Tetrakinesis testing & Paint the Town progress

So – after watching a few different people play Tetrakinesis, including experienced gamers, I realize that I clearly should’ve done actual testing on it.  I think some people may have gotten it quicker, but there was still a lot of confusion as to what to do.  I think my friend who works in design was right about the colors, perhaps.  It seems as though people were confused as to who/where they were and how to proceed.  That might have been due to the abstractness of it.  My recent employer was more curious about Hexbgon, even though the concepts were the same.  I think something about having a theme and a “playing piece” to move (the bee) made it more… intuitive in terms of what you had to do.  Perhaps I’ll visit it again someday, I’m not sure.

For now the goal is working on Paint the Town.  As I noted in my last entry I created a script to help generate possible combinations of colors for my graffiti tiles.  I originally started it and created more 2-color size-3 tiles than necessary (I need 12, I created 24 on accident, because I need 12 3-color size-3 tiles as well (which totals 24 total size 3 tiles)).  So looking at it with fresh eyes, instead of starting with low numbers of colors I’m going to start with 4 color tiles which means I can work backwards in terms of balancing colors.  If I grab a set of 6 4 color tiles, I have 18 3 color tiles I’ll need to create total (the previous 12 size-3 tiles mentioned and an additional 6 size-6 tiles).  So once I have the 4-color tiles I can remove those colors from my 3 color sets (or have 1 less combination of them) in order to retain balance.   If that makes sense.  Overall it’s going to be interesting for balance as I’ve never done such combinations before.  I’m sure I can get it going fine… I’m kinda just dreading the labor (it’s not even that intense, just using the ‘fill’ color button in Paint Shop Pro), but I have to manually do it.  Meh.

I also realized I could tweak the Python script to generate a csv file which I can open in a spreadsheet which would make dealing with the data easier than the text file I currently exported it as.  I may look into that.  It’s a little extra work, but it definitely might be worth it in the long run, especially for future games I should be able to tweak the script as needed for generating combination spreadsheets.

The last thing is thinking about 2 more things to add depth to the game:

  1. Goal Cards.  I have a couple ideas, but some of the real meat needs to come from this.  Combinations is fine and lightweight, but I think to add depth having some varied powerups/abilities and goals will be necessary.  I think I mentioned that before, but it’s something I need to bear in mind.  It’s one more element that I have to focus on once I get the combinations of colors created/printed.
  2. Rewards for pieces.  I’m thinking each piece should have their own rewards besides just score or “cred”.  Though I’m not sure – perhaps the goal cards are all I’ll need.
  3. Rewards for locations.  Instead of each piece having rewards, perhaps each location you place the piece will have a reward (sort of like a worker placement).  This would make sense.  I can use the theme of the place to help.  So for the Police Station, if a player places a graffiti there, they can move the cop car meeple to a location where an opponent is at which will increase the number of danger dice they  are required to roll.  Or perhaps if they hit a box-store, they’ll get an extra unit of money to spend when purchasing paint.  A crane, perhaps they can move something free of charge.  I dunno.  Have to get creative with that.  But again – this sort of crosses over with the idea of goal cards and thematic rewards with those.  Perhaps the goal cards is all I’ll need to focus on, and really get creative with them in terms of combos or goals (not just locations, but things like all pieces painted must have blue paint in them or something).