Last post I talked about some of the challenges that I would have to try to fix with Who Wears the Crown? specifically the challenges of properly costing the Intrigue actions and handling the Endgame more gracefully. Today I will go over some of the things that I did to try and smooth out these rough parts, what worked and didn’t, and then go over some of the coming challenges still to come for Who Wears the Crown?
The Intrigue Actions
Since the shift to using an opponent's favor (favor is the currency of Who Wears the Crown?) to pay for the intrigue actions, the actions have been used more effectively but the cost of the actions is still a question I am trying to smooth out. Previously, the three actions of Draw, Spy, and Steal had been costed at zero, one, and two unique favors respectively. This was a relatively low cost to promote interactions around the greater use of intrigue. This in some ways initially worked but also meant that the incentive for controlling other players favor was reduced as well. To promote more want for another player’s favor I increased the cost of these actions to one, two, and three unique favor instead. This slight change did improve the player interaction in wanting more diverse sets of favor thus keeping more players involved in the game. Now one of the things that I am seeing is that the Draw and Steal actions are being used but that the Spy is being neglected. There are a couple of ways that I will playtest addressing this. The first way will be to try and increase the effect of the Spy action. Currently, a player can only look at 3 cards and so to try and balance this, I will increase it to 5 cards. If it appears that this is too much of a boon then I can try and reduce the effect down to 4 cards and check again how often the Spy action is used. If it appears that the spy action is still not being used after all of that then the question becomes if it adds anything to the game or if it should be replaced with another action?
Previously, I found that the endgame was too short for Who Wears the Crown? and by extension, games were ending too quickly leaving players happy with the game but wanting more. So I fell back on a pattern that I had used for Collectors and Capers to make sure the endgame is the correct length, have the Endgame be 3 rounds of play long. In Collectors and Capers, I tracked this with the box of the game which fit with the get out clean vibe of a heist but would not work with someone trying to claim the throne. To then work with this idea I introduced two new types of tokens: Claim tokens and the Endgame token. The Endgame token is given to the player who triggers the endgame and the claim tokens are used to not only to track the three rounds but also counts for points.The idea being that whoever has the most Crown Card value will gain a claim at the end of the turn of whoever has the Endgame token. From this change not only was the endgame increased but the game overall without having to increase the value that would trigger the endgame. With this set of mechanics in mind I can simply increase the number of claim tokens to lengthen the game or decrease the number to shorten it.
Other issues to work on
Now while the intrigue cost and the endgame are some main concerns of mine, I have also noticed that if players find themselves without being able to trade (either by not being assertive or are new to the game) might find themselves feeling left out. So as I continue to try and playtest Who Wears the Crown? I am trying to find ways to mitigate that without disrupting the core of the game or the main flow of play. Some considerations that I have range from changing the way Intrigue Actions are paid for to providing multiple people offering cards/actions at the same time. For now though, I am simply trying to smooth out the core of the game and will keep an eye on these issues.