While we were about to play “Verona”, I felt the Premise was pretty compelling and the intention to map a love story of Shakespear’s time to a Pachisi Geography is so welcome. But the play experience itself was not as amazing as expected. The rule is well changed and I like the “couple” thing, the conflict is not so strong though. When people are roll one more turn for the couple running, the subject of the story becomes vague. The problem then might turn out that each side less intends to get into necessary confrontation, which is badly required to have the X happen. There must be a way to adjust the board layout to fit for the narrative, or simply give up some inessential story element, to make the mechanics strong enough and the play work alive.
“Tropical Circle” is doing good in metaphor, having the players be both prey and predator is just an exellent mechanic. However, the color pieces just negativiate a clear narrative, especially with the consideration of the nicely put such that high contrast tropical forest pic at the center. Consequently, the niche for each piece is left just an abstract, meanlingless geometric square. I think that’s why the story/narration feels incomplete.
“Coattails” has a very nice mechanics of changing tracks. The dice-rolling and new rules work well. But the metaphor seems not strong enough. So, we almost lost interest to do the changing track and having a bit fun beating the opponents’ pawns back to zero. I estimate this design would be better if the story part could be more developed.
When we were designing the R&P version, we spent long time discussing the mapping problem. We reached finally to have the mechanic symmatric for both side so that the player won’t be mathematically bothering if s/he is playing inferior chance. We called it “fair”. As we decided to add the “blockade” into, we added “Fire”, and “Donut” fun to “Boarder” escape.
Overall, I think the harmony of the game really weighs much on how the story and the mechanics could balance for each other, and as for the board game design, the balance of geometry/topology mechanics and elements of the real life relations. The only goal is the adjust each for be perfectly working with its counterpart – life story for geometry and vice vasus. What’s more, for the player, they see pawns and graphics and a board with narrative potentials, while the math hides underneath – isn’t it important to balance more for the visual clue!