This weekend, we did our first play-through of These New Worlds, using my initial draft of the rules and card/board stats. We played a two-player game that took about 45 minutes to complete.
I'm going to give you some of our first impressions, but first let me explain a little about the game components, so things will make more sense.
TNW has a modular, randomized board consisting of tiles with hexes on them. There are two decks of cards - technology cards, and first contact cards. There are also several tokens, counters, and other small bits. Some actions rely on die rolls.
Here are some of our initial thoughts:
- There's clearly a lot of work left to do on mechanics.
- There were some balance issues in terms of resource allocation.
- But the balance of power between players was pretty good.
- There were a lot of little points of ambiguity that I had overlooked.
- The game board could use a little more variety.
- The core mechanic for discovering and settling worlds needs a bit of modification - namely, it feels somewhat backwards with regards to how things are revealed/resolved.
- Resource allocation mechanisms with regards turn actions need an almost complete overhaul.
- Some cards were two powerful in both decks.
- Some lower power technology cards need to be more numerous and attainable.
- Combat was random, but still fun, but would be more fun (and less random) after fixing the cost and availability of tech cards.
- The dynamic, tile-based board needs different layouts for different player counts.
- Player count should probably also affect the number of cards in play.
- The handling of win/loss/tie conditions and the options for modifying those outcomes in all forms of combat was satisfying.
- First contact cards need to be treated a little differently and, in some cases, cause more lasting effects.
- There's a "plan ahead" strategy to the technology cards that is simple, but we both agreed it was pretty interesting. We didn't get to utilize it to its full extent though, due to the afore mentioned issues surrounding technology cards.
Obviously, this is only the tip of the iceberg. It's a first impression from two very experienced gamers, one of whom was me. But it was a good starting point in finding things that need corrected in order to make the game more playable before getting other people involved.
All in all, though, for a first run-through, I was very satisfied. The game wasn't immediately terrible and it wasn't an unpleasant slog. Some laughs were had, in particular with player interaction, and nothing stuck out as overly broken, aside from the resource allocation issues (the idea was good, the execution, not so much).
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