Playtesting, probability, pricing

Fight Bears, Cough Blood, Kill God had its first not-me playtest today! Thank you to Game Dunk 2020 and Arcanacon for organising the showcase. It was awesome to see the game in action, and looks like the players had a great time of it. You can watch them create characters, try to steal a muffin off a suspicious stranger and later set a boat on fire right over here:

I've made a few changes to the game based on the stream and based on going back and musing on the wording and mechanics some more. These changes are mostly to fix unclear wording, streamline some mechanical aspects and to make it a little easier for the Novice to succeed (or at least, make failure less frustrating). Specifically:

  • The Master can now choose to repeat the same training on multiple days rather than drawing new prompts.
  • Under "Flaws" (the events that occur after a failure/complication), the Novice previously had an option to lose a die, and I have added an option for them to gain another based on independent training. This is because a 0 dice scenario has a very high rate of outright failure, and previously the only way to return to 1 die was to roll a success.
  • I have matched the probability of the Final Test with that of the previous training (previously a roll of 6 was required for success). This both improves the chance of success and streamlines the process of learning to play.
  • I have also made various nit-picky wording improvements, because I can't help myself.

I might end up changing the Showdown as well. My concern here is that the mechanics of this section don't match what I have in earlier parts of the game. This is also why I changed how the Final Test works. When the mechanics do match, I find it's a nice, simply flow from start to finish with no need to learn new skills midway through, but making the mechanics a little mismatched does give the sense of a "Level Up". I do want to make it clear in the text and gameplay that succeeding against the Enemy is much harder than succeeding on the Final Test - to the extent that the final battle feels a little like returning to day 1 of training and getting thrown at the wolves, only this time your dad Master P*ccolo can't save you. Making the rolls the same would mean the same probability of success, unless I change how the earlier rolls operate. If you're interested the probability for success based on different size dice pools, this article gives a nice overview:

Finally, I've changed the game status from "complete" to "in development/early access". It is a complete game, however it might change further later down the track, and given the flurry of changes I've made over the past few days, it's certainly not as settled as I'd thought when I first published it. Plus, I've been hearing some fair discussion again recently about issues with games being underpriced/undervalued, leading to unsustainable customer expectations about game pricing. My longer term goal is to put a price on this game, but in the first instance I wanted to make it PWYW in order to ensure accessibility to the other jam participants and to get some early feedback. I very much respect the push by other designers (and myself at times) to set the right expectations about game value; I simply do not believe that this one is currently in the state where I want to be charging money for it - though tips are of course very welcome, and will help me buy groceries, rent and takeaway coffee. I hope that makes sense.

As always, feel free to reach out if you have any further feedback, suggestions or questions! Thanks again


FightBearsCoughBloodKillGod.pdf 175 kB
Jul 18, 2020

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