Today's post is a short one, which is fitting as it commemorates an achievement of no great note, beside personal pride. Today I wrote up a little more on my BGG thread about Project Smatter, outlining the boards. Recently, I've been obsessing over whether the boards should adhere to multiples / exponentials of three or two, trying to thematically link the layouts of the boards to overarching numerical motif blah blah blah. Writing stuff down in the BGG thread, I had contrasting information. Whatever. Nail down the basics, talk about some possibilities, but not for too long, because nailing down the basics means you have enough of a foundation to start playing.
And after writing it up, with pictures and bolding, that's what I did: I just started playing. I got out the pieces, I set up the boards, and I started playing myself. I got confused, so I got out a turn marker. I got stuck in a back-and-forth, so I restarted with one of my possible mechanics; sPawn upgraded to cRooks are placed back in the starting line. Played again. Decided that there was too much empty middle ground between starting positions and the fray; I chose to keep the Source (middle neutral board) as-is, but eliminate the outermost shell of the playerboards, moving them in closer, and also up the movement for sPawn from 3 to 4. Played again.
And just like that, I did in one afternoon the most playtesting I've done for one of my designs.
Sad, isn't it? But while I write a lot, and visualize a lot, and foresee/preclude a lot of strategies or problems, I've never actually playtested much. I've just gotten into the habit of trying to do it all in my head.
Whereas what I can't do in my head is have fun, or foresee whether I won't have fun. I'm glad I playtested today. It wasn't for long, and my back and head hurt, but here's hoping I can exercise these muscles and turn this into a habit.