Having been working on Moonflight for a few months now and completing the initial concept phase I've been able to start passing it out for early alpha testing. Technically its not an alpha test since I'm getting people who aren't me to offer their opinions but in so far as the people in question are my three most highly trusted playtesters and good chums its as close to alpha as can be reasonably achieved without developing a borderline personality disorder.
Since with SSO I had rather less blind playtesting than I would have liked I decided to get some in nice and early. This involves my striding up to good friends and shoving a handwritten prototype at them while firmly refusing to tell them anything about it whatsoever, which just goes to show how important it is to have understanding friends in games design.
So, having sat around watching folks play the game without being those folk myself I was able to make some changes. The main problem at the moment is that Moonflight's deck building section ratchets up in speed and eventfulness until "the turn" but then continues at the same rate such that the section intended to be the last half of the game ends up being closer to its last ten