I am designing

June 30th 2015 -

I’ve been working for over a year now on my board game “Silent Shinobi”, playtesting every week at lunchtimes with the Irregulars, then reworking the design ready for the next playtest. I’ve never gotten to this point before (the game is playable and fun) so it’s quite exciting, but it’s also daunting as the next question “what next?” keeps popping up.

We had a particularly good playtest yesterday. I had reworked the rules to make them more elegant, but the result (while extremely clean and simple) was confusing.
The idea “take these elements of the game and make them work the same” was good in theory but lacked thematic flavour, and it’s simplicity didn’t make up for that. This is why we play test!

More importantly, a new mechanic that I introduced to add more awesomeness to the game did indeed add more awesomeness to the game at the expense of board complexity and time blowout (the game took 90 mins, and my target is one hour at most). Also, this was supposed to be the introductory scenario, and it did not feel introductory. I love the idea and flavour of the new mechanic, but I think it will have to be radically reworked.

My current big worries about the game are:
– low variance: you never win or lose by much. This can result in reduced replayability as the game always plays out in a similar way.
– catch-up features: sometimes a player watches as the other Ninjas do awesome stuff while they don’t make any progress. It’s a cooperative game, but this is still a feel-bad moment.

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