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Fleet Wharfside» Forums » Variants

Subject: Solo Variant Ahoy! and some thoughts on scalability and stretch goals rss

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Andrew Watson
United States
Rhode Island
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Solo designer extraordinaire Mike Mullins is working on the Wharfside solo variant.

That's the good news, quoted from a KickStarter update. It certainly made my decision to back the Wharfside KickStarter a lot easier.

The subject line promises threatens some thoughts on scalability, so here they are. I think that scalability, in terms of player count, is seen as more important than it used to be. For example, if a game's BGG entry specifies a player count of 3-4, it is not at all surprising to see questions about play with 5, 2, 1, 6, 7,...

This post started with a quote about Wharfside scaling down to 1. What about it scaling up to 5? There was an exchange about this in another thread, including the assertion that "5 players should be an industry standard by now for any newly published game."

I disagree strongly with the idea that every game, even every new game, should take up to 5 players. Some games just work well within a specific range. For example, my favorite game, Through the Desert, is best with 3, great with 4, very good with 2, and disappointing with 5. I think it should have been published as a 2-4 player game, with an admittedly-lame variant for 5.

The subject line also promises threatens some thoughts on stretch goals, so... I am not a member of the cult of the stretch goal. Stretch goals, like solo variants, are things I like, rather than things I regard as essential.

I see Wharfside's solo variant as a "soft stretch goal". It is soft in money terms, because it wasn't triggered by a pre-specified measure of backing. It is soft in component terms, because it won't require much (if anything) in the way of extra hardware/components.

Solo Wharfside is an excellent soft stretch goal. It provides an extra reward, without bloating the physical package.

Alliterative summary: psyched for 'side solo, suitable scalability, and soft stretch goals.

Andrew, designer of the solo variant for another Eagle-Gryphon game.
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