16 November 2009

Drum Beats on the Battleline pt.9

Dissection of the game last night, by two gamers.  One is an experienced reenactor of the Civil War; the other is a designer and a chart maven.  Between those two Battlelines was fairly well raked over the coals, regarding all its myriad modifiers, of which there are a lot even after substantial trimming.  The Quick Reference Sheet presentation was critiqued, and I had to determine certain parts of the game model as unchangeable, possibly changeable, and something worth fighting for.  All that is part of the design process — what to take out as much as what to leave in.  Much of what is left in is modified considerably, but in each case I endeavored to make it simpler and more consistent with the other rules in place already.  Battlelines relies heavily on the TQ check, and that is used in more places in the rules than previously.  Still, I found myself having to defend each position I took, which is difficult, but is as it should be.

So where do we stand with this game?  No where, actually.  I have yet to receive an independent playtest report.  That bodes ill for the game's success, and confirms my cynical view that most people who volunteer for playtesting really just want a free set of the rules.

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