Conventions Change the Rules

It’s been a while since the last post here on Mutation Wars. EPOC was over a month ago and a lot has changed since then.

EPOC was a lot of fun. It is a board-game convention but the majority of the games are prototypes and new games. I got to meet a bunch of other local designers and test some of their games. I also learned about marketing, shipping, play-testing, social media and other important stuff about trying to get a game to market. Mutation Wars also won a prize for our sell sheet!

Mutation Wars wins at EPOC Ross accepts a prize from Nick Fong for the Mutation Wars sell sheet.

Battalion at EPOC Playing Battalion at EPOC. Very interesting battle mechanics!

Mutation Wars had a lot of good play-testing and feedback over the three days we were there. People especially liked the art/design and the relaxed, light-hearted game play. Most people also found that it was too long.

Mutation Wars at EPOC Playing Mutation Wars at EPOC. Many people liked the MW banner.

With the current rules everyone starts with one body, three Body Part cards and one of each Mutate and Battle cards. A 2 player game takes about one hour whereas a 3-4 player game is closer to two hours (and can be longer). A 5 player game could easily take three hours. I knew the game played long but could I cut back the play time from 30-45 minutes per player to only 15 minutes per player?

When working on the rules I usually play a 3 or 4 player game as all of the players. It allows me to better see if there are strengths or weaknesses inherent in any of the changes I make. So I shuffled the cards and began…

  • I tried some ways to give the player with the turn token more cards and more abilities — maybe only they could attack or mutate? This made the rules more confusing and actually slowed the game time down.
  • I also thought about combining the Mutate and Battle phases. I had to reduce the card count by a lot (two decks into one) and then a lot of the game just seemed to be missing. It was also much harder to get the Mutate card you needed.
  • What if players were on teams and there were only two creatures? This was very confusing and might be worth working on later as an expansion but not for the main rules.
  • Finally I tried just jumping ahead in the game. I gave the players more bodies and cards at the beginning. It mostly worked but the creatures were almost all very powerful and there were hardly any battles — but the game took just over an hour with four players.

I continued to tweak the rules; I allowed for more and less cards at the beginning of the game, changed the number of bodies, randomized body selection and placement and allowed limited exchanges of cards. Some of the changes I liked, most I didn’t.

With these new rules I prepared myself for GOBFest. It is a another board-game convention here in Edmonton and our first day there we had a play-test with three players. It went well and took just under one hour to finish. Feedback was very good and I was quite happy with the rule changes. The next day it was not as busy and I couldn’t find anyone to try the game.

I think the new rules need some more play-testing but so far it looks promising!

MW now has a banner!

Our first ever convention is this month (EPOC on March 22 – 24) so to get ready for it we decided to make a banner. Hopefully this will attract some players at the convention to come try out the game.

Here is a preview of the banner. Would you be interested in playing Mutation Wars?

MW helps fundraise

This past Saturday we had a fundraiser for a local school here in Sherwood Park — École Claudette-et-Denis-Tardif. Though we didn’t have as many people as we hoped we would, it was still a very fun time and we won over many new fans.

Mutation Wars Game NightMutation Wars Game Night

The Mutate and Battle cards can be very funny sometimes! Or maybe Lyne is laughing about the misery she can inflict on her opponents’ creatures.

Mutation Wars Game NightMutation Wars Game Night

Here are some discussions of strategy with a few new players. The first time anyone plays is often the most difficult as there are so many different cards with distinct effects and strengths. This leads to many possible strategies — often depending on how your creature, as well as those of your opponents, have been developed.

Mutation Wars Game Night

Patrick uses a Mutate Yourself IV — change one of your creature’s body parts for one on your opponent’s creature — against Suzanne. Here he steals a red Stinger from her red body and replaces it with a blue Pain Receptors. Ouch!

Mutation Wars Game Night Mutation Wars Game Night

Steve was feeling good for his attack against François (12 to 9). But then François played Entangle and tied up Steve’s Tentacles and Stinger (-2 Attack to both) giving him the victory (8 to 9) and allowing him to steal one of Steve’s cards.

We’re going to GOBFest!

