On Saturday, I completed the fourth test of my board game Dungeon Merchants. This completes my 4P challenge!
Honestly, as late as Friday evening, I was doubting if I’d be able to complete it. I got a lot of notes from my third playtest, and I spent too much time doing work stuff because of an on-call week to put a lot of time into the game.
But I had a flash of inspiration on Saturday morning that I tossed in quickly: what if the players had to reach out to villains to acquire quests? The mechanism itself didn’t work well, but my playtesters suggested a good new direction for the game.
So for the next playtest, I will try to have the players work to match heroes to villains. I like this, because it has the “playing both sides” feel that Battle Merchants has.
It’s still pretty far from playable, but 4P gave me the kick-start that a month-long game design challenge should give me. And all the interesting stuff, all the strange corridors I got to try, and all the parts of the game that I saw that worked and that didn’t, happened after the first playtest. That’s totally out of National Game Design Month’s scope!
So you bet I’ll be doing 4P next year, and I’ll spend more time promoting it and getting more designers on board. I know that a couple of dozen designers started 4P, but I know of only two who finished it other than me.
How about you? Did you finish 4P?