The game of the moment is definitely Scurvy Crew, and I have managed to get another playtest group assembled to test the changes I have made over the last couple of weeks. The main changes involve the way treasure is handled, with custom treasure cards, plus a treasure bonus for the player who sinks each merchant ship in addition to the "area control" rewards.
|Towards the end of the game, with treasure and tea nearly run out.|
So, some of the take-aways from this play included:
- The game took 70 minutes to play, with several pauses where I needed to clarify some rules. Without those pauses and bits of confusion, the game would have been within an hour, and almost certainly a load quicker with more experienced players. This I take as a win.
- BUT those pauses for clarification are a huge problem. Part of the problem is that the terminology I have on the cards is woolly and inconsistent, so fixing that should reduce confusion significantly. I will also have to think long and hard (and observe more) to see what complexity in the game is unnecessary and should be cut or simplified. There is bound to be something.
- The bonus treasure for actually sinking a merchant was an incentive for people to jump in and actually finish them off, but when the final scores were reckoned, it turned out that these bonuses didn't effect anything and were in practice disproportionately small. Shouldn't be hard to fix that.
- The set collection aspect of treasure collecting didn't really pan out as hoped: there was a feeling that you were getting random rewards and then you ended up with some sort of a score that you had little control over.
- Balance is terrible. I know this, and am slowly chipping away at it, but my style of play is to not worry too much about balance until late in the development process. The players were aware of this, but it can be hard for them to not worry about it. Maybe I should rethink my process a bit here.
- There was general agreement that there should be parrots, monkeys and rum. :/
I ended up with plenty more notes than this, so I have a lot to be working with. Big thanks to the Some-Mondays group for some great feedback. My next opportunity to playtest is likely to be next week, so I'd better get to it...