As I mentioned on Thursday, today's Action card reveal is a doozy. It also shows off the new art style that Marshall finished.
This card shares its name with a card that was in the very first two-deck version of Shipload o'Gold, though what it does has changed quite a bit. In coming up with the initial design of the game, we wanted a card that could act like the blue shell in Mario Kart - something that would knock the top player back a bit. Here's what the initial rule of the card read:
Another player of your choice puts half of their coins in the center.
As you can imagine, that would probably set someone back a bit, especially if they were sitting on a large pile of gold. We had this in the game because it was obvious to us that if someone was able to start amassing coins, they could easily run away with the game. Note that this was before we came up with the hand limit, so the problem was even more likely to occur.
The next version of the card affected only the person with the most coins. Here's how the rules on that card read:
The wealthiest player distributes all but 1 of their coins evenly among all other players. The remainder (if any) goes to the center.
While forcing someone to dump half their coins was advantageous, we felt it was a little weak because it didn't actually gain you any ground when you used it on someone. The coin distribution idea was another Action card idea that we decided to incorporate on this card. To keep it simple, it was an even distribution to all other players, with any remaining coins beyond the 1 coin the person holds on to going to the center. The problem with this was that it could only be used on the person with the most coins, and it helped the player of the card, but it also helped the other opponents an equal amount, so there was still no real net gain.
The next version is the one that stuck. We really liked the distribution mechanic as we felt it fit the theme of the card. In order to make it slightly better for the person playing it, we changed it only slightly. Here's what the card looks like now:
Now, instead of distributing the coins evenly, the distribution starts with the person playing the card. It's a little complicated to understand at first, but here's how it would play out. The turn order goes as follows: Anne, Bart, Edward, Henry, William. Bart plays Mutiny on Henry, who has 7 coins. Henry keeps 1 and has 6 to distribute. Bart gets 1, Edward gets 1, William gets 1, Anne gets 1, Bart gets another, and Edward gets another. In the end, Bart and Edward get 2 coins, William and Anne get 1 coin, and Henry just keeps his 1 coin. We went with this distribution as it was close to equal, but still edged towards favoring the person playing the card. It still is what we consider to be our most complicated card to understand at first, but after seeing how it works, our test players have found it easy to comprehend.
So there's a little insight in how one of our Action cards evolved through a few different versions to get to where it is today.