The first play test of Domination: Iron Fist didn’t go the way I was expecting. This was because I spent a lot of time thinking about the game mechanics and how they blended with each other. Once I got together with a few friends I thought I had gone through everything but the feedback of the first test was interesting.
First play test feedback:
- Players lose attention when it’s not their turn
- HP for both player and avatar are too high
- Map is too big for 4 players (20×20 grid)
- Drawing 1 card per turn isn’t enough
- Game speed is a little slow when it comes to movement phase
- Catch up mechanic for low rolls is requested
- People who choose to hold onto cards aren’t engaged enough in combat phase
- Aggressive players punished too heavily if they fail to kill opponent early on
After tweaking the game by myself for a bit, I was surprised that players lost their attention at certain points in the game. Mainly when it wasn’t their turn and during combat if they wanted to play defensive. With all of this feedback in mind, I discussed with my friends how to fix or fine tune parts of my game. By the end of it we came up with:
- 1 movement point is added for every roll under 3, these points can be stockpiled and added to a movement roll
- Map size reduced from 20×20 grid to 14×12 grid
- Draw Card mechanic revamp required
- Waiting for a person to roll isn’t fun so everyone rolling and moving in real time would be better
After I went home I decided to tweak the game some more. The next weekend I was able to visit a friend’s house and play test the game once more. I added the “Reflection Chain” mechanic. Instead of an attack disappearing once a person defends, it’s reflected back to either the attacker or another player. It can be reflected an infinite amounts technically, but there’s not an infinite amount of cards so a player must take damage.
I also added safe zone spaces as a haven for people who don’t want to participate in a battle. It only works for 1 turn however and the player can never return to that specific safe zone.
Draw card spaces were added as well. When you land on a draw card space, roll for the amount of cards you draw.
Second play test feedback:
- HP has been revised, but player HP is too low
- Game favors aggressive play if 2 or more people are aggressive
- Safe zones added to balance punishment for aggressive players
- Map being reduced from 20×20 grid to 14×12 grid works
- Draw card spaces are received well
- Overall game speed is frantic
The game still needs a bit more tweaking but the game speed is where I want it, so play tests are a huge success!