The Anarchic Kingdom in Third Week of Testing
Saturday, 15th May 2021
The forthcoming game The Anarchic Kingdom is going into a third week of beta testing. Playtesting of beta versions 1 and 2 eventually exposed a dominant strategy that would allow a single human player to achieve regular runaway victories over the computer player. By just buying and attacking with the maximum number of knights, challenge was eliminated early in the game and the player could easily take half of all the land by the end.
Two gameplay changes in beta 3 prevent such a mindless victory:
(1) Knights now require a retinue of 10 peasants in addition to the 10 gold they previously required.
(2) To balance things out, footmen require 1 gold to draft in addition to the 1 peasant unit of before.
(3) Military expenditure has been increased, so simply buying the maximum of a unit type is not always affordable in the long term.
The game is now a lot more challenging. It's still possible to gain an impressive victory, where you see some of the bigger icons in your barony (the windmill, walled city, joust, trebuchet) but you might also spend much of the game fighting to take and hold first place.
Time is pressing, and the jam for which the game was written will end on 31st May. That still leaves time for a fourth week of beta testing. But if there are no major changes required at the end of the third week of beta testing I'll probably just release the game.