Come play Planet 313 at GENCON 2015

posted Jul 23, 2015, 6:34 AM by John Force
Come play Planet 313 at GENCON 2015 in Indianapolis! 

Hall “D” at the IGA - OPEN DEMO TABLES

July 30 - August 2, 2015

Here is some fun reading about some Playtest Highlights for Planet 313!

 Doing test plays with Planet 313 has been a wild ride.  One day I would feel like I am in the “Fast Lane” and then other days it would seem that I would be “Lost in Space”.  The process of putting an idea out there for people to critique can make you feel vulnerable.  I have a flow chart from "The Kobold Guide to Board Game Design" in my office that shows the steps I use to design a game and it is no coincidence that right before playtest is the “Sweet Spot” where I think that the game is great and I feel good about it. Then the playtest and feedback flows straight into “Get Defensive and Brood” until I am ready to make changes and adapt the feedback into the game and find the “Sweet Spot” again.

Planet 313 has experienced its fair share of sweet spots and brooding opportunities.  And I wanted to share a few highlights-

While at Metatopia 2013 – Doing a “high” test with some publishers my sweet spot was quickly doused.   I came home from the convention with a boat load of suggestions from reputable people in the industry.  After sorting through them all, Planet 313 found the sweet spot again as a better game.  The real game changer was the suggestion from James E to incorporate a “grit” feature.  That one change made a huge difference for several aspects of the game to run smoother and gave us science tokens in the game.  Thanks James.

While play testing with our friends Tom and Valerie J we did the DeBono Six Hats of Thinking exercise to evaluate the game.  That was great fun and the ideas generated from that changed the game again.  The biggest would be removing the event card called “All-out war”, it just had to go!  Thanks Tom and Valerie.

Another lesson learned from test play is the times spent with James B play testing.  He showed me that balance in games (such as ten good cards and ten bad cards) might make it balanced mathematically but not balanced for fun.  Having the game balanced to where it leans toward the goal of getting to Planet 313 with fewer bad cards has piqued the fun factor and increase the excitement getting there with just a little less tension from the game elements.  This saves most of the tension to be the tension that the players create for each other.  Thanks James.

Here are some of the comments from playtesters:

James B says…

Planet 313 has an exciting combination of strategy, luck and a little diplomacy between the players.

You need to manage your ships and the cards in your hand while finding a balanced strategy to account for the other players and event cards.

Game play starts right away and the pace moves steadily with very little downtime.

Planet 313 is a great family game. I’ve really enjoyed playing it with my boys (ages 6 and 10).

The first time my son (age 9 at the time) played, he couldn’t stop talking about it, and since it wasn’t on the market yet he even made his own home-made version of the game that weekend.

Planet 313 is adaptable to be played at multiple strategy levels across all age groups. Depending on everyone’s goals and attitudes, it can go from family fun night or also be ramped up to fulfill a ruthless contest between old-time gaming rivals.

Heather M says…

- Planet 313 keeps you engaged the whole time. It's a race to the finish, but you always have to stay on-guard... just because you have the lead doesn't mean you'll keep it! You never know when an event or another player will find a way to send you back to the launch pad!

- I was this close to winning when my husband drew the card that allowed his last ship to go straight to Planet 313... Needless to say I demanded a rematch!


So if a game designer asks you to playtest a game for them, know that what you have to say to them is painful, helpful, and essential for them to fulfill their dreams of making a game that you would love to play with your friends and family.  So please be kind and honest about what you like and don’t like about the game.