It's been a busy week at ex-Reiver Towers. We were away last weekend with all my family and on our return The Daughter came down with a stinking cold, followed by a stomach bug. This weekend has also been our first weekend with all of us at home without any guests for nearly two months, so we've been trying to catch up on a few things while washing the sick out of everything we own :(
Anyway, back on topic! Next weekend I'm off to America for a week with work so I'm trying to make some Vacuum progress before I go. Last week I had a game at lunchtime with Chief, trying out a couple of new rules that I'd thought of following Tim's feedback. They worked. I'm not yet sure that they are better, but they are interesting. I'll try them a few more times before making a call whether to stick with the old ones or switch to the new ones. The new ones work with the current version as well as the next one, so I tried them out with the current version, pending the new version being constructed.
The new version, is now complete on the computer, ready for printing and cutting out - it's just waiting for me to find the time to get it manufactured. I've got another playtest session on Wednesday lunchtime - in an ideal world, I'll get the game made in time for that session. I've got two nights, it might be possible, fingers crossed ...
To the subject of this post, I was talking a few weeks ago about having Vacuum pretty much working and now needing to focus on simplifying things. Scratch that. It's time to knock it up a notch. BAM! One of the endgame conditions that you can try to score is for exploring the Solar System. In the current version exploration is pretty bland: you get points for exploring locations based on their range - the further away they are the more points you get. But all the ones at a given range give you the same points. Therefore, you always explore at the furthest range you can, but other than that it doesn't really matter which location you explore. Bland. Beige. Neutral. Tim spotted that it was boring. My playtesters at Beer and Pretzels spotted it, but I was clearly too close to it to spot it myself. When I started hearing 'boring' from multiple playtesters, it obviously needed some thought. So I've gone back on my word and started making things more complicated. I've given each location an exploration score that they will give the person who explores them. They generally increase with range, but at each range there are multiple options - so there's an incentive to explore early, and to choose one location over another. In fact, the locations are also being upgraded in other ways to make them even more interesting. Of course, until I try these ideas out I don't know whether they'll make things more interesting or just more complicated. Hence the need for testing and getting the next version made.
With all the trips away we've had over the last few months, I've had this version on the cusp of ready for a few weeks now, if I don't get it ready this week, then I've got to wait another two weeks until my return from the US. The suspense is killing me. I need to get it done in time for Wednesday!