Saga Machine Unified: May Playtest Results

Saga Machine Unified: May Playtest Results

Earlier this year we announced the Saga Machine Unified playtest. Since then, we've released a new version of the playtest each month. Today I’m going to go over the results of the May playtest.

The focus of this playtest was on combat. Participation was down slightly this month compared to previous months. Hopefully this is a trend that does not continue. If it does, we may need to rethink some of our outreach strategy for future iterations of the playtest. Thank you to everyone who participated by commenting or filling out a survey. Let's look at the results!

Initiative Method

The first question we asked this month was about what method people prefer when determining the order in which combatants act (initiative). Half of all respondents (50%) prefer the fast turn / slow turn method, such as used by Age of Ambition. The remaining 50% were divided (relatively evenly) between all other options, as well as several write-ins.

From this, it's clear that people have many different preferences for initiative, but fast turns / slow turns have a substantial edge as the single most popular option. We're likely to continue using them in the future, although we may provide some alternatives in the GMing chapter.

Combat Skills vs. Attack Score

Next, we asked whether people prefer attacks to use combat skills or whether they prefer a calculated Attack score. The response to this question was overwhelming. Two-third of of respondents strongly prefer combat skills, while the remaining third have no preference between the two. No respondent voted in favor of using an Attack score.

I think our course of action here is obvious: we plan to continue to use combat skills in future iterations of the playtest.

Defense Tests

This was our most controversial question of the month, albeit still not as controversial as some previous questions. We asked whether fans preferred a static Defense TN or a Defense test at the beginning of each round. Exactly half of respondents preferred a static TN, while the other half preferred a Defense test each round. However, when breaking down whether respondents strongly or slightly preferred their chosen method, those in favor of tests each round felt much more strongly than those who favored a static TN.

This gives a slight edge to the Defense test method, and the next version of the playtest is likely to continue using it. However, don't count a static Defense TN out yet. We've earmarked it as a mechanic to consider further and test out in the future!

Attack Options & Reactions

Next up were two freeform questions about the available attack options and reactions. Most people appeared relatively happy with the options as written, but some ambiguities with grappling, aim and line of fire were pointed out, as were a lack of options for suppressive fire and overwatch. And upon consideration, we agree! We'll get them cleaned up in June's iteration of the playtest!

Alternative Rules

Finally, we asked a question about moving all alternative and optional rules to the GMing chapter. 83.3% of respondents were either in favor of this or had no real opinion; the remaining 16.7% were slightly opposed. With these numbers, we're likely to continue putting all alternative rules in the GMing chapter.

That’s it for the May results. Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the survey! And keep your eyes peeled next week for the June playtest packet!

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