Last week I did quite a lot of play testing. The main issue was the guards. They weren’t behaving.
The idea is that as the game progresses the guards start to appear in the hangers on the boards. If a guard is in the hanger then players can’t enter to disarm the planes, and if the players can’t disarm the planes then they lose. So far, so straightforward. Under the original mechanic the guards first enter hangers as cards are drawn from the deck. The players get the guards out by causing a disturbance (there’s a card for that), but this causes extra guards to appear next time a guard card is drawn, with the additional guards spilling over into neighbouring hangers.
Unfortunately this method leads to guards hanging about in the hangers. There is another card I was using, which simply sent the guard back to the guard hut – an “end of shift” card. Putting in more of those, and using the “create a disturbance” card purely to move guards between hangers seemed to make a difference. It added some much needed suspense.
But…it wasn’t enough. It just about worked on the four player game, but the two player game remained far too easy. Another solution was needed. After some playing around, I went back to one of my very first ideas, which was that there should be a limited number of guards. If there are no more guards in the hut and a “guard appears” card is drawn, then boom, end of game. I set the limit slightly lower than I had originally thought.
And it works. The players now have to spend time sending the guards back to the guard hut, so that’s another thing for players to keep their eye on. Fewer “create a disturbance” cards also means fewer additional guards, which means less randomness.
All in all, it’s a pretty good fix. At least, it is for now. Check back in a few weeks to see if I’m still complaining about the guards.