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phpbbadmin
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Joined: 04/23/2013

Ok good fellows, I wanted to run some stuff by you...

1) On September 16th, we turn two years old. Horray for us!
2) Due to the summer (among other things), chats have really dried up. Is anyone willing to host some regular chats? I may able to do it again in a couple of months when my youngest gets a little older and has better sleeping habits, but again that won't be for a while. Also Jeff and I had discussed a possibility of doing lunch time chats. Perhaps a poll is in order to see when would be the best time hold these chats would be. My thoughts are that he and I could switch off, with each of us hosting it at different times/days.
3) I want to throw out an offical thanks to Jeff for heading up the Topics in Game Design Theory forum. I fear with out TIGD, the site might have ground to a proverbial halt.
4) Which brings me to Jeff's other baby.. It seems like GDW has lost some steam. Did we run out of people or has our last couple of folks not followed through?
5) Wiki is still vaporware for the time being. Zzzz has offered to help. Perhaps we can get as many reliable people as possible to help to help ease the burden of this undertaking. Are we still thinking that we want to completely migrate to tiki? Perhaps I should see if there is a new version available.
6) I've been slack on finishing the upgrade to the protoparts store (the beta is at catalog.bgdf.com ). I really need to finish it up. If someone can help me hold myself accountable I'd appreciate it.
7) XXOOCC's design microgame contest hasn't materialized either. Perhaps it will since the con season is winding down. Does anyone want to contact him to see if we can get a status or make sure it's still on Chris' radar.
8) Matthew, you had expressed interest in doing another game contest as well. Have you thought any more about it? I know things have been 'complex' for you lately, so no worries if you haven't had a chance to even fire a single synapse over it.
9) Jean Francois' life has taken a priority shift. He can't devote nearly the amount of time to the craft and the site as he has in the past.

That's about all I can think of for right now (as if that wasn't enough). Anyone else have any issues?

-Michael

phpbbadmin
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Some Stuff

*bump*

(This is so humilating!)

Scurra
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Some Stuff

One of the problems with a site that is devoted to design issues is that there are only a finite number of things to talk about, and some things go round and round in circles.
For instance, I'm certainly enjoying the forum threads on TIGD but there's not much different being said than was said during the first season of chats that Matthew hosted on many of the same themes. Not that this is a bad thing, just an observation.
We aren't here to talk about specific games - or, rather, about how to best play specific games - and it's surprisingly hard to talk about abstract problems in design; it's even harder to talk about a specific design issue without making sufficient reference to the context and, understandably, a lot of people don't like to do that with their own projects: Jeff has been amazingly open about the context of his games and yet it's still difficult to explore certain aspects. I've had the same trouble with "All for One": Seth sometimes forgets that he's one of the few people to have seen the whole ruleset (let alone played the game) and assumes that other people know how the game works and can therefore make useful contributions to the development process.

During the Thursday chat sessions we also discovered that trying to talk about one specific mechanic of a game was usually impossible as it typically relied on the interactions with the other mechanics (after all, if it didn't then there probably wouldn't be much of a game :-)

[In passing, I know the Thursday chats died although that was accidental rather than deliberate (once you miss a couple on the trot people assume they aren't going to happen and it then becomes self-fulfilling...) and the timing was basically wrong - this isn't an international site yet (which is partly a good thing ;-) - which is part of the problem for me at least.]

And the other perceived problem with a site like this is that of the contributors. Typically on a discussion board site there will be the regulars (who almost inevitably have to become admins), then there are the semi-regular guys who contribute, but much less frequently, the lurkers who rarely post and the fly-by-nights who turn up, expect people to fall at their feet, and disappear when we don't. (I'm not including the people who come-and-go for personal reasons but are generally committed: we've got our fair share of them too :-)

And while it's fair to say that we do have some honest-to-goodness published designers amongst our semi-regulars, this isn't a strictly professional site and clearly isn't meant to be. Board game design has to be considered a hobby (I guess you could count the number of full-time professional designers in the world on the fingers of not many more than two hands ;-) and hobbies work in different ways to professions.

