54 Card Challenge – Part 2: The Testing


The playing field at the end of the first playtest

This is a follow up to my first 54 card challenge entry. After the first test I found that cards of only one color ended up with one big area of dark and one big area of light, with no mixing. Blocking was less important than I expected, leading to large uninteresting regions of color that made patterns too easy to complete.  My wife suggested making patterns include both colors, so you had to mix them somewhat. So I went back to the cards, and redesigned the patterns.

I changed the patterns to use both colors, and kept points equal to the number of cards in the pattern with the matching back. Every pattern appears twice, reversed between light and dark. Patterns are grouped by which color appears more in them. I also added a reminder of what color the back was, for the cards with text. With that complete, I moved on to the second test.

This worked much better. The game was much more interesting, and cards started to have some good interaction that I didn’t expect, like being forced to pick up a pattern you have played seems bad, but it also gives you an extra card to work with. There was more strategy of trying to figure out how to stop your opponent from blocking you and figuring out where you wanted to play in this game. Hand management was critical, both hanging on to important cards, and noticing what color was coming up next in the draw pile.

The real result of the second test is that the point values for the patterns needed to be rebalanced. A full 3×3 pattern is much harder to complete than a 2×3 pattern worth the same number of points. Since using abilities was much more prominent in this game, I also had to adjust values based on how easy they were, given the other available patterns. I made the adjustments, and standardized the card layout, so that every card shows what color the back is in the same location. The wording on a few cards needed to be cleaned up, too, to remove any traces of theme. Overall I am happy with where the game is heading.

Next time, more testing, and hopefully choosing a theme.

Part 3


  1. 54 Card Challenge – Part 3: More Testing and Theme | Oakleaf Games
  2. 54 Card Challenge – Part 4: Ready to Go | Oakleaf Games

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