Following the game with Jim earlier this week, we’ve been thinking about and testing some tweaks to the agent abilities to deal with the end game problems we encountered. After much debate, the solution we’ve settled on is to allow agents to sell ore from the warehouse to local traders at a knockdown price as a way of getting victory points and some income.
Essentially, what this aims to do is encourage players to use the main contract market as much as possible, and to experience all the tactical possibilities that involves, while avoiding situations where the leading player ends up not being able to score victory points or raise cash when they really need to i.e. at the end of the game.
After giving it some further careful thought, I don’t think the replayability is a problem after all. I like the idea of randomizing the start resources, but I think it’s more important that the game is well balanced and playable. Take Powergrid or Agricola for example, they don’t randomize the start and I’ve never felt that the games we’ve played are all the same.
In Periorbis, we have a random allocation of the six specialist employees at the start, which means players will start on different asteroids and encounter different challenges. In addition, the development of the HR market for new employees has a huge impact on the direction players take, as we saw last night. We’ve been play testing the game for months now and I never felt like I’m just going through the motions. There’s always a different combination of factors to think about, and very often no obviously best solution, so I always want to play again to see if the route I didn’t choose would have been better.