We’ve done a few playtests now of the microgame mentioned the other day, and it’s gone quite well. In fact I think out of all the games I’ve got as far as prototyping and testing, this has been the one that’s most ‘worked’ on the first go. (Which hopefully means that I’m learning something from all this… or else that even the blind pig sometimes finds a truffle.)
One of the playtesters even suggested a name for it: ‘Shape Up’. Which there have been several previous games called, but none of them seems to have stuck or become popular, so might do.
After trying various variants on the rules, we ended up liking best pengshui_master‘s suggestion of an optional move each turn. This did lead to a bit of reverting, but not so much as to detract from the enhanced flexibility it added: there generally seemed to be more useful things that one could do. I need to test it next with some diehard keen analytical gamers (ie. people cleverer than me) to see if it does still have a vulnerability in the wrong hands. The current playtesters (who are more casual gamers) felt the game was reasonably enjoyable at first encounter but also had the promise of a bit of depth available once familiar. Which is the ideal, really.
I’ll put up the PDFs once I’ve made a few design and text revisions, so you can have a go yourself if you like!