I’m calling an official wrap on closed beta testing for Osprey Adrift!
Now, this doesn’t mean I won’t be having more game nights where I bust out the latest and greatest version of Osprey Adrift during the game’s remaining development. All it means is… I’m considering the beta round of playtesting officially complete.
Last night, we played with a whopping 12 people. For those of you keeping score, that’s the maximum number of players the game officially supports. While I’ve tested Osprey Adrift with 12 people before, last night was a particularly raucous session, and the game went on for a bit longer than normal… only because we had to take several breaks for pizza, beers, and smoking. But hey… a party game’s only a party game if there’s a party, amirite?
Notably missing from this photo is the WINNER of the game… I have no idea where she was when we took this picture! But she went with a solid strategy of playing innocent the entire game while her louder teammates incrimintated themselves. Sometimes all it takes to make it in this world as a cannibal is to stop, look, and listen!
Anyway, after last night’s game, I’ve made a few minor tweaks to the rules, and I finally feel like they’re as good as they’ll be before unleashing Osprey Adrift into the wild for blind playtesting. I could absolutely spend another year doing closed tests, but at this point–honestly–I’d just be fiddling with such tiny, insignificant details that it would all be pointless fine-tuning in the end.
Game design is like any other creative endeavor: you have to know when it’s time to put the guitar down and sing your song on stage.
In any event, here are the highlights from my changes:
- Team-switching from Pure to Cannibal is no longer an option. It’s just a bit too imbalanced to be viable in the game’s current form. (Rest assured, however… the expansion I’m *allegedly* working on will support such romper-room-tomfoolery… ahem… allegedly…)
- Padre Alonso de Oro’s role ability has been tweaked a bit because of that aforementioned change. He can still choose to eat Human Flesh… he just can’t switch teams.
- The deck economy has been sped up a bit to make later rounds move a bit quicker. (Now, resource cards are removed from the game when they’re used to power action cards; and coin cards are similarly removed from the game when they’re used to bid on captain.) The game’s rounds will all feel roughly similar in length now, and there shouldn’t be any strain on the economics of the cards.
- The Spyglass and Poisons Manual action cards now correctly allow the player to look at someone else’s food card that they’re going to eat. Just a preview of how these two cards work (Disclaimer: the final rule text may differ, and the artwork will absolutely differ):
The Poisons Manual is only used in 12-player games and gives a distinct advantage to the Pure team since it not only allows a player to look at anyone’s Food card, but it is also essentially a ‘kill’ card for use against cannibals only. This is intentional, since 12-player games are where a 3rd cannibal is introduced. HOWEVER, it should be noted that a particularly crafty team of Cannibals could very well use the Poisons Manual in their favor… killing of one of your fellow cannibals is a viable strategy that we actually saw employed last night. I mean, who would suspect someone of cannibalism if they poison and kill one of the other cannibals on board the ship??
The Spyglass–introduced to the deck at the 6-player level–is essentially a weaker version of the Poisons Manual, as it forces the player using it to pre-emptively name the person they want to spy on. If it’s used on a Cannibal who has a Human Flesh card AND a Fish card in their hand, they could simply choose to eat their Fish card. Also, it doesn’t have a kill mechanic attached to it like the Poisons Manual does, so simply gaining knowledge that a person is a Cannibal doesn’t necessarily mean a gauranteed kill. You still gotta convince the rest of the crew of what you saw, after all. And that requires diplomacy.
I’ll be conducting regression testing to ensure all of the game’s mechanics are working as intended. And, once the artwork is closer to its final form, we’ll be starting blind testing… Stay tuned for more details! If you want to sign up for the official blind playtest (and get a FREE copy of the game’s prototype) read about it here. Sign-up will only go until April 1, so jump on it while you have the chance!
Until next time, gang. Keep it plucky,