Tabletop Day Recap
Yesterday (Saturday, April 5th) was International Tabletop Day. To celebrate, I took Monster Kart Mayhem to Guardian Games, a great game store in Portland, Oregon, and ran a couple of sessions for some new players. I had a lot of fun, and noticed some really interesting things about the game.
My wife joined me for the event, and we started looking for a group around our 1 p.m. start time. We managed to grab two players, for a total of 4 at the table, and played a game that lasted about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
One of the two players said he had never played board games before, but had come out to the Tabletop Day event because several of his co-workers are gamers and he thought it sounded like fun. This same player seemed to have mastered Monster Kart Mayhem after about two turns, and when the fourth player showed up late (about two turns into our game) he was helping to explain the game to the newcomer -- with very little need for correction.
What was illuminating was that this new player -- not just new to MKM, but new to board games -- was able to learn the game well enough to help explain its mechanics within just a couple of rounds of play.
In our second game, we met a father and his two sons who were interested in playing. I told them it was a bit like playing Mario Kart the board game, and the children seemed to get pretty excited about that. One of them obviously knew his Mario Kart, and he was able to get the concept of the game -- including the idea that the terrain would attack him -- pretty quickly.
Amazingly, that same kid seemed to intuitively understand how to roll Fudge dice. None of the three had ever seen Fudge dice before, but before I even explained how they work the 8-year-old (at least, that's my best guess of his age; I forgot to ask what it was) had rolled his four dice and explained the result. To our surprise, he was correct. He just "got it." We then briefly explained the die mechanic for his father's benefit.
This race was a close battle. The two brothers attacked each other quite a bit more than anyone else, and by the time we reached the home stretch we were all occupying spaces near each other. It was anyone's guess as to who might win, and in the end I managed to pull ahead (just barely) to win the game. This session lasted about one and a half hours.
Before we left for Guardian Games, I created some little tokens to represent the Power-Ups we could earn during the game. When someone rolled a Power-Up, we pulled out the appropriate token and handed to them. That gave everyone an idea of who had what Power-Up without the need to constantly write and erase on the character sheet. I'm planning on improving the token concept and including these tokens in the final version of the game.
As I said, I was really surprised at how simple this game seemed to be to learn. I've taught it to several long-time gamers and they seemed to have more difficulty than brand new gamers do. Perhaps that's because long-time players have a lot of preconceived notions about how a game should work, but new gamers' brains are malleable.
More than ever, I feel that Monster Kart Mayhem is a Superb (+3) game for new playerrs and families with kids.
One Week Left
There's just one week to go in the campaign now. Remember to share with your friends and families. With any luck, we can still bring out a couple of additional adventure packs for people to play and have fun with!