Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Christmas Come Early

There was a palpable level of trepidation when Sarah, a new face walked through the door bearing a formidable gift….a prototype game….for a family environment arrraggggg. And to make matters more scary your movement was decided by….wait for it….a dice…arrragggg. Never the less we sat down and gave it a chance. We were glad we did as despite the game not being our usual fare, everyone had fun and played the game in the spirit it was written. Given the target audience and the fact children were to play it as well as adults it seemed to fit the market it was aimed at very well.

A lot of care and time had been taken in the production of the prototype, a glossy box, glossy board and 100’s of cast presents all individually produced. There were three decks of cards, each card containing 6 events one for each player (like 6 monopoly chance cards combined) and each deck was used in a different phase of the game. Each card moved Santa a certain number of spaces round the board. When Santa completed a lap you moved onto the next deck of cards and once 3 laps where completed, that was the end of the game. Players rolled a dice and chose to move from their current space either clockwise or anti-clockwise and took the benefit (if any) associated with the square they landed on. A very simple mechanism despite its flaws, very well suited for the target audience.

The game itself initially seemed overpowered in certain places, however this was counted to a certain extent by the fact that all players got to choose where to go and that certain squares pulled everyone back.

There was much hilarity in the fact that Matt got dumped on for ‘letters’ completely neutralising his score. And everyone loved the postal element. The game was won by Luke in an impressive and inspirational landslide, that will go down in the annuls of gaming history. It is sad that in reality he has never received more than 3 presents for Christmas let alone the huge pile he amassed last night.

We debated the merits of slightly tweaking the scoring mechanics, of the reward distribution of presents and the ideal number of players. Most conjecture was on the null spaces and making them more interactive. Jimmy liked the idea of every player having a home space and combining this with a trading element (a similar rule had been removed from this edition). Luke would like to have seen positive aspects to null spaces that were ignored when forced to go to that destination by Santa cards. Rich liked the game basically how it was and pre-ordered 12 copies for him and his family.

Merry Christmas.

1 comment:

rich said...

Only 12 copies? I ordered 100!