Tagged: board game design

Keep it or drop it; adventures in game mechanics


Did a bit more playtesting the other day, after making numerous changes to Hel’s BELLEs. Biggest change was the timing resolution that I talked about last time. I cut the individual phases way back (almost halved) while slightly boosting the secondary effects of the cards in question to maintain the value of each upgrade. All of that went really well, and the game played much more quickly and smoothly. All is not perfect though, as the reduced phases have had another effect that hadn’t occurred to me.
The cards that one plays have 3 colour-coded tiers, with each tier effecting gameplay a little. Green resolves normally, red ends the turn, and yellow provides room for an opponent to revise his already-selected actions. I really like this aspect of the game. The yellow effect didn’t become really obvious until later in the game, when an increased number of phases increased the opportunities for revision. Well, now you never get quite that many phases, and as a result I kinda nerfed the effect.
I’ve since come up with a (potentially better) slicker method of revising one’s turn, but in asking one of my regular playtesters, the issue of the mechanic’s validity/necessity came up. He also likes the concept of spontaneous revision,  but isn’t sure whether its really necessary to the game. And if its not necessary, then I shouldn’t keep it around. I agree with the theory, but I’m waiting to see what happens in practice.
With any luck, I might get a couple playtesting games in this weekend. I’ll probably try it both ways with a few different people before I make a decision. I’m tempted to keep it in, even if I need to make it an ‘advanced’ game, but I know that’s partly just me not wanting to let go of something I’m attached to. Wish me luck!