysis.The first thing that strikes me is that I've finally gotten the game under two and a half hours. As I've said before, this time marker is very important. That such a hurdle was cleared when two of the players were not only completely new to Titans of Industry, but could not even be reasonably called experienced board gamers, makes me happy. It means even a group of gamers playing this for the first time will be able to finish this within the prescribed length.

The final scores were:
John - 75
Jeff - 48
Michael - 77
KB - 66

This was another high point, as after the second age it appeared to all of the players, including myself, that I had run away with the game and had become unstoppable. The final margin was incredibly close, such that for a moment it looked like I had been overtaken.

The last source of satisfaction for me was the result of the gamble I had taken with the new board layout. It was a radical departure from the previous design, a greater change than any since the changes seen in version 5. It vastly improved the game. It initially caused some confusion for one player, but I believe that can be remedied with a change to the color scheme.

In fact, most of the changes for the next version will be cosmetic as I attempt to use visual organization to speed up players' comprehension of the rules, especially those related to scoring.

As far as rules changes go, I am going to revert to the old rent scheme, where all properties had the same rent, regardless of their level. The new scheme was too complex and slowed down turns as it added several seconds to each turn to calculate the proper amount of rent.

In addition, I am completely scrapping the ranch and beef. I have wasted far too many versions of this game trying to get beef to work and it has either been completely useless or completely overpowered each time.

I am also going to make research a basic facility in terms of labor cost again. While version 7 saw far too many advancements purchased (23 out of 24), version 8 saw only a single advancement purchased, by the only person producing research, no less.

I am going to have one more playtest before departing for Origins, where I currently have appointments with two publishers. I haven't been this excited about one of my designs in a long time.

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