Apart from life marching along, here’s a bit of what’s been going on.
Mint Tin LunaSyr is getting near-final tweaking after loads of play testing.
Game play is around 45 minutes to an hour. Like most games, after you’ve played it once, subsequent sessions are faster.
For Mint Tin Pirates and Mint Tin Aliens, the instructions are double-sided on cards in the game. Mint Tin LunaSyr is more involved and would benefit from full-sized instructions (plus it would be really annoying trying to read eight double-sided cards). But how do we do that and keep it in a small tin?
We took a cue from a few Kickstarters and decided on this—make the rules an online PDF.
One particular Kickstarter game, Card Rogue, is in a normal-sized game box that can easily hold a rule book, but to save cost (and shipping too), they only have a PDF. It works and we enjoy that game.
We’ll include reference cards so that once you’ve played the game, those should be all you need
Scoring‘s great with a semi-Euro-styled low point system. Most games end with scores of 5-6, 6-7, and sometimes a two point spread like 6-8.
There’s an outer “rounds” track that you move a sentinel along for each round of the game for a total of 12 rounds. Some of those cards are being tweaked now to give the sentinel a bit more oomph.
The inner mining cards are all set and work well.
Some tweaking’s also going on with resource management. Should there be a “storage” limit to them? That fits well with the moon theme in that you’d probably be limited in how much material you could store. But, so far, the game seems to self-regulate that. The resources are hardened glass tiles (mosaic tiles actually).
We need to do more testing to try to break it—you know, play in ways you typically wouldn’t—such as hoarding resources without thinking of winning and seeing if there’s a subtle first-player advantage (there always is, even in chess). Those extreme things, tail-end scenarios, find flaws that can tighten up a game.
Art style is determined but not completed. Cards are double-coded with colour and shape, and designed to be readable when held in-hand. And also language-independent.
We’re close to the “Nick Stage” where our awesome UK game guru tears into it with his phenomenal game insight.
Nick’s created all our solo variants and has a particular talent in being able to look into games with some form of magical mysticism!
Once we get his insight (and I wipe away my tears), we’ll tweak and do real prototype printing. We’ll print on the real final cards and assemble a handful of full games. Now they won’t have some aspects, such as the final tin design (mainly the label) and there won’t be the nifty first-player aluminium* space coin, but they’ll be full playable games and very close to what will be the Kickstarter reward.
We send those to a small group of hardcore final testers who are located all around the globe.
While we always think there will be little to change, it’s always an awesome surprise the feedback we get. Ideas that take the game to a higher place (doh, lunar pun not intended!).
So that’s the update, a bit rambling, but moving along.
Not as fast as I’d like but just the right speed to make a game worth owning—and that’s the most important thing to me and Kate.
Stay tuned to twitter and facebook and thank you for all the social media pics of Mint Tin Games and all the encouragement—this game community is so phenomenal and has helped us far more than just games. =)
PS – The pic below is from an interview two weeks back and shows most of the game. The upper-left card is a mining efficiency card that creates bonus points, the outer cards are the game’s “rounds” tracker that the d4 sentinel moves along (RoSE – automated Robotic Sentinel Enforcer, or for you silly peeps of which I am not, ARSE). The 3×3 grid of cards in the centre are the “mining cards” used for set collection. The d12s in the bottom corners are the Operations counters that your score is based on. The resources, small green and grey square tiles, are REEs (rare-earth elements) and 3H (tritium or hydrogen-3), the stuff you’re mining for, and the meeples are your lunar mining crew that you send out as the worker placement element.
* – Why did you spell aluminum with an ‘i’?
One, it’s fun to say it like that (kind of like saying ‘Ye Olde Game Shoppe’). And second, it’s generally spelled that way in the scientific community. However, in the US and Canada in non-science circles, aluminum is the preferred spelling. And in the rest of the world aluminium is preferred. Interestingly, the spelling of aluminum is actually older.