It’s going to be a rough month for The Emperor’s Heart. I’ve got a friend’s wedding coming up, full time work and school on top of it. Plus working on the Asian Pacific Islander Spoken Word Summit for 2008. Aiyah.
Anyway, I’ve got a lot of good playtesting feedback over the last couple of weeks, along with a couple of extra games. I’ve got a lot of changes to add to the game, hopefully smoothing out rough edges, connecting the dots, and making elegance where I can. Good feedback is about bad play. That is, where the game goes bad is what you need to know about.
The end goal is a game that consistently produces fun, but maybe the average player can’t tell you why, as much as a movie with good cinematography makes the camera tricks invisible- natural and not disruptive to the entertainment.
Anyway, it looks like The Emperor’s Heart rides or dies on two factors: group dynamics and setup. (All the resource funkiness can be worked out through trial and error until you hit the Goldilocks’ just right).
Currently, I’m looking at:
1) Adding Supporting Cast cards, which basically serve as mental cues as much as Drama cards do. Plus to make that part easier. I gues it doesn’t make sense to have all of setup be cards and then leave one part out as the exception.
2) Changing the Endgame timer. I do like the minimum required Awards and buy-in before Endgame, but for low Awarding groups, there has to be options too. (Hmm, another game extending idea, maybe more tokens are put in the bowl and Villains have Traits refreshed?… thinky think)
3) Character names before picking cards. Heroes need names dammit. I mean, you can do it for D&D, even though you don’t have to (see: Gauntlet “Elf needs food badly” etc.).
4) Should there be explicit “What if?” steps added to Setup? How about a round of Awards? This might stretch setup more, but might also a) increase buy-in and b) train people to use both What if and Awards ala Dogs in the Vineyard Initiation…
5) Dice economies- conflicts need to be a tinge shorter.
Anyway, that’s hella stuff on my plate. I wanted to have it all done in 2 weeks, but probably more realistically a month, month and a half? Aiyah.