This playtest was a little different to the other times; instead of bringing the game along to a group who was aware of it from my constant chatter, I brought it along to my extended family weekend away – more with the intent to update all of the cards, even out the earnings within the game. While I spent an afternoon working on the game, I told my cousin, Caitlin, about the idea, some of the mechanics, and thoughts about the freelance industry which lead to the creation of the game. Somehow, I convinced my siblings (Jonathan and Emily) and cousins (Caitlin and Christopher) to then play it with me later that night.
This is the closest I’ve come to finishing the game, because the group picked up the rules a lot more quickly than people have in the past – hopefully that’s a sign of the game developing to a point where the play system is making sense, and easy to understand. Once we got through the first few rounds of understanding how the actual turn went, the group was freed up to think more strategically, try and one up each other, and ultimately, try to win the game.
Since I had talked with Caitlin about the freelance industry, I got a bit of reflection from her any my older cousin, Christopher (who is also a brilliant musician). I got told that it was a great comment on society, and the value (or lack of) given to freelance workers, echoing sentiments I have heard in class, that it is “very realistic”. At one point, Caitlin highlighted this realism by saying: “I need skills to get freelance jobs, but I can only get skills by having freelance jobs; it’s like the real world”.
While this reflection on the ideas behind the game were fabulous, I also wanted to get some feedback on the game itself.
It was mentioned that full time jobs are still too hard to obtain (something which has become feedback received every playthrough). Exposure was frustrating for those involved, because it was time consuming and difficult to obtain. One of the ideas I’m thinking of implementing to combat this idea, is cutting down the exposure needed for full time jobs, as they each have their own set of other skills which are needed to obtain them.
This would cut down the exposure (currently earnt in lots of 5) to a max of about 100 exp (something that is obtainable once you understand how the game operates, and thus start playing a bit faster), with other skills still being needed. That way the Full Time jobs aren’t as difficult to obtain, but are not easy. This may leave extra exposure lying around for players, so perhaps thinking about another way to utilise exposure would be a good idea. The other thing that was noted, is the lack of miscellaneous cards, compared to the rest of the deck: the group really enjoyed the aspects misc. cards brought to the game, however thought there needed to be more of them in the deck.
One of the other things I had playtested in this round was the boards.
It was a much better method at keeping track of how many turns before the rewards (exposure/cash), could be collected, rather than placing risk blocks on to indicate turns left. It made it a lot neater, and less confusing to remember which units represented what products (ie. cash/exposure). I did find it confusing that people across the table were going in the opposite direction to me, so perhaps it’s worth playtesting the board as a portrait setup, rather than landscape.