What's in a game

Spelontwikkelaars pur sang. Van evaluatie van spelmechanismen, tot het doorrekenen van modellen en het beoordelen van grafische elementen.

Een kritische bespreking van het spel door Tom Vasel. Hij geeft een aantal verbeterpunten.

Hieronder mijn reactie op zijn verhaal:

Hi Tom, thanks for your critical review. I would like take the opportunity to explain some of the ideas behind the game Maestro. You are right that there are some points for improvement, some of which are easy to realize within the scope of the current version of the game. These are the following:

* Sometimes there is not enough money at the beginning of the game. As suggested in the manual, you can give all players an additional ½ note or a free instrument at the start.

* With respect to the teasing cards” (b-cards), I discovered that specially kids like these cards very much. They have the same function as the ‘black raider’ in Colonists of Catan. If you don’t like these b-cards, you can simply remove them from the deck. About your point of the flute or trumpet: this is an event that happened in real life: our cousin transported his trumpet on the back of his bike, when at an unlucky moment it dropped on the street and a truck ran over it – in an instant, his trumpet became twodimensional…

* The fiches are made of cardboard. You are right that this is not ideal, but, as with many thinks, that was a matter of money. Wooden fiches would have been too expensive. For the future I can consider plastic cubes. Players who dislike the cardboard fiches could substitute them with items from other games they possess.

* The whole idea of the game is based on the goal to help people understand and appreciiate classical music. This meant that the game mechanism came in second place. If there will be another version, I will write an introduction about the goal of the game. About the yields of the music sheet cards, you are right they are not always in balance, so I will have a serious look at that.

Other points you mentioned:

* About the length of the game: as a starting game author I was not aware of the rule that there is a maximum of playing time. This game takes around the same time as games like ‘Agricola’ and ‘Merchants of Europe’, while it takes much less time than ‘Monopoly’. If people prefer a shorter version, they can stop after for example 120 minutes on the time line, like you suggested (and is suggested in the manual). In that case they should not use the music sheet cards nummer S081 – S140.

* You suggest that playing the game with 5 or 6 people will take much more time, but that is not the case. We tried this at several occasions and the duration was practically the same. This is because there is more money circulating in the game and the instruments are easily available. If you play in teams, the game is even shorter.

* The payment system is the backbone of the game. I have played this game with hundreds of people and they appreciated the system of paying with musical banknotes. You are the third person who says this can be a problem. Even kids, who learned fractions on elementairy school, understand the system very quickly. Why should I use a payment system like Euros (1, 2, 5, 10, 20 en 50), which is prone to devaluation? Only because I invented a system based on musical values, does not mean it is not working. I think that is a matter of taste. What is more, people who don’t like using musical notes can use the colors, which are consequently used in the game – a simple solution. In case I will edit a new version in the future, I will not change the current paying system – as the Dutch saying goes: ‘Don’t throw away the baby together with the bathing water.’

Happy gaming!

Pieter de Boer

24 december 2016