Previously, I mentioned changing the requirement for getting stars from “any match beyond the first” to “any match (including the first”. To reduce the tokens in the game I thought, that would let me just allow players to use the tails side of a coin as a star, thus removing star tokens as separate tokens.
Further testing last weekend led me to think that there’s still more than needs to be done. My current thoughts have the following changes:
- Each round, players receive only the number of tiles equal to that round. So 1st round is 1 tile, 2nd round: 2 tiles, 3rd round: 3 tiles, 4th round: 4 tiles. This reduces the total number of tiles per player by 6 (from 16 tiles in the old revision, to 10 in the new). For 4 players that’s 24 fewer tiles being played each game.
- To keep with the 4 theme, instead of numbers 1-6, I’m thinking having just 1-4 + x/wild on the tiles would be better, it would reduce the number of tiles and the number of possible matches, which means cards required (and even fewer abilities). That’s not a bad thing, especially when the current cost to print is about 50 bucks IIRC.
- Starting layout: Currently I just place a single random tile in the center and players build off that. It’s bothered me because the first player doesn’t really get the option of making a multiple edge connection. In fact in theory only the 4th player in the 4th turn might be able to play it if others played their tiles in an “L” shape. My one possible solution was to give the first 3 players a free star. But I have a better idea… A + layout. A center tile, and then 1 tile above, 1 below, one left and one right. This provides the 2-edges that would allow for more matches and since there’s 4 double-edges with that layout the max 4 players could in theory have a shot at making a full edge connection on their first turn.
- The last thing I’m pondering is giving each player a starting 1,2,3,4 token. This can make it a bit faster to get up to speed as well and start scoring instead of waiting for so many plays to happen.
In the end I think each of those four things will have quite an impact on playtime. I may not even need all of them. But I’m certain I’ll use 3 and 1. 2 is most likely as it just fits the theme and will keep costs down. 4 is just a minor adjustment if I want to speed the play up a little and the others don’t fulfill it.