I’ve finished the edits for v12, and the noticeable changes fall into three groups: buildings, biggun’s, and blocks. The first two groups mostly address UI and balance issues, and only the third is really significant in terms of gameplay. Here’s the summary:
Up to now, all land cards have been treated the same, even though there were two distinct types of cards. Some cards were open spaces (which could support plants), while other cards were buildings (which provided useful abilities, but which could not support plants). In v12, I’ve made this distinction official. Every land card is labeled as being either a parcel (= open space) or a building. I’ve also tweaked the rules so that buildings may only be build upon parcels. Thus, building cards are now played on top of parcel cards in the same way that plant cards are played on top of parcel cards.
In v11, the size of a plant had no effect on it’s point value. Thus, a small Sagebrush gave the same number of points as a big Sagebrush. This is no longer true. Instead, big plants are now worth more points than small plants. I think this will be a more realistic and balanced scoring scheme, and that it will also create a more interesting game.
For some time now, there’s been a potential problem in the late game. Specifically, there were often big swings in point totals, as players collected and played large numbers of resource cards in each turn. Most people enjoyed having epic turns, but then disliked waiting around for other players to take their own epic turns. This balanced out in different ways for different people, such that some folks enjoyed this part of the game, while others did not.
In v12, I’ve added an additional ability to most of the resource cards, allowing players to use some cards to block the effect of other cards (e.g. Water blocks Fire). This should dampen the swings in the late game, and smooth out the growth curve. However, it will also lengthen the gameplay time by a little to a lot, depending the contrariness of the personalities in the game. So I’m not yet sure if the addition of blocks/counters will be a good thing or not. We’ll see.
For a detailed list of changes in v12, check out the changelog here.