Over the next few blog entries I am going to summarize some of the feedback we received about Dogs and Senatus at GenCon this year. We had a LOT of great feedback and all of it will help us make both of these games even more awesome! This entry I want to focus in on Senatus.
Before I do that however I want to recognize a few folks. Firstly our deepest thanks go out to the folks at Double Exposure who organized and ran the First Exposure Hall at GenCon. They did a tremendous job and worked tirelessly to help each and every Game get the exposure and attention they were looking for. We also had a chance to sit down with the folks from Smirk and Dagger Games and play through a few rounds. They provided the kind of feedback that only fellow Game Designers can and we have taken that feedback to heart and are working on some changes to the game that we think will really amplify the fun and the tension.
We had two, two hour slots to demo Senatus. In those two hours we needed to set the game up, get our players (we ran 6 player games and filled both of them!), teach the rules of the game, answer questions and then step back and let the fun begin. We knew that we would not be able to get a complete game done in that time frame so we targeted getting to the first Scoring Round (6 player turns). Gary was a total trooper, getting through the rules in record time. There were few questions about the rules themselves (good sigh!) but some questions about the iconography, specifically about mandatory vs. optional events.
In the first game there was a LOT of contention over the disposition of the Bill which we did not typically see in our own local pay-testing. This was fascinating to us as it clearly shows that there are a lot of different styles of play and it will vary depending on the mix of players. The other interesting things was that for both games, players kept their corruption VERY low. Gary and I were amazed as typically our games ended up with very high corruption even in the first few rounds.
One of the best suggestions we received was to put a Faction Sticker on the disk used to keep track of the particular Faction Score Track. This was a simple and easy add to the game but makes it so much easier to see what disk represents what faction and also make set-up much easier. We think it also simplifies the adjustment of each track but will be looking to see if play-testers agree.
We also got some great feedback about the look of the game. We have been working hard to make Senatus look awesome and our Artist has been knocking it out of the park, creating incredibly detailed and attractive buildings and tying the whole board together. Gary has spent countless hours tweaking card layouts and icons placements and it is paying off. Several players commented on how good he game looked and that it helped them make the decision to try playing it. It has been our hope all along to create a game that looked great and drew you into the theme and I think we are making tremendous progress on that front. Here is an example of one of the buildings on the board.