January 8, 2018
Since finishing the prototype, playtesting has commenced. I began by playing with my wife and son several times. I should note that this is definitely not the type of game they are used to playing, but they both learned the game fairly quickly and we were able to play 2 -3 rounds each test. While nothing game breaking occurred (which is great) it was quickly apparent that each turn and round was taking way too long since those 2-3 rounds took a little over an hour. Even so the game was fun to play so I know that I’m on the right track. Before making any initial changes I decided to take the game out into the wild and test it at Snakes & Lattes’ Designer Night. This time I was on the other side of the table as a designer and it was very exciting. I was able to get two successful playtests and received positive feedback and great constructive criticism.
The length of turns and rounds continued to be an issue so tightening up the gameplay to make it faster is going to be my number one priority for now. Instead of having each player take all of their actions each turn, which is causing the other players to sit around doing nothing for about 5 minutes each, I’m going to start by having players take only 2 available actions each turn. They’ll continue to do so until everyone uses up all their actions and pass which will signal the end of a round. Each player will have much less downtime and there will be more strategy involved in deciding which actions they’ll take first. Since the Ore deck determines the ultimate length of the entire game, I’m also going to decrease the number of cards in it as well as increase the average amount of Ore they give players. The other major issue was that players found that the deck building aspect did not seem important enough since they weren’t able to buy many cards during the few rounds they played. I believe if I decrease the cost of all the cards, players will be able to buy more cards throughout the game. Playtesters also liked thematic gameplay mechanic of the roaming herd, but I found that it created a large obstacle to get around and players weren’t moving around the board as much as I’d like. I’m going to make the herd tile 3 hexes in size instead of its current 7 hexes. Hopefully that makes it easier for players to move around it.
Other than a few other balance related issues, the rest of the feedback was very positive. Everyone loved the theme and appreciated the work I put into the prototype. One player said that when he sat down he felt overwhelmed at how complex the game looked, but once he began playing, was surprised at how quickly he learned it. Everyone also really enjoyed the attack and defense mechanic which I was very happy about since I believe that’s one of the things that stands out about Primal Ordnance.
All in all I am extremely satisfied with how the playtesting has gone this early on in the process. I’m going to make changes, test them at home and again at Designer Night later this month. I’ll post another playtesting update next month.