The “Myth of Planet Earth” playtest was extremely instructive. I took out the rules for being out-bid by your own Aspect tokens and the game ran way short and suffered for it. This is great! I now know that those particular rules are vitally important for both pacing and excitement. Perhaps the best part to come out of that was the post-game discussion where a number of ideas of how to put these rules back in (while still addressing the reason I had taken them out) were bandied about. Several of them look promising.
I also introduced Quest Cards. They provide a sort of overarching narrative/alternate victory condition to seek out. Players all start with one card which can be bid as a simple +3 if they choose they’re not interested in the Quest. If they are, then each card matches with a specific other card out there, to reveal other cards. So, if I have the Port Half of Ancient Starmap and you have the Starboard Half of Ancient Starmap, and we both play our cards together, we get the Oldest Known Starmap Card. If we apply that information to the Original Design Specs of Central Computer card, it gives us the Override Code we need to get the computer to reveal the ultimate goal: The Coordinates of Planet Earth. The Quest Cards need some development, but I think they seem extremely promising.
Also, the “big board” came up in the post-game discussion. And I realized that the reason I kept rejecting it was I kept conceiving of it as a timeline sort of thing. Like WGP’s Synopsis Sheet. But when the idea of making it a map was put forth, it seemed obvious how that would help to synchronize everyone’s ideas about the game world.
So, I’ve got my work cut out for me. Camp Nerdly is in a week and a half, and I’ve got a lot to get together before then. See you in 7!