MechYard: Playtest

MechYard, the semi competitive, tile laying time management game has been played. That’s right, a copy has been produced, printed and played.

Printed? You mean 3D printed, right? This was the game designed to have a small Mech model is front of you, with magnetic plates and tiles attached, wasn’t it?
That was the original idea. However, as the weeks and months went on, it became increasingly prominent that that wasn’t feasible. The end result was actually a ‘Print & Play’ game (To a degree. The word file I printed out for it was messy and difficult to cut out. To actually be released to the ‘untrained public’, it would require quite a bit of refining).
A few elements of the game changed over time, including the inclusion of the Direct Hit (A “Direct Hit” occurs when a Face [Front, Rear, Left or Right] of the Mech  is attacked, but has no more remaining Tiles. the Life Pod can only take 3 Direct Hits over the course of the game before being breaches, exposing the pilot to the harmful air and killing them), after one playtester realised they could get away with just putting tiles on one Face without consequence. 

The game is designed so that up to 4 players could play at the same time (although if you want more players, you can print more sheets/tiles), although when I tested it, I only used 2 guinea pigs (Myself and my friend Cameron). First, we played Galaxy Trucker, which is a heavy inspiration for MechYard. Then we played MechYard.
Cameron noted on a few of the thematic differences. One, Galaxy Trucker feels more lighthearted. The inclusion of currency and the theme of being galactic plumbers who’ve thrown together a spaceship out of pipes is much kinder than an engineer, whose ship is bringing down a literal apocalypse upon a dystopian junkyard planet, running for their life from mutated humans and CCTV style security drones.
Two, the game feels more frantic. Galaxy Trucker focuses on a convoy of space “trucks”, and so there’s a slight element of working together. Also, if your truck doesn’t make it, there’s always next round.
In MechYard, it’s more isolated. You’re acting at the same time as other players, but your giant robots don’t actually interact. Also, if your Mech doesn’t make it, that’s it. You’re left stranded on this planet until it explodes.
Those few thematic differences were enough for Cameron to note that Galaxy Trucker and MechYard are different games, which I’m quite happy to hear. This isn’t a case of a reskinned version, there are enough elements to separate the two.

Here’s some of the art used to playtest:

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