After several weeks of very little progress on my games design while I focussed on app development for my phone instead, I've finally had a good week of game design progress.
It got off to a good start on Monday night, when I printed out the latest version of Zombology, which has sat on my hard drive for several weeks if not a month waiting to see the light of day. There were a couple of problems I spotted after printing that I didn't have time to correct, but I'll fix them up before the next version.
Tuesday was the October meetup of the Newcastle branch of Playtest UK. With new Zombology in hand we started off with a couple of games of that - it's becoming a habit to start with Zombology as it's short and supports lots of players so we can play a couple of games of it before splitting into smaller groups for other games. We tried the new rules which I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, and as I feared at the time, they require more changes to be made. Opinion on the new rules was split with Dan and Paul preferring them and the others either on the fence or preferring the old rules. With twice as many decisions to make and the ability to hang onto a card you definitely felt a lot more in control, but the downside was that the Cure cards were all hogged in the second half of the game, so the initial deal was more important. Either way, the new version was way too easy for the players to win, so I'll have to address the card balance if I continue with the new rules, as well as come up with something for the Cure-hogging possibly.
After Zombology we split up and I got to play 54 Jones, Paul's game about Sci-Fi Sewer Surfing Cleaner Clones. As ever it was very entertaining, and this version was the slickest I've played so far. Then we played another Zombology (with Alex who'd missed the first two games) and then a couple of side-by-side Border Reivers, using the bits from the four players limited edition to cobble together two two-player games. Paul had played the limited edition rules last month, so this time we all played some of the ideas I've had for a new version. As is to be expected for a first play, it was pretty unbalanced, so I've got a bunch of changes to make before I play it again.
Thursday lunchtime we got a couple of games of Zombology in (three and four player, so I've now played this version with 3, 4, 5 and 6) and yet again they were player wins, further convincing me that it needs tightening up again.
Finally on Saturday I made it to Newcastle Gamers for a few games. We played Trains (new to me), Carcassonne the City (on my list of games to play this year) and Love Letter. Trains was suggested by Olly as something a little like Codename: Vaccuum that I might want to play for research purposes. As it turns out it gave me some new ideas.
On top of all of this, I've been cracking on with my board game app on my phone and I really ought to put out another update to my BGG Last Plays app to fix a crash reported in the wild and a couple of minor things suggested by friends.
Busy, busy, busy!