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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Two Steps Forward...

Still coming back from hiatus but I've made some progress on Transylvania Pizza Kitchen, specifically with the re-introduction of customer cards.
Customer cards have been in a few iterations of the game but were taken out of the latest one. I forgot the reason why but it was flowing smoothly with having customer abilities on the different sized pizzas instead of having two different card sets. 
Now, the pizza cards have been replaced by customer cards and the pizzas are represented by cubes. I've also changed the card layout to take advantage of this change. When you serve a customer, you make the choice to serve a small, medium, or large pizza. You take a pizza cube and place it on the corresponding mark on the customer card itself. 
This change has introduced cubes into the game but has also drastically cut the number of cards from a production standpoint.

I think it's a change for the better!

However, the game is still lacking something. Right now the key decision points for a player are how many ingredients to reveal and whether or not to keep going and try to beat bad luck.
Players press their luck trying to get a specific combination of ingredients to bake a small, medium, or large pizza, or they can decide to salvage some bad luck draws and cash in for a smaller point bonus with the pizza by the slice option.

I'd really like a third option. Thematically it could be tied to a pizza delivery service, but mechanically I'm stumped on how to implement it and have it be different enough that the choices it provides are meaningful. Players should almost always try to bake a whole pizza, but they have a choice to end their turn early if things are starting to go poorly. The delivery option needs to be a different experience and decision point, but the only options in the game are reveal a new ingredient card or cash in and bake a whole pizza or pizza by the slice. 

Transylvania Pizza Kitchen is close, but not close enough, and I feel like I've hit a wall.

Maybe having two options is fine. The game is currently playable and enjoyable, but ultimately I think it doesn't stand out and is forgettable without 1 more interesting decision point for players to consider. 

In other news, the solo game contest on BGG starts taking submissions at the end of May. I'd like to try to translate a video game experience to the cardboard world. Tower defense seems like a natural fit, and mechanics from classic solo video games like Nintendo's Punch Out could find a home on the table. It's exciting and I can't wait for the contest to start. Murph from The Dork Night Podcast (a podcast that I cohost) is also going to enter, and I'm more than excited to see what his brain comes up with.

Speaking of The Dork Night Podcast. Tiernan, the other cohost, has another podcasting endeavor, brilliantly named Guardians of Legality. He and a few friends tackle the legal repercussions of comic book events.

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