When we knew we had a strong game and weren’t tweaking it anymore we knew it was ready for external testing.
So we put out our call for Test Pilots and fellows with seemingly no fear stepped forward to take our prototype out for a spin. And we got great feedback – thanks guys and gals, oldlings and younglings!
Since then the game itself has been evolved and tweaked through four sub-versions – simply thanks to the great feedback we’ve had.
It started as an out of the box, split the deck, shuffle and play-in-the-hand, 15 minute card game. And that hasn’t changed.
So what are the main things that have changed?
The ’Ship’ skill didn’t quite evoke what we wanted so we have changed this to ’Sailing’ which should better capture the idea of tactical manoeuvres, navigation, sailing tricks and so on.
To help with the Sailing skill concept the symbol has been changed to a ship’s wheel, from the symbol that used to, people were telling us, look like a fish but was actually a dirigible – oops. Classic example of others seeing things differently from how you the designer sees it.
The rules haven’t changed but we’ve rewritten parts of the rules to make them clearer, and on that point …
Special abilities have been rewritten on the cards to use less abstract symbols and more words so they should be more immediately understood and remembered by players – meaning less checking back to the full explanation in the rules glossary.
Something New .. ish
But the big thing that has happened has been the insertion of customisation into the Pilot deck. Not deck-building as this is not a deck-building game. Customisation.
We had originally settled on using expansions for a basic deck customisation feature – just slap your card-set of choice on top of your core faction deck and play, each card-set offering unique stats and specials.
To include that style of customisation in the pilot deck of 54 cards wouldn’t work. Not enough room.
Plus we didn’t want to lose the ’play right out of the box’ nature of the game. No.
One of the key features and purposes of oddball Aeronauts is that it can be played anywhere and in a short space of time.
So we were faced with a challenge of EPIC proprtions. Okay, it wasn’t that bad but we did have to think a bit.
The solution, we think, is kind of neat.
The pilot deck still has 54 cards to play with straight away – split, shuffle & play. Test Pilots will be familiar with this part.
But the plan now is to include an extra 18 cards in the box, sealed and waiting for when the players wish to begin customising their faction deck. This is possible without pushing cost up too much and keeping the box small enough to be portable.
To make this really simple we had to alter a few stats on the cards. But we used the opportunity to improve each faction’s distinctiveness – each one has a bias of sorts and has the odd Special Action that other factions won’t have.
How It Works
You start with your standard faction deck and then you swap out cards for other ones. Sometimes like-for-like, other-times 2 for 1. Nice and simple.
We’re currently putting together the beta deck of this new version, concept sketches on the cards included.
Fancy giving it a whirl? Drop us a line and when it’s ready we’ll email you the print & play.
We’d love for you to try it.