Monday, October 30

A Game Designer's Holiday

Involved quite a lot of game design! Unlike a recent trip to see Dunk, which featured quite a lot of note taking, and new game ideas, this holiday the game design was mostly about Jorvik, a fast 2-player game I'm making pretty good progress on. I played seven games of Jorvik, one against myself, to test some new ideas, two against Mal and four against Linz. I was playing with the deck I had constructed after my visit to Dunk's, so this version hadn't been played before (although it had quite a lot of similarities to the version Dunk and I played). I had also hoped to take a first prototype of Codename: Sennon a 2-6 player game I'm still at the early stages of, but we had a few nights out before the holiday, so I didn't get a chance to knock up a simple prototype.

Jorvik experienced some small changes during the week. I came up with five ideas of possible changes that I could use to change the game. I think the game is still getting better, and Linz seemed to enjoy it, but it still has some weaknesses. Mal (who loves Border Reivers), wasn't a fan of it, and in particular the card-counting aspect to it as you try to complete things before each of the three ages end. In the current rules you will draw a fixed number of cards before the age ends, which means that you can count the cards to avoid getting caught short. Why a fixed number of cards? I've been trying to keep the set-up of the game (shuffling, deck construction, dealing initial cards) to a minimum. The set-up is already fairly weighty for a simple card game, and I didn't want to make it any worse. I'm also thinking of increasing the number of event cards to boost the amount of player interaction and confrontation.

In fact, writing the above paragraph has given me another idea. Just the act of describing the problems it faces made me go off in a different direction. It incorporates a few of the ideas I came up with over the week away, plus a pretty significant change I've just thought of. Time for another prototype, methinks.

While I was away I also had an idea for Sennon, the game I had hoped to make a first prototype of to take away on holiday. The idea increases the strategic options a bit, and adds some more player interaction - always a good thing. I need to get a prototype of this together fairly soon.

I'm off to Paul's for another games night tonight - it'll be the first time in a while - so I'm really looking forward to it.

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