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Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
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I read the rules and had a few:

Normal shuffling may not produce the randomization of card orientations that one wants (a neat mechanism, by the way).

Since it's a two-player game, the rule that the player dealt the fewer cards goes first, which sounds random, isn't; also, not everyone deals alternating cards -- sometimes people deal each player's hand all at once. Maybe it should be phrased something like this: "One player deals the cards, alternating between himself and his opponent, and chooses who gets the first card, and thus, the larger half of the deck (25 cards); the player who got the fewer cards plays first."

People don't always fan their cards out the same way, so "left" doesn't reliably equal "behind." Maybe the gardener card should have a shovel on one side and a plant on the other? Or put a matching pair on the top corners of each side so they can be seen however the cards are fanned, by both players?

What is the significance of the arrows on the gardener card? And the dots on the long edges of all cards? Does the gardener interrupt a path? Can a gardener be flipped front-to-back in play?

I'm not clear how the tour (revealing the non-adjacent cards) would be done without losing their place: maybe you swap the ones in back to the front (or vice versa) so they can be fanned out while hiding the other ones? (The rules say you can do this one at a time, but it doesn't matter how many get shifted at once).

Gorno
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Andy Van Zandt
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johngorno wrote:
I read the rules and had a few:

Normal shuffling may not produce the randomization of card orientations that one wants (a neat mechanism, by the way).

Since it's a two-player game, the rule that the player dealt the fewer cards goes first, which sounds random, isn't; also, not everyone deals alternating cards -- sometimes people deal each player's hand all at once. Maybe it should be phrased something like this: "One player deals the cards, alternating between himself and his opponent, and chooses who gets the first card, and thus, the larger half of the deck (25 cards); the player who got the fewer cards plays first."

randomization (and which player goes first) would definitely be up to the players (perhaps i do take for granted determining the start player/dealer), but i think the more important thing i do agree with is that including something about adjusting orientation (especially in between games) might be useful.

Quote:
People don't always fan their cards out the same way, so "left" doesn't reliably equal "behind." Maybe the gardener card should have a shovel on one side and a plant on the other? Or put a matching pair on the top corners of each side so they can be seen however the cards are fanned, by both players?
as long as the player doesn't fan left for part of the game and then switch to right, there should be no issue- in particular, i'd point at the "don't change your hand order or orientation" rule for that. the gardener already does have a shovel on one side and a plant on the other? maybe i wasn't clear on the gardener card construction hint, the shovel side of the card should be the same on the back and the front, meaning that your opponent can see which edge has the shovel, and that edge is the same one you see with the shovel.

Quote:
What is the significance of the arrows on the gardener card? And the dots on the long edges of all cards? Does the gardener interrupt a path? Can a gardener be flipped front-to-back in play?
the arrows indicate which side cards leave and enter from (shovel side or plant side, the arrows are just a reminder). The dots just help avoid any confusion as to which of the three sections of the card the path comes from. the gardener cannot be flipped front to back, but he can be rotated top to bottom (which does the same thing), per the normal action. The gardener does NOT interrupt the path for scoring purposes, an unfortunate omission on my part, i'll correct that.

Quote:
I'm not clear how the tour (revealing the non-adjacent cards) would be done without losing their place: maybe you swap the ones in back to the front (or vice versa) so they can be fanned out while hiding the other ones? (The rules say you can do this one at a time, but it doesn't matter how many get shifted at once).
you are exactly right on this one. shift cards to the back of your hand until you can hold the gardener and his two closest plants in one hand, and the rest of the path in the other, and reveal the appropriate ones.

thanks for your input, i hope that cleared some things up, and i'll try and re-word some of the rules
 
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Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
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truekid wrote:
Quote:
People don't always fan their cards out the same way, so "left" doesn't reliably equal "behind." Maybe the gardener card should have a shovel on one side and a plant on the other? Or put a matching pair on the top corners of each side so they can be seen however the cards are fanned, by both players?
as long as the player doesn't fan left for part of the game and then switch to right, there should be no issue...
I wouldn't rule it out the possibility, as it's meant to be playable in cramped quarters where the hand may get pocketed or switched between hands to deal with an interruption, as well as when swapping a block of cards from front to back ("splitting" the hand, as it were).

The rules on how to hand over a card without choosing its orientation could be a little more specific (it assumes that the players are facing each other): the intent is that the card will have the same orientation in the new owner's hand, right?

