Thursday night saw Jonathan play testing the game The Streets of Commonville with myself, Debbie and Les.
The Streets of Commonville is a multiplayer co-op update of the single player print and play game Inspector Moss: House Arrest. Which won the 2011 Solitaire Print and Play Contest on bgg, and was a 2012 nominee for the Golden Geek Awards Best Print and Play award.
Inspector Moss and Streets of Commonville are designed by the partnership of Jonathan Warren and Rebekah Bissell.
Which meant this playtest session we were playing with one of the designers. Not quite Eric Lang or Ignacy Trzewiczek but still a local hero and a pretty cool thing to be doing.
Before I go any further with this post two or three of the photos here are property of Jonathan who I “borrowed” them from.
The Streets of Commonville sees you working as a team of cops, uncovering evidence, finding suspects, and working to eliminate them from your enquiries, until you have one guilty suspect left.
At the moment the game uses a fixed board layout as suggested in the rule book. Apart from the centre tile, the rest are turned blank side up until players move around the board to new locations revealing surrounding tiles. A kind of fog of war mechanic. I like this hidden information, exploration element. When you reveal a tile, the players get to decide amongst themselves which way round the tile is placed. Although it helps that the other players show the tiles revealed on their go to the others while deciding the best way to place the tile.
I have been mulling with the thought since playing does this game need all the tiles used in the session layer out at the start. Or could the tiles be added as the game progresses and have a more organic, less predictable map, similar to the Zombie! game.
Jonathan showed us another version of the player board. Which I preferred, same number of upgrades but you have to make decisions on the bonus you get, between more dice or more donuts.
Below are my notes from playing the game that we were asked to make. Jonathan requested that I include them on the blog so they are easy to find and share with his co-designer.
My notes for Jonathan to refer to!
- The player aid needs to have the turn summary on it.
- There needs to be some way to record the colour of your character piece on the board. This could be just having the upgrade tracker being the same colour as the main piece.
- There needs to be more options/ways for players to upgrade their characters. Time based upgrades?
- The rules do need some work. I'd like to see an annotated diagram explaining the game tile.
- There needs to be graphics in the rules illustrating game play and certain situations that may arise.
- You could remove the placing of the street punks tokens at the start, add tiles with a symbol for the street punks on, and shuffle those tiles into the tiles used for the game. The placement would be more random then, allow more adjustment for the number of players in the game to control difficulty and opportunities to upgrade.
- At the moment I think thematically you shouldn't be able to ignore the street punks. Enter a tile with street punks on, you have to deal with them first before being able to do anything else.
- Currently you can pass as many dice as you like between players using your donut. If as planned this gets reduced to one or two based on the number of donuts you have, then the ability to upgrade becomes even more important.
- Make the game real time? This would cure AP, or curtail it. There is potential for an alpha gamer in the current game, a real time clock may help control that too.
I enjoyed playing the game, at the moment it did at times seem a puzzle to solve of how best to optimise the use of the dice, who gets passed what to achieve the best possible outcome that turn.
But still there is the basis of a good game here. I'm looking forward to playing it some more, especially with less players to see how it fairs.