Maximum Apocalypse at Metatopia

posted in: blog, game prototype | 0

This past weekend I attended Metatopia and got in 3 awesome playtests of Maximum Apocalypse. The game certainly worked as-is but because Metatopia is focused so much on game design, I got a lot of great feedback and was able to experiment on some things from playtest to playtest. I also got to test out the new Mechanic and Surgeon classes for the first time. Most of what I worked on was solidifying a player’s turn sequence and streamlining some rules. All in all I got some really positive feedback about the game. Other than discussing player turn sequence, all the feedback was really focused on minor language things and fixes on cards. Great stuff to find now but easy fixes.

Before Metatopia, the standard player turn sequence was:

  1. Increase your hunger
  2. Spawn Monsters
  3. Take 4 actions where 1 of them had to be moving or drawing a card
    • Move 1 space
    • Draw a card from your Survivor deck
    • Play a card from your hand
    • Perform an action from one of your cards in play
    • Scavenge: Draw a Scavenge card based on your current location (if able)
  4. End turn and take damage

After my first demo, I got some feedback on the economy of actions and forcing players to move/draw.  This restriction was never intended but cropped up after some other playtests.  For my next playtest, I increased player freedom a bunch.  I not only changed it to ANY 4 actions but I also let players pick the order that they went in every round.  They loved creating their own order but it definitely slowed the game down a bit.  cwg5uetveaamktj

This batch of players really loved the game and played an additional 2 hours of the game after our allotted 2 hour block.  They also managed to squeak out a win despite being overwhelmed by zombies and on the brink of starvation near the end of the game.  They played the cards really well and setup some awesome combos between each character. It was a truly epic win.

The game ran long though and seemed a little hard even with some of their unlucky dice rolls.  They also frequently forgot to increase their hunger and spawn monsters before their turn so for the final playtest I experimented with a new player turn sequence:

  1. Draw a card from your deck
  2. Take 4 actions where 1 of them had to be moving or drawing a card
    • Move 1 space
    • Draw a card from your Survivor deck
    • Play a card from your hand
    • Perform an action from one of your cards in play
    • Scavenge: Draw a Scavenge card based on your current location (if able)
  3. Increase your hunger
  4. End turn and take damage
  5. Spawn Monsters

This led to the game being a little too easy.  While I did give players effectively a new action, the real problem was that the monsters were appearing late in your turn and wouldn’t crop up and surprise you at the beginning of your turn forcing you to change your strategy.  I had another great discussion with these playtesters and got a lot of little things sorted out.  I am currently leaning towards the following Player turn order after all these playtests and just finished updating my draft rules document:

Turn Sequence

  1. Spawn Monsters

Roll two dice and place a monster token on any face up map tiles that match your number.  If a player is currently occupying that tile, that player must draw a monster card. Note that all players occupying that map tile must draw a monster.  Remember that no map tiles have the number 7 so that is a safe roll.

  1. Draw a Card from your Survivor Deck
  1. Take Actions

Take up to 4 actions listed below, in any combination. You may take the same action more than once:

  • Move 1 space
  • Draw a card from your Survivor deck
  • Play a card from your hand
  • Perform an action from one of your cards in play
  • Scavenge: Draw a Scavenge card based on your current location (if able)

Free Actions:

  • Once per turn as a free action, you may discard two of your Survivor cards to draw a new card from your Survivor Deck.  
  • Once per turn as a free action, you can give or take a scavenge card from a player if you are both on the same space.
  • If you are on the Van tile, you may fuel up the car as a free action and discard any fuel you are carrying.
  1. Increase your Hunger

Increase your hunger by 1.  If you’re already starving, increase your hunger damage level.

  1. End Turn

At the end of your turn, all of the monsters in front of you attack and deal damage.  

If your hunger level is at 6, flip your character card over and take hunger damage.  Hunger damage is irreducible and unavoidable.  On subsequent turns, you will take more and more damage if you don’t eat.

I’m still not sure how I feel about resetting the turn order after every round. That’s the only major rule still up in the air at this point, but I will take a look at it over our next few playtests…

 

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