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Pencilvillage $4.00
Publisher: AndrewB
by Steven F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/08/2019 10:29:10

Let me start by saying that : PencilVillage is definitely worth the 4.00. It's satisfying, fun, and worth the time!

The good:

1) A clean game engine that works with intricate interactions.

2) It's an a modular city building game with rpg aspects. Huge win :)

3) It has a ton of replayable value; each play through, you can choose a different "Character" that has different aspects that almost feel like you're playing a different game.

The Okay:

1) The game includes with enough of resources to run the game multiple times, via maps and characters. However, the representation of the information is somewhat lacking.

I ended up finding the designers youtube videos, that shows you how to play the game. Without that "tutorial" of sorts, I doubt I would've even been able to play it.

2) Beyond requiring a tutorial (For what it's worth, I watch videos the first time I play a new game anyway, so that's not really a negative.) the maps/environments have some issues. There isn't anything wrong-functionally speaking-but it is difficult to really read.

In short, the maps including difficult to work with; the grids and lines are super fine, and not discernable. Additionally, the tile icons are the same. Once again functional, but lacking in differentiation.

Potential areas of improvement

1) The Rules. And once again, it's not the rules themselves, the engine is sound. My issue with the rules is that they're not explicit; that is to say that it requires some implicit jumps from having "information dump" to "I understand how this game works."

I think the thought was to have the entire game to be "small" (page count I mean). Due to the fact that the game has a small page count (under 10), the presentation of the information is, or could be rather, a barrier to play. I watched entire 1 hour tutorial, and even then had some questions.

I supposed the most explicit example lacking from the rules, is the "Turn Order." From the Video they are:

1) Tick the round tracker up 1.

2) Roll Event

3) You get 3 actions (unless modified by event).

It's sort of important to include what's supposed to be going on each turn, and in what order, inside rules.

TL;DR It's a good game. Pick it up, watch the tutorial video by the published, and have some run. Rating 4/5

Maybe PencilTown might have more instruction (which is my next game to pick up).



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
I was strongly motivated to keep things minimal, but as the edge cases get worked, keeping it to one page of rules is looking like a bit of a silly constraint. It is really difficult to be clear in a handful of words. Depending on how things go, I may move it to two pages, which will allow a lot more space for simplicity and clarity in how things are explained. I am continuing to gather feedback from players and will attempt to address concerns in future updates.

Poor clarity with the maps is definitely a big issue which lots of other people are also struggling with. It's the first thing I'm going to fix when I'm back at my desktop - my idea is to have a "dark version" for all the maps, for those who prefer high contrast.

I do want to mention that the core play loop is in the rules! Under Play: "Proceeds over 30 Rounds. Each round, cross off the round tracker, roll Event, and take three actions." Several people have struggled to find this, so the onus is definitely on me to make it clearer, but it is in there :)

Thank you for the fair and kind review, I greatly appreciate it. I'm glad you're enjoying the game :)
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