Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wedge playtest.

Tonight, we had the first play-test for Wedge, my second board game. I was a little worried going in, because I wasn't quite sure if it was going to be fun or terrible. To make a long story short, I'm leaning towards the former.

Wedge started as a political simulation but quickly (and wisely) became about strategic spatial domination of the board. The game is for four players, divided into two teams, but only one player wins the game. On each turn, you decide whether to "work together" with your teammate, enabling each to also place one of their stones next to yours on your turn, or whether you want to "work apart"-- only you get to place a stone (sometimes two stones). The first player to get rid of all their stones win the game.

It's a little more complicated than that-- the teams build chains of stones to grant themselves bonuses and try to prevent the other team from getting a longer chain. And a "team loss" mechanic-- if you cannot make any legal moves, both you and your partner have lost the game and the player on the opposing team with the least number of stones wins by default-- allows players that've fallen behind to win the game with some cunning maneuvering. (At least in theory, anyway.)

With its hybrid of co-op and competitive game styles, I was, as I said before, really unsure if it was going to "work". I'm more sure of it now, but it's also been confirmed that it has a smaller appeal than something like Hextok. That game's points system allows for some speedy recoveries and reversals, and the head-on one-on-one competitive tactics play on a relatively small map has, thus far, proven to be pretty fast-paced and accessible.

Whereas Wedge-- at least from this single play session-- seems to be slower, knottier, nerdier, and much more unforgiving of mistakes and blunders. That's not necessarily a bad thing-- I'm sure there's an audience for it, just less of an audience than Hextok.

Speaking of the latter, the play-testing seems to be going quite well. (If anyone else wants to get in on the testing, be sure to e-mail me at joltcity at gmail dot com.) I might be organizing a tournament locally that will help promote Hextok (and get it some more testing, sneaky-sneaky!) and I'll try to document it in some way if it does come to pass. As for Wedge, I'm looking forward to seeing if it has legs, as soon as I can get four people in a room together again.

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