When we started playtesting Damask, most things from Barbara’s design we kept. The structure, theme, scoring mechanics, etc are all unchanged from her design. One thing we did change however was the method for players to draft cubes. The original game had a simple ‘collect colours from stalls’ mechanic which worked, but didn’t lead to too as many interesting choices as we wanted. Generally players could take colours they wanted, or they just weren’t there. We needed to replace that with something which:
- Matched thematically with weaving silk patterns
- Produced interesting choices
Some initial thoughts were of using some sort of 3D stacking loom which could push cubes out left and right, but the prototype just wouldn’t work. The spinning wheel was our next idea, and after considering whether to fill it with cubes or spheres, we stuck to cubes (otherwise getting them to stay on the cards would have been a nightmare). We crafted a prototype and put it to work.
At the same time as designing the physical mechanism we needed the interesting choices which would stem from it. The game is based around collecting silk, and points are scored highly by collecting silk of the same colour. What if sometimes it was more difficult to collect silk of the same colour, or players had to weigh up the options of whether to take small amounts which are exactly as needed, vs large amounts which end up with a lot of surplus. This led to the simple yet fantastically ingenious rule of “Take cubes until you have two of the same colour”.
Initial playtests were a massive success. The wheel ticked exactly the boxes it needed to, as well as being a fun toy to play with. It could be used to keep track of time, and gave even more interesting choices then first thought of. Players can control the speed of the game, and even work out how many cubes to take to leave their opponents with difficult choices about ending the round. Every demo session and playtest session has resulted in people admiring the mechanic and realy getting stuck into thinking about the options that arise.
Further playtests led to some further minor changes, we now only refill every 180 degrees rather than every turn to save on downtime, but that central spinning wheel in Damask has been a solid reason to play the game from the time we started developing it.
If you’re interested in Damask, please check out our Gamefound Page here: https://gamefound.com/projects/draft/ic2bvhn5ukdlxfvumwwom4pzj8s?refcode=q0S4ahDQeE-Yt48v5NiOFw If you follow us on Gamefound we’ll also give you a free Damask promo pack to say thanks!