With construction stalled on It's Alive! (I've bagged all the bits and I've no boxes at home to make any more copies until the next delivery from my boxmaker), I've had some time to think more about the third game from the Reiver Games' stable. I've a few promising submissions, and I've one more en route. Two of my games are nearly ready too, Codename: Jorvik and Codename: Artist.
I've been working from home the last couple of days. With time to kill at lunchtime and after work, I've spent some time giving Jorvik a thorough run-through. It's a 2-player card game, with an estimated play time of 15 - 30 minutes. I've played a bunch of games solo, trying out different ideas quickly to see what works and what doesn't.
The rules have changed in minor ways after each play as I tweak things, and I think it's definitely improving. I'm trying to smooth things out so the rules are as simple as possible while providing a challenging and fun game. I'm also trying to get it to involve some player confrontation, but not too much. The recent changes I've made have simplified card placement, at the expense of slightly more complicated scoring. By easing the restrictions on card placement it's easier to play cards, and hence your less likely to be unable to play a card on your turn. It also simplifies the rules (in terms of complexity and word count). The slightly more complicated scoring thematically makes sense (which is important to me), and gives you a secondary goal for card placement - which makes the game slightly deeper (it's still pretty light fare). I'm going to play it a bunch more, trying out a few more ideas. Once the rules settle down a bit then I'll be ready to try it out on a few friends, write the rules up and get some blind-playtesting done.
For the moment, though, it's back to the tweaking and solo-play.
In other news, It's Alive! has been reviewed on Joystiq.com. The reviews lead to three sales within half an hour of posting, and seeing as I've only got nine copies finished at the moment pending further boxes, this could get interesting...