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Subject: Spectrum Connection (Mint Tin Design Contest 2017) rss

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Martin Worrall
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Spectrum Connection by Martin Worrall

Spectrum Connection is an abstract, simultaneous action card game for 2, 3 or 4 players. Time is 15-20 mins.

After lining up their initial cards players react to the numbers from two 4 sided dice and nudge their cards up or down to try and line up a given colour. Rolling doubles activates special actions which can help, but usually hinder progress.

Components are: 48 Spectrum cards. 9 Connection Colour mini cards. 9 Tokens and two 4 sided dice and the Rules on both sides of half an A4 sheet.


Cards and rules are here:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B3VYHK11CQRGaGFpcWNJ...


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Leif Carlsen
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It would be nice if everything to print and play the game was in one pdf. Printing instructions would be first page. Because of your variety of print options. they should say something like 'The minimum you need to print to play the game are pages 2, 5, and 7. Additional pages are for colorblind or full art versions.

A low-ink version would be nice, probably by use of stippling, reverse stippling, or striping.

From reading the rules and looking at the components, this reminds me a lot of Finito. Expression is very different and original, but has the same basis of rolling dice to determine how to move tokens to get them lined up correctly.

I think I'll print this out on label paper and stick it to greyboard (or recycled cereal box). That'll give it more weight to reduce accidental movement. Also make it easier to grab and move.

I like the mechanism in Finito where once all the tokens are out, rolls never worsen your token order. You can always move a token to maintain the order of your largest ordered set. It drives the game state ever towards conclusion. Spectrum Connection looks like dice rolls may worsen your game state and drag it out. I'll need to play it a few times to see how that affects my enjoyment.
 
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Leif Carlsen
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A couple things after printing and cutting...

Tin art says 9 connection cards, but there are 10.

vertical cut on top-left of page 2 was annoying. The adjacent blues at the edge of the cards made it difficult to determine where one card ended and the next began. Not a big deal, but there may be a more-optimal card arrangement. For example, swap the middle-left and far-right cards on the top of page 2. This row will then no longer have adjacent identical colors.
 
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Leif Carlsen
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Finished my first round. More feedback.

The exchange of cards at the end of a round is underspecified. Do we go back to 6 and 3 cards? Do we choose what goes in and out? Do we exchange cards with the deck or with our reserve? Do we choose what is exchanged or should it be random?

Double twos - does removing a card send it to our reserve or a discard pile?

Double ones - if no colors line up with the end of my line, do I get to choose which orientation to place it in? If I've already added all the reserve cards to my line, what happens?

In the case of a tied round, do the added cards come from the reserve? What if the reserve is empty?
 
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Martin Worrall
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Hi Leif

Many thanks for trying my first game.

You made some excellent points and I've tweaked the rules to make things a little more straight forward and clear. Thanks again.

It's amazing what you miss when writing the rules yourself!

You make a good point about the way the game can knock you back when you're nearly winning instead of it being a steady improvement game. I did consider this and debated it a while.

My final 'vision' was a fairly fast paced game with each player at some point just needing that perfect dice roll or the perfect 'nudge' combo, but the game giving you some small 'Take that' style knock backs. However you can soon get back to a nearly winning position. This should create some exciting tension for every player at some point and when we played it there were many Homer Simpson 'DOH' moments when the roll was 3-1 instead of the 2-1 you needed, for example.

The 'continuing steady improvement with little or no set back' mechanic is an interesting one which I think is best suited for more slow paced strategic games.

Thanks again for your interest.
Martin W
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Leif Carlsen
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Now that the rules have been clarified, I played a full game. I started with playing against my wife. She played one round, lost by one space, and wanted to quit. I talked her into continuing. In the second round, I again won by one space.

Both rounds were super quick, but there was no talking her into a third round. She intensely disliked the color scheme and didn't want to stare at the cards any longer. I finished the third round playing against myself, beat myself, and won the game.

This final round later half an hour, compared to 5 minutes for others. Partly took longer because I played both sides. Mostly took longer because of dice rolls erasing progress repeatedly.

I did not enjoy the extra length of the final round. It's like the last time I played Talisman. All previous plays took an hour or two. The last one took 6-8 hours because people kept losing progress. I won't play Talisman again.

The best game designs include natural timers that draw the game ever closer to conclusion. Some may stall for a couple turns with no progress like Can't Stop, Timeline, or Coup. Others move inexorably towards a conclusion like Hanabi, Pandemic, or Five Tribes.

Forced timer mechanisms, like the Small World round counter, are annoying. You need to remember to progress them. Mechanisms that progress automatically by gameplay are better, such as the draw and discard mechanism in Love Letter.

The cards could be narrower without affecting game play. 8 cards was a bit wide on the table, but had no necessity for such width. Chewing gum stick width would be sufficient. Holders to separate each card would help with adjusting positions without moving cards that should remain still.
 
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