I didn't manage to get to the last Playtest meetup but my friend Aaron tookover the hosting for me and sent some notes about the session. Only just gotten around to looking those over so here is a wee report, edited from Aaron's notes.
We had 3 games on show and 5 participants, 2 of whom were just there to play.
First up was a tile based game tentatively called Robot Factory. Reminded me of ticket to ride but where you also have to build the board from tiles as well. You play tiles in one of 5 different types that need to link together to form a path that matches the patterns on the cards you play. The path can snake orthogonally and tiles can be used in multiple paths. Then you have to claim those tiles by playing a piece on them. Trick is, you'll probably have to use some of your opponents' tiles too to make your pattern but each tiles can only take a certain number of pieces (between 1 and 4). There's a trick in the play then of arranging your pattern but also trying to claim the tiles in an order of priority so you don't lose out. It was pretty much a complete game. We commented on possibly needing to run the numbers on each of the 4 scoring methods to make sure they were balanced but it could be played as is, only tweaking possible the length of the patterns or score values on the tiles.
The designer is a computer programmer and had run the game through his own computer analyses already. He's now looking for the human commentary on play and to try it with more than two players. He's to lay a theme over it too, and is considering it being about trying to build robots to given patterns. everyone enjoyed it. It's definitely got the potential to be a great app too - in fact it says app all over it - which the guy could code himself.
Aaron brought back Queen's Court, now with that working title replaced with the real name given to me by a play tester at a different session: The Last Dance. He wanted to test more that 4 players and got a 5 player game. Pleasingly it still works, though he still wants to account for an increased play time from 60 minutes to 75. He's also now started putting in the background of the country falling apart whilst the nobles dance into the mission cards. The friendly frustration of being knocked out of place is now there in the game and to a level where it's just a frustration for one move and people enjoy the back and forth with it.
Steven brought Scandal back, mostly as before in terms of rules but now wanting to test out some sample artwork and also how best to have the scoring boards and pieces. Still plays well in under an hour. Everyone loves how it creates a story for the career you build with cards.
Thanks very much to Aaron for hosting and I am looking forward to getting some of my own designs to the table this coming Sunday. If you would like to learn more about any of these games please check out previous articles where there are longer form descriptions of the games.