A scurvy playtester helps out

Over at the Board Game Geek thread about Scurvy Crew I had one guy in particular expressing interest, and we have exchanged a number of messages both on the thread and privately.  Well, now he has done me the very great honour of printing out and making up a set of cards and reporting on his experience of playing the game.  Thanks once again, Andreas, you have been incredibly helpful.
Picture provided by de_la_poer from Board Game Geek.  This is his 2-player game at the end.
Most of Andreas' comments have been very supportive and included some very useful queries and criticisms.  I'll outline a few key points here...
  • I had omitted a few points from the rules, like exactly how many crew cards get laid out in each tavern.  There were also some bits that weren't clear, either in the rules or the card texts, so I'll have to do a load of tidying, clarifying and editing before the next release.
  • It looks like it is not clear when players should switch between acts: it is easy to get into a point where players just fill their hands with cards rather than go to sea.  Though if one player goes out, the others are likely to follow soon.
  • The process of treasure hunting at sea seems really dull, especially compared to the combat, which Andreas enjoyed.
Further discussion has honed things a little, and I have a few things I want to try, the main ones being...
  • I might merge the first two acts as they are indistinct, even though I like the idea of a game in three acts.  The real answer might be to add some more stuff to distinguish a little, but I'm in the mood to subtract, particularly as I want to add elsewhere.
  • And one thing to add is a system to make it so you have to hunt merchant ships in a similar way to the player-vs-player combat, rather than the abstract (and dull) drawing of treasure cards.  I have a couple of ideas to try here, and would like to have an element of press-your-luck.
  • It would also be nice to come up with a way of making the whole recruiting in taverns part a bit more thematic.  Maybe players could attack each other while ashore, or something like that.
I have plenty to be going on with, but I don't need to get everything sorted right away, as I think it would be better to get more testing done after just taking a couple of steps in what I hope to be the right direction.

So, I guess I'd better stop writing about this game and actually get on with improving it...


The poor man's 3D printer

Making games involves building prototypes, and so far I have made do by using blank cards (or printing them out), scavenging components from other games, or pulling stuff from my growing collection of game bits.  Matt Leacock, the designer of loads of great games, including Pandemic and Roll Through the Ages, as well as the currently-on-Kickstarter Thunderbirds board game, has written an inspiring blog post about using craft foam.
Stolen from Matt's blog: a fine example of sculpting craft foam into Thunderbird tokens.
He waxes lyrical in his post about the advantages of using this not-too-expensive material.  Aside from the sculpting potential (see the picture for neat Thunderbirds prototype components), I'm rather sold on the idea of using this stuff for making up tiles: print out what you want on regular paper, back with self-adhesive craft foam, then cut up with a sharp knife.  I'm definitely going to be trying this trick out...