Well it isn't ready yet but I playtested it with friends and family. It's quiet nice. It only needs a bit more balancing and some artistic touch.
Back to basics
(For people that don't know what the game is about, Cusco is a strategy game where players must place their civilians on one of the four different places. Civilians will act according to the place they're put on.)
There was not much left from the co-op VS competitive aspect and the intriguing aspect was nowhere to be found.
This isn't the first time that this happens. People tend to just add things to the concept not really knowing what they are doing and not really knowing where they're heading. It's not surprising that the teams who stayed faithful to the concept also won the most prices.
Anyway I looked at the board game again and found that the players where not working together against the game. 2 Players could work together to attack the third player but that shouldn't be the only co-op aspect in the game. I introduce a rule that worked well to enforce this, the sacrifice section.
Players need to work together to sacrifice an amount of civilians to please the gods. If they do not reach there goal, everyone gets punished. If they would not reach the sacrifice goal for a third time, the game would win.
Losing players have no benefit from sacrifice more civilians because they are losing. They can say: "Screw this. If I'm not winning, no one will."
Winning players would like to keep the game going because they want to win. Thus they should sacrifice more civilians.
A second new rule was to hide all information from each other before the players reveal their strategic moves. This brings in more surprices and this intriguing experience.
The first playtest revealed that the players need a conversation methode so that they can plan something without the third player knowing it. I'll try adding some pens and paper next time.
Finally I reduced the number of starting civilians to 10. There are no soldiers or other currency. There are just civilians and 6 moves to select.
Everything is less complicated now and it is not necessary to think ahead. 2 Things that might attrack non customers. (when thinking in BOS terms)
Board game publishers
And there are more. Everyone has its own requirements. Some only want role play games, others do card games, others do kid games,...
It will be a long quest to find the right publisher. "sigh"
Have I found blue ocean?
It seems to go in that direction but I'm not 100% sure that we enter the full blue ocean.
I didn't do a full market research yet but I can point out some strong points about the game.
Rules / complexity
Different types of game pieces
Number of choices
Time to finish 1 game
Tier 1 and current customers are the fans of strategy games. Players that like to think ahead.
Tier 2 are all non strategy gamers. Players that don't like to think ahead. They rather like the social aspects of games
- important and hard choices
- social aspect
I hear a lot of players say that the will join if the game isn't to strategic. By focussing on only a few strategic moves and hiding information players only need to think 1 round ahead. Hopefully this will motivate the non customers to play the game.