|Parker Brothers |
I set up for my TPA demo later that morning in the same gaming room where the Stone Age / Ticket to Ride / Vegas Showdown Eurocaucus event was going on. I had only one taker - young Josh from our earlier MB game. (I didn't see as many kids at CoG yesterday as I thought I'd remembered seeing in earlier years, but perhaps I'm mistaken.) Josh enjoyed playing, and the game attracted some attention from a few others in the room.
After lunch, I hooked up with TC Petty (designer of Viva Java, which I'd playtested at WBC last summer) and his friend Tim. We had some time to kill, so I introduced them to TPA. They seemed to like it, despite my ridiculous card luck with unlimited mileage airline tickets.
At this point, I made a pretty fundamental change in plans for the day. Instead of playing Carcassonne or De Bellis Antiquitatis, I decided to head to the game design contest hosted by Josh Tempkin. There I met Darrell Louder, whose unpublished prototype Compounded was ready for a run-through. I sat down at what turned out to be a six-player game, the first time Compounded would ever have been played with that many people.
I have to say that I really like what I saw in Darrell's design. As chemists, players accumulate crystals that represent elements (hydrogen, oxygen, etc), claim eligible compounds (hydrogen peroxide, sulfur dioxide, etc), and then allocate elements to those compounds to complete them for points, increased abilities, and new functions. Compounds in progress can be undone by lab fires or an excess of oxygen. What really impressed me was the way that the end-game conditions came together. Game end is triggered by any of three conditions - running through the deck of compounds twice, scoring at least 50 points, or completing three of four experiments (solid, liquid, gas, or "wildcard"). In our session, all three conditions were met almost simultaneously. Although the game was a bit lengthy for six players (five of whom were new to the game), I was hard-pressed to suggest any tweak to shorten the game duration that wouldn't disrupt the balance among the game elements.