Round End Opacity, finish lines, and playtesters

Glen More is a great game, no question.  But one of my gripes about playing it the first few times is the difficulty in knowing when rounds will end and scoring will occur.  All the information is THERE, but since rounds score when the last tile from each stack is placed, sometimes it's difficult to see exactly when that will happen.

Counter-intuitively, how far players move their pawns forward on each of their turns does NOT change how many tiles are placed before the rounds end.  Therefore, it is POSSIBLE to put lines right on the board showing where the rounds will end.  I tried that a bit, but could not get it clean and non-obtrusive enough to be helpful, because each round ended at different lines, and players PASSED the lines once each time before scoring.  Confusing.

Playtesting this past Thursday night (with a fun group of designers around the Madison area), one suggested that I should consolidate the lines into a single one, and just have players pass it once each time- scoring when passed the second time.  With a track of 14 slots, that means there's scoring every 28 tiles placed - much higher than the current 30/18/15 tiles.  That would mean that I'd have to add 31 tiles, and the game would be much longer!  That doesn't seem good, BUT it did get me thinking...

Instead of three rounds of scoring, if there were FOUR rounds, it could work out that every time everyone passed a line, scoring occurred.  That's 14 tiles per scoring, so total number of tiles would be 73 (currently there are 70).  That's reasonable.  But what does it do to the timing of scoring?

With just about the same game length (2% longer), you get four evenly spaced scoring rounds instead of three close-to evenly space rounds.  The first is earlier, which means I need to tweak those 0-group tiles to make sure scoring opportunities are there (including putting in a pair of red-tiles).  There will be about two tiles taken from the 1-group before the first scoring, which makes it tough to get crystals, but rockets and red-tiles should be ok.

Having 4 rounds of scoring changes the balance of points, so some tweaks will need to be made to point values— but that's what testing is for!

I'm glad that the solution to the round-end visibility has appeared, because it was one of the most irritating parts of the original design.  I'm happy that Lunarchitects will remove the difficulty.