Oct 29, 2011

Playtest Day, Part 1

Titans of Industry playtest

Last weekend I held a playtest day to prepare for the upcoming Metatopia convention. I always like to shore up my prototypes with my own group before showing it to strangers because tests with complete strangers are a ralatively rare and valuable opportunity. Strangers not only are more willing to crush your spirit, but they approach the game without expectations from playing previous version. I don't want to squander such an opportunity on problems my own group could have found.

First on the block was Titans of Industry. My main goal in this test was to try out another set of level-3 advancements. Below is the set used for this game.

  • At end of game, gain one market share for each advancement owned by at least one other opponent and not owned by you.
  • Advertising - Players may purchase this multiple times. At the end of each age, in each market, you are guaranteed to sell a number of cubes at least equal to the number of times you have bought this.
  • Upgrade all of your facilities for free. They do not produce this turn.
  • Action: Choose two of your facilities and pay the higher overtime cost. Both facilities produce normally.
  • Action: Upgrade a real estate card to the next level by paying the next level's resource cost. You may take over that real estate by paying the owner $20.
  • When another player builds real estate, you may also build real estate.

I also introduced a new rule: the first facility each player builds in the game is immediately upgraded to size two for free. This helps get the game moving faster, as well as differentiating the players more as players can no longer swap the order of their choices and end up in the same place.

The eventual winner of the game had bought the two-facilities advancement and bought the Advertising advancement twice, so I feel it is safe to say that those are finally powerful enough. The other players felt that advertising might be too valuable, but since the margin of victory between first and second was only 9 points (148 to 139), I feel comfortable with the power level.

The players also felt that the Titan cards had relatively low payouts versus their initial expectations. This is good; Titan cards should be a jumping-off point and not dominate a player's game.

Finally, one of the level-one advancements was deemed to be not only bad, but so obviously bad as to not have any chance of ever being bought. I am okay with a game having "bad" choices, but I think they should not be blatantly bad to a first-time player. Therefore, I have increased the payoff of this advancement. It is still not something I think I would ever buy, but it might be good enough to attract some players to try it out.

I'll go over the second game tested in the next post.

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