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Apocrypha Adventure Card Game» Forums » General

Subject: Playtest Impressions 21-Nov-16 rss

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Craig Stockwell
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I had the opportunity to playtest Apocrypha again last night -- specifically parts which were _not_ considered well-tuned/well-tested. While many facets and scenarios are cruising along, I whole-heartedly agree that testing time should be focused on what NEEDS work, not on what's "ready to ship".

The table I played was populated by testers either already familiar with Apocrypha, or very familiar with the Pathfinder ACG. Mike was there on behalf of Lone Shark, to clarify when needed, take notes, and assist with the general flow. He was not playing a Saint, nor running us in Guided Mode (i.e.: we played normally).

We played with Saints who had been played by other people in prior sessions -- so they each had a Fragment, and non-starting decks.

* Mechanically, most everything ran smoothly. There was one pause over the exact operation of a card which did two things -- while certainly not a rare case, our particular use of it, in that particular scenario, for our particular purpose, may not have been done before.

It's definitely more mechanically complex than the PACG:RotR and PACG:S&S (I haven't played WotR or MM yet) -- so I did find myself referring to the reference card several times during the game. That said, it's not so complex that I'll have to keep doing so after playing a few more games.

* Balance-wise, we felt two Threat cards may have been too difficult to overcome [too often] -- and gave suggestions on tuning. We won the mission with five turns to spare (19 of 24) -- which on the one hand sounds cushy, but on the other hand, we had better-than-average luck with regards to finding the Master/Minions in our Nexuses.

* From around turn six through turn sixteen, we felt unlikely to win. The fact that we _did_ win -- with a reasonable mix of good, bad, and median rolls -- probably means the tone is right (as is the balance).

* We felt there was a thematic disconnect between the cards in our deck, and our character's background -- that is, our decks didn't seem to reflect what our characters "were about". Firstly, this was due to Sacrificed cards in prior games. More to the point, Mike indicated they're moving to a starting point where each Saint begins with a core of cards specific to their background (perhaps 8 of 15), then the player fleshes them out before the first Mission (this is in contrast to PACG, where your starting deck -- by default -- is 100% predetermined).

* Unless you're playing around a very small table, the text on one player's cards is hard to read for other players -- but that means the art is more prominent. I consider this more good than bad; it means for cooperation players generally have to share how they can help ... which in turn, should cut down on the "Alpha Gamer Effect" or "General Complex".

* The card layout/graphic design has been well-tuned, though the other table of players noted a possible improvement -- which shouldn't appreciably delay production, but will be helpful.

I believe this was my ninth or tenth session of Apocrypha, and I felt it was one of the best.

Last week, LSG announced that the Base Set will go to print in December -- depending on when in December, print time, ship time, and backer-shipping turnaround ... it's not unreasonable to hope domestic backers will get to play in February.
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Jason Brown
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Thanks for the detailed report!
 
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Mike Selinker
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toon_ace wrote:
Mike indicated they're moving to a starting point where each Saint begins with a core of cards specific to their background (perhaps 8 of 15).

This isn't settled yet. It might be a smaller group of cards based on what our playtests suggest.

toon_ace wrote:
Last week, LSG announced that the Base Set will go to print in December -- depending on when in December, print time, ship time, and backer-shipping turnaround ... it's not unreasonable to hope domestic backers will get to play in February.


That would assume everything went perfectly, something that has not been a safe assumption on this game. We're focused on hitting our printing deadline, but we don't know exactly what will happen after that.
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Craig Stockwell
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mike selinker wrote:
toon_ace wrote:
Mike indicated they're moving to a starting point where each Saint begins with a core of cards specific to their background (perhaps 8 of 15).

This isn't settled yet. It might be a smaller group of cards based on what our playtests suggest.


Thanks for the clarification -- I think anywhere between four and eight would be good.

mike selinker wrote:
toon_ace wrote:
Last week, LSG announced that the Base Set will go to print in December -- depending on when in December, print time, ship time, and backer-shipping turnaround ... it's not unreasonable to hope domestic backers will get to play in February.


That would assume everything went perfectly, something that has not been a same assumption on this game. We're focused on hitting our printing deadline, but we don't know exactly what will happen after that.

I used the word, "hope" intentionally -- I don't expect it in February, but I don't think it's too much a longshot to hope. =D
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Craig Stockwell
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Brief notes on another playtest session last night (05-Dec-16):

* The parts I saw looked 99% ready to go to the printer. The 1% not-ready were cards which needed slight balancing and/or clarification, minor graphic element issues (which I was told was owing to the set we used being printed a week ago, and the corrections had been made in the 'live' version), and one missing art asset (probably also in the current version, but I forgot to ask specifically).

* Our table was all players with extensive PACG experience, and varying amounts of previous Apocrypha plays -- accordingly, we could dive into the meat of it, rarely slowing down to explain the flow/rules (except where they'd changed since a particular player had seen it).

* Like a good movie or television show, I felt invested and engaged most/all the time. With five players, there was a fair amount of downtime from one's own turn to the next -- but whether it was "here's how I can help" moments and worrying about dice 'mistreating' us, I don't think anyone "tuned out" when it wasn't their turn.

* I hadn't played the particular mission before; I thought the solve condition and twist were clever, and not a rehash of one from another ACG (or another Apocrypha mission).
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