So...let me start giving a brief overview of the game. Santa's Workshop is a worker placement style game, where your "workers" are a team of elves. The elves can be placed in various locations around the workshop, and earn points primarily by crafting and assembling toys, but also by turning in coal for the naughty kids, and taking care of the reindeer.
|The first gift cards. Complicated with various colored letters & borders.|
In addition to the materials, when players had all the pieces of their gift, they had to go to the assembly room and roll another die to see how many assembly points they would get. Larger gifts required more assembly points. Originally, the assembly room was the only room on the board that a player could place multiple elves in one action.
|The original tableaus - just for elf training.|
The reindeer stable was an outlet for the player to get points by different means. Originally, it was just a scoring track, and every time you sent an elf to the stable, your marker would move up that track, which was added to your overall score at the end of the game. The first player to the reindeer stable could also claim the first player token.
|Stable in V2.0. Diminishing returns as it was used|
That first playtest down in Blacksburg went well. It was a 3 player game, with myself, my wife and my friend Tom. I certainly learned some lessons about how to phrase rules, and some text on the coal cards that didn't make sense. And my wife and I brainstormed a lot on the ride back. But by and large, it played pretty well for the first time.
|The coal cards. Lots of complex symbols on what could be blocked or "reflected".|
I playtested it with my regular Tuesday night gaming group, and got more positive feedback. One woman, Tracy, who is normally pretty quiet and reserved, later wrote me a very nice email telling me how much she liked the game and that she would definitely buy a copy. I was very flattered.
So here I was, barely 3 months into my first foray in game design, and I'm thinking I have a huge hit on my hands. And then I went to Unpub 4, where a dose of realism set in. More on that in the next installment....