Shadows Over Camelot, from Serge Laget and Bruno Cathala

Involved, complex, and tough.

We spent our time rushing around the board, from crisis to crisis, trying to stay one step ahead of the many enemies around us. In the end, we won, but barely. Victory felt more like a staving off of defeat than outright success.

Three things I learned about game design:

  • For a complex cooperative game, leave out betrayal. It’ll increase the difficulty without increasing any enjoyment.
  • Tying your character classes to individuals (real, fictional, or mythological) is a great hook into the game world.
  • Having enemies refresh after defeat is a good way to generate a siege mentality in your players, but it makes the game as a whole feel darker. Use it sparingly.

Flash Point, from Kevin Lanzing, Luis Francisco and George Patsouras

A bit complex to setup and rather awkward to learn. First game was really slow as we tried to figure out what we could do and what the best way to beat back the fire was.

Once we got the hang of the rules, though, the game’s speed picked up and we had a good time knocking out flames and rescuing pets (I mean trapped humans. Yes, the humans definitely took priority).

Three things I learned about game design:

  • If your game is cooperative, you can get away with more complex rules. Everyone will be helping out each other on their turns, so it won’t be as intimidating.
  • Beware using tiny markers for important game mechanics. Unless they’re anchored down, they’ll shift too easily during gameplay (dice rolling, moving pieces, etc) and players will lose track of where they’re supposed to be.
  • Design your co-op player classes around the actions available to every player. The simpler your basic actions are, the easier it will be to balance those classes.