I got back from the new Metatopia game testing convention last night with a lot of positive feedback.
Play test of Monorails of Mars went well, even with just 4 players. Although the new score sheets slowed the process, there is still a runaway winner issue, but I’m not sure yet if that’s related to the learning curve or luck or what yet. Players all said they had fun though, and it finished in 2 hours again.
Play test of Robot Hamsters in Space also went well with just 4 players in two consecutive games. The testers liked the balance of strategy and tactics and the dynamic playing surface, and again, there was much fun and wishes to buy.
I also tested just the alternate rules for Star Hopper (collisions, then collisions and sieges) with a group of 4 and then 5 accomplished adult male gamers, and the mechanics seemed to work, and the luck and tactics seemed to balance enough for all to have fun with some close contention until the game end for good suspense.
The organizers did a good job trying to schedule the participants to match the needs of the various play tests, which meant I got one very early card game prototype to test, and I think we helped with a couple of balance issues the designer hadn’t noticed before. And I got to play a new version of a friend’s game design that was actually very fun until I started losing very badly. I think some minor tweaking to some of the rewards in the game will fix that one so it’s easier to catch up. I also had time to watch a test for another friend’s more advanced card game design, and that seemed to go really well. I’d played an earlier version not too long ago, and it was amazing how tight and balanced the game was in such a short time. And the graphics were beautiful. If you get a chance, try to look up Arboretum by Dan Cassar.
Now back to working on the art for Robot Hamsters in Space and the 3-player game modifications for Monorails of Mars.