While it seems like swimming in tar at times, I actually really like this end-of-design tweaking phase that I’m currently in with “Jump Gate“.
I have the rulebook a good 80-90 percent of the way to where I want it, and I’ve been able to do a some playtests of a few tweaks … then re-tweak … then re-test. It’s the final polish (I hope) of what works as a really nice game.
In my last post here, I linked to my BGG feedback post where I mentioned that I was going to try having players always refill their hand at the end of a turn, and that every action would cost at least 1 NavComp card … well, those changes didn’t test very well. Refilling every turn completely lost the nice tension that was there when trying to manage your hand … and having the refill as an action choice gives players a nice way of timing that to their plans. So, I’ve dropped both of those ideas.
Instead, the “Research” action will allow a player to refill their hand back to 5 cards. And some actions — Research, Fly, and Harvest — do not require a player to discard anything in order to take that action (using up an action is cost enough).
Some of the Special Actions also needed some balancing. “Hotshot Pilot” originally allowed you to land on a planet just by discarding that card — but that was too strong … so now it serves as a “wildcard” that can be paired up with just 1 of the Landing Codes to land on a planet. “Inside Info” was simply never used when it gave a player the chance to peek at a planet’s face-down cards — it wasn’t worth burning an action for that. I’ve changed it to now allow you to refill your hand back to 5 cards, and it gives you an extra action to use in the turn … so, you essentially can refill your hand without using up an action.
I’m going to be adding in a few more graphics, running the thing through a few more word-editing rounds, and finish off the last page of the rules (thanks and ads). I’m shooting for the end of March as a release … wish me luck!