Sunday, November 24, 2013

The First Revision(s)

I mentioned last post that I had my first playtest of Santa's Workshop, and I took a bunch of notes.  Well, I continued to write down thoughts at the they occurred to me during the week, and for the last several days I've been working on implementing some changes.  So, Santa's Workshop 2.0 is underway... or maybe it should be v1.1...nah, I think the first changes count as "major".

My notes since the 1st playtest...need to type them up!

The old board
One of the things I learned is that graphic design is really important.  On my first board, I had the coal mine (and it's cards) right next to the mail room.  When we took a card from the mailroom...almost every time, we flipped a card from the coal deck to fill in, instead of from the mail deck.  So, change #1 for the board, was to move those two decks of cards far apart from each other.  This change actually took up some space, so I went from four 8.5x11" pieces of paper to six.  (Actually, since PowerPoint puts 1/2" borders all the way around, when trimmed, they're 7.5x10".  Which reminds me...I have to figure out a better way to do this than in PowerPoint).  I also made some changes to the Reindeer scoring track, and how the Training Room works, and reflected that on the board.  Lastly, I wanted a better quality board.  My first attempt, I literally just scotch taped my four sheets of paper together.  The scotch tape didn't take to folding too well.  So...I decided to make an honest to goodness board.  I purchased some thick (0.05") chipboard, and some book binding tape, and hinged together six chipboards, and then taped my six sheets of paper on top using double sided tape.  It's not professional quality - not by a longshot - but it's a vast improvement.  (Word to the wise - make sure you plan out your hinges in advance!)

The New board
It even folds properly!

Another thing I tackled was making the language on the Coal Cards (which allow you to "cast spells" to help yourself or hinder your opponents) less ambiguous.  It was not at all clear when some of the cards should be played.  And cards that should be played in similar circumstances were sometimes worded differently "Play when in the Wood Shop" and "Play when producing wood", for example - so I went through and tried to make everything clear.  There will also be a section in the rules where I detail each card, because I think some of them are tricky enough to need more explanation than can fit on the card.

Speaking of the rulebook - my previous rulebook was 2.5 pages of essentially just reminders to myself.  I've now written an honest to goodness first draft of an actual rule book.  I think it's at 7 pages now...but I need to add the Coal Card descriptions.

Hows that for a 1st player marker?
The most recent thing I've been working on is overhauling the scoring mechanic for actually creating gifts.  The idea behind making the gifts is that they would be constructed from 3 main materials - fabric, wood and metal.  Now, I've borrowed an idea from the game Colosseum.  In that game, you are staging shows in Imperial Rome, and various shows have required elements - however you can choose to be skimpy on your show (and earn less VP) by not using all the required elements.  In Santa's Workshop, I have a mechanic that allow the player to use plastic in place of some of the materials.  I want there to be a decision that the player has to make - make the toy our of quality material, and score more, or use plastic, finish faster and start working on more toys.  In our playtest, no one ever opted to use plastic.  And we all went for toys with lots of metal parts.  That's because I was basing the score on worth of material - Fabric=1, Wood=2, Metal=3.

The turn marker...and friends
I felt that I needed a new scoring formula, and Tom and Becky had some suggestions.  I've now reworked the scoring formula - I've bumped up the base 3 materials by 1 pt each, and made plastic worth 1 pts (after all, even plastic toys bring joy to children).  I've also added a scoring element for the number of different materials used (to reflect the amount of effort that goes into gathering the materials), and the amount of time it takes to assemble the gift will affect the score.  So, now I have an honest to goodness formula that I'm using.  I don't know that it's perfect, and I'm sure I'll tweak it, but I feel that I have a good basis for it now.

Working the spreadsheet....

I will also be reworking the gifts in terms of the materials needed to make them.  Like many games, my scoring track wraps around the board edge, and goes from 0-100.  I had been keeping the scores fairly low on my gifts previous, in the 2-12 range mostly.  But that meant I didn't have a lot of flexibility to play with the amount of material that it took to build a toy.  I was trying to keep the scores around a 100 or less, and sure enough in our playtest, Tom won with 101 points.  In order to get more flexibility on the components, I think scores are going to go up, which means scores will be well above 100, maybe above 200.  And you know what - that's fine.  I'll just add in a couple of "+100" markers for each player.

Alright...that's enough for now.  Time to get back to working on formulas and graphic design....

1 comment:

  1. Wow, looks great. Hope I get in on the playtest next week