Challenge: Make a thousand year game.
A new day means a new tweaks! Today Tommy and Tim both played the game with Michelle and I. We tried a few different things out and I think we have added a major rule type. Here are the results from today:
1) Twenty-five tokens seems like a reasonable amount. It can clutter up the board if people get to defensive, but it also means that there is enough time for the second mover advantage to even out. The second player always has an advantage because they have the first opportunity to take their opponents piece. When the game comes down to just a few points, which it often does, this can be crucial. This many tokens also make it so that the surrounded pieces happen less often and in many games do not happen at all. This needs to be examined further.
2) We added a new fortify option. When a position is fortified, it requires 2 action points (and a piece) to remove that fortification as long as that position is connected to the source. Fortifications offer no scoring point bonus, no defensive bonus if the piece is not connected to the source, and the center square may not be fortified. We tried 2 different costs for fortifications and have yet to find the right balance. Option one was having the fortification cost 2 action points. No one wanted to use the fortifications at this cost. Sacrificing both 2 action points and a non-scoring piece seemed like a non-started. At 1 action point, fortifications seem over powered. The few games that we played this way saw all of the pieces around the center being fortified at the beginning of the game and remaining that way. I like the fortification in principle, but they need some work.
3) There needs to be a stronger pull to the edges of the board. The pull between the center square and the edges is supposed to be the primary tension in the game. Right now it seems to be all about the center square. There are a few things I want to try here (namely changing the amount of points for surrounded squares) but I didn't get a chance to test them. This is top of the list for tomorrow.
That is it for today. More play-testing for tomorrow and honing in on the final rules! It is getting closer...