On April 13th and 14th Mutation Wars will be at Edmonton’s GOBFest — located at the Alberta Avenue Community League Hall, 9210 118 Avenue. We have a table in Prototype Alley at 3pm on Saturday and at 2pm on Sunday. Hopefully we can get some good play-testing done to find out what people think and if the rules are clear enough.

Check out our profile.

To reserve a spot you can go here. Or you can see the full schedule here.

3rd Game Night Has a Mascot

This past Saturday we had another great game night for Mutation Wars. Seventeen people took part and we had our two youngest players to date — Mason and Easton who are nine and ten years old.

Mutation Wars Game Night

I spent some time — maybe a bit too much — making a 3D representation of a simple creature. My favorite yellow body with a green claw, a red eye and some blue tentacles. We are looking for help naming this little guy and would appreciate any suggestions. Go to our Facebook or Instagram pages if you have any good ideas!

Mutation Wars Mascot

The creature hovered over our five-person game for the night and kept his eye on the great spread of snacks. I think he might also have been watching to see if Matt was cheating (hehe)!

Mutation Wars Game Night

Thanks to everyone for coming and playing Mutation Wars. There were a lot of great comments, questions and ideas and I have already decided that I might change the rules yet again — this time to speed up the game right from the beginning.

Mutation Wars Game Night

Thanks to: Larry, Amanda, Mason, Easton, Dennis, Rhonda, Matt, Blair, Vincent, Jason, Dawn, Sean, Alison, Jenn and Tex.

Bienvenue à Mutation Wars

Last night was our first game night in French! Though we still used the English games and rules I don’t think anyone had any trouble understanding the game.

There were 18 people playing in 5 groups (3 groups of 4 and 2 groups of 3). Only Marie-Pierre and I had played before so having 16 new players testing the game and rules was great! After a quick explanation by Marie-Pierre, the groups broke off and began their Mutation Wars. One group of four decided to play the extended version of the game (the first time it has ever been played publicly).

There was a lot of laughter and fun was had by all! Merci beaucoup à tout le monde et à la prochaine.

Mutation Wars launches!

Last night was our first official game night! We had 13 people playing in three different groups. There was a group of four ladies and two groups of guys (four and five). Six of the people were newbies and seven had already helped do some testing before but not with the new cards and the finalized rules.

Mutation Wars launch party

Overall it seemed to go very well. I was happy with the gameplay and  it was great to watch people laughing and interacting, mutating each other and enjoying the game.

Mutation Wars launch party

Mutation Wars launch party

Mutation Wars launch party

The game of five took the longest — though we did have three potential winners in one turn pretty early on (they were all cancelled out and the game continued for over an hour). The group with four guys actually played two games in the same time it took for the group of five players to play one.

Mutation Wars launch party

Mutation Wars launch party

Feels like Christmas!

So we just got the first print of Mutation Wars delivered and it looks great! It took a bit longer than expected because of the bodies — we made them a bit thicker with some plastic and the cuts are not standard.

Mutation Wars arrives

I really like having uniform, colored backs on the different cards (Body Part, Mutate and Battle). It was often difficult for players to sort out the different cards during play and it wasn’t hard to “count” cards — knowing what a card was because there was an obviously different backing. A bunch of the blue Body Part cards were easy to know because they had some business cards mockups on their backs.

Mutation Wars arrives

The bodies also look really good. The cuts are a bit off because we didn’t splurge for the die-cut on this print and so they were all done by hand. On future prints of a larger quantity this won’t be a problem.

Mutation Wars arrives

So it is time to start some serious game-testing and get Mutation Wars known to the public.

Mutation Wars arrives

The first printing!

Mutation Wars the first real edition has just been sent to the printer! I am beyond excited to see what it will look like.

I have been playing with my cereal box cut-out cards for over a year and it will be nice to not worry about the card ink smudging, players figuring out what cards are which because of the obvious back differences and seeing the body backs (the anuses – one of my favorite parts of the game – though they don’t really affect gameplay).

We are printing ten copies of the game for some game-testing. They are all in English but perhaps we will see about doing a French version as well.

Apparently it should take about a week to print and cut the pieces. Until then…