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Gamesmiths go on a Round Trip

David Short
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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From gallery of dshortdesign
This week's Gamesmith's meeting was very productive. We started off playing my game Round Trip. Round Trip is a set collection and pick up & deliver game for 2 to 4 players about moving your party of travellers thru an airport to their destination gate. It's fairly light and accessible, yet with enough of a puzzle to solve to keep all kinds of gamers actively invested.

From gallery of dshortdesign
We setup a 4 player game using the standard Airport A. Seth was the start player. Things started off leisurely as they always do, but soon everyone was pushing and pulling while they tried to make it thru the crowds to their gates. Dan was the first to score a seat on his airplane, while the rest of us fought with blockages in the terminal and the slow stragglers in our party. Soon enough though, Seth and I started dropping score cards at a brisk pace attempting to keep up as best we could. All the while, Dan and Simon continued to load up their planes. The game progressed like this until Simon loaded the 12th passenger onto a plane and thus triggered the end game. For our final turns, Dan and I both found ways to secure a window seat before the game ended. I don't remember the exact scores, but they were something like Dan 17, Seth 19, Simon 19 and me 20. Good game.

From gallery of dshortdesign
Everyone seemed to enjoy it so we moved onto another game using Airport D. Simon started this one by moving his party briskly thru a couple of terminals riding on the tram at least once. Soon enough, Dan saw an opportunity to go against the flow by playing an action card that allowed him to move backwards thru the airport. In doing so, he was rewarded with one of his party members comfortably seated in a nice roomy exit row on the wing! From there, everyone took turns jockeying for position while trying to score cards and avoid laying the red carpet for their opponents. I continue to love this board due to the speed and options that the airport trams offer. The end game for this session came rapidly, leaving Seth and I roaming the airport with a couple of our lost party members. In the end Dan grabbed the victory (slightly edging out Simon).

From gallery of dshortdesign
At this point, Seth voiced his opinion that the end game felt too abrupt. It was a valid concern, so we proceeded with a 3rd game using yet another board (Aiport C) and tested playing a bonus round after the end game was triggered. Dan started us off on this one. Shortly into this session, Dan noticed that I (and Seth) had an advantage over him (and Simon) due to our gates being positioned more central to the main flow of the airport. Since this was my inaugural play of this specific airport, I wasn't aware of the issue. Dan was definitely correct in his observation, but we continued playing to see if the disadvantage actually came to fruition. This board provided an interested tug of war and unique scoring opportunities for everyone. Both Dan and Simon were using their action cards shrewdly and coming up with some sweet combos. It was becoming clear that Seth and I were going to be left on the tarmac twiddling our thumbs yet again. After several rounds, Seth actually triggered the end game by adding the 12th passenger. Since we were playtesting the bonus round rule, Simon would get one more turn to finish the current round, then everyone would get 1 final turn during the bonus round. So, Simon proceeded to make use of his penultimate turn by dropping a party member onto his airplane, giving him a 1 point advantage over Dan. Dan then used his last turn to maneuver his party to make good on a scoring card he held. This scored him 3 more points, which gained him back a 2 point advantage. I managed to score 1 last card, while also thwarting both Simon and Seth... at least I thought I did. Seth ended up not being able to score anything on his last turn, which brings us to Simon's turn (the final turn of the game). He masterfully played his "Move Twice" action card, which granted him the ability to undo my block and drop the last member of his party onto his plane. Victory was Simon's. Great game. Oh and we discussed that "disadvantage" voiced by Dan, but concluded that since Simon and Dan killed us, there was most likely no disadvantage even though the board was assymetrical. Of course, more playtesting is needed to verify, but I'm confident about the balance. Cool!

So, after we concluded the third game there was much discussion about the various elements. I was pleased to receive relatively the same positive responses that I've become accustom to when demoing Round Trip. Feels good. However, players did express that the theme was lightly applied. I agreed and brainstorming began.

What we arrived at was giving each player their own card deck (currently there was 1 deck that everyone drew from). These decks would be identical in nature, but be customized to the specific player color. For instance, currently, Blue Player could draw a card that allowed him to score points if he could get 1 party member from both Green and Red in the same area of the airport. The new decks would change this by always having your own color be apart of the equation, meaning that same card would say get Blue and Green together OR Blue and Red. It would never say Green and Red, because that has proven difficult for the Blue Player. Etc etc. This was both thematic, because you're more focused on your own party members (as you would be in real life) and it also was more fair, because it mitigated the luck of the draw from a large central deck.

Another thematic change, was specifying actual destinations on each airport board. Some spaces would be fancy restaurants, others would be fast food, others would be restrooms, others would be help desks, etc. This would allow new goal cards that could say stuff like "Get 2 of your party members to a restaurant"). This was a very exciting and thematic change.

I'm looking forward to implementing these alterations and improving an already great game. I think Round Trip is going places!
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Subscribe sub options Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:43 pm
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