I haven't had a lot of time for game design work recently. Until a month or so ago, I was finishing up Railways of the Western U.S. (okay, that's game design, but it's still only an expansion and not a complete game!), and since it was sent to the printers other things have taken precedence.
But now Spatial Delivery has reclaimed my attention, after months and years of neglect. It started when we heard of a publisher that might be interested in it. I emphasize might because so far it's as tenuous as a rumor; but from what we've heard, SD might be the kind of game this publisher is looking for. That set me to thinking again about the game's biggest weaknesses, and how they might be addressed. Then yesterday over lunch, Helen and I were kicking this around, and she had a brilliant-sounding idea. Today we tried it out. A little to my surprise, the part that sounded most brilliant didn't get much play, but after some experiments and more discussion, we developed a new set of rules that feel like a great improvement.
The new rules seem to solve several problems. They added tension, competition, and interest to the card draft. They eliminated a complaint of many playtesters who didn't like that drafted cards remained vulnerable until the draft was over. And it helped balance out the turn-order bias that's been a nagging concern for a while.
Like all new rule ideas, it needs more playtest before we can really assess it. Also I will have to rewrite the rulebook and cheat sheets, and design a side-board to hold a score track, player order track, and round counter. This will take a little while to get together.
But I'm encouraged. Cross your fingers!
(Julie Haehn, if you're reading this, I will send you the copy I promised... after the rules have settled down and the new components are ready!)