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Phew! Wow, it's been a busy few weeks for Belle of the Ball. This prototype introduces a lot of changes. Mostly these come from playtesting Prototype J with several different gamers of varying experience levels.
- All changes noted in this blog post.
- Reduced the guest deck to 72 cards, which meant re-arranging all the attributes.
- Reduced starting hand size to two cards.
- Players start with two random guests already in play.
- Removed ribbon cards.
- Reduced the point values for popularity and group bonuses so they're a bit easier to tally and stay under 100.
- Added tertiary iconography to make it clear when a guest is royal or when they're wearing a sash, glasses or a hat.
- Removed Dueling as an action.
- Added the "lobby" to make draws a little less blind.
- All "Powers" are now called "Charms." They now have an affect on your clique and on the other players' cliques.
- Some guests now have "Insults" which are instant effects that
can be triggered by discarding that card along with 2 or three others.
- Increased Belle cards to eighteen.
- Totally revised the bonus structure for Belles. They now reward points if you have a particular guest in your clique. They also reward points if you have exactly a certain number of guests with a particular symbol. You get a half-reward if you have over that number.
Because my target market is couples, there's a tension between wanting to satisfy the casual gamer and the strategic gamer. The Charms should appeal to the strategic gamer who wants to build optimized action-sets. The Insults should appeal to the casual gamer who likes instant effects and "take that" mechanics.
Only one way to find out how this works out. Playtest! Please give this game a shot with your group and tell me what you think!