Friday, October 19, 2012

A Star Runner Update

It's been 2 months since I've talked about Star Runner, and I've mostly let it sit.  I think all good games go through a waiting period.  For the most part I'm happy with where the game is, but I like having some time to randomly think it over, and try to play the same game without making tweaks.  I was able to play a 4 player game last weekend with 2 new players, and one person who had only played once.  This game took longer than I'd like, and it got me thinking about having a "starter" ruleset, or having some other options to speed up the early part of the game.  I've also realized that the game is hard to explain.  Once you start playing, it makes sense, but until you see what's going on, players don't have a strong notion for what they're trying to do.  I'm planning on creating a video which shows how to play the game, so this will help the visual learners out there.

I think I've reached the point where the game is solid, but there are tweaks to be made in terms of card distribution, starting resources, and the ever important tech-tree.  One thing that a lot of people have noticed is that the game has a definite narrative arc.  For those of you who don't know what that means in gaming terms, it's essentially that the end of the game feels different than the start, that through the game, players have made choices that shape what they're doing at the end.  This may have a negative effect on new players, but I feel that it makes the game more rewarding after you've played it once.

The best part about getting Star Runner played was that my friend actually asked me to bring it over without any mention of it from me.  She also commented that it's a game she wants to play more often to try out new strategies and attempt to do better than the last time.  This is music to my ears, and I think it's what every designer should be striving to achieve.

All that being said, if you're interested in reading rules, and maybe even playtesting, let me know and we'll get in touch.  Rules can go out basically as soon as you get ahold of me, playtesting kits will take a bit, but I hope to have some ready to go around Thanksgiving.

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