Shortly after posting my recap of the first Wedge play-test, I got to thinking about how I might add a little more balance, how I might increase the chances of winning for a team that's lagging behind. They might never be able to get rid of their stones quick enough to match a player with a commanding lead, but they can-- through canny maneuvering-- deny him and his teammate spaces in which to make legal moves. The mechanic is there; how do I make it more feasible?
The simple answer is, I shrunk the board. What was once an 8 x 15 grid-- 120 squares, one for every stone-- is now 7 x 15. With 15 more stones than squares, it will likely requires more skill for a player to use up all thirty of his personal supply. (This might, I hope, add a bit more tension to the game.) I've also added three black squares-- one at the center of the board, one at the left-most border and one at the right-- in which no stones can be placed. This brings the total number of available squares down to 102, and should-- should!-- affect the ways players approach building their chains and fighting for territory. It's a simple little wrinkle to the formula that I'm hoping will result in a deeper and more nuanced experience.
I've also revised the winning conditions slightly; before, if a player had no legal moves, victory went to the opposing team player with the smallest number of stones. Now, while a player who uses up all his stones still achieves lone victory, a victory won when someone has no moves left is shared by both members of the opposing team. This might-- might!-- help motivate a player lagging behind his own teammate to step up his game so that he can share the victory.
I say should and might and likely because we have to try the damn thing out before we can start proclaiming what it does and doesn't do. But I've got my fingers crossed.