This week I made it to Newcastle Playtest for the first time since April! It was a great evening - good to see the guys and catch up and also check in with their games designs. First we had a couple of games of The Book of the Dead, a fantastic little timed game from Paul Scott. We played it for almost the first time back in April and I loved it, and I was delighted to see that it was just as much fun this time round (by now with much nicer art!). Paul is thinking of Kickstarting it reasonably soon I believe. We ended with Galactic Contractors, one of Dan's that had improved greatly since my last play.
In between those we played a couple of games of Zombology, but with some slightly different rules. I'd played it a couple of times recently at work during our lunchtime games club and the rules explanation and then the confusion around hands of different sizes going round made me think I needed to do something about the Guru rules. I had an idea a couple of weeks ago that I tried out one lunchtime and that idea has since evolved in my head into a more streamlined idea. It has the double bonus of simplifying the Guru and failed cards rules and simultaneously getting rid of the uneven hand size too.
It worked pretty well, we played a seven player and then an eight player game (I think!) and won both. Everyone thought it was an improvement on the old rules, but we won both games, the first one in round three! The fastest win I'd seen in the previous 100-odd games was round five. So there's a chance it's suddenly much easier. I can't think how that would be true, but I need to play a load more games to get some empirical data.
During the week I've been working on the rules for a second edition taking the rules from the handmade limited edition as a starting point. I've changed the Guru rules as mentioned above which simplify things quite a bit and I've also tried to cut down on the word count. The rules sheet for the first version looked like a fairly intimidating wall of text, which considering it's not too complicated a game is a bit disappointing. It was so wordy once I'd covered off the rules and tried to make sure all the grey areas were clearly explained that there was no room for diagrammatic examples :-(
So this week I've been trying to pare the rules down a bit. The rules changes removed quite a lot of 'if this then that otherwise something else' and then I went through trying to cut out all the places where my natural loquacity had made things unnecessarily wordy. I've managed to shave off nearly 300 of 1844 words which, when I lay them out in InDesign, will hopefully free up some space for more diagrams and examples.
I'm not expecting to get much done this week - I've a work night out on Tuesday, Games Night on Wednesday, I've got to get stuff ready for a trip to America next week for work and I also want to spend some time with my family before I go.
But next week I'm in America all week so I'll probably have the hours of 3am to 7am every day to spend on sorting out the new rules in InDesign. Gotta love jet lag.
The good news is that the new rules don't require any new components - they work with the cards as published in the first version. The only slight exception is that the cards dealt in the first round have changed slightly, so the cheat sheet on the first round marker is now out of date.