Reforest! Design Diary: 19 January 2023

Making progress and looking for playtesters!

It’s been a good week so far on Reforest! – it feels like the game is really starting to come together, which is such a thrill. We tested the game at Wakehurst on Monday, and everyone had fun – including people who’d played the game before and people who were new to it. The dice rolls for houses feel really satisfying. I made one more change on these since the last diary, which is that you now roll the house dice at the beginning of the turn rather than the end. It’s a relatively small change, but it means that the players have time to react to whatever humanity is doing, rather than have it come in and mess up all their plans at the end of the game. This video is a great resource explaining why this is usually more satisfying for players.

Giving the players specific missions to accomplish seems to work much better, too. I took a set of test missions to the Wakehurst test, and they worked well. Since then, I’ve been creating three tiers of missions. The idea now is that you start out with three Level One missions to achieve. As soon as you accomplish a Level One mission, you take a card from the Level Two deck; once you achieve a Level Two mission, you take one from the Level Three deck. You have to complete three missions to “win” the game, but what’s nice about this is that there’s now a “stretch” goal for the players – the Level One goals are pretty easy, Level Two is satisfyingly challenging, and achieving three Level Three goals is more or less a perfect game. There’s quite a lot of balancing to do here, but the principle feels sound.

So with that in mind, we’ve got one more internal playtest with the Wakehurst team and then it’s time to move forward to external playtesting! If you’d like to be one of the first people to play Reforest! then sign up using the playtest registration form here, and I’ll get in touch!

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