The Backerkit Play-Test Meetup last Wednesday was excellent. It's really great they open their space up for it once a month. It's a fantastic venue, and seems to be drawing a steady crowd of designers and players.
Play-testing Forgotten Depths went very well. I ran two different groups of players through the Ruins in one evening which is a first. There were a couple things I tried differently after feedback at Victory Point Cafe the week before...
Things I tried differently, in order of importance:
1. Heroes discard all Action Cards left in their Hand each Combat Round (rather than hang on to them)
2. Each Hero starts with an "Block Ability," which they may Activate when a Block occurs in Combat. This is in addition to their starting Abilities Activated by Spending Power Cards.
3. Heroes start the game with both their Power Cards Stored (rather than having to Draw into them)
Item 1 let players skip out on playing their lowest cards, which skewed Combat pretty far toward easy. There's other things I could change to adjust the difficulty, but the bigger issue is that it also cut out some of the tactical card-playing nuance. This one aspect is probably worth it's own post actually. I'll likely do just that to kick off a new "mechanics" thread soon.
Items 2 and 3 were slam dunks. Both were ideas taken directly from tester feedback over at Victory Point. (Thank you A. & V.!) Starting Heroes with one more Ability just helps them to be more fun and interesting right out of the gates. I'd worried about making them too complex starting out, but this feels pretty right. Tying it to Blocks in Combat separates it from the entire Power-Card-for-Ability loop, which helps players hold it in mind alongside their other Ability. And starting Heroes with both their Power Cards Stored was a simple way to put tactical agency immediately into player's hands. Perfect.
Also, somewhat inadvertently, I'd messed with the mix of corridor shapes in the Map Tiles, which resulted in some cake-walk Exploration. I'm working to get each level's Tile count down to 20, and I'd just finished drawing up nicer versions of the Ruins tiles to use at the play-test. In the process however, I included too many 3 and 4 way intersections, and dropped out a couple key 2 way tiles that made level building more risky and tense. (dead ending your Explored Area means losing the game)
That's an easy fix. I've dug back out the ones I need to include, and I'll replace a couple of the 3 and 4 way Tiles with them while keeping the total to 20 Tiles.
That's it for now! Some photos from the night are below.