Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Playtesting at Realm of the Dragon!

Going over the Actions and Interruptions play
cards as I set up the scenario.
Photo: Nathan Wenig

Back in July I sat down with my buddy Nathan and play tested a couple of scenarios at his home. He seemed to really enjoy himself and it had been a while since I had done any playtesting so I was looking at the game with fresh eyes. We talked about how the games went and my mind started cranking on his feedback and feedback I had gotten in May/June from a playtesting group in Spain headed up by @Robh, one of the Kickstarter backers. My brain was processing various changes I wanted to make and I was excited to dive back into the ruleset and start making tweaks. A short while later Nate started pushing for me to run an event at Realm of the Dragon in Wauwatosa, WI. I happily said, "Yes!"

Passing out the new Character Dashboards
designed by Sam Alcarez.
Photo: Nathan Wenig

During the weeks before the event I set up an event on MeetUp.com and let my new semi-regular board gaming group know about the event as well. I knew there were a few people coming, but was ecstatic and a little overwhelmed to walk into a packed house of gaming enthusiasm. It was also Warmahordes night so the crowd for that combined with the 7 people who showed up specifically for Broken Contract had me feeling a lot less relaxed than I expected so I rushed my way through getting everyone set up and roughly up to speed.

Breakers rushing up two adjacent passages while
Officer Hickley moves to the middle so he can be
supported by his fellow Officers.
Photo: Nathan Wenig

Once everyone was set up and assigned a character we got into the scenario. This wasn't one that I already had written, I had walked in the door planning to run "It's Time!" but with the large crowd I wanted to go with something a little bigger that required more movement so I threw together a scenario on the fly with a bunch of board sections I was going to use if we made it to a 2nd scenario that night. With the pressure on though I decided to go with what I thought would feel more like a big game and give them some options.

The unsung hero of the day, Ari Gaylen, moving to rig the keypad
to call the freight elevator down.

In this scenario two groups of Breakers were moving up adjacent tunnels towards two potential objectives. To the left in the above photo was a storage area with a jersey barricade and some barrels in storage. The storage area masked an old passage that has been sealed over and is now used for smuggling contraband into the mines. Only the criminal, Nells Turnbull, knows about this exit. If he died, that option for escape would be lost. To the right in the above photo was the freight elevator, its door closed and the elevator sitting on another floor elsewhere in the mines. To call the elevator they would have to steal the key card off of Overseer Billins or attempt to rig the control pad to bring the elevator down. Ari Gaylen was ignored by the Prods so she rushed past and set the elevator in motion.

Officer Tulson moving into position to spray the
oncoming Breakers with rubber bullets.
Photo: Nathan Wenig

Over the course of 7-8 turns Characters maneuvered and fought their way into each other. In the end Officer Tulson and Officer Hickley lay unconscious, bleeding out, and Overseer Billins retreated from the fight. Meanwhile, the Breakers left no one behind and got everyone onto the elevator and shut the door behind them. Of course, this would only be a brief reprieve  as there would still be a whole lot of ground to cover and Prods to fight through to make their exit to freedom.

Trest the Gen-Mod taking a beating.
Photo: Nathan Wenig

It was a great night and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I was particularly happy with how the new Character Dashboards worked even if several of the components weren't completed prototypes yet (for example the chits for Actions, Wounds, and Effects weren't double sided so I had to constantly hand people counters). Watching people play is always informative and I got a good read of how people seemed to be grasping the game and how they interacted with it. Also, special thanks to Devan B. for attempting a different Action or Interruption every turn to find out how they all worked. This rarely happens so many of the Actions and Interruptions have only been tested in the field once or twice. It was great to see these commonly ignored options get put through the motions. Some of them are situational but extremely useful in those situations.

It was a great night and I can't thank Nathan and Realm of the Dragon enough for inviting me to do some playtesting. And of course, thanks to all of the playtesters who came out and gave it a whirl. Nathan was already asking about bringing me back in September so keep an eye out for that. By then I should have more models and professionally printed materials to better showcase the game, and probably some new scenarios too in case any of these playtesters make a return visit.

My next outing to show off the game will be at Brainstorm Comics in Chicago, IL on September 12th. This is a special event so it will get it's own post in a couple days. More info to come!

Thanks for reading!
-Nick


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