In combination, then, you end up with a site that is dealing with a finite subject (although manifested in an infinite variety of ways) that is difficult to discuss in a truly abstract fashion and that gets bogged down with issues that aren't real (intellectual property ownership and theft mostly).

Frankly, I'm amazed we've made it to two years. ;-))

jwarrend
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Some Stuff

Wow, maybe this is a half-empty/half full thing, but I see the site as being on an upswing rather than just holding on for dear life against inevitable obscurity! We've had a steady influx of capable, excited designers in the last year (Richard_Huzzey, SiskNY, Zzzz, rkalajian, galeninjapan, SVan), and I feel like there's always something interesting going on (with the exception of last week, which was slow) that I can find to chime in on.

I like the TiGD and GDW to this end because they provide something of a "sure thing" -- every week, you know there's going to be a discussion happening in those forums. I don't doubt that the TiGD topics have been discussed before, but I created the forum because (a) I haven't talked about them before, and figured perhaps there were others like me, (b) the chats are great but are ephemeral, and require one to be available at such-and-such a time, and (c) having an extended discussion could provide interesting material for the wiki. Of course, as I've said before, if you think that other topics than we've been discussing would be interesting, by all means suggest them; it would be great to have some new things to talk about!

Re:GDW, I had a feeling that going to one-week sessions would eventually dry up the well, and frankly, I'm surprised we made it this far before that happened. I think there's just a finite rate at which people can design games, and we may have outstripped that. For myself, I haven't put up a game in a while because (and this will come as a real shock) I've focussed a ton of attention on Disciples of late, and while I have other games that are close to being done in their rulebooks, I feel like I shouldn't use the GDW unless I at least have an intention of actually playtesting the thing at some point. (that's not a formal rule of the GDW, just a personal preference) Then, there are my ideas (my Civ game, and my new Acts game) that for some reason I'm being cagey about for the time being. Anyway, bottom line, I'm willing to consider suggestions for what to do with the GDW; whether to put it on hiatus, or something else.

Re: Chats, I no longer think I'd be able to commit to hosting a chat; my Ph.D. is nearly complete, and when that happens, I need to give back the PC I borrowed from school to write it. That leaves me with a Mac, which can't do the duty; perhaps I'll get a PC at some point, though.

I think a new contest would be great, and I'd love to see that materialize! As I may have proposed publically a while back, I think that some forum-related version of the GDS could be neat as a recurring "mini-contest"; it wouldn't require as much effort as a full-fledged design, but would still help get the creative juices flowing for people and would be a way for us to have fun. I'd be willing to spearhead such an enterprise, but honestly, I think it would be better if I acted simply as a "consultant"...

I agree with David, though, that talking about mechanics in isolation, or about games in the abstract, is harder than talking about specific games like at spielfrieks, for example, but I think the advantage is that there's an objective basis for our discussions here. Being honest, spielfrieks is really not much more than people trying to couch their likes or dislikes in a semi-objective basis. Here, though, the issue of "what movement mechanic do I use?" can be approached from a variety of angles -- what effect of movement do you want to simulate? What is meant to motivate player decisions? What player experience are you trying to create? etc.

Another thing about this site that I like is, "how do I copyright this?" posts notwithstanding, the relatively high bandwidth of substantive discussion. Wading through the "Here's a list of all games I played in September" posts at spielfrieks is painful; I think we have a much higher hit rate here for posts that are actually worth reading.

So, bottom line, I may be too much of an optimist, but to me, the future of the site is rosy!

-Jeff

Scurra
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Some Stuff

jwarrend wrote:
So, bottom line, I may be too much of an optimist, but to me, the future of the site is rosy!

I wasn't really trying to sound like I thought we were all doomed - I agree with pretty much all of Jeff's points there (except the one about not putting something in to the GDW: if there's a hole, you get to fill it Jeff :-)

phpbbadmin
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OK

Yeah I wasn't trying to infer that the site was going downhill. I was just trying to provide you guys with a snapshot of what I think the site's status is as of right now plus any impending projects (although after rereading my post it does seem sort of pessimistic, unintentionally I promise). I don't think we need to artificially inject the community with activity, but I do think there is a lot of legitimate things we can do to continue to press forward. I think if we have a lackadaisical attitude about the community then it will most certainly start to crumble. That's why I like to have these discussions every so often so all of you can be informed and so you can offer your insight.

