Monday, April 26, 2010

Diggity playtest and onlooker allure

I had another four-person game of Diggity on Friday, with one of my new customers and some students.  Total sales of Diggity are now at 10 - two from strangers, one from a friend (the copy above), and the other seven from another friend who gave them as gifts to a bunch of still other friends.  So, my current business model seems to be pegged mostly to people I know, which isn't a great long-term strategy, unless I become better at making lots of friends.

The game went well, I thought; one player hadn't played before, and he came in a distant 4th, which makes me think that there is legitimate skill/strategy to the game that you can learn over time.  The four-player game comes occasionally with a certain degree of kingmaking*, and that happened a bit here today, some of it intentional and some unintentional or misunderstood.  But that also allows the game to be balanced by the players - if somebody gets ahead, the other players do usually have the power to deny him or her more score.

An onlooker commented that she had trouble figuring out what was going on.  That's a little bit of a problem, since it's harder to grow by word-of-mouth if people can't catch on to what's happening.  I'm considering including some guidebook cards (a single card with the key rules on it) to hand out to each player.  Once you've played for even ten minutes, the rules are clear, but there's an initial hurdle to get over because the game doesn't play like most other card games.  But I think I can boil the rules down to about seven key points that I can fit on a card - I think that would be helpful.  I've seen that kind of thing used to good effect in several other games, and I think it will help.

*by this I mean one player can't score, but gets to choose which other player does - this comes up fairly regularly in multi-player games of Diggity.  It's not without its strategy, because you have to decide how to use your resources, and using yours forces others to use theirs.

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