Evil Hat Productions (www.evilhat.com), an independent game publisher with many local ties to the DC Metro area is developing a new card game, which I and my family have been selected to playtest. This means that we will give the game a workout through playing several times and providing feedback. The tentative title of the game is "Zeppelin Armada" and that may be more descriptive than poetic, but it gets the job done. Part of playtest is to give feedback on every aspect of the game through actual play and reaction to the game by players, so if we have a "better" idea for any part, we can certainly suggest it.
We have not yet played so far. Today was simply assembly. The deck consists of 100 cards, and the playtest package came as several digital files, including rules and images of the cards (just text and numbers, art and design is coming later). So, first, I had to assemble the cards.
Fortunately today, I happened to be cleaning out the computer armoire, so I came across enough pages of light cardstock to print the cards on. It was something of a task to cut all 100 cards out with scissors, but, thanks to another resource I had on hand, I did not have to worry about how exactly precise I was in cutting up the cards. My son, Ian, has, left over from his days as a Yu Gi Oh enthusiast, a bunch of card protective card sleeves. Basically, they have a clear cover and an opaque back and hold a card so it is not damages by prolonged use.
These held my cut up cardstock easily and made the sizes uniform, no matter how uneven I had been with the scissors. Towards the end, I had to scrounge around for the last several sleeves (Ian is not the most organized with his things, but then, he is his father's son). In the end, I had two different colors of sleeves, but enough so that the distinction won't give away the card. Also, I did not need sleeves for five of the cards, which are double sided. I printed them on the cardstock and folded the front and back together, gluing them with a glue stick and then cutting them out. These double thickness cards should be sturdy through the playtest and they are never put in the deck, so it does not matter that they are a little different.
Reading through the rules, besides the card sleeves and the card stock, I have to come up with some counters that track damage to individual Zeppelin cards, some dice to keep track of maximum Zeppelin speed, and a coin (used for one or more special powers associated with some cards). This does seem a bit fiddly, but no more than many other popular games (e.g. Magic the Gathering) that center on cards.
Looking over the different kinds of cards, what they do, and examining the rules, this looks like a fun game with some interesting possibilities. I can't wait to sit down and play. One of my "selling points" to get a playtest slot was that I would include my kids in the play, so we got feedback from the 11 and 13 year old set. I am pretty sure that Ian will love the game. I am not sure about Fiona. She loves to win games, but I am not sure if this will be too fiddly for her. We shall see.
Tomorrow will likely be the first play. I hope to report soon thereafter.