The Very First Play-Test
We tested the very first prototype of the game last weekend, at last, and it stood up remarkably well, especially given the printing issues we encountered.
We intended to play “first to 6 roses”, as I originally designed it, but in fact, it turned out that it was the number of rounds that was more important for two players, so we decided to change the draft rules on that topic. The win condition will still be “most roses”, but the game will end, regardless of the number of roses acquired, after 3 rounds.
As soon as I printed out the cards, it was apparent that there was no room for all the information I wanted people to have, so that will go in the player guide section of the rulebook. That section will also be important when it comes to replayability – we had fun trying not to repeat our previous clues, which will become another new rule, but it was clear that we were running out of new things to say about each flower pretty quickly. I might have another couple of games in my knowledge bank, but George will need some prompts to get him through – and that’s the idea of this sort of family game, right? It’s intended to be an educational game that makes people look a little more closely at the flowers around them, as well as being able to casually show off their new expertise at the garden centre or the park – rather the opposite of my inspiration for the game!
So our conclusions from this first test were:
– players will shuffle and reset their posy boards at the start of each round
– there is no need for a rose garden, although we can still add one if we feel it makes the game more entertaining.
– having to use up your Forbidden Words cards before you draw more is quite an interesting strategic element, which we have decided to keep for now. Players will all receive a new set of FW cards at the same time, once the last person has played the last one from their hand.
– flipping the tiles felt really satisfying. We will keep the modular posy board.
– collecting Flower cards in a “bouquet” felt great, especially when we were both doing well.
– it will be essential to have further expansions readily available, so that people can add variety easily and often. The best format will probably be to simply offer different editions of the game and encourage people to combine theirs with their friends’ to make a more complicated game, so we will keep certain things, like card and tile backs, consistent across all the versions.
– it’s quick, and fun. Even though it was our first play-through ever, and we stopped quite a few times to discuss and take notes or make changes, and make cups of tea, it was all done in 40 minutes.
This weekend, we are hoping to test the game with our teenaged niece and nephew, and see what they think of it. They are too old (and cool) to be the target audience, but they have two younger siblings who are right in the target age-group for family games. It will be interesting to see what they think and if they like the idea of playing it with their siblings, or even with their own friends, who knows?
My task between now and then will be to compile a player guide so that they can test it, too, and to add the two additional details to the cards that I think are most interesting: how many colours it comes in, and what kind of plant it is.