Last week was fairly busy, but I did manage to make it along to Newcastle Playtest after missing March (and possibly February?). It was a great night with a good turn out and plenty of games to try out. I ended up just playing my own games: initially a five player game of Zombology and then a three player game of Codename: Vacuum with Olly and Alex.
It was the first of two games of Zombology that week (we also had a three player game at the end of Games Night on Thursday) so I'm still slowly collecting the data I need to feel comfortable that the win/loss ratio is more or less where I want it in the new version and that it's well balanced across different numbers of players. I'm still considering a second hand-made run, though realistically this will have to wait until after the arrival of Daughter The Second at the end of May.
Vacuum also went well. I tried out the fixed number of rounds for the first time and as a result it went a big longer - the three player game with two first timers probably lasted a couple of hours including rules explanation. It worked as expected, Olly choose an end game condition fairly early in round 11 which allowed Alex and I to both adjust our strategies mid-game. In the end all three of us scored within one point of the maximum in that category, so it didn't contribute meaningfully to the scores. I chose in round 14, but that was still early enough for the others to catch up with my weak showing in that category. I'm still messing around with the end game and the scoring. I've had another idea over the weekend - allow each player to choose a (possibly non-unique) scoring condition and then score those conditions (possibly multiple times) at the end of the game. Maybe even give the person who chooses it a small bonus too (since they are giving up the chance to score more points in that category at the point when they choose it).
This week I'm unlikely to get much done - today I'm off to Manchester for work again and then Thursday we head down to Bristol for a big family get together. I'm all set when we get back though, I've bought replacement inks for the broken cartridge which stopped me printing a new version of Vacuum in time for Playtest last week (which in hindsight was just as well as I now have more changes to incorporate).
I've a load of work to do on the train this morning and probably this evening, but I'm hoping to tweak the Vacuum board before I get home.