So in session 2 of play testing I started to run the game a little more like a RPG, instead of just a demo and how to guide.
The session started with a quick intro to how the interface works for new players.
Followed by a explanation of the character cards.
Then we dived straight in, I started the session with a quick prelude and an NPC giving the quest. The objective was to get the players into their characters mindset.
The heroes then ventured fourth into the Dungeons of the Dead to stop the Necromancer and destroy the soul stone.
This is where the game slowed down. It was expected since new rules system and new players who had only played once before. Also changes to rules.
The purpose of the session was to test the use of Action Points and it’s impact on the game.
A players turn was significantly slower than other games, whilst using Action Points. This was because of a few factors:
- New players learning the system
- Players tactically thinking and carefully deciding what they are going to do.
- The recovery element of the game during their turn.
- Some players experienced technical difficulties / poor internet connection, making the interface hard / cumbersome to use.
- Point 1 was to be expected, it was noticed that players soon got the hang of AP’s and how to use them. It was observed that AP’s force a different way of thinking during the game, a more tactical approach is required. Sometimes it is more beneficial to force the enemy to come to you.
- Once play found a smoother flow with the APs, I notice that they were moving slightly quicker with the use of their AP’s. Players pointed out that if this was round a live table the game would be smoother, and agreed it was an interface issue.
- Players suggested that we moved the recovery from the beginning of the individual players turn to the start of the Initiative Round. This was tested and indeed quickened up a players turn.
- Due to the Tabletop Simulator being more powerful than Fantasy Ground 2, it certainly used more bandwidth to play. Nothing I could do about the technological issues, but I can certainly move the play test session into the Fantasy Grounds environment for future games. I have started to set up a table top ready for next session .
We attempted to continue the game without AP’s and just allow a move and a action. Then we tested using two actions a turn be it two move, two attacks etc…
This was a lot faster, but it was mentioned that the players did like the APs.
We will continue to test APs in Fantasy Grounds 2 in the next play test session.
Dice Pools were not really an objective. I know the mechanism works well, as a full campaign was run successfully over twenty years ago using the system.
Some players were a little confused which dice to use.
I had added a dice pool onto the character cards but it became evident that it was difficult to make out certain dice. It was suggested that instead of dice picture, I used dice codes, eg: d6
A nice comment was made about the time it took to make the character cards look nice and the change would undermine the effort, but the cards are just cosmetic and on a proper character sheet there would be no dice images, the player would be writing dice codes, so the change is easy enough to make and a valid and good cosmetic change suggestion.
However, if we use Fantasy Grounds 2, for future play tests, the dice are automated and finding the dice etc is irrelevant as all you need to do is click a button.
It was suggested that I could automate the dice on the character sheet. A fantastic idea, but the time to implement would delay future play tests.
I have decided that it is more important to get the rules correct rather than the interface, so a quick swap of interfaces will allow for continued play testing.
I will eventually create the rule set for both Fantasy Grounds 2 & Tabletop Simulator later in 2019 for campaign play.
The following rules changes will be made for the next play test:
- Recovery will be performed at the refresh of the initiative phase.