You might consider hints on how to play silently, as people might be listening to headphones on the train, or be somewhere where they can't or don't want to talk much. "Tap the other player's gardener to ask him to show his favorites."

Gorno
 
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Andy Van Zandt
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ah, you're definitely right about people potentially pocketing their hand.

silent play is interesting... pointing two fingers at the gardener (or tapping the gardener) for revealing the two closest seems good, i usually use a beckoning motion already when i'm taking a card from the other player... revealing for the tour seems harder... pointing at your eyes and then at the player's hand?
 
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August Larson
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Hey, I printed out and played your game with my dad last night. I like the potential the game has, but when we tried to play it, it seemed sort of...incomplete.

I like the promise of being able to play the game anywhere, even standing up, but I found that holding upwards of 12 cards, and trying to see them too, became sort of a hassle. Instead, we played on the table with a barrier in the way. As we played, we found flaws in some of the gameplay. For instance, we never once felt the need to check on each other's garden. It was just a wasted action unless you planned to follow it up by asking for gardening help. But even then, taking their card didn't seem like it helped much because you weren't allowed to place it wherever you want. Another thing about taking their card would deplete their hand, so you could potentially just take their whole hand and declare the game over.

I would have liked to see an option where you got to GIVE them one of your cards.

Over all, I feel the game is broken as it is. It needs a real revamping to happen. I'd recommend making your hands public knowledge, like on a board in front of you, prferrably one that wraps around, even at the expense of not having an unlimited hand count.
 
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Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
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truekid wrote:
ah, you're definitely right about people potentially pocketing their hand.

silent play is interesting... pointing two fingers at the gardener (or tapping the gardener) for revealing the two closest seems good, i usually use a beckoning motion already when i'm taking a card from the other player... revealing for the tour seems harder... pointing at your eyes and then at the player's hand?
If the cards are fanned out, you could tap a card far from the gardener. Putting a hand out would be asking for a card, and revealing your cards would be declaring an end.

However much work it needs, it's several nifty concepts, especially the zero-playspace. The large hand size is another reason why one can't expect players to continuously hold their cards fanned out, hence my thinking of it as a stack the player examines. What if the gardener card was taller than the path cards? Then he'd be prominent, with top-edge hand/shovel markers always visible, and help organize the deck. (Maybe could be depicted as standing in a large square of the path that any adjacent path segment would abut?)

Gorno
 
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August Larson
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johngorno wrote:
truekid wrote:
ah, you're definitely right about people potentially pocketing their hand.

silent play is interesting... pointing two fingers at the gardener (or tapping the gardener) for revealing the two closest seems good, i usually use a beckoning motion already when i'm taking a card from the other player... revealing for the tour seems harder... pointing at your eyes and then at the player's hand?
If the cards are fanned out, you could tap a card far from the gardener. Putting a hand out would be asking for a card, and revealing your cards would be declaring an end.

However much work it needs, it's several nifty concepts, especially the zero-playspace. The large hand size is another reason why one can't expect players to continuously hold their cards fanned out, hence my thinking of it as a stack the player examines. What if the gardener card was taller than the path cards? Then he'd be prominent, with top-edge hand/shovel markers always visible, and help organize the deck. (Maybe could be depicted as standing in a large square of the path that any adjacent path segment would abut?)

Gorno


Those are great suggestions, I think! Another rule I would have liked to see would be some way to switch the way the Gardener is facing. That way you could switch things up soem way.
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Andy Van Zandt
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we never had any issues with handsize during playtesting, but i see no problem with removing whichever amount makes it more comfortable for individual users before play (just make sure to leave at least 3 fountains). would making the cards smaller serve the same function?

i'm not sure i could play -without- being able to look at people's hands... it gives you information not only on what you'd be receiving, but also how complete their paths are. the breakup of two different reveal actions is specifically so that you can't see the entirety of their path and declare the game is over in the same turn... which is exactly why the hands can't be public knowledge, somebody would declare a win as soon as it became available, immediately.
the better an individual's memory is, the more useful the information becomes.

having your hand depleted is something you have to watch for, that's an intended function of the game... if they only have, say, 3 cards in hand, you know for sure that at most they've got a 3 segment path, and if you're beating that (which you probably are if you've got all the rest of them) it's easy to declare the game is over.

the give-a-card action was actually considered- it wasn't necessary for functionality purposes (and changes some of the hand management dynamics), but if you think it makes it more interesting, play-wise, it is definitely a viable inclusion.

