The following is a cross-post of the Dev Diary for Highways & Byways from my blog, Brandon the Game Dev.
Last week, I filled up a map of the United States with byways and breakpoints. They are the red and blue lines and dots you see below. This week, I’ve connected the dots with highways which are white and outlined in black. The highways exist so that players can move around the board between byways. Though they do not follow true paths of the United States’ multiple highway systems in shape, they do approximately reflect the distances that must be traveled between different points. In short: I have completed the first draft of the board.
Naturally, this game is nowhere remotely close to completion. This map is based on what really exists in the United States, but it doesn’t reflect what plays well on a board. Also, the game doesn’t have a defined win condition yet. Some game designers – and I count myself among them – consider to be win conditions pretty important to games.
I’ve pushed a rough version of the game out to Tabletop Simulator for my use only. I’ve created a playtesting log and I’ve done 11 tests so far. These tests can all be classified as “movement tests.” Basically, I’m drawing random cards that reflect byways that must be traveled and measuring how many “dots” I have to go over to travel the full set of roads I’ve drawn.
If you want to learn more about record-keeping and playtesting, I’ve got a great article for you to check out. I take my own advice, and this is what my playtesting log looks like.
I’m going to continue to do more movement tests to get a feel for what win condition(s) will work in this game. I have a mental image of how I want the game to feel, but I don’t know specifically what tactics I’ll be using to get there. It’s like trying to drive to Dallas from Nashville, but not having a map. You have to rely on your understanding of where things are located and follow the signs and the advice of others.
In the coming week, I hope to accomplish the following goals:
- Create a rudimentary win condition to test
- Experiment with a card drafting mechanic
- Push version 1, edit 2 to Tabletop Simulator (version codename: State Route 1, Edit 2)
- Playtest some more