Packer’s First Milestone

Posted on August 28, 2017 By

I’ve hit a milestone on my Packer’s Last Resort card game: I can no longer playtest it by myself.

Oh, I can still make sure most of the mechanical tweaks are working, and that my math hasn’t turned the game into a collapsing, flaming wreck. But as I simultaneously played four different hands during my last testing session, I realized that it just wasn’t working anymore.

Solo testing is great for two types of games:

  • those with perfect information (in which every player knows the complete game state, like in chess), and
  • cooperative games, since the players are all working together to beat the game.

(It’s also great for completely random games in which players make no decisions (like, say, Candyland), but if you ever see me designing one of those, it’s a coded cry for help and you should call the police.)

Packer’s Last Resort is none of those. Each player has a secret hand of cards, and plays a card in secret each turn. So not only is information hidden, there’s actually a bit of bluffing in the game as well. (“Did he really just play a ‘Fight’ card, or he merely messing with me?”) And trying to bluff when you’re playing the roles of all the players? That’s a bit rough. It’s safe to say it’s no longer an accurate representation of how a real game would play.

Fortunately for me, I’ve got a good community of playtesters and fellow game designers in the area. Unfortunately for them, the game’s still got some serious issues (there are approximate 10 minutes of fun in the 20 minute game), but I look forward to using their feedback to file off the most jagged edges…

…and move on to the next milestone.

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