Don't Despair Despite the Devastating Dirigible Demolition

They say that no plan survives contact with the enemy.  So it is with initial prototypes and playtesters.  Or it is with mine, anyway.

I've just had an evening with one of my long-suffering playtesters, trying out the Dirigible battle game, which is really intended to be for higher player counts, but I want the game to be at least reasonably amusing for two.  The session started out deeply flawed (in other words it totally sucked at first), but we made a few tweaks during play and ended up with something that I think is certainly better.
Some point blank unpleasantness.
The major positive I had was that the way players get a random hand of attack cards (each allows an attack in one of six possible directions) seems to be a real feature of the game, as you manoeuvre to get into position to make best use of them.  The huge down side at first was that movement of the other players is just so unpredictable that nobody was going to actually land a hit on anyone.

The main tweak we made was to have simultaneous selection of movement and attack cards, as was the original plan, but then to resolve these all sequentially with a different first player each time, and allow you to choose to use one or both of your movement card's actions: speed and rudder changes.  This resulted in making the airships a lot more controllable and adding a lot more of a tactical dimension to the game as you manoeuvre, trying to be ready for the phases when you will be moving ahead of your opponent.

The down side to this was that, with attacks automatically hitting as per the original rules, there just seemed too much control.  We didn't try this, but my feeling is that a simple die roll for an attack would fit in nicely here.  Attack dice are a familiar trope of combat games, so wouldn't feel out of place here, and a simple rule like, "roll higher than the range on a d6" would probably be a good thing to try first.

Anyway, with the re-jigged rules we actually had a bit of fun here, despite the card texts not being quite right any more.  My next pass will involve reworking those cards (especially the damage cards, which need changes to compensate for the changes), then testing again on a small scale with die rolls for attacks.  Then, with a little luck, I'll be able to get enough testers together to try this out as a team game.

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