Since I originally introduced Abbottsville, I have paused most of my other projects to get some intensive testing cycles in. The deadline for the contest I plan to enter it in is less than a month away — so, I better get busy! My first few tests found a game that was way too loose and sloppy, with very little tension. It seemed like there weren’t enough choices, and the ones you had were either pretty obvious or were more complex than needed. This made it feel like you were just going through the motions and hoping for luck to shine. I didn’t like that.
Some things worked as I had hoped — such as the map tiles and the dice. But it became obvious that some things need to be cut, others added, and some existing items just needed a little tweaking.
I’ve completely cut out a number of bigger things already — the changing market values for the different goods, the item cards, and the concept of getting VPs here and there throughout the game with a public scoring track. I’ve added in “Reward Cards” which is the new method for scoring. You earn rewards by exploring and delivering goods to the village. Each card has a value of 2, 3 or 4 on it. So, you know how many rewards your opponents have, but not what their exact score it. I’m still working on exactly how/when tiles are added, how the goods markers are handled, and how predators are added to the map and moved around. I feel like I’m getting close on these thing, but not quite there yet.
With these changes so far, the game now flows much more smoothly, has more tension and interesting decisions. I want to add-in more opportunities for player interactions, without forcing it. So, the testing continues …