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Subject: Development Diary - Entry #2 rss

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Jack Neal
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Liverpool
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Well, managed to start a three player game tonight and the game turned into a bloodbath and wrapped up in 45 minutes or so.

The first turn was incredibly cordial and Green was able to get a jump on Yellow and Red and go up 10/9/7 thanks to owning a bank all by himself and having a minority share in the biggest producer. The Investment Track stayed at the top and the Stability Track was close to the next level.

Next turn Yellow and Red attempted to outmaneuver Green and began bringing values down. Green drew a 'Credit Swap' event that allowed him to move up to five permanent shares to any bank he owned so he moved them to a bank in the Plains - these were all red and the value of assets started dropping. This was brought about by Yellow calling shenanigans and dropping an 'Overnight Bail Out' card which caught Green by surprise. Before long everybody was piling on and dropping the Investment Track lower. Red played a card that allowed everybody to remove one share from every bank and Green was last in turn order, so the Plains bank was left with 6 Red Cubes with negative value and no other owners. Green countered by dropping event cards to hurt banks in the Midwest and Northeast and tried to put in enough cards to shift the bank's assets above -$5 at the end of the match. Unfortunately, another event card was played that brought cube values to $1/-$1/$-2 and the final value for Red's solo bank was at the cutoff for the final bankruptcy. The market slipped to the lowest level.

At this point, the game was originally designed to cut off the moment the third bankruptcy happened. I changed the rule (and it is uploaded to the site) so that scoring is done at the end of the turn of the final bankruptcy or the fourth turn. Green was in the process of bolstering up other Banks to get a final 3 VP. It felt unfair to not allow this VP scoring for the highest bank especially since once the market hits the lowest rung, all bets are off and the game is virtually over as there are yellow and red cubes strewn all over the board. With the change in the rule, Green won by 2 VP over Yellow. Red limped in last 6 VP behind. No one played bonds and again there were few regional investments done.

The game advanced quickly. I liked having the players clobbering each other and it was death by a thousand cuts towards the end. I imagine this will probably turn some people off to the game, but it is an incentive for people to work together. I did end up playing this game as a bunch of jerks pitted against each other. Maybe a friendly group of gamers would be a lot nicer to each other.

There were definitely some interesting card combinations coming up that would have surprised players in real life. The drawing of negative regional cubes was great, but having the guy they were aimed at turn around and group those all into one shared bank by everybody with the intention to eventually pull out was even better - but then the third owner deciding to play a card that allowed people to pull out so that the original target was screwed based on the original turn order? Just plain awesome - even if it did send the game on a quicker spiral. At that point I figure most gamers would just go into attack mode - and rightfully so.

Other changes involved some cosmetic changes to make the cards easier to read. The bank card is much more easy to read and the event card cubes at the top of the card are now the same size as the 1 cm cubes. It requires fanning the cards out more, but since you are reading text for the events anyways, I didn't see this as an impediment.



and



The cards will be spruced up with images and backgrounds, but for now I am trying to get the effects down pat. I did change text on some of the cards mostly to clarify events, but I did decide to make the 'Market Crash' events drop the Investment Track down by at least one rung and possibly two rungs. These cards were not drawing consistently enough to match the urgency on the title - and the game is all about trying to avoid a bubble. If it unbalances the game too much, I'll change it back.

Next up is seeing if I can get the wife to play. I'd also like to get Steam on the table in the worst way, but I feel like this might be easier to explain. Who knows. If I can't get her on board, I will take the next step and try to simulate a four person game. My sense is that things could get entirely too chaotic - and I haven't figured out a way around this if this happens.
 
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Jack Neal
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Another playtest to come early this week. Again, hoping to try this with the wife at some point. I imagine I will sim a four-player game without her late tomorrow night.
 
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Jack Neal
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Been caught up with Steam and a camping trip that was full of water - the natural enemy to all things board-gaming.

More later.
 
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