Okay, so I have a little time today to let loose on how the play test went.
In a word: chaotic. But controlled chaos that did exactly what it was supposed to do. And that was to let us discover what we were doing right and what we were doing wrong in both the rules and the scenario. Both are being revamped to improve how the game will play and how the objectives will 'guide' the players. Also, got a better insight as to what the players of the game will want. More blood! More sunken ships! Imagine that?
Lest I forget, I want to express my gratitude to all those who chose to participate in the play test and, especially, to just about everyone sticking around for the discussion session afterwards. All of the ideas were heard and many of them are being used to guide us forward. The only idea that didn't work, and only because of the scale of the game, was to have each player go in turn. Non-starter, that, because if we get the full 32 players then 31 people wait while one person acts. While not every idea brought forward, at the post play test meeting or since, will be used, I'm happy to hear them all. If we did use them all that wouldn't work very well since some of them are opposite of others. But, again, appreciate all the input. It shows me the level of interest in making this event a success. THANKS!
Some of the best elements of the play test were the passers by who showed considerable interest in the game and a few even joined in the game - including a 10 and 11 year old pair of girls who seemed to have a really good time and their mom got a kick out of us letting them join in. And, as one member noted, many of those passers by expressed interest in our local club. Since that is one of the main reasons for all this effort - to entice people into our hobby and our club - that was very rewarding to hear.
There are pictures below and, for those wondering about the environment, we are fortunate to meet in a public library meeting room with plenty of tables (we used 16 for the game space and a couple more for setting things on - and there were still tables left for one group to play another game in the small side room that we get to use most of the time), central heat and air, decent lighting, a wonderfully supportive staff, and fast food not far away. Oh, and electronic key access for both before and after patron hours room availability - we had the room from 8:00 AM until 8:00 PM if needed. Some of the staff even came in and enjoyed looking over our 'very unfinished' setup.
A couple more things before we get to the photos. I've decided we need to use magnetic stands placed next to the ships to hold the figures on so we have a visual record of where the ship's crew is - our ships are a bit cluttered for placing figures on the actual decks (though some clever players did put their captives on the decks ). It was also pointed out that the town occupant's objectives needed to be adjusted to ensure a more active role, similar feedback on the merchant vessels as well. One suggestion I am going with is to have the town folk going out into their fields to harvest and/or plant in order to keep the colony fed. And maybe they just might be planting their wealth to protect it from dastardly pirates - or the tax collector! Still rummaging around the back corners of my brain on what to do with the merchants but one word keeps cropping up over and over again: smugglers.
As you will see in the photos, lots of work still to go despite the immense amount of effort already put in. Oh, and a special thanks to Aaron for the 'illuminated smoke puffs.' I'm counting his pair of hands as the twelfth set working on the project. More puffs, Aaron! Lighting optional, of course.
Okay, now for the photos, the first batch are from work sessions, the play test comes a bit later.
AND NOW, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN - AND SCURRILOUS LOW DOWN DOGS, TOO, THE PLAY TEST:
Well, if I counted right, that's 38 more photographs for your enjoyment.
Now, what about the 'great disaster'? The night before the play test, as I was pre-loading my vehicle to save time in the morning, I found that the four main islands were stuck solid together. I'd allowed many hours for the glue to dry under the green and brown texture that was added (no sand on those pieces yet) but apparently not nearly enough time. Probably didn't help that they were stored under compression to avoid warping. After a few choice expressions, I very, very carefully pried them apart one at a time using two nail pry bars. Except for a bit of damage on one beach that will be easily concealed, the only other result was some of the texture got a bit messed up, one green piece pretty much gone and many patches in need of some careful work to remove the veneer that lifted off. That was it - unless you count the frazzle to my nerves!
Lots of work to go but getting excited to see it all set up and people roaming about having a good time - and cursing their luck - or would that be gloating over their success? Yo ho!