We’ve added a link off the main page to enter play results! This will allow us to collect data for future releases and expansions. Check it out http://wickedgringames.com/contact/report-a-result!
After some mightily successful play testing of prototype 5, we have started graphic design on the cards!
Isaac Osuna is going to be helping with some of the illustrations, starting with box art; welcome aboard Ike!
The 5th prototype of Last Starfleet is printed and shiny, and coming to Arizona with me, tomorrow. After a few more play tests, I’ll have it sent out to California for some fun in the sun. …Not that its tired of the midwest, but its never been!
In the last release, I was primarily concerned with fine tuning rewards and player experience. Those changes worked smashingly! But, there was a new challenge; difficulty. After some fairly intense quantification and analysis, I applied a set of content rules to every card in the system.
- The game will ship with a board for each planet. It still contains the planet, but also takes the mystery out of where to play cards, place decks, and discard cards.
- Atmosphere cards are now directed to specific atmo-docks, of which there are four. This adds player choice and alleviates a “complexity speed bump, ” where things are getting more and more complex up to 4 atmosphere cards and then at the fifth, everything is cleared and things get almost too, and certainly too abruptly, simple again.
- Ship cards have been retired in favor of ship mats. Similarly to the planet board, this helps direct players to where they should place things on the table.
- Ships 4 ship docks, so you can’t have 10 engagements or “dock to ship” cards at once. This levels complexity and creates fun player choices; specifically, which docked card to replace when they get their 5th docking card.
- All card content rewritten to satisfy difficulty swings and balance, per win strategy, in any size of game. Winning with 6 players is not easier than winning with 2.
- The Beacon win condition added to alleviate stalemate conditions has changed slightly. The planet lends 3 OC, and each player adds an OC. When you remove the last OC, you’ve constructed the Beacon and win the game. The change from OC counting UP, satisfies the probabilities that lend balance regardless of player numbers… but, also, OC generally cause you to be more damaged. It is more fun to whittle away at stuff that hurts you than it is to add more bad stuff.
Another great week for Last Starfleet!
That idea hit me hard in a last run of Last Starfleet P4. It was a real hurdle in design, but one that I think we have overcome.
David turned me on to a difficulty analysis of an excellent game called Sentinels of the Multiverse, by Greater Than Games.
Their analysis was performed post-publishing and was actually just a submission archiver – people report their win/loss results and over time the database grows. While the method won’t help proactively balancing difficulty in the game, it is interesting how extreme the swings are in such a popular published game.
- Here’s a more straight forward tool, but it is based on the same data. http://x.gray.org/sentinels-
- This is basically “big data” analysis as described in http://www.forbes.com/sites/
What ensued, over the last week was a very detailed analysis of difficulty and how deck choices effect the sum of that difficulty, quantified down to the individual card content level. I… was not seen for days. 🙂
Soon, a P5 will be printed and play tested. The most critically important difference, is that every formation follows rules meant to level difficulty. So if a small number of play tests reveal a game that is too hard, that feedback can be applied throughout the whole “system.” The math, however tedious, should reduce the required play tests from the thousands to the low hundreds.
Last Starfleet has got its groove back…