Over the last couple of weeks we continued making changes to Circuit Breaker. We have a little more play testing to do before we decide that it's finished, but the changes that we've been making have been really positive. The first change is that we put even more emphasis on set collection, and the second is that it's now a game that can be played with up to 4 players.
1. Set Collection
There are 4 occurrences of each appliance, all with unique art, in the game. Each appliance has a 1-connection, a 2-connection, a 3-connection, and a universal connection. This decision really amps up the set collection feel of the game while also making it more predictable for players. One of the biggest complaints about the previous version of the game was that it was too random and it was too difficult to get the appliances that you needed to score the most points. With 4 of each appliances, a player's chances of getting what they need is increased. It really is satisfying to get all 4 occurrences of a single appliance.
We also reduced the number of different appliances to 12. There are still 48 appliance tiles in the game, but this way it makes the strategy around getting appliances more straightforward. Players can get on a track in collecting a certain appliance quicker, and their chances are pretty good that they'll see all 4 by the end of the game.
Scoring has also changed as a result of adding a 4th occurrence of each appliance. Circuit Breaker now scores a lot like many of the other set collection games out there. It's split between appliances that appear on a player's secret objective card and appliances that don't. Here's a visual, for reference. This scoring is for the number of the same appliance. (Example: 1 jukebox, 2 jukeboxes, 3 jukeboxes, or 4 jukeboxes, and then whether or not the jukebox appears on a player's secret objective card).
2. Player 4
If you remember, Circuit Breaker used to be a game for 1-3 players. Several people thought that it was a weird number for a board game, but after a lot of play testing, 3 players is really where it capped. Now with the changes, Circuit Breaker can handle 4 players. In fact, with the take-that aspect of the game, 4-player Circuit Breaker ends up being really cutthroat and fast-paced.
With all of these changes, we implemented a new way to track the turns and rounds in a game. The clock, shown below, is a way to track the turns. In a 4 player game, there are only 3 turns per round, and the game ends after 4 rounds. Meaning, that in a 4 player game, each player will only take 12 turns. This has been helpful for regulating the amount of time that the game takes. We opted for this way of ending the game over any other because we wanted each time that Circuit Breaker is played to be different. Sometimes your group will run through nearly all of the appliances. Sometimes your group will just steal appliances back and forth for most of the game. If we set the game to end when a stack of tiles ran out, the game could go on forever. Having a fixed number of turns helps players to strategize with their tile placement and their mouse.
As you'll see in the round counter clock, there are icons between rounds - those indicate that each player may choose 2 tiles to start off the next round. This is another change that was made - a player may choose to take 2 appliances, 2 wires, or one of each. The way they are chosen is that each player chooses one, then the last person starts the choosing, and it goes back around the opposite direction to the start player. Then turns resume as normal. Choosing tiles in between rounds stimulates the economy in the marketplace, and also helps players who are being targeted more by their opponents, or who are stuck because they haven't properly set up their wire grid.
Overall, we're very pleased with these changes. As always, please keep up with us on social media - we post photos of the game often. If you have any questions about gameplay, don't hesitate to reach out.
Cheers, and happy gaming!
Pete & Hannah