General Update - I learned a thing
Today I was reminded of the value of writing out your thoughts. The following post was originally going to be completely different. However, in writing out an explanation of why my awesome new speed track is fun I realized I was literally explaining why you should be enjoying my convoluted idea.
Sometimes, players have to be shown how a game can be fun. However, in most cases, if you find yourself explaining why a mechanic is awesome it may not be. This is obvious, or it least it was "known" to me before now. Yet, here I am.
Redline is back, but currently on shaky ground. The problem is the Speed system I came up with, and that I'm calling the Speed Track.
The 1st problem is how attached I am to the Speed Track. I don't know of any other competitive card game like mine that lets you stack cards and isn't designed with Poker cards in mind. The Speed Track took Solitaire card stacking and made it awesome. It totally solved the problem of needing to include a clunky chart for who is currently winning into the basic package. This is not actually a problem, per se, and is a workaround for needing anything more than cards to play my game.
The 2nd problem is how hard it is to teach the Speed Track system. Even after my testers understood the new card layouts, they were confused by the new requirement that you exchange cards if you're giving someone a determent.
The 3rd problem is that the Speed Track doesn't fit Redline in its current form. There is no real reason why, in a race, a Player would need a catalogue of the actions of his or her fellow racers at their fingertips. Reading the Speed Track slows the game down and causes alot of confusion for new players.
The 4th problem is that the Speed Track expands the gameplay space and adds choices without being any fun to interact with. The solution I found to make Redline fun again was to add a shared Speedometer that tracked everyone's progress toward a goal value. In the process of creating the Speedometer, I made the Speed Track redundant.
All 4 of the above problems have forced me to realize that I designed a fantastic solution for a problem I don't have. This is a depressing realization, but a necessary one if I want to keep working on Redline. I have resolved to strip out my Speed Track and set it aside for another game with a theme more fitting of the mechanic.
There is one positive: I have finally accepted the Speedometer as a good solution. It's easy to use, the movement of Player markers across it provokes engagement, and the mechanic is fun. I already know this from my previous meter solution.
My post may be a little rambly as I'm a little tired. However, I wanted to get this posted for another reason: How to Eat Carrots.
Anyone who was paying attention may have noticed a game pop up on this site called How to Eat Carrots. Carrots was a silly one-off I made for a board game jam and almost decided to put serious work into. However, my feelings for Carrots were a result of premature excitement, and after testing I've decided to set the project aside.
Someday, humans may again seek to devour sentient carrots. However, that day is not this day.