PlayTesting with friends – an unfinished game

We played an unfinished (maybe even unfinishable!) game of Kotay from the evening of June 27th to the early hours of June 28th.


Players: Karthik, Kshiraja, Pavan and I.


The game progressed well until Pavan built a fort in one of the middle squares (with borrowed gold) which was taken down by Karthik. This particular attack made it clear that there was something very wrong with the attack dynamics.


Here is the modification I made which proved lethal to the attack dynamics.


All attacks were with D8 , multiple attacking units got an entire D8 i.e. If there were 3 attacking pieces, the person rolled 3x D8s


All defenses were D6 – three defenders got 3x D6.

This was terrible.

It disproportionately increased the strength of the attack.

Taking out both “tension” as Kshiraja put it and playability (as I astutely 🙂 observed) out of the game.

Another modification I introduced – was two lives for a capital – we did not really test this out.

In any case, Pavan then withdrew from the game. Assisted with pen and paper he started working out the different probabilities of attack. He has come up with a set of combat rules which should resolve the attack dynamics. We plan to test this out really soon.

We also spoke a bit about the steps in evolution of the game – how much should it be driven by feedback, and trying to appease? Things that came up were – Why are long games bad? Why can’t there be some complex rules?

We came up with quite a few alternatives – such as replacing dice with wheels or cards, merging cannon and cavalry into a single attack unit etc.

Karthik suggested character transformations – for example, an explorer enters a fort and becomes a military unit.

Kshiraja came up with the idea of catastrophe cards and Pavan had ideas about setting up treasure hunts as an extension of exploration.

All of which we agreed could become other games.

Some of the comments apart from the breakdown of the attacks –

1. Having two attack units from the beginning took away from the building element of the game

Kshiraja and Karthik noted that exploration, terrains, resources and the act of building were less significant in the present version of the game, since a Cannon and Cavalry are provided right in the beginning of the game.

2. Extending the board to allow more time for military expansion

3. How much defence should a capital get?

4. Range expansion – particularly the attack radius of the fort came up multiple times

In summary, I think with the new dice combinations delineated by Pavan and decreasing the “plentifulness” at the start of the game may help take the game to completion.


One thought on “PlayTesting with friends – an unfinished game

  1. Game init:
    Opt A: 2 explorers + 2 cavalry
    Opt B: 3 explorers + 1 cavalry
    Why :- Encourage people to build forts without fear of the “loose cannon”

    Battle mechanics:
    Bring back the old loaded dice mechanism which had min-cap but no max-cap.
    Things are defend-able yet allows expression of the attacking weapon’s strength.

    Explorer mod:
    Explorer blocks a tile and opponents waste their moves in simply clearing the path for their cannon. Mod the explorer design so that it can “carry” another mobile unit. Think of it as a merchant vessel.


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