Last week I went to an evening for board game designers in Rotterdam where people would test each other’s prototypes. I found the event via the website meetup.com, a site I can recommend for any hobby, not just board games, and for any country. I’d like to share a bit about the great experience I had at this small event.
It was the first of these events in the new shop of thegamefreak. About 13 people showed up, most of which were game designers like me, a few of which just came to play and help testing. The games were in various stages of development: some were just first prototypes with pencil and paper, some were almost finished, like mine.
I started off playing a three-player card game someone had just invented. There were only some scribbles on a few paper cards, but the game already played pretty fluently. Cards were units like archers, swordsmen and knights, and each unit could be countered by an other unit, leading to a lot of fast tactical play. The game was meant to be really short and so we played two games, where we tried a new rule in the second game after giving some feedback. The feedback was mainly about what the cards should look like, which means the game itself was already pretty good. I wish this designer best of luck with his game!
The second game we played was a game for… believe it or not… 8-56 players! We played it with 13 players
. I think the game was about half-way through the development, as the prototype used some material from the site spielmaterial.de as well as Duplo Lego for building blocks. In this game players had to work together to build a neighbourhood with appartments, parks, roads and lots of other buildings. Everyone received two cards with families that would live in this neighbourhood, but some liked kids, some didn’t, some wanted to do sports, etc, so you had to make a balance and get the best for your family. The whole game was one round of discussion and cooperation, which was a bit chaotic with 13 players since everyone talked, but at the end you could see how a fully grown neighbourhood had
emerged from the empty plots. I liked the idea a lot and had a great time playing this game.
The last game I played was the 4-player version of Apocalypse Frenzy. You can read my earlier blogs if you want to know what this game is about, but I am very pleased to say that as good as all of the feedback was positive this time. It really felt like a finished game, and the new Shapeshifter character was also well-balanced (this was the main point I wanted to test). The player with the new character won the game, but just barely. Even the only Destroyer in the game was not that far behind, so everyone had a chance to win. I also tried something in this test session: I did not explain that it was allowed to lie about the cards you trade with another player, and everyone gave useful cards in each trade. However, players were still careful, and someone did pretend to be a Protector while he was not, causing me to miss on points.
Only one thing is left to make the game fully finished: I need to test whether the game is playable with just the rulebook, so without me around to help. I will be looking for people on the internet to help me with this, and after that I will be ready to make preparations for a crowd-funding campaign. Stay tuned!