Troll Lands

The major difficulty with this game is organization. Both the text and the structure of play feel disconnected. For example, the Toll-scale interaction doesn’t seem to match the Story Teller’s adversity. As part of this effect, Troll Lands seems like a cluttered design with exceptionally interesting pieces (the use of Troll dice in the character level) combined with difficult to manage aspects (like the creation of the Troll).

Image Use: The images feel directly tied to the game. The feel of the trolls really comes across, and the maps add a surprising touch to it as well. The only minor quibble is that the placement of the images doesn’t always seem to match the text.

Playability: The core of the game seems largely playable, but there are many small mechanical bits which I suspect will cause more frustration than they are worth. For example, the complexities of troll / land creation or role selection seem to contain enough checks and procedures to require a few iterations to finally meet the requirements. Especially since under role selection is isn’t clear whether or not there is exactly one role per Troll die, and then what happens if that Troll loses its die in the Troll scale. In addition, the Troll scale only occurs once, before the character-scale even occurs. This seems largely unnecessary, as it only serves to require a re-working of the character roles selected (due to the gain or loss of a Troll die from the Tribe’s Troll).

The modified liar’s dice mechanic seems to work fine, especially with how Troll dice can modify it. Although given the need to challenge to win, I’d be wary about extending it beyond two players. It is the halo of other mechanics and odd balancing rules that sinks the playability. Also, the text itself doesn’t point out that the goal of the characters is too get coins to keep their tribe safe and healthy for the next 5 years. It’s essentially included as an aside. In many ways the reading of the document felt as though it was written in the chronological order of the design process.

Overall: There are some very good elements sitting within this game. And I’d be interested in seeing how a liar’s dice based mechanic can evolve. Even the trolls and tribal structures are evocative and compleling . But there seems to be an accretion of superfluous mechanics around all of this that I’d have to break through just to play it.

Suggestions: The main piece of advice here is to go back and start tearing things out. You have a core that can be powerful – the characters and the coins for each of the tribal needs. If that’s what you want to go for then cut out anything that doesn’t support that. And if it doesn’t directly support it, then make it optional or otherwise remove the need to pass through the tangents before the core of play is experienced.
– Mendel

Published in: on March 9, 2007 at 6:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

t minus minus 39

my bug game crawled in 39 min late, but hopefully slipped in

thanks nathan for the contest, mike for the heads, thoraxes and abdomens, and everyone for their cool game ideas

Published in: on February 27, 2007 at 5:52 am  Comments (1)  

Design and Designer Chat going on

Hi all

Some good design and designer chat is going on over in SG Chat

 Here is the link

Published in: on February 21, 2007 at 7:52 pm  Leave a Comment