Monday, July 12, 2010

HEXTOK Session 2.

Tom played two games of Hextok today with Jamie Maurer, one of our play-testers. The first game, we played on the revised version of the symmetrical map that had given the other testers trouble in the last session. This time, the game lasted only twelve turns-- confirming that, even with revisions, it's a pretty shitty map. So, out it goes.

We thought extending the mountains would make the gameplay more dynamic. It didn't.

The second game, we played on the asymmetrically-balanced map that's been played twice before: in the last play session, it lasted nearly thirty moves, and in Tom and Mary's first play-through (call it Session Zero) the game lasted fifty-nine turns. This time around, it lasted sixty-seven, and there were a lot of reversals and come-backs, right up to the last several turns. And being that one of the goals of the game is that it should facilitate quick come-backs and table-turning, I think this particular map shows the game off pretty well.

One thing we did notice in both games (Jamie won both, by-the-by) was that neither of us opted to use the four-point buy to heal a level-one or level-two unit. In the previous session, the four-point healing option extended to level-three units, which basically kept the level-three units immortal if the player was holding onto enough bases.

It was abused so severely and made the game so lopsided that I removed the healing for level-three after that first session. In this session, though, there was no point in spending four points to heal a level one or level two since you could just as easily spawn a new level one for two points or level two for five (two for a L.1 plus the three points to upgrade). I briefly considered sliding the points down, but both Jamie and I found the game very high stakes when you couldn't correct a mistake or compensate for an opponent's advance.

The removal of the healing system makes the game both simpler and deeper, and as far as my design goals are concerned, that's a compelling combination.

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