Couple random design lesson thoughts from SkyBoats:
-Tutorialization process went much better for most people than for Axes and Acres. The semi-guided FTL style tutorial seems to work well, and is going to be the default for BrainGoodGames going forward.
-Wind patterns do a good job of allowing players to create a cool machine to score points with, and heavily rewards smart forethought and play
-SkyBoats does a good job of making your moves feel like an AWESOME thing you did, rather than just scraping by. I really like this aesthetic
-Unlockables that trigger on win and loss are a good way to take some of the sting out of a loss
-Depth is great, but I need to more strongly consider the amount to which a player can process/where the information horizon is placed (Minos Strategos does a better job balancing this I think)
-Wind patterns are a cool mechanic, but some players are too overwhelmed to really dig into them
-Being able to use boat powers in any order is a good example perhaps of somewhere that the complexity ramps up a bit too hard
Having said that, there are a lot of things that are really neat about this system that I want to explore a bit more. I want to try adding a stripped down version of the concept as an alternate game mode. Smaller board, hand of cards rather than goods providing powers, fewer boats/one boat. Would you be interested in a mode like that?