Thursday, 28 October 2010

Saturday 23rd October

After a day of playing and discussing new games, we sat down and playtested what we hoped would become the best games of Essen 2011. This week we were joined by Pete Burley of Burley games, the designer of SDJ nominated ‘Take it Easy’, 'Kamisado' and new game ‘Take it Higher’. Many suggestions also came from Pete’s demonstration team, sons Oliver and Jonathan and friend, Lawrence.
Games playtested were: Island and Dig.

Rob Harris' Design Notes
I thought I would try the new prototype of my card game Dig (working title) as I was really interested in how Pete and his sons would experience the changes I had made since they last played it in June. The new prototype individualises the artwork for each player and everyone seemed to enjoy this aspect. I am still a little unsure of whether to make the graphical design realistic or more cartoon-like in appearance. Consensus seemed to suggest that a mix between the two approaches might work well. The basic gameplay remains the same as before just with an added theme and some action cards. After several games, the Burley playtesters were enjoying the gameflow, but had suggested improvements about the action cards. A quick re-write of one card and discarding another seemed to help the game. Importantly everyone was having fun disrupting each other while trying to build their strategy. It was interesting to play with playtesters who were very game-literate and realised how a good game should work. I was a little worried that the beginning seemed to feel repetitive and drag a little if players took too long over their turns. At this early stage sometimes it feels as though the player has little control over the eventual outcome. I don’t think that casual players would mind this much, but it might put off more thoughtful gamers. Pete came up with a great mechanism to create some more conflict in these early stages and I am very excited to work out how this will affect the gameplay. As we packed up, Pete also came up with some very interesting ideas for the final name of the game. It has made me think very carefully again about how I will present the game and also which gaming demographic I am trying to reach.  

Playtesters: Jonathan Burley, Oliver Burley, Pete Burley, Katarina Harris, Mark Hypolite and Lawrence.

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