Saturday, August 21, 2021

Shakespeare Deathmatch Rolls Forward

I received my demo deck yesterday, and cracked that bad boy open! I learned a few things right quick...

The layout was a little 'off'. Each card was slightly skewed to the left, for whatever reason. The live area was much smaller than I had anticipated, meaning that the cards were pretty scrunched, and had no borders to speak of.

The backs look uneven, and it is next to impossible to get that black border to appear 'just right'. I thought it was spot on, and it wasn't even close.

I spent a few hours re-formatting some cards, adding some settings and tricksters, and re-building the entire deck. The work in progress is above.

But, we also got to play the dang thing. FINALLY. Here are my takeaways:

Holy crap this is a great game! We played three games, and each time new little strategic choices appeared. Do I play this card now, or do I hold it another round to see if I can get more value from it? Should I reveal this scene, or wait until next scene? Should I play a card, risking losing it having it be used against me? How can I manage my resources the best? How can I force someone else to reveal their character? It FEELS exactly like I want it to feel. Thematically it is spot on for where I wanted to go. You know the whole time that you are playing a Shakespearean game, with Shakespearean characters, in a Shakespearean environment.

My wife and daughter both like the designs of the cards. They like the art, the layout, the formatting, and the presentation. All win! They both actually enjoyed playing. I think my daughter will be requesting this in regular game rotation with our other regular family games. That's huge.

There just aren't enough cards. I didn't think about how many cards would end up being bogged down in peoples' damage pools. However, I have added a number of base cards to the deck, and also added a rule that clears out your damage pool (unused cards) when you reveal your character, so that will help a lot with just having enough cards on hand to play. The base deck has gone from 52 cards to 84.

The game takes longer than I had anticipated. I expected a play to last maybe 15 minutes; we were averaging over a half hour with three players, a little less with two. We were going slow and talking rules and gameplay as we went, so it might end up being a lot faster once people know the cards. That said, there are still a lot of moving parts and subtleties, sudden changes and unexpected events, and sudden turns about you didn't see coming. I really, really love it. I'm sending in for a second proof deck in the next day or two, and expect to have the game on sale by middle September. 

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