Play testing Family Fortune

This is the first time I was able to take pictures of one of my play tests and the first play test I have held during the running of this website.

This game was played during the weekly board game night I host at my apartment.  My friends, Odin, Philip, Huong, Phil, and Kileean played this game with me for a total of 6 players.  This was the second time some of them had played the game but the game experienced a major change between these two games.

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The full rules for Family Fortune are available on this site, but I will give a quick overview here.  Family Fortune has the players searching a mansion for a $1,000,000 treasure hidden within, while grabbing any other valuables they come across.  Players will reveal the house as they rush through it.  They search rooms for items or clues to help them discover the $1,000,000 item.  At the end of the game, the player with the most money wins.

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The first time this group played this game the main complaint I received was there was not much variation in people's play styles.  They didn't feel like they needed to make choices during their turns.  One of my friends suggested I add special abilities to each of the characters.  So this iteration, all characters had a special ability. Some of the abilities made certain items more valuable while others changed how the character operated completely.

When I made certain characters I had ideas of how they would play:  their abilities reflect this.  Cousin Sally was suppose to be smart and easily able to figure out what item was worth the 1 million.  As a special ability I allowed her to freely look at the clue in any room she passed through.   This made Huong (my friend who played her) prioritize going to rooms with clues in them.

Overall, the players enjoyed the addition of the abilities because they felt they played differently based on who they were.  A couple abilities felt minor and are being watched in games to come.

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After playing this game and listening to a few comments, I have decided to make a few changes and found places to watch.

Mainly, a few character's special abilities felt weak. So, instead of Uncle Bill looking at 2 rooms whenever he reveals a new room, he will look at 3. He can put them back in any order, or even on the bottom of the deck.. This should allow him to always get a room with something he wants in it.  

Secondly, I am going to remove the upstairs completely.  It does not mechanically matter and only makes for a more cluttered table.


I was given the opportunity to play test this game a second time just last night with my friends Ben and Griffin.  This game could have been even more helpful in understanding the faults of the game then the one played with 6 players last Monday. 

The first thing that stood out to me was the trouble with ending the game early.  Whenever my friend Ben plays a game, he will end the game as fast as possible. He looted his first set of items and once he made it outside, he called the cops to signal the countdown toward the end of the game.  So seven full turns later, the game would end.  This made me feel the game was unnecessarily short and less enjoyable than the game on Monday.

Another issue we encounter was that both other players felt clues were not adding anything to the game and they completely ignored them.  This confused be because, previous plays told me that player very much enjoyed the clue system. With such a short game this time, not nearly enough clues appeared for any player to even have an idea of what the 1 million dollar item was.  So this entire aspect of the game was not experienced by the players at all.

This game made me realize I may need to change a few things for smaller groups of play.  The house is very large, and will not be fully explored in full groups.  As a result, not all items will be revealed to all players. I plan to play test more with 4 players specifically because that is a typical play group.

Additionally, to combat the short game game feeling, I may experiment with requiring all players to have an item in their car before the cops can be called.  This would allow everyone to have a voice in choosing when the game ends.

As I am able to try more play tests, I will be targeting groups of 4 people and implementing minor tweaks until I get the game right.  Once I feel the game is fun enough, I will begin drawing up the tiles in Gimp to create a better aesthetic to the game.  I will continue to update my thoughts of each play test as I host them.