Tonight I did a four-player game of TNW with some friends, based on the last round of rules/component revisions. Things were hit or miss, but I'm making progress. Here's some thoughts, based on player feedback and answers to questions I had asked them:
- Resource costs are more balanced than they were initially by a fair amount.
- The new action point allowance system works well once you get going. At times it felt like one player was running away from the others a bit due to having more resources, but there were multiple ways to catch up and/or set that player back.
- Getting pulled in toward the black hole needed some more clarification, now that there are additional board obstacles like asteroids and alien weapons platforms.
- Similarly, forced movement after losing a planetary assault needed clarification in regards to movement direction.
- The decision was made that players wishing to explore or assault a planet must do so from within that planet's tile, even if they're adjacent to it while in another tile.
- Home worlds needed to give more starting resources than they were (by 1) and the question came up as to whether or not you could pass through or attack another player's home world. My intention was that you can't, but this isn't stated in the rules.
- The question arose as to whether or not entering a tole occupied by another player triggered a combat, or if you had to end your turn in that tile. Sentiment on both options was mixed.
- The new round tracker didn't have enough scoring round options.
- The game end condition may need to be replaced with a round limit, to even out scoring and add a sense of urgency. I was originally pretty opposed to this, but I'm starting to come around, as I do see how it would help the game and I can weave it into the story.
- The "plan ahead" mechanic for technology cards didn't work out as well in practice as I had hoped and I may instead replace it with the ability to apply acquired technology to ships on the board, rather than keeping cards for repeated activation. I still feel like using the technology should come with a cost, however.
- Wording on a couple of existing technology cards was outright wrong/impossible - woops.
- Player aids listing possible actions during each player's turn are needed.
- An additional track on the player mat to keep count of resources earned each round would be helpful.
- The black hole tile should have a marker indicating where the first galaxy tile should be played, with instructions included in the rule book about how to then place additional tiles when laying out the galaxy.
- Some suggestions were made foe additional types of technology (stealth tech, probes, etc.)
This was where things started to get a little tricky. Everyone had opinions, which was great, but everyone also had their own ideas of what the game should be.
I had to be open-minded on their feedback, while still holding true to the vision of the story I want to tell and the feeling I want the game to have. Some of their suggestions made that story stronger, some added complexity that I don't want the game to have.
Tonight's big take-aways, though... the game is mostly playable, technology needs to change, and some other things need clarified.
Mostly, I think I need to sit on this for a day or two and let my brain work things over before I start revising. Then I'll go back to my notes and get to work.
I'm not at all discouraged, but it's a lot to take in. After attending Gencon and dealing with several other things related to the trip, my brain is just too fried to deal with another deep dive into a rules rewrite at this point. It probably shows in this post. I feel like my writing tonight is less coherent than usual - sorry about that.
I'll probably come back to it on Wednesday or Thursday.