One of the things that comes up only occasionally in Symetra, but has been mentioned by players a few times, is that of keeping track which cards you have used during the round, especially if there are a lot of players, and/or a lot of actions in a Chain Re-Action.
What we at Game Point started doing a while back, which I think is worth mentioning now, hence the article, is a simple way of indicating whether a card has been used this round or not:
At the beginning of each Cycle, all players move the energy beads to the center of their cards. When a player announces that they are using a card, they move the required energy to one edge of the card. You can even move the energy to the edge of the card in the direction of the selected card or player to further clarify your intention.
If and when the action resolves, they move the required energy to the Universal Energy Pool. If an action is cancelled by another action or circumstance, the cost is NOT paid, but, keep the energy at the edge to show it has already been used this round.
This helps with showing which cards have been used each round, but it doesn’t help keep track of the order of actions in a long Chain Re-Action. For the most part this isn’t an issue, as 90% of Chain Re-Actions are 2-4 actions at the most, and fairly easy to follow. However, upon occasion, Chain Re-Actions can get a little crazy. I’ve seen some with upwards of 10 actions to keep track of, and although rare, these are awesome situations where a game builds up to a climatic explosion.
In these rare occurrences, I recommend just making a quick written note on paper or phone. Without adding more components to the game, which seems wasteful for something that happens only once every 10 games, we were unable to beat the good old pen and paper. I don’t like this ‘fix’ as a designer, but to be honest, us playtesters have never needed to write down the order, although we have almost lost our order a couple times, so I can understand why it’s needed.
If you have any thoughts or ideas or questions, please let us know. In the meantime, Shape Your Fate!