Update 4: Stretch Goal Refugee, Strategy, Design Day Writeup!
Hey, glad to have you back!
In this update we're going to look at another unlocked stretch goal in depth, get another strategy tip from Eric, and go over my (Austin) experiences from the Stonemaier Design Day.
All 7 stretch goals have been unlocked! That's incredible. Let's take a look in depth at something you've unlocked! We've already talked about the extra identity card, and the first player marker. Time to talk about the extra refugee card!
It goes without saying that the refugee cards are the heart of the game, so gaining an extra one (or in the case of all of the unlocked stretch goals, two) is really exciting. When designing each refugee card, there were a couple of goals in mind:
1. Make the effect be relevant to a character's personality.
This isn't a huge priority, but it makes things more fun. The Scientist is smart enough to not divulge all of her traits. The Athlete doesn't become exhausted. Each effect is tailored to the refugee's personality, which makes it more immersive and fun.
2. Don't make any two effects too similar.
What's the point of having two different refugees if they essentially do the same thing? The Conman and Undergrad seem similar at first, as they both swap traits with other refugees, but the way they do so is extremely different so they still feel distinct from one another.
3. Break a rule. Make it fun.
This is the fun part. In order to make the refugees really exciting and fun, they each break at least 1 rule. You don't get to view the Hermit's trait, someone else does. The Celebrity's trait is viewed by an additional player. This is where the life of the game comes from, breaking rules in fun and interesting ways.
So now that we have the design background on the refugee cards, let's check out one that we've unlocked!
The Ex-Convict. This guy's had some bad luck. Finally gets out of jail, and the world is about to end. Even worse, who's going to willingly let a former convict into the bunker? Poor guy. When you question him, you get to look at both of his trait cards, which is very good; that's 1/6 of the traits in the game. However, then you can't say anything and must vote to exile him. No fair!
This is a fun card, because you get a lot of information, but can't share any of it. And you shouldn't question him too much, or you could end up exiling him since you have to vote for him on your turn. He adds a lot more suspicion and tension to the game, and makes you watch anyone who questions him closely. He makes it a bit harder for the civilian team, but as long as they don't question him early or too often it's completely manageable.
Time for another one of Eric's tips from What's Eric Playing!
Watch out for the Child. The Child can only be questioned twice per game (they’re exhausted until a [Refugee] is exiled). Generally don’t let the same player question them twice unless you’re sure that they’re on your team.
The Apes Say:
This is incredibly important if the Child is in the game. As a civilian, there should be almost no reason for you to question the Child twice. You want someone else to see the traits she has, both to confirm you told the truth, and so they know if she has any important traits, like the pet dog. However, as a fanatic your can really do damage by questioning her both times. The civilians will likely know you're a fanatic, but they'll have no idea what the Child is. If she's a cultist, they may not find out. If she isn't they may accidentally exile her out of fear.
Time to talk about about my second Stonemaier Design Day experience. This is the last section of the update and is a bit verbose, so if you don't feel like reading but want to leave a comment just scroll on through!
The 3rd annual Stonemaier Design Day was held this past weekend in St. Louis, Missouri. It's a really great event that's hosted by Jamey and Alan of Stonemaier games. I'm going to mostly talk about my experiences, but if you want to learn more about the event I highly recommend reading Jamey's blog post on it here.
It was a long weekend. I went to the pre-party on Friday night. Then the event itself from 9am-10pm. Then an afterparty. The pre-party and afterparty were great. I met a lot of great people and I feel like we definitely became friends by the end of the night.
At the pre-party I learned how to play Captain Sonar. I love Space Cadets: Dice Duel, so I was really looking forward to this. I was the captain of our team, and unfortunately we lost, though it was very close! We then played at least two games of my copy of Secret Hitler (which I may have proudly mentioned to you in a message). I've never played a bad game of this, and I think everyone enjoyed it quite a bit. We ended the night in possibly the best way: by playing Telestrations.
The next morning I attended the design event itself. First up I playtested a worker placement called Anytown. I enjoy worker placement games quite a bit, and enjoyed this one as well (which I don't believe was impacted by my having won our playtest). It had some unique mechanics to it, and the designers were very nice and put a lot of thought and care into the game.
Next up, the game I was supposed to test was a no-show, so I playtested a game by a local designer who I know, which was a pleasure. It was called Teotl, and was a team game played across three separate mini-games. It's a very interesting concept and is seeming very promising. Unfortunately we had to end early in a tie due to the time slot ending. I'm sure I might see it again at another local design event and would like to give it another go.
It was then my turn to teach a published game, and I opted to teach Secret Hitler. I've already gushed about this game enough, so I won't do more so here. Especially because my playtest sessions were up next.
I did two playtests of what is likely to be our next game, Space Gypsies [working title]. It went great! The people who were kind enough to playtest my our game seemed to enjoy themselves. When it came time to ask for feedback, I had three questions prepared. If you're doing any design work, I highly suggest that you come up with some good open-ended questions to ask after playtests. Here's what I asked:
1. What would you change?
2. What would you definitely not change?
3. What was the least fun part of the game?
I got some great feedback, and can't wait to start working on implementing them after this campaign is over.
After my playtests I was taught how to play Champions of Midgard and The Manhattan Project. I really enjoyed getting to know the people I played with, and appreciate people taking the time to teach me how to play.
After the event, I went to an afterparty where we played Dead Last and more Secret Hitler, and then passed out for a number of hours.
The event was amazing, and I was so excited to see the next day that our game, Space Gypsies, had placed in the top 5 designs, just like The End is Nigh did last year! I could not have been more excited, especially when I saw it was ranked #2! It's a huge honor.
I hope you enjoyed reading, and that I didn't ramble too much! Thanks for everything you've done to help us get to this point. We're excited to see what's in store.
Austin & The Apes