Thursday, 8 November 2012

NaGaDeMon Day 8: Playtest

Tonight, we playtest!

I have my draft printed and ready, and at least one of the players has read it. Another player has played FU before in our regular game and I hear we're having another player as well. I should be able to get a nice cross section of opinions from them.

The experience of others tells me that it's time to get specific about this playtest. In other words, have some specific goals in mind, some specific questions to answer. The good news for me is that I'm writing a supplement for an existing game so there are plenty of things I don't need to test. So here's the list:
  • Changes to the FU point economy.
  • Rules for building
It's a small and problematic list. Changing the ebb and flow of a reward system exposes the system to imbalance. The FU rules are forgiving on this, though, because they tell the GM to hand out a FU point whenever a character does something cool or funny-in-character (or something like that, I'm working from memory here). My list of how to earn FU points could be taken as making this instruction more specific to the setting. On the other side of the ledger are some new ways to spend FU points. Some of them are just re-bricking1 the basic FU rules (spend a point to get an extra bonus die) so I don't think I'll run into much trouble there, with the exception that players might question whether it's worth the bother to earn the Lego FU point when the ordinary FU point is more easily available. Others are additions to the ways that FU points can be spent, so I'll watch them closely.

As for the building rules, I'm more than a little worried. There's a good reason that most games avoid these subsystems: they're either too simple to accomplish all the nuances of "real world" design or they're enormously complex and take over the whole game2. I've pursued a simple system, in keeping with the spirit of FU. FU has rules for gear and also rules for turning the props of a scene  into gear. Gear gives bonuses whereas props do not. I want to see how well my build rules connect with the gear rules.

After this playtest I move on to revisions and start planning for the last playtest. In that I'll have to test the changes I'll make from tonight as well as see how Lego integrates into another setting. Our normal FU game is a Star Wars game. I'll be adding Lego to it to see if we can play Lego Star Wars FU.

1. Ah hah! See what I did there?
2. See Car Wars, for example. It's all about the build.

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