Monday, May 26

Next Steps

It's been a fairly quiet week. After last week when The Wife was away and The Parents were up and then last weekend when I was down at Beer and Pretzels gaming I wanted to take a few days to think about what needs to happen to Zombology to take it to the next level.

A few weeks ago I asked for blind playtesters for Zombology. I warned the volunteers that I wanted to try out some changes I'd just come up with before making it available to them. I took the version containing those changes to Beer and Pretzels and tried it out with a few friends that I only get to see at Beer and Pretzels. It didn't work as I had hoped and left me wondering whether the problems were due to a bad shuffle of a new prototype or fundamental problems with the new version.

I'd made the first deck more positive, getting rid of some of the events and adding more science cards. The extra science cards had higher values which meant that in the first half of the game you had something to aim for. The downside however was that the second half of the game became too easy. Starting the second half of the game with some value three cards in play meant you could cure a suit in one or two of the remaining four turns. This made it too easy for the players to win, taking the game back towards the previous version which had been too easy.

So I've spent most of this week thinking of ideas to address the comments from Beer and Pretzels and the previous Newcastle Playtest while not knackering the game difficulty. I've got some more ideas to try out now:

  • Add another value card to move the goalposts for curing back
  • End the game immediately after a cure (which will mess with whether or not to play a cure)
  • Take the twos back out of the second half of the game (making it harder to resurrect dead suits)

As usual, I've no idea how these changes will work until I've made a prototype and tried it out. We're away visiting friends this weekend, so it'll have to wait until next week before I can try things out.

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