I just returned home from a long vacation visiting my husband's family and our friends who live in New Hampshire. I managed to bring the completed Alpha test of the Emma expansion along and got in a couple 2 and 4 player testing sessions thanks to my husband Erik Evensen, and friends Matt Talbot and Jen Omand.
Things went ok and we had a fun time, but there were definitely some issues. Matt played as Mr. Woodhouse. His superpower lets him remove cards from the young ladies characters since he doesn't want anyone to get married and leave him to live alone in his old age. (This is a little out of canon character for him, but it was an idea I was running with.) He earns points for every lady who becomes an Old Maid at the end of the game. Mr. Woodhouse is WAY overpowered because he slaughtered everyone both times we played. We even adjusted the scoring rules for the second play through and Mr. W still ended up with a house full of Old Maid companions.
This may have also been due to the fact that there are currently only 4 Suitors in the game. (Mr. Martin, Mr. Elton, Frank Churchill, and Mr. Knightly) and all of them are fairly difficult to get. So the combination of difficult suitors, too few of them, and Mr. W being kind of a jerk basically ruined everyone's chances. So, some significant balance issues to work on.
Moving forward for the next iteration of the Alpha test. I'm planning on adding Anne Taylor as the 6th playable character and changing Mr. Woodhouse to 3 Event cards that occur in the deck, as opposed to being a playable character. I feel like his super power just messed with the mechanics too much, though he might be usable in a 6 player game?? I'll also add Mr. Weston as the 5th suitor- probably easier to get. I also might adjust the rules so that unless an Event card gives you a power to change it, all ladies must roll for suitors in an order from lowest points to highest points. (This would change the order for each lady.) I think this would make the press your luck mechanic more interesting at the end of the game.
Anyway, most of what I wrote above was pretty stream of consciousness and probably didn't make a lot of sense, but hey, what are blogs for? The good news is that I think a LOT of the work is still good, especially the Event cards which took the longest to write. So we're making progress. My goal was to get this to Kickstarter backers by October and I think we are definitely on track to meet that goal.
Musician, conductor and game designer.