I do like the idea of having the gardener be taller than the other cards, that makes a lot of sense.

thanks for the excellent feedback
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Andy Van Zandt
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colmustard21 wrote:


Those are great suggestions, I think! Another rule I would have liked to see would be some way to switch the way the Gardener is facing. That way you could switch things up soem way.


you can, you can rotate him

also, to address the "looking at player's hands" thing further- aside from the information uses i listed above, if you take the one you mentioned a little deeper, there is more value than is initially apparent:

you look at their two closest cards. obviously if it's a good fit for your path, you get to take it... however if it's not, you can either move your gardener to a place where it would be a good fit on your next turn, or move to a place which would give him a bad piece in his current position, if his first action on his next turn is to take a card.

again though, the better your memory, the more valuable that information becomes.

in fact, if you implemented the give-a-card rule, the information value increases that much more.
 
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August Larson
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Hmmm, yes, I can see what you mean. I guess my feedback doesn't help all that much unless you did one key thing, and that would be to make it a table-top game, complete with a stack of cards to draw from. I know you want this to be a zero-playspace game, but I like I stated earlier, it was difficult to see what my whole hand looked like. But besides that, I felt that just dealing within my hand made the game rather restrictive. I didn't feel like I could really get my hand situated the way I wanted it to. I'd have one card in the way of making a nice path, and there was just no way to move that card out of the way unless I had my Gardener sit there and wait for my opponent to ask for some gardening help.

As for the card size, I don't see how it would matter. 12 cards is still a lot to have in your hand.

I can see how you want it to be a strategy to try to keep your hand big during the game and not let them take all your cards by asking for gardening help, but then it can turn into an back-and-forth war to keep your hand big. It would get monotonous, and you essentially just be switching hands.
 
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Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
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What if you could take one card along with the gardener, say, the shovel side, to replant? Maybe that could be a double action? (It would give the opponent an incentive to steal that card, but that might be desirable.)

Gorno
 
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Andy Van Zandt
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gorno is chock full of interesting suggestions
i'll have to try that out.

as far as hand size goes, I do concede that my playtesting group is primarily Magic players, and large hand sizes do not daunt them.... however 13 is your normal hand in trick-taking games (spades, hearts), and there are quite a few games that push that quantity higher (tichu at 14, and rummy hands can be huge).

i can see the visual appeal of having your path laid out on a table, but as you mentioned, that would require such a huge change in the mechanisms and dynamics of the game that it would end up being something different entirely.
 
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August Larson
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The difference between your game and others is that all the information of the cards does not need to be accessed at all times. In UNO, for instance, all you need to know is the color and number of that card. Oh! The important information is stored on the corner of the card! If you drew a tiny representation of the card they are using in each corner of the cards, it would be simpler to just glance at all your cards together!
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August Larson
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truekid wrote:

i can see the visual appeal of having your path laid out on a table, but as you mentioned, that would require such a huge change in the mechanisms and dynamics of the game that it would end up being something different entirely.


Just because it is totally different does not mean that it is bad. If drastically changing your game changes it for the better, was it not worth it?
 
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Andy Van Zandt
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yes, drastic changes are good when they are for the better, but the game plays the way i want it to at the moment- small tweaks make for interesting variation, but overhauling a fully functioning system is an odd way to go when the biggest complaint is hand size

small representations in the corner is a good idea as well, i totally admit the current visual representation is minimalist at best. you should see the playtest cards, they were even worse
 
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August Larson
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[q="truekid"] yes, drastic changes are good when they are for the better, but the game plays the way i want it to at the moment- small tweaks make for interesting variation, but overhauling a fully functioning system is an odd way to go when the biggest complaint is hand size
q]

Hand size is not my BIGGEST problem. Just one of them. When I tried playing this game last night, I found it unplayable. There was the issue of not being able to REALLY move your cards around. Sure, you could flip them upside down, but if that doesn't solve the problem, then all you can do to get rid of a card in the way of your path is to situate your gardener there and wait for your opponent to ask for gardening help!

Sorry, I couldn't figure out how to make it not put my response in your quote box...
 
