I hate to call out a developer making informal comments to his fans about a work in progress, but I’m going to call out a developer making informal comments to his fans about a work in progress anyway.
One of the boldest boardgame designs I’ve ever played is Quartermaster General, a sleek and grand presentation of World War II for six-players (review here). It uses simple rules — you can teach Quartermaster General in ten minutes and then finish a six-player game in well under two hours — and unique decks of cards for each nation to express broad but familiar historical guidelines. The pacing is snappy. The asymmetry is deeply gratifying and a minor miracle given the simplicity of the rules. Japan plays nothing like Germany which plays nothing like the United States which plays nothing like Russia. Designer Ian Brody has created a masterpiece of rich minimalist gameplay.
Brody posted on Boardgame Geek that he’s playtesting the next expansion, called Alternate Histories.
[Alternate Histories] adds 100 new cards and 8 substitute cards. There are pieces for France and China, and the 8 substitute cards are largely to reflect the new pieces. So cards that represented the French with UK pieces and the Chinese with Americans now bring in pieces from their own country.
The idea is that you shuffle the news cards into each nation’s decks, but then you have to discard from your hand more frequently, forcing difficult choices as you play. Brody also said he considered actual deck building for each nation, but it raises difficult balancing issues.
You can read more here, including a tantalizing description of a couple of new cards for Germany and Russia. There is currently no announced release date for Alternate Histories.