Friday, February 10, 2006

The Serious Side Of Gaming.....

well.. today's entry is still about gaming (what else?).. but on a more serious note.. it actually involves some work too.. but still.. my work in this case is to playtest a game.. MY GAME in fact.. so I don't think I should be in any position to complain about anything.. but it can be quite serious stuff.. with all the tweaking, balancing, altering of rules... serious stuff... as we had to constantly ask ourselves what is wrong? or what can be done better? guess game design is not purely an art only.. this constant experimentation kinda shows its a science too.. oh well..
anyway.. on with the show...

PLAYTEST #1: 06.02.2006. MONDAY

For this session, we playtested with a very simple track with only one shortcut. The main purpose in this playtest was to test the foundational mechanics of the game, to see it there were any major problems, whether it was functional, and most importantly... whether it was fun... here are some of the important changes and points noted...

  • The foundational mechanics of the game were altered, from a 8- cards given, shuffle every 5 turns format, to a 5-random-cards per shuffle format. This change was made to make the players' movements a bit more random and harder to predict.
  • Race was kept close, players were rather neck to neck with each other during the course of the game
  • A suggestion was made to change the movement to a 3 card format.
  • Penalty for getting rammed was changed from the victim missing a turn to the victim to losing one action card and moving one space less on the next turn.
  • Situations arose when there were two players on the same square crossing the finish line at the same time.
  • Power ups were refilled at the start of each lap.
  • Suggestion was made for more power ups as players would prefer to constantly be able to play action cards and whack other players.
  • Overhead and delay were observed in the 5 movement cards distributed every 5 turns format setting

This session allowed us to see that the fundamentals of the game worked quite well. All we needed from there was to add in the spices and test the game out again and see if it would be better.


This session, we added in the spices, mainly the chance cards and came up with a more complex and almost-final track design to see if all the elements fell together properly. The points noted and changes taken include:-

  • Chance cards created and added to the game.
  • Movement was changed to a 3-in-hand, draw one card after every turn format to reduce overhead, yet allowing players to still be able to plan their moves but with a random factor involved.
  • A HP system was added to alter the penalty for getting rammed.
  • Ramming penalty was altered to the reduction of 1 HP and loss of one action card.
  • This was done as it was easy to forget there penalty of one less movement in the next turn(me being the biggest offender of this).
  • Card order for play was set to movement, chance then action, to clear ambiguity.
  • Power up points were placed on the map to ensure players constantly had action cards to play.
  • Placing of power up points were tested.
  • Tested the new track, and identified where was the fun part and where were alterations needed.


This was the playtest with a lot of changes made... but the result is.. IMO.. the game was a lot a lot more fun. The chance cards were hilarious... we really went over-the-top and came up with some of the weirdest events (anyone say U.F.O? [inside joke]). The change in the game rules and distribution of cards also allowed the game to become more intuitive. More instantaneous.. which is a good thing.. cos it means.. less overhead. The track also played out well, the design of it allowed quite a bit of funny things to happen. We playtested it from 2.30.. and before anyone knew.. it was already 6 in the evening... guess that must mean its fun... rite? RITE?

P.S. I came in last, but still found the game rather entertaining.

Anyway.. one more playtest to come on Saturday (damn my group mates.. WHY SATURDAY?!!!). But guess that would be the final internal playtest and a crucial one, as we will have to finalize everything by then before starting production on the final product. For the meantime... THE GREAT ONE.. riding off into the sunset in a U.F.O...


Blogger alex said...

Sounds like the game is definitely fun... losing track of time is a good sign! :)

How do the HP work? Do you die if you run out? Is there a "healing" square? (guess I'll find out the answers on Monday...)

9:38 PM  

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