In a previous Sea Of Mutiny play testing blog I noted some things that went well and some things that didn’t go so well. To quickly recap – for the last time on Sea Of Mutiny:
Went Well: The pretty elements, having the correct cards printed, removing the blue switch card and the rule book & cutout cards.
Didn’t Go Well: The game is still too long, people just want to cause chaos, rule book could be condensed more, card text & board symbols could be improved slightly.
What we changed:
The Rule Book:
Card Layout & Brightness:
In the previous play testing session it had been the almost one of the first times they’d been printed and ready to use. On a computer screen designing them they seemed like they were bright enough, but when printed – printed darker than anticipated. They weren’t black like the first time, but still a little bit dark. So everything was made a little bit lighter.
The new inside card layout removed the title of the game – because it wasn’t necessary to have. The icon representing what type of card it is has been moved to the top left and bottom right of the card to help players identify what type of card it is they have when holding and fanning all the cards in their hand. The text can still be altered to make the card story a little smaller than the action. Make the action of the card multiple sizes bigger and make it bold to stand out so if players want to skip the story and go straight to the action – they can.
The outside of the cards have coloured corners – no real reason, it just looks prettier.
The Mutineer cards are a little more simple – Added a pirate pistol too because they’re awesome.
The boards ‘Walk The Plank’ tiles have changed to be black with a yellow skull to make it stand out more and be directly more colour coded to suit the card it relates to.
Board Length – Amount Of Tiles:
Removed the last 7 tiles. Moved back the finish tile, and placed a walk the plank tile just before it. Removed the shortcut and the dangerous loop of walk the plank tiles. Moved the reveal to self tile to be the 10th tile into the game, moved the reveal to all tile to be 19th tile.
To try drastically reduce the play time. It was the easiest solution to shorten play time without changing anything mechanical that was in place.
Giving Each Player Cards To Start With:
This was only in place for a single play test. When the game starts – and before any player has rolled to move, each player is given 1 card of each colour.
To see if players would choose to play any cards in their first turn. In this play test. They didn’t. Part of this is because when the game starts, the first roll of each player has a 100% chance of them landing on a chest tile. Part of this was because the reveal to self point was so much closer, they were stock piling cards for after then. Before the first reveal point each player had at least 6 cards in their hand. – Will not be a core mechanic – Removed.
Added An Extra Mutineer Card:
Added an extra Mutineer allegiance card to the cards that are dealt to players on game start. There is now 2 Pirate & 2 Mutineer Allegiance cards.
To utilise the on the fact that some players just want to cause chaos.
How Did These Changes Impact The Game?
The rule book responses in the questionnaire.
The rule book went really well. It’s still not perfect, but at least players are willing to read them without wanting to gouge their own eyes out. Besides, we learnt some valuable lessons about how to present information to players in a more meaningful, precise, fast way.
Having all of the printed assets brighter was great because it made everything easier to interpret. The new layout for the inside of the cards relieved them of being too cluttered but still provided the critical information. Having the icon in the left top hand corner and the brighter boarders made it easier to interpret what cards were in the player’s hand when fanning the cards. But that only benefits players who fan their cards from right to left and not left to right.
The graphic designers and I toyed with the inside of the card layout and tried to test what it would look like having icons in both corners.
We stuck with one in each corner but know there’s an alternative way that benefits players no matter how they hold their cards.
The new board layout also worked really well. It shortened the games play time by a decent amount and was just over the 20-30 minute first play time window. Removing the shortcut full of walk the plank tiles also drastically reduced the games play time. It removed loop of entering and exiting and back and forth of the shortcut. The reveal points aren’t too far away or too close.
The extra mutineer card allowed a 50/50 chance for the game to have a team of pirates or a pure free for all between mutineers and pirates. When the game was 2 mutineers and a single pirate – everyone tried to cause as much chaos as possible while only solely trying to benefit themselves. The games that had a team of pirate and a single mutineer were the same as the previous sessions – except this time around the pirates actually worked as a team and didn’t try to break the game. Ultimately, having an extra mutineer card can change the re-playability of Sea Of Mutiny by never guaranteeing a particular set of teams. Each game will have a different dynamic.
What Went Right:
Every change in this play test worked out for the better.
What Went Wrong:
Nothing went wrong this play test. But improvements could still be made – Sea Of Mutiny Isn’t perfect.
Work on the text size of the inside of the cards to better separate the card story from the card action. Possibly find a way to make the inside card design benefit every fan of cards.
Update the board layout with the new changes of amount of tiles and changed zones.
Iterate over the rule book to make it pretty and more polished.
Start trying to plan the box art for Sea Of Mutiny.
Find a way to get the 3D models from the animators printed and ready for use in Sea Of Mutiny.
Until next time –