Home > board game design, playtesting, ScatterLand > Playtesting Tulsa Oil, Part II

Playtesting Tulsa Oil, Part II

November 14, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

More playtesting this morning, this time with my dad. I had wanted to try this new idea Dan and I had had for ramping up the strategy, namely that each player has only a limited number of “personal” wells that she can play throughout the course of the game. When a player discovers a new well, she has to decide if she wants to claim it as her own (thus using one of her limited supply) or allowing the well to become common property (shared by all players).

What this means is that players have to be very careful how they manage their supply of personal wells — if you run out, then you have no choice but to share any new well you might find with other players. It would most definitely put you at a disadvantage (to put it mildly).

My dad liked the new version and agreed that it did indeed give you more to think about. He was concerned, though, that maybe the game was now too strategic and that this added weight might limit the game’s potential audience somewhat. And he might be right.

My thought, though, is to try to both have our cake and eat it, too. While I know some folks are allergic to games that offer more than one “version” in the same set of rules, I’ve never had a problem with that. I figure we can encourage folks to play the standard version when they’re just learning or want a lighter game, then move up to the full version when they want a bit more challenge.

If the standard version has roughly the same weight as Blokus, I’d say the ramped-up version has a weight closer to Amazons (an excellent though somewhat obscure game). It’s probably a bit deeper (IMHO) than Pente, a bit deeper than Othello. I’d love to be able to compare it to Hive, but I haven’t tried that yet (it’s on my wish-list). :-)

As my dad put it, with the standard version a seasoned player would beat a novice maybe 75% of the time. This makes for a nice, relaxing game you can play when you don’t want too much stress, and it would even work fairly well with kids (though they wouldn’t be playing it at a very deep level). With the limited-wells version, a seasoned player would beat a novice every time. There’s still some luck, but now you have tough choices to make when you get lucky. Experienced players will know better how to handle their luck (or lack thereof), and the new version gives them more tools for doing so.

Anyway, I love the new version. It’s a bit harder to control the corners and the edges, but that’s actually something I was shooting for.

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