1/4: Happy New Year!

We’re back from the holidays and ready for 2019.

The major push for us this year is to get Congress: The Board Game out into the world. We’ve expressed interest in putting up a new Kickstarter campaign. If that should go through (depending on a few factors), then it will be early this year, but not immediately.

First, we’re trying to create a “Congress Lite” version of the game. Due to the complex nature of the game and the short amount of time we usually get at events to explain it, we want to test a version that uses the same basic gameplay but uses fewer pieces and can be taught quickly. While we don’t intend to replace the actual game, which we still believe is the best and most accurate to our intentions, we don’t deny the potential value in bringing more people on board with our idea. This isn’t entirely our idea - other games have created “lite” versions for this very reason. And we’ve found that, in a non-playtest environment, people were a bit intimidated by the game if they weren’t already hardcore tabletop gamers. So here are some of the changes to make a lite version of Congress, bearing in mind that any and all of these may change again at a moment’s notice:

1. No need for the board, as certain elements are either removed entirely or can be tracked with other pieces.

2. Pork capacity on bills and riders is the same throughout the whole game.

3. No unique senators or abilities - players choose states with attached senators.

4. A greatly reduced action card selection. Hand size is now 5 of any card, mixed riders and actions.

5. Instead of seven scandal cards of varying effects, there are about five cards with the same scandal on them.

6. No elections.

In our opinion, the original Congress is the best version, but if we need a lite version, the above changes (and a few others) provide the closest possible experience. The gotcha mechanics and negotiating are still central to the game, but now players can get into the game quicker, and the game time is reduced significantly. A full game of Congress normally takes 20+ minutes per player. A lite game is cut in half.

Feel free to let us know what you think of such an idea! We still don’t know exactly how a lite version of the game will be used. For instance, we are not planning to kickstart a lite version instead of the actual game, or even alongside it. Our most pressing goal is having a version that can be shown to potential customers or games businesspeople in a very short time, and if the lite version is only good for that, then it’s still a success.

Thanks for following along!

The Weather Gage Team