Building in the Valley

Following on from my post about my "drafting" game a couple of weeks back, I have spent a little more time on the game and am getting closer to a complete game.  There's still a little way to go, but it's coming along.

This game has been developing along an interesting path. What I did was to start with enough components to just about play a first round with three players, and solo-played all three positions myself, adding extra components when I needed them.  Unusually, by my recent standards, I was working by drawing on bits of card, something I usually only do for initial experiments with small parts of a possible game.
The big, green pawn, by the way, is a first player token.
This is a method that works pretty well with a supply of index cards, sharpies, scissors and a paper trimmer, and assorted "stock" components. The game starts with five actions available (claim location, produce goods, sell goods, buy goods, and select score cards), so the game can pretty much be started with knowledge of what those actions do, and more introduced as they are added from the deck, including the opportunity to build locations and roads, and expand your control from claimed locations.  Some of these required additional components to be added, and I was making new action cards when I thought of them.

At this point, the only thing really preventing the game being playable all the way through is a lack of score cards (I just fluffed through that when it came up), and I'll need to throw something together there before I can get much further.  The idea is that when the "select score cards" action is chosen, everyone gets to select a single score card which gives them a scoring condition to apply at the end of the game. Each player will acquire maybe three of these through the game, and not all of them will be in play in any given game. The idea is that your strategy is shaped by the score cards selected as the game progresses.

One major decision (which is reversible if I don't like the outcome, so it's not really a big deal) is whether victory is based on how much money you have at the end of the game (in which case the score cards give you bonuses to your earnings), there is a victory point tally, or something else is used. Victory points seems natural to me as a gamer, but they can be unintuitive and seem very arbitrary, suggesting that it is usually better to have some other measure of success.  I'll probably plump for "have the most cash" as the victory condition to start with.

Anyway, that's where we are at right now. Once I have an initial set of score cards I'll start pushing the game at playtesters, starting with some who I know are OK with incomplete and terrible games.

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