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Subject: Help playtest The Lake rss

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Ben Meyers
United States
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I have been working on this one for a while and I think I am ready to give it a try here.

This one is a card game - 50 cards, about 30-45 minutes, 2-4 players.

I think it is pretty unique and a good combination of simple rules that lead to interesting decisions.

The theme is about schooling and eating fish in a lake so it is very family-friendly.

I don't want to sway the jury too much by saying too much though, on to the show...

Feedback Form: https://goo.gl/forms/LlfUywwqDrxQIyZ13

Printing: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1EqZB3_IkrhwCOAaYGl_e...

The cards and Rulebook are in this folder.

For scoring and tracking chips, you can use anything handy (coins, poker chips, etc.). We use poker chips and it has been working just fine.

Edited from Playtesting feedback (July 19)
 
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Joe Vanore
United States
Indiana
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First of all, let me say that I LOVE the theme and card design.

I'm confused as to how end of round scoring works.

The player with the most overall fish gets 3 points, 5 points for most bass, 5 points for most perch. Are any individual fish cards worth points at the end of the game, or is it JUST these plus in-round scoring? It seems like in-round scoring would overshadow end of round scoring, but I'm not sure if that was the intent.

I assume the player with the least over all fish loses 3 points? The wording makes it seem like both most and least are rewarded.
 
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Ben Meyers
United States
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Hi Joe!

Thanks for the interest and the kind words, very much appreciated.

For your questions.

Most overall fish scores 3 points - this can be with or without Bass or Perch.

Those two separate families each score as well, so if you get a bunch of bass and perch you can get a bunch of points for having such a good haul.

The player who has the least fish does score 3 points at the end of a round.

Both most and least are rewarded.

There are some individual fish that are worth points in-round, but there aren't any individuals that are worth points at the end of a round.
 
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Ben Meyers
United States
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After some more playtesting, there have been some updates to cards and the rules.

Download and print here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1EqZB3_IkrhwCOAaYGl_e...

I also made the printing a little bit easier.

Feedback is very very much appreciated!

https://goo.gl/forms/wAeniYSM9Wu98tI42
 
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Jacob Holmqvist
Sweden
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Microbadge: I take my time.Microbadge: 'When playing a game, the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning' - Dr. Reiner KniziaMicrobadge: Gamer Dad
Nice theme, and the game seems like it could be interesting.

So, I read through the rules and even though it was quite pleasant and had lots of pictures, I feel like the rules could probably be streamlined to explain the game with fewer pages. I think I could play the game after reading it, but here are some things I think could improve. These are my opinions by the way, you don't have to agree.

I think there are to many variants/options, it's feels like the players will have to playtest to find the best way to play. I think you should decide what you think is the best way to play the expansions (for example, mixed in before or after handing out cards). Give players the best experience and if it's equally good, just decide on something. It will shorten the rules a bit too.

Regarding the trouts and bait fish, determine if it's best to play with both at the same time or if it plays better with one at a time. Then describe it as one expansion or two seperate expansions that do not combine. Leave no options except to play with the/an expansion or not. If you want to have some variants, you could have some at the end of the rulebook, but don't have them in the text where you explain the game. Also have a reason for variants "If you want more interaction..." or "If you want the game to be more strategic..." etc, so the players know if they want to try the variant.

Gameplay and Other gameplay rules, not sure what's the point of the different headings here. This section tells me too much and too little. When I read this i know nothing about eating fish, schools, placing and releasing. (consider "play fish to tableau" and "play fish to lake" btw)
"if more rounds are needed, reshuffle cards. If trout or bait fish cards are needed before the next round, distribute them." This was extremely confusing the first time I read it (what do I know about if more rounds are needed?. I get it now, it should be something like: "After a the round, shuffle all the cards, deal out 4 cards to each player, set the lake with 4 cards and play another round. This continues until the agreed number of rounds have been played." I would not mention the expansion(s) at all before the heading "Expansion" or whatever you choose to call it.

This section left me with a lot of question marks, I think it would be good to describe how the actions work generellt here. How do you eat a fish? School a fish? What does it mean to release a fish?

