by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)
Part of our Rise of the Rock Star Kickstarter Blog series
Several months ago, Chris and I finally got around to our second 3-player game. The first one months eariler with a co-worker of mine didn't fare too well. The main complaint was the cards. Not that the cards didn't work but that it seemed to overwhelm our third player. He would draw cards and read... and read... and read.
That game test brought about Chris' Tutorial Version of the game. A 3 'mini-game' version where you started with the smaller levels (using no cards, then just some cards) to get player familiar with the game, then moving on to more complex rules/cards. I'll leave Chris to tell you about his Tutorial Version.
My friend James came over for a game day. Before playing any other games we ran through Chris' Tutorial Version then we got on to a full game of Rise of the Rock Star. The game went well since James is a board gamer so more complex rules and game play are nothing new to him. He picked it up fairly quickly only having issues with a couple of the rules.
When we were done with a complete game we asked him his opinion of spaces, cards, rules, etc. We asked him to hold nothing back and boy how he DIDN'T. He tore us a new one on a few different aspects of the game (in a nice way, of course). The cards you place down in front of you (called Planning Board Cards) confused him and he told us we should just get rid of them all together. This aspect of the game is a rather a large one so it was a bit of a shock. He also had issue with the extra space movement ability we worked in to help you get certain spaces on the board. We did do a little explaining on why we had these aspects and felt they were necessary but we took his opinions into consideration all the same.
He also felt the cards were too complex. This is an issue I had from the very beginning of the design of the game. I wanted a more straight forward Monopoly type of game and Chris wanted something with much more strategy. We kept Chris' idea since the more complex cards make for a much more interesting game. Rise of the Rock Star is a board game with elements of a collectible card game (with out having to learn massive amounts of extra rules). Our new goal (after James' game) was to look back and see what could be done to make the overall experience less confusing.
The other interesting point we gleaned from this play test session is that the resources the players collect run out a lot faster in a 3 player game. We set the amount of resources (called Progress Tokens) to a finite amount so once the pool was out... it was out. In a 2-player game this hardly ever presented issues but not so in any game with more than 2 players! Once those run out you have to wait until someone spends them (at which time they go back in to the pool). This aspect of the game can be frustrating but VERY interesting. You can only imagine what happens with 4 players!
To anyone out there wanting to produce a game of your own, I have this piece of advice (which you have probably heard a million times) play test, play test, play test. Play test with other people who have never clapped eyes on your game too. You will quickly see issues you never even considered when you played the game before.
As a side note we also played Ticket to Ride: Europe. A great game! We also played a Kickstarter game called Ace of Spies. You could tell it was a more amateur effort since there were a few misspellings and some much needed rules missing. However it was a neat concept.
As a final note to all this I tend to inspect board games (physical components) ever since I started looking into getting our game made. I noticed that the Ace of Spies was made by PandaGM (one of the companies we have quoted). It gave me a good idea of what they can do (and it is good work).
Please back our Kickstarter for our board game: Rise of the Rock Star! You can back at even a $1!!!
Also, keep watching this blog we have many more post coming (daily).