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  • Writer's picturePaul Nugent

Group Playtest #2 - Rotating Maze Game

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

For the second group playtest ('group' meaning more players than just myself) I invited my good friend Mark over. I knew before we started that this session would be longer than my solo plays (so I allocated two hours), as I wanted to have time for discussion and note taking, as unfortunately I'm not the quickest of writers!

Changes I'd made from my previous session were:

  • Scaled the trophy tokens to the level of monster defeated

  • Added a Hero token mechanic that gives players a limited resource to spend and make choices

  • Gave starting items unique properties

  • Made card iconography more consistent

  • Removed the 'no change' cards from the Event deck

  • Made the character stats generic aside from their starting item

I started by giving Mark some background on the game and what the general premise was; Get to the middle > Defeat a boss > Get back out. After that, I gave him a quick overview of the components before we chose characters and began to play.

Gameplay was simple enough to begin with, however it soon became apparent that we could make our way to the centre of the maze a little too quickly. Our characters were too underpowered to defeat the boss, so we shifted gear to levelling up and searching for better items.

The next thing to crop up were the Event cards. In my infinite wisdom I'd managed to overlook the fact that rotating the maze "a half turn clockwise" is exactly the same as "a half turn anti-clockwise"... *face-palm*. This didn't break the game, it just meant I could effectively cull some 'duplicate' event cards for future play tests.

We also had a good discussion about experience points and levelling up characters. In our session we only levelled up three times between us, which didn't feel like enough.

This moved the discussion on to weight limits; Mark raised a good point about being able to increase your weight limit as one of the options while levelling up (currently you can only increase your attack, defence or movement).

Another chat was had about the 'Misc' items. Often when going through the Adventure deck we were discarding items such as Health Potions, Meat or other 'small' items that we couldn't carry. Discarding these items just didn't feel like much fun. Another good point was raised about having consumable items weigh nothing, which would allow characters to pick them up and give them more choices, without making them overpowered.

We were moving, fighting and rotating the maze for a good amount of time, but we only managed to kill the active boss on the strike of our two hour limit, which didn't leave any time to escape the maze.

From a game completion perspective; we didn't finish it, which wasn't ideal. However, I have to remind myself that this was an early playtest. The point of which is to fact find, learn, refine and identify what isn't working. So with that in mind (and from a pure playtest perspective) this session was a resounding success!

Some key things for me to consider going forward are:

  • How bosses work

  • Event cards

  • Dead ends in the maze

  • PVP combat

  • How traps work

  • Monster and player defence values

  • Consequences of player death

  • Item weight

  • Levelling up characters

  • Game time (although this will come in time as rules are refined)

Overall Group Playtest #2 was very productive and I have a lot to work with. A huge thanks to Mark for both his time and valuable feedback! The next Group Playtest is in two weeks, which will be a four player game... I can't wait!

Below is how our game looked at the end of the two hour session;

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