The Newport RI Game Night crew held a final playtest session for this year’s Connections Conference Game Lab game, the “Anti-Access, Area Denial” themed “A2ADventure”, mentioned by Rex Brynan in his post below from July 21st. We had a group of mostly new players and learned a lot about how to teach the game, and the design of playing aids to speed up play.
The card-based activation system worked very well, and the streamlined combat system also sped play, but was still beset by some analysis paralysis as players figure out “The Plan”. A portion of the game introduction will be devoted to the planning decisions that players need to make to “point themselves in the right direction” to get the game off and running.
This game board mock-up will be modified with a larger map area and increasing the use of player aid cards, to keep the players focused on the important game decisions, and not get dragged down into procedural details. We decided to shorten the game to 6 turns and increase the speed of the units. This in conjunction with presenting some overall options for “scheme of maneuver” will get players through a complete game faster.
The Game Lab itself will be held in two sessions. The first on Tuesday afternoon for about an hour and a half to teach the game and let players familiarize themselves with “what works”. The second session will be on Wednesday afternoon for about 3 hours, the start of which will be an opportunity for the players to pick “enhanced capabilities” from a list and play with them, providing an opportunity to find out if having them “Changed the Game” in the way they expected.
We will have equipment for up to 25 games to be played simultaneously, with 2 person teams playing each other. Each game will also be an opportunity for those interested in the “observer/analyst” role to observe game play, listen to the players discuss their plans, and capture insights about whether their expectations at the start of the game for how to win panned out. This opportunity has been provided by the wargaming track at the annual MORS conference several times, and will debut this year at Connections as well.
There will also be an opportunity for those more interested in game design than game play to discuss improving the game’s design. Some examples of alternative, more complex rules will be available to foster discussion about when game complexity improves the value of the game and when it detracts from it. The goal being to have a much better game coming out of the Conference, than what is brought in!
There is still time to register for the Conference! Hope to see you there!