Sea Of Mutiny – Second Play Testing Sessions

09 Jul

In a previous Renegade play testing blog I noted some things that went well and some things that didn’t go so well. But to quickly recap:

Went well: Intensity escalation, anonymity + reveal points, understanding of player actions in a turn, in-flow of cards from chest rolls.

Didn’t go well: No card stockpiling, blue and yellow card effectiveness, Switch Card being too OP, flow of player actions to interesting results, board layout.

Suggested fixes: Create rule for amount of card use per turn, change the blue and yellow cards actions. Find a reason to reveal ‘self’ and ‘others, change how dice are used for more risk vs reward instead of result being random.

What we changed:

Set Specific Board Layout, Card Limit Per Turn, Gave Players a Rule Book,  Changed Dice Rolling Functionality, Dice Doubles Reward and Changed Coloured Card – Actions & Wording.

Set Specific Board Layout:

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This was the result of one of the final play tests from the previous session that we found to be the most fast, interesting and chaotic board layouts with the most amount of game flow. It was now also a few sheets of paper taped together, rather than being all individual pieces of paper.

Card Limit Per Turn:

A rule was added so that each player can only play up to 1 of each coloured card per turn – excluding the yellow cards because they aren’t cards player’s have control over.


The in-flow of two cards as a reward from landing on a chest and rolling the dice was a solid starting value. The actions on each of the cards (Red, Blue, Green) were not and did not feel either under-powered or over-powering. So when a player would play 2 of the same colour instantly each turn it didn’t drastically benefit or disadvantage any players. It just meant that because they were always playing all of their cards, it made the burn card tiles and practically all of the blue cards useless. Limiting it to one card per colour per turn doesn’t under-power any player, but it provides a balance between in-flow and out-flow cards. It also enables the blue cards and burn cards to have chance of actually causing an effect.

Created a Rule Book:

Because the first session of play tests were done with people whom were familiar with the aspects of the game, it was easy to describe the rules and how to play in a short time. The second session of play tests didn’t always have people who were familiar with the game and its rules. Therefore we would have to provide instructions/rules for them in the case that a game developer of Sea of Mutiny wasn’t present to lay down the law.

Changed Dice Rolling Functionality:

The single black die use for movement has been removed. In order to move, each player each turn must choose 1 of the 6 coloured dice to sacrifice as their movement die. If the player rolling to move does not land on a chest tile the choice of colour of die has no impact. If the player rolling to move lands on a chest tile, the remaining 5 coloured dice are rolled. The highest value of a suit of die combined is the winning colour.


Example: The player chose to roll a red die. This die is not counted in the chest dice roll.

  • Green die 1 = 1.
  • Green die 2 = 2.
  • Red die 2 = 3.
  • Blue die 1 = 5.
  • Blue die 2 = 6.

Blue is the winning suit. The player draws 2 blue cards.


Most importantly – Because previously the player’s were only rolling 1 of each coloured die to decide on the winning card colour, it didn’t fit the brief.

Also because it would make the chance of getting a winning colour less random. By giving the player a choice of which colour dice to roll (in the case they land on a chest tile) it lessens the chance of that colour suit being the winning colour. There is still is a possibility for the single dice value to beat both other combined dice value. Each turn the player’s are able to have a higher chance at getting cards they want, which in turn enables them to better guide their own game play and play style.

Dice Doubles Reward:

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When rolling dice for a chest roll, if the winning suit of dice are doubles the reward is now 3 cards instead of two.


It’s an extra incentive to enjoy rolling the dice and having the 6/36 or 1/6 odds work in the player’s favour. With practically no added complexity, it’s a simple but little reward. It also doesn’t over-power a player in that turn because of the card limit. It gives them more options to choose from but also more opportunities to discard.

Red, Green, Blue & Yellow Card Actions & Wording.

Red – From:

  • Move a player backwards 1 tiles.
  • Move everyone back 2 spaces.
  • Move someone back 2 spaces OR move yourself back 1 and someone back 3 spaces.
  • Move someone back 2 spaces and yourself forward 1.


  • Move another player backwards 1 tile.
  • Move another player backwards 2 tiles.
  • Move everyone back 2 spaces.
  • Move another player back 2 spaces OR move yourself back 1 and another player back 3 spaces.
  • Move another player back 2 spaces and yourself forward 1.
  • Make anyone you choose discard 1 card. They get to pick the card.
  • You get to choose what color dice the next person has to use as a movement dice.


Green – From:

  • Move a player forward 1 tile.
  • Move someone forward 1 space OR Move someone forward 3 spaces and yourself 1.
  • Move everyone forward 2 spaces.
  • Move someone forward 4 spaces – Perform an all coloured dice roll and picks up 2 cards of the highest value coloured dice.
  • Move the other 2 player’s forward 2 spaces and pick up two green cards for yourself OR Move yourself forward 2 spaces.


  • Move yourself forward 1 tile.
  • Move yourself forward 2 tiles.
  • Move another player forward 1 space OR Move another player forward 2 spaces and yourself 1.
  • Move everyone forward 2 spaces.
  • Move another player forward 4 spaces the player playing this card performs an all coloured dice roll and pick up 2 cards of the highest value coloured dice.
  • Move the other 2 player’s forward 2 spaces and pick up two green cards for yourself OR Move yourself forward 2 spaces.
  • Ability to choose where you want to go within 3 steps back/forth.


Blue – From:

  • Switch places with another player.
  • Switch 2 cards with another player
  • Switch all cards in your hand with another player.
  • Switch another player’s die roll for your next die roll.
  • Pick up and play immediately 1 burn card.
  • Switch all of your red cards for new green cards.
  • Switch all of your green cards for new red cards.


