Sep 1, 2008

GenCon Fallout - Part 3

In my previous post, I related the problems uncovered during my GenCon playtest of Titans of Industry.

The biggest fix suggested was to create a "beginner's version" of the game. This would be a version without energy or durables markets. Only the consumables markets, research, and real estate would stay in the game. In addition, real estate cards would not rely on players to build them. They would automatically be populated over time. This is because new players tend to drastically underestimate the value of real estate, prolonging the game.

As for the normal game, there were some balance issues that needed to be addressed. Real Estate was hugely overpowered in the GenCon version. Building real estate immediately sent you to the front of the turn order track for the next round. While the need to shuffle the turn order remained important, this fix was too drastic.

I was also told to include built-in, "level zero" real estate spots. These would essentially be pre-existing demand generators that would be present at the very start of the game. This would guarantee a minimum level of demand for each market, preventing relatively inexperienced players from being screwed in the first age and never recovering from the income disparity.

Lastly, I decided to restrict facilities from being activated more than twice in a turn. I have, since instituting the ability to use your facility multiple times in a turn, struggled with the balance between making doing so cheap enough that it is a viable option, but expensive enough that it doesn't occur too often. Every playtest since then has been plagued by players abusing this ability at the start of the third age, when money is plentiful.

So those were the changes I decided to bring home with me. Between the time I arrived back in New York and the night of the next playtest, I had a radical idea. I would term this idea "Bizarro-World Titans". But that can wait until next time.

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