Over the past couple of weekends, I have been playtesting Monster Zoo with a few different groups (and participating in Grant Rodiek’s Prototype PenPal Program). Most players are enjoying the game and I’m pleased with the feedback so far.
Here are some of the findings at this stage:
- The game is fun: The response has been good from a mix of gamers. The theme is great and a lot of people really like the art. The game is easy to learn and new players can learn how to play in a short amount of time.
- Minor edits for clarity: While most players felt the rules were easy to understand, there were a few minor tweaks that could have helped clarify a few things. There is some wording that could be modified such as “Swap a Monster from your Zoo with another player’s Zoo”. The edited version will say “Trade a Monster from your Zoo with a Monster from another player’s Zoo.” The previous version could be interpreted to mean that you only need to swap one Monster from your zoo to take ALL the Monsters in another player’s Zoo.
- Reduce food costs: There are too many of the top end cards with high food costs. I need to tweak the food cost distribution down slightly to speed the game up.
- More combos: While there are some interesting combos in the game, players were eager for more.
Based on this feedback and earlier comments, I have made the following changes to the game:
- Increased the game speed: Instead of starting the game with 3 Zookee Zoogly / 7 Dirty Socks cards, players will now start with 4 Zookee Zoogly / 6 Dirty Socks cards. This has the effect of increasing the chances that players will be able to move cards into their Zoo, speeding up the rate of point gains throughout the game.
- Tweaked the Food cost distribution down: I reduced the food cost values for a few cards and introduced a few more food bonuses. This has helped increase the # of cards that players can typically catch during a turn and speeds up the game.
- Reduced number of ”resets”: There is one “reset” card in the game (Ohno Oogly) that forces all players to discard all Monsters from their Zoos. Essentially this is a game reset since everyone needs to rebuild their Zoos from scratch. While this is a great strategic card that can make a huge difference in the game, playing the card too many times during one game will cause the game to drag out and become less fun. I’ve reduced the amount of cards like this in the game to keep the game progress steady and rapid.
- Introduced new card combinations: I added a few more cards that have good synergy with other cards – which should offer some extra strategic depth along with fun combos.
Thanks everyone who has playtested Monster Zoo thus far. I think you’ll like the new revised version.