Under the next section Playing cards it started to clear up. I'm starting to understand how to play. However I'm wondering how players are motivated to play cards to a school if it doesn't score them points because it's not big enough yet, but that cleared when I got to the part where you see the cards.

The point is if you get an overview of how the game works first it's easier to sort the information. But the overview cannot contain a lot of details as that will be lost on the reader. I've been writing a lot now, I think it's time to stop.

Just one nitpick: The numbers on Card anatomy section stops me from seeing stuff I want to look at on the cards.

The game looks really interesting, you might be on to something! And I can tell you worked a lot on the rulebook. It's great with all the illustrations.

If you found this helpful, consider critiquing the rulebook to my game Racing Cards, which is also posted here.

PS. I also reacted on the 3 points for least fish, maybe it makes sense when you play the game, but I think you should word it similar to how you answered the question: "Both most and least fish is awarded with 3 points". That way you know it's not a typo. DS.
 
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Ben Meyers
United States
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Hi Jacob,

THANK YOU!

I really like a lot of the points that you made here and will continue to work on the rules!

What is the link for your Racing Cards games?
 
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Ben Meyers
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I have also updated the game on to Tabletopia so you can test digitally as well: https://tabletopia.com/playground/the-lake-q69fst/play-now
 
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Jacob Holmqvist
Sweden
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Microbadge: I take my time.Microbadge: 'When playing a game, the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning' - Dr. Reiner KniziaMicrobadge: Gamer Dad
Glad you liked it, you're welcome!

My game is here: Racing Cards

I've not used Tabletopia, but looking at your link, I'm thinking I should look into it, seems to be great to try out games before buying too! I thought it was mostly for playtesting. And yes I would try The Lake if I get Tabletopia to work, or if there was a printer friendly version with just lines and text.
 
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Ivan Vasquez
United States
New Jersey
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Play test overview:

Set up: 2 players, one turn only (one full revolution of the deck).

Total playtime, including stopping to write down my questions/thoughts: 1 hour, 5 minutes.

These points are organized in chronological order, as the game made us think them up and discuss:

1) Rules need an editing hand, you repeat the same information multiple times for no apparent reason. Multiple instances can be okay, but it felt strange seeing things repeated so much. For example, the fact that the lake has 8 spots in a 4x2 grid.

2) What is the purpose of a first player marker? I didn't see a benefit spelled out. While we assumed that it was supposed to change hands, we played as it was written (not changing who was the starting player). The game felt unbalanced toward the first player as we did so.

3) Does a player's turn mean they play all cards until their hand is empty, then have the next player do the same? This is how we played, but it is not exactly clear in the rules.

4) At the end of the explanation for Eat, it says "Eat from 1 spot from lake per play". does "per play" mean "per turn"? Are you only allowed to eat once per hand? We ate multiple times as it was not clear.

5) As it is currently written, Walleye is useless if you go last in the turn. Assuming the starting player token changes hands at the beginning of each turn, Walleye should be fine as it is written.

6) end of game scoring: in a two-player game, it seems silly to give someone 2 points for least fish.

7) we only played one round, as the game dragged quite a bit as the point difference was growing substantially noticeable.

8) Love the card designs. They are easy to read and understand at a glance, nothing is fighting each other. Despite the fact I printed them in black and white it was never an issue understanding who could eat and who could school.

9) Your fonts, pictograms, and overall documentation layout for the rules are very nice. Great job there.

Final Thoughts: Congratulations, You have a fun mechanic and the idea is sound. You now need some more editing and playtesting. Your rules need to be written for someone who has never seen this game before. Probably for someone who is drinking some beer, as it feels like a game meant for a night of beer, pretzels, and cards.

I hope you find this as constructive criticism, good luck.

GD3/Ivan
 
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Ben Meyers
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Extremely helpful! Thank you Ivan and friends!

Edit: A new version of the rulebook has been updated and replaced the old file in the print and play folder above.

More playtesters welcomed!
 
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Tina Ernspiker
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I didn't see any files in the playtest folder... Maybe I am too late :-)
 
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Ben Meyers
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Hi Tina!

I am waiting on some new feedback and making more updates. I will add files back in once I get that worked out!

Stay tuned!
 
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Ben Meyers
United States
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There is a new version of the game in the above folder. More feedback is welcomed!
 
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