We enjoyed it (played it several times). Enjoyable solid mechanism. But a couple things bugged us:
Like Stack Control, the setup up phase (alternating filling the board) feels too long. We tried one game with random setup. That might be better. If there are worries about a fast pseudorandom setup favoring one player, you could then bid points for the right to choose going first or second. This is a "mere practical problem", I think easily modified. (I always play Stack Control with random setup now.)
A bigger stranger issue is that during most of the game, you're focused on collecting as many points as possible (unlike Nim, it's practically impossible to read far ahead and ensure you collect the last piece, so you may as well moves to maximize your score, with the assumption/hope that you'll win, and hurt the score of the opponent in case they win) until only a few pieces remain, but then you can read ahead to the end and shift your focus to try ensuring you get the last piece, and you totally don't care about points now, you just want to take the last piece. It is interesting, but the fact that the round loser gets nothing seems harsh to us and left us with nagging questions/doubts. It seemed like it could just as well be "the winner gets a point for winning the round".
In that sense, it's like a more complex version of Synapse-Ice - whoever can't make a move first loses. Why bother counting all those points since competent players seem to collect somewhat comparable numbers of points? If I win 3 rounds and you win 2 rounds, probably I win the match. The exact number of points collected probably doesn't vary that widely, does it? Or so it felt to us; perhaps we're missing something.
Anyway, we considered something like "winner gets all their collected points, loser gets half their points" (or to avoid fractions, "winner's points are doubled") but didn't try such a variant. Or even simply "both players get their collected points" (but that obviously drifts farther from your design vision for the game).
We supposed that the intended idea was that the wide-swinging "luck" of "winner gets all their points, loser gets nothing!" would balance out by playing many rounds - but the setup process takes way too long to want to play a lot of rounds, unfortunately.
But to be clear: we like the idea of the game and enjoyed playing it. Maybe the harsh scoring is OK. This is just meant as our reaction after a couple plays.
Goulo 11:20, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
I like the basic idea of Nimbus, but it's too big for the idea. The board is too large and there are too many pieces to be able to think about the Nim-like goal of forcing the last piece until close to the very end. Like Goulo, we did a quick semi-random setup rather than a thoughtful one, and tried to get lots of points until close to the end.
I suggest that Nimbus be greatly reduced in scope. For example, use a quarter chessboard (4x4), and just one Treehouse stash. With that level of scale, you can worry about forcing the last capture from close to the start, and perhaps even have time for a strategic setup phase as well.
To avoid AP (analysis paralysis) in the 4x4 setup, it might be feasible to do something like this: Put all the pieces in a bag. Then the players alternate the following steps until all the pieces are on: Player A reaches in and grabs one in his fist; player B chooses a square; A reveals the piece; B places it in the square oriented as he wishes. (If there was a piece in it already, it is turned upright and the new one stacked on it.)
Bryan 4:43, 10 June 2011 (UTC)