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Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
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colmustard21 wrote:
q] ... Sorry, I couldn't figure out how to make it not put my response in your quote box...
"q]" is the problem -- for some reason, the text selection mode here on BGG will change the selection bounds if an end is on a square bracket (text mark-up, as for a quote), cutting off the needed bracket!, so you have to either select extra characters and delete them manually, or add the missing characters to complete the mark-up bounds. I have to mention this in the suggestions forum.

Maybe a little strategy tip would help? I haven't tried playing it, but from what August said, it seems the play concept isn't self-evident. It does sound frustrating to not be able to rearrange your cards (except for the gardener).

Gorno
 
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Andy Van Zandt
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that's an intended function of the game- maximum efficiency is partially dependent upon opponent's progress. however, you are not forced to sit and wait to accomplish progress- you can always pro-actively build your path elsewhere, rather than relying on obstacle removal. it is very specifically not supposed to be easy to move stuff around... gardening is hard work

like i said, if the give-a-card action makes it more accessible for you, i fully endorse it, it was a consideration for inclusion. but it is not necessary to make the game playable, by any stretch.

edit: gorno beat me to the quotes issue.
 
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Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
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How many rounds is a typical game supposed to run? I gather that the gist is to try and steal cards to connect breaks in the path and manage the troublesome dead-end fountains? Maybe the gardener can only shift an (adjacent) fountain card?

Gorno
 
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Andy Van Zandt
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it can vary wildly, because you're trying to assess whether your path will score the most points at any given time, and all the scoring advantages are given to the player who -doesn't- declare the end of the game. it's usually in the 4 to 20 turn range with my playtesting though, if that helps.

i think the issue colmustard is having is that he wants to play his side of the board in a vacuum- if he never looks at his opponent's cards (as he mentioned above), and wants to remove all his obstacles without his opponent having any impact, he's trying to play it like a solitaire game...

the game is memory and hand management, which you use to gauge your opponent's actions and current hand value. those elements require your opponent to not only be there, but to be actively playing... and also requires you to try to know, at least roughly, what your opponent's hand looks like, which does not support playing in a vacuum.

if you're trying to declare a win, and you've ONLY seen the cards that he's taken from you and peppered into his hand, then you have no idea whether your path is better or not... you're taking a blind stab in the dark. this isn't trying to be a luck driven game, the luck is in the deal. everything else is up to you.
 
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August Larson
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Well, whatever. Maybe I just don't get your game, but my dad and I believe your game is broken. If I understand you correctly, your game is sort of a go-fish variation, where you don't know all the cards your opponent has, but can ask to see them. Go ahead and enjoy your broken game.
 
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Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
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It's a bit odd to think of gardeners stealing fountains, especially as they seem to be undesireable (I missed the bit about doubling the score by having one at both ends, which probably makes this moot)... What about changing the fountains into big rose bushes?

Gorno
 
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Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
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The card illustrations could be offset to the left to enforce a left-back, right-front fanning convention. I don't know what lefties would think.. or care I still find that having the gardener on both sides of his card is confusing and invites the question of "how do I flip him" (even though a spin does the same thing and is general to all cards)... it's useful to be able to see and be reminded what side is which for your opponent, which is why I was thinking to make his card tall and just have little icons on the back (an up arrow for giving, a down for getting). I have to think about this some more.

I'm still attracted to the "stack" concept, in which case, one face of the farmer would be the plant, the other, the shovel (maybe that be more intuitive as an empty wheelbarrow for hauling away the plant you get, or just a hole in the ground awaiting a plant?)

Gorno
 
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Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
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I think that doubling the arrow icons (like this) would make their meaning more intuitive:
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colmustard21 wrote:
Well, whatever. Maybe I just don't get your game, but my dad and I believe your game is broken. If I understand you correctly, your game is sort of a go-fish variation, where you don't know all the cards your opponent has, but can ask to see them. Go ahead and enjoy your broken game.

that's why i didn't want to point out that trying to play the game virtually blind, without information, was an error on your part, because i knew you'd throw a hissy fit. oh well.

Quote:
I think that doubling the arrow icons (like this) would make their meaning more intuitive:

after seeing it, i think i agree.

and thematically speaking, he's not really stealing the fountain, he's changing the plants around so that the clear space, the "path", leads to it. though i admit that's not an intuitive way to view it when you're taking their card
 
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