Upgrade achieved: cardboard!
This prototype tested the feel, shape and size of the tokens used within the game. Considering the difficulty surrounding the tiny paper parts of the last version, I felt that it was important to address this and look for possible solutions.
Considering that a set of 6 players would mean cutting out 198 tiles on my own, I wanted to find a way of doing this quickly and accurately. After a while of searching, I found a hole punch that would cut a 35mm hexagon out of card as thick as 3mm. Perfect. After receiving and testing this out, the tiles felt like a great size. The industry standard is to use 2mm grey stock so it did not have an issue with tamping through this over and over again.
Although the ideal size and feel have been achieved, the shape is still not quite right. Considering that these tiles would have to be stacked on top of each other and next to other piles, they need to be easier to pick up. It took a few test versions before coming up with the result of cutting 1/2 of the corners off so that they form a circle you can pinch the stack through.
This had the best feel and forms a repeatable pattern making the game look great even as it is being played. With this in mind, I tried to produce this prototype using a hole punch to make these cuts. However, the card proved to be too strong for the cast metal and ended up distorting it after 60 cuts or so. A quick and easy fix to this had been to use a leather phone case punching kit and a nice heavy hammer.
The graphics were given an overall to make it more thematic and to help distinguish whos tiles were whos. The centrepiece has also been changed from a lake to a glacier. This shifts the theme to a time before the ice age and the goal is to be the largest forest around so that you survive it. The graphical language is inconsistent and messy but works as a place holder for now.
Two main changes have been made regarding the mechanics since the last version.
Firstly, It is possible to defend your land by spending more tiles in one turn. This helps to use more tiles and get to the end game faster but also increases tactical play, this had been clear when playing this version as it had been far more enjoyable since the original version, even if I did lose every single time we played.
Another game-ending condition was introduced, when every player uses half of their tokens or more, there will only be a few more rounds left until the game is over. This helps to keep the game around 30 minutes which is the ideal time for a low weighting strategy game.