LUTHIERS - Playtest sessions 5-9
4 games after the latest update
Previous game update was a pretty big one. Lots of balancing and a better game ramp-up. Most of them were good, but one in particular might have gone the wrong way. Let's do a quick post-mortem of these additions and review the last 4 games.
DESIGN UPDATE COMMENTS
3 DECKS FOR THE CONTRACTS : Definitely insures a much better ramp-up in terms of what contracts are available and when. There is no more situation where all 4 available contracts are too strong and nobody can take any.
ASYMETRIC & FIXED STARTING RESOURCES : This one is trickier. The goal of giving more wood to Yellow and a starting contract to Blue was to open the play for the other colors. I think it is working well, and gave them a "nerf" (they were clearly very strong). As for the Purple, it now starts with a Private Stock card of a value of 7. Purple has since then been very strong and completely DOMINATED one of the 4 plays. Is it because we are just getting better at the game, or that change made a real difference? Time will tell. But it don't think it is broken for the moment. Where it does not look good though it is with Pink. Pink was the best color during the first few games, and we thought that giving him $5 more and a debt would be a good balance. Now looking back at this decision, it seems that it is way too much of a weight for Pink, and its 4 losses in a row can prove it. Nevertheless, I feel that a few misplays did not help (there is a game, for example, that I bought the wrong wood for my contract and thus failed it). I think its low scores come from both his starting debt and some misplays. Let's also not forget that one of its Action Locations is not enabled yet, and it is a pretty strong one.
FOURTH ACTION SPOT AT $10 FOR CONTRACTS/MARKET: Was not used much (only once I think?) but really saved Blue's life. As explained in the previous post, this action is meant to be a despair move and should not be seen often. I think it is mission accomplished. However, we felt that it was missing for the Collector and for the Private Stock. So what we proposed instead is to add 1x $10 Action Slot per District, that works for ANY action.
INSPIRATION TILES THAT CLEAR & REPLENISH AT THE END OF THE GAME: Really good change. Nothing more to say.
ONE ACTION SPOT (DOWN FROM TWO) FOR PRIVATE STOCK: Really now makes it more important and gives Purple an edge and a potential strategy of controlling these resources.
VP's FOR UPGRADES: Not a huge change, but balances the fact that some upgrades are stronger. Could maybe give even more points (eg 5-3-1 instead of 3-2-1).
GAME 6-9 SUMMARY
BLUE (Simon) : 70
PINK (Simon) : 35
YELLOW (Simon) : 41
PURPLE (Simon) : 43
Very close, yet very low-scoring game. I think playing all four colors at once really made it hard for me to focus on strategies. Interestingly enough, Blue was the only one with an unpaid Debt at the end of the game (-15 VP). It was Blue's first win.
BLUE (Simon) : 64
PINK (Simon) : 33
YELLOW (Rocio) : 75
PURPLE (Rocio) : 117
Wow! Purple's first win, and what a massacre! It completed 5 contracts (highest is still 6), but including 1x Collector and 2x Celebrities. I am looking at the data and I don't see anything that stands out in terms of actions taken, except the difficulty of the contracts she completed. Once again, tough game for Pink... But I think I just played bad (yeah, I suck at my own game, haha).
BLUE (Simon) : 83
PINK (Simon) : 33
YELLOW (Rocio) : 81
PURPLE (Rocio) : 70
We played this once right after to see if she could do it again with Purple, and it didn't happen (still a very good score though!). It is nice to see Purple now being able to compete against Blue and Yellow. Blue won for the second time in 3 games (but only has 2 wins in 8 plays), with a strategy different than what Purple did the game before (no Collector, no Private Stock, less Loans, more Inspiration), but still nothing out of the ordinary. Just like in Game 6, the winners are the only ones with Unpaid Debts (-15VP). Pink once again disappointed, but I know I really misplayed this one (bought the wrong wood and failed a contract).
BLUE (Keven) : 71
PINK (Dominic) : 41
YELLOW (Simon) : 99
PURPLE (Alex) : 70
First game with 4 different players! It was Keven's second game, and Dominic and Alex's first one. We gave them the two "weakest" colors to see if something was broken. I did win with a good margin, but I felt I really played well. Pink lost again, which really proves that his starting $5 more does not compensate enough for his starting debt. Purple was really close to complete another Celebrity at the end of the game, which would have give him the win, but he had the wrong wood (a little bit of misplay there). The game was closer than it shows (appart from Pink). I am very happy with these results!
Fun fact: Pink lost, but is the only one that completed a Collector. He lost -30VP for Unpaid Debts and was very close of losing -45. He went heavy on Exhibitions (3x) and Debts to boost his Reputation (which he did), but it was super expensive, and money is Victory Points.
MODIFICATIONS TO BE IMPLEMENTED FOR GAME 10+
a. Pink will now begin with +1 Reputation instead of a Debt. I will still give him his $5 more to compensate the action that has not been implemented yet.
b. Cultural District becomes Artistic District
c. Retail Store loses one action slot. It also gets a complete revamp. Instead of simply doing (Value + X$) to get the selling price, the price will vary based on the value of the instrument sold. For example, a value from 1 to 5 would give (value + $4), one of 6-10 would give (value + $6) and a guitar worths 11+ would give (value + $10). It really becomes a good way to convert high-value stored wood into very good money/points.
d. Collectors' minimum Reputation will be nerfed to 6-6-7-7-8 (instead of 6-7-8-8-9). Hopefully we will start seeing Collector contract being completed more often and earlier in the game.
We will test these modifications tonight during Game 10 (and potentially Game 11!).