michael brown
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Hey everyone, I've been working on a card game which centers on building a robot by drafting cards and then having that robot dance in order to impress judges. The game play involves a lot of balancing of concerns (you have to have the right parts to dance your moves but you need to also have enough electricity and not overheat as well) as well as opportunistic changing of strategies.

A game takes about 30 minutes and can be played with 2-4 players (if you want to play on my online version of the game some of those players can be AIs, so you could also play it 'solo' if you don't mind playing against a robot). It is a heavy game, but not really heavy (slightly less heavy than Race for the Galaxy). The gameplay is fast and is meant to be fairly light hearted.

I am interested in having some people blindly playtest it. I have played a lot of games against local people, but I feel that some blind playtesting is definitely in order to make sure that the game is really as ready as I think that it is.

Here are some options for playtesting the game:
1) Play on my website: Since I am a software engineer I also put together a quick website where people can play the game against a basic AI to make it easier for people to attempt to help playtest it.
2) PnP: at the bottom of this post I will provide links to all the necessary documents. The game requires some cutting of rectangular cards, but other than that should be fairly easy to make.
3) Post here and ask for me to mail you a copy: I am willing to mail copies out to people who can't PnP the game themselves.

I have a little artwork already ready (see following image), but the game is mostly in a low fidelity prototype stage, so if you are planning on going the physical route, the cards will be pretty much small pieces of colored cardstock cut to size.



The rule portion of the attached document is 2.5 pages long, so it is not that hard a read (the cards and an example play are also on there for the PnPers as well as anyone who thought that an example play would be useful). Please read the rules before trying to play the game. The website does not teach people how to play, it just enables play (similar to isotropic dominion for those who used to play on that.)

The website is here.
The rules/PnP document is here.

If you are interested in trying it out, please post here with your thoughts.

Thanks for your help.
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michael brown
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Posting to update:

I have had two people contact me about sending them a copy of the game without posting to this thread (They both discovered about it through Google+, so they posted there).

I originally printed and cut up three copies of the game, so I still have one copy up for grabs without having to print up any more.

Additionally, work on the art is coming along well. If anyone is interested in discussing that with me, I would appreciate it. I am mainly interested in people to tell me what parts need to be changed since I am no artist.
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Steve Zagieboylo
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I played it a few times on your site. Of course, I didn't read the instructions, so it took a couple of times to figure out what was going on.

I don't see the point for the moves draft up front, since you can take moves cards. I seemed, routinely, to get really crappy drafts. (Once three of them were "combo move" and two others were also 1-point moves.) I do understand that there is the issue of one person calling for the contest and someone else hasn't picked up enough moves, yet, but that seems like the second person's problem. Maybe he spent all his draws making a robot so awesome it can improvise the whole way!

Having still not read the rules, I am not sure why some moves earned more points than I expected. There is the base score for the move, plus the bonuses for using features that the judges like. But still sometimes the score was more than I expected. What else is there?

I thought that the space / energy / heat / features balance worked well. I was a bit confused that one component type was 'Grasp' but the magnet specifically says that it provides 'grasp.' Why was it called out for that one?

The playing out of the moves was a little boring, because I knew that everything I had planned was going to work. I only improvised if the other player was getting ahead and I knew I needed to get lucky. Possibly you could add an environmental factor to the dance floor that players would have to try to compensate for, or else they'd have to take their chances improvising. (This would be drawn from a deck each round, or generated with a dice roll, or something.) For instance, in one case, the floor is electrified so every robot gets a free +1 energy but is penalized +1 heat. In another case, the floor is covered with ice, so energy costs for support are doubled. etc.

I would also like to pass on a move and just discard it.
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michael brown
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Thanks for playing on the website. I have tried to make it so that people could easily play it without reading the rules, but I didn't think that I did it well enough to advertise the website as being playable without reading the rules.

The real reason for having an up front draft is to speed up the game (that is also why you start with a set starting robot). The game does work without having a starting hand, it just takes longer. I will add in a variant where you don't have a starting hand (though I personally like the speed increase that a starting hand provides).

About some moves earning more points than others: the cards in question were probably combo moves. I apparently didn't explain them in the website enough. Combo moves are low point moves that copy the type(s) of the last played move (but only if it was successfully played). They allow you to milk a judge for points if you play them at the right time in your dance off.

The reason why I specifically call out that a magnet is a grasp is just so that I can have something to put beside the electricity cost. Probably I shouldn't do that, since combos (and many boring moves) specifically state that they require any grasp.

About the environmental effects: do you mean every dance move, or every dance off? If it is every dance off, that could really destroy your plans (for instance, if you built your robot with exactly enough electricity you could suddenly dance none of your moves if a -1 electricity card came up).

As I look at that option I will definitely have to reconsider the tolerances of the game (right now I think that it is just about hard enough to build a robot that can dance 90% of the dance moves in the deck that most other players will go on to win the game before you can build the prefect improvising robot).

About discarding dance moves: I could easily add that in. It sucks when you queued up a bad dance stack and then have to blow up your robot because of it. Perhaps I could even add in a radio/modem add on that enables that ability (basically you are telling your robot to abort the dance before it is over.)
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