  • Switch places with another player You can only use this if the player you are switching with is not on the last tile.
  • Switch an equal amount of cards with another player.
  • Switch all cards in your hand with another player.
  • Switch another player’s die roll for your next die roll. Can be used at anytime.
  • Move a player of your choosing to the next burn card tile.
  • Choose a player to picks up and perform the action of a burn card.
  • Block one card effect towards you, You can use it anytime
  • Block one card effect and redirect it towards someone. Can be used at anytime.


Yellow – From:

  • Discard 1 of your own cards.
  • Discard 1 of someone else’s cards.
  • Discard 2 of someone else’s card Or discard 1 of your own cards and discard total of three cards from any two from any player’s.
  • Everyone discards 1 card from their own hand (Their choice)
  • Move backwards 2 tiles
  • Switch place with the player that is in last place
  • Don’t roll next turn.
  • Give away one of your cards to the person with the least cards.
  • Move another person forward 1 tile.


  • Everyone discards 1 card from their own hand (Their choice) – If a player has no cards they move back 1 tile.
  • Move backwards 2 tiles.
  • Switch place with the player that is in last place.
  • Don’t roll next turn.
  • Give away one of your cards to the person with the least cardsIf no cards, Move back 2 spaces.
  • Move another person forward 1 tile.
  • Discard 1 Card (in your own hand) of your choice – If no cards, Move back 1 spaces.
  • Discard 2 Card (in your own hand) of your choice – If no cards, Move back 2 spaces.

Green text shows what was added. Purple shows wording or value differences. Red text shows what was deleted. The wording of the cards confused players on who or what actions should be taken. We added clarity of wording and sentence structure to make more sense to the players and more specific instructions.


The cards that were removed had, little or no effect, very low chance of being used and useful or were too complicated to perform under specific conditions. Some players took advantage of the inaccurate wording and used some cards to direct all of the action to themselves.

How Did All Of These Changes Impact The Game?

It went great and catastrophically bad at the same time. The new clarity and ease of use of cards made the game run faster and smoother with less questions being asked. The new dice rolling functionality was easy for people to understand and provided the option and chance to guide the chest roll towards a particular colour of cards. But made quite a bit of mess sometimes when rolling the 5 remaining die for a chest roll. Having a card use limit didn’t under-power player’s and forced people to have available cards to play or discard for the majority of the game. The 3 major changes linked in nicely together.

What Went Right:

Board Layout.

Having a set board layout stopped the board being blown away with every gust of breath. We could start getting more accurate play testing feedback and results.

Card Stockpiling.

Because of the 1 card per colour per turn, players now have a stockpile of cards throughout the game. They have more important choices to make of which cards they play and when they play them.

Card Changes:

Cards always have a use and never result in no action being taken. There’s still tweaks to be made to the cards, but they’re a significant improvement on how the instructions are interpreted.

New Dice Functionality.

The dice fit the brief given more and also creates an interesting dynamic because of players having the ability to choose which colour of dice they would like to change the chances of winning. The dice doubles reward is also a nice touch, not over-powering players but making their play experience a little more joyful.

What Went Wrong:

The Rule Book.

The rule book had 4 full pages worth of instructions. Player’s looked at this and:

Not only does that cut into valuable playing time but can have multiple effects on the game itself. Player’s won’t understand all of the rules and might play it incorrectly which in turn can completely alter their player experience.

Accidentally Making All of the Blue Cards – Yellow Cards.

And I’m not just talking about the colour of the cards. There is supposed to be 15 of each of the cards. But in the process of making changes and updating cards between play test sessions 1 and 2 – 15 of the blue cards ended up as yellow. Instead of having 15 blue and 15 yellow cards, there were the instructions of 30 yellow cards, printed on 15 yellow and 15 blue. 15 of the Cards that were supposed to be played immediately had ended up into players hands and were usable when they decided. Why would a player want to play a card that makes them discard one of their own cards? It caused quite a bit of confusion.



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My question would be why did it take us a full three days to do properly realize or do anything about it before continuing to play test and create partly invalid data. But lets make a note of that for the post mortem.

Note of that.JPG

The Game is still too long.

There is three rather close burn tiles close to each other. Its supposed to be a more risky path to choose because of it being a shortcut. Majority of the players often chose the shorter path and ended up in a loop between moving onto and off of these burn tiles repeatedly. As the result of their own movement – someone else’s cards – or even by their own cards and choosing to move themselves onto it. Resulting in a snowball effect of hindered progression for all of the players.

Majority of the play tests have taken on average 45 minutes or more. While this isn’t a bad thing – It doesn’t fit the brief. Part of this – this week is because of the giant mess up of not having the right ratio of coloured cards. The confusion of the blue yellow card mix-up added to the game length because of:

A) the confusion it caused and players having to clarify and understand how to use those cards which takes time.

B) had twice the amount of negative effects that are supposed to be in the game. The negative effects being – make players move backwards, discard cards, don’t roll etc. Because player’s interpreted these cards to be playable on other players and were playable on more of a choice basis – they utilized it to cause the most amount of chaos as possible. Which in turn snowballs and repeats B).


There’s something important to take away from this: Some people just want to watch the world burn.

Suggested Fixes:

Change the Rule Book so players don’t want to set fire to it. Make it easier to interpret. Faster to understand.

Print the cards on the cards they’re supposed to be on – This is an important one.

Change something about the game that will change the duration of the play time. I’m going to specifically suggest that printing the cards correctly will partly help this. I’m also going to suggest changing or altering the board layout and it’s spaces.

There’s still plenty to do before the next play testing sessions. Maybe soon I can post about how the collaborators have been going and show some progression of the themeing elements, how exciting!

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Until next time –




Posted by on July 9, 2016 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Sea Of Mutiny – Second Play Testing Sessions

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