|One of the 5-player games at Expo, running at Saturday lunchtime. Fun to watch.|
Firstly, statistics. I wasn't rigorously checking the play times, but we do seem to be fairly steady at around 20 minutes (plus or minus about 4), regardless of how many players we have, which is pleasing. I recorded the number of reshuffles, and the end game scores for each game, noting the scores in player order (so first player first):
|3||10, 8, 5||1|
|5||10, 8, 8, 4, 5||2|
|3||4, 10, 8||1|
|4||6, 6, 7, 10||1|
|5||8, 9, 10, 7, 3||3|
In most cases, there seems to be an issue where one or two players lag behind the leaders by quite a large margin. This is a little concerning to me, though there isn't yet enough data to see if this is really a thing. I discussed this with some of the players and, in that discussion at least, it was felt that this is probably not a big deal and might actually be an issue due to inexperienced players making basic mistakes (like not being assertive enough). I think I need to check this, and can do so by getting some testers to play a few times and see how the score distributions change as they gain experience.
My general observations in all the games were that the game generates a fair bit of laughter and the quick change and dirty tricks rules were very popular and used extensively, and often effectively. I think I may have got them about right now.
From the feedback, both written and spoken, most people seem to like the game for what it is, but there were a few players who felt that the game needs some extra options or different actions to increase the variety of play. One player suggested that there could be a third area for competition aside from combat and disco.
I'm a bit cagey about adding more in, as I think the game seems to be working well at present, but I think perhaps I can think of some cards to add for an advanced game in case people want a bit more. It would be nice to have some sort of expansion module that could be included, as it might spread the appeal, but perhaps crowbarring that sort of thing in might be working against what the game wants to be. I'm sure it can be done though and I will get to that eventually.
I did actually make a very minor change to the rules based on feedback on Saturday (dirty tricks can now swap items with the armoury row as well as with other players), and this change appears to be for the better, so thanks to the guy who suggested that.
Other feedback included a suggestion that a soundtrack is needed for the game; a comment that the non-medieval elements of the game don't seem to fit in as well (this might be due to my dodgy art!); having too many challenges turn up too early can be a problem; and final artwork will be key to the game's appeal.
All in all, I owe a huge thank you to everyone who played over the weekend. I'm starting to get some confidence that I'm now moving in the right direction, and that I probably just need to get the game played as much as possible and try to shake out any long-term trends to see what needs working on next. Part of this is investigating what happens with experienced players, as discussed earlier. And I think it might be time for me to start pushing a bit harder to get some blind tests done...