And I agree with Jeff about the positive implications of TIGD and GDW. If new users come aboard and we aren't talking about anything new, they will assume the community is dead or dying then they most likely won't return. However if they see a constant flow of discussion, then they will most likely be more willing to ask their questions and participate themselves. As for us old hats, we are beyond the hand holding stages of the craft, and most of the time we only post questions about specific issues or to just bounce ideas of the community. I think this is fine. Hopefully once we get the wiki up, we will have enough established members that the wiki can answer most of the FAQ and the majority of the communication will be off the more specific nature that I am referring to (I.E. Quality over quantity).

As for GDW 'drying' up, I actually think this can be a positive thing, because now you can almost get on the schedule immediately. Before you had to wait 2 sometimes 3 months, and by that time your enthusiasm for the design may have dried up, or you may have developed it already past a point of the GDW being useful. Now if you only have to wait a week then that will give you just enough time to hammer out the rough rules adequately enough to get it reviewable.

Re: Chats: Scurra do you think the 'European' chats weren't well attended? Is it not worth retrying them anytime soon?

Re: Mini Game design showdowns: I'm not terribly excited about such an idea as a participant, but I will support anyone who wants to try such a project in any way I possibly can.

I'll try and get with Chris Clark sometime soon to see if he is still interested in the microgame design contest. I really need to get the protoparts store up and running before I commit any more time to something new. Depending up CC's answer, we may want to discuss another design contest in it's place or after the microgame contest has been completed. If we do want to do one, I think we need to think big. Maybe we could involve other groups like SAZ, Spielfreaks, Board Game Geek and maybe we could get a highly respected gaming group to act as judges. I've said it before, but I'd really like to see something equivalent to the hippodice competition happen on this side of the pond. I know that doesn't really greatly affect David and Rene, but there's nothing that says international designers can't submit just as with Hippodice. I think increased interest in designer games can also help our European counterparts.

Thoughts anyone?
-Darke

Scurra
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Re: Potential design contest

Darkehorse wrote:
Yeah I wasn't trying to infer that the site was going downhill.

Neither was I, it just came out that way ;-)
Darkehorse wrote:
[...] we may want to discuss another design contest in its place or after the microgame contest has been completed. If we do want to do one, I think we need to think big. Maybe we could involve other groups like SAZ, Spielfreaks, Board Game Geek and maybe we could get a highly respected gaming group to act as judges. I've said it before, but I'd really like to see something equivalent to the hippodice competition happen on this side of the pond.

My concern isn't that something like this wouldn't happen - I suspect that the Geek folk would be happy to lend their name to it, albeit that's probably all they could (but that'd be enough!) and that admin would be fairly simple - but that the judging process would be very difficult. Hippodice works because the club is large enough and committed enough to spend a couple of months a year playing 50-odd prototypes (and I'm pretty sure that not all of them get more than one proper outing although I suspect they try to avoid that.) Finding a large enough group would be tricky, and the experience of the Doomed Civ contest suggests that spreading the judging around would be difficult.
Still, maybe that's just my pessimism kicking in again ;-))

phpbbadmin
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Re: Potential design contest

Scurra wrote:

My concern isn't that something like this wouldn't happen - I suspect that the Geek folk would be happy to lend their name to it, albeit that's probably all they could (but that'd be enough!) and that admin would be fairly simple - but that the judging process would be very difficult. Hippodice works because the club is large enough and committed enough to spend a couple of months a year playing 50-odd prototypes (and I'm pretty sure that not all of them get more than one proper outing although I suspect they try to avoid that.) Finding a large enough group would be tricky, and the experience of the Doomed Civ contest suggests that spreading the judging around would be difficult.
Still, maybe that's just my pessimism kicking in again ;-))

Well basically I would want a lot of publicity among the game PLAYING community as well as the designing community, which is why I'd like support from BGG, if only to announce the contest.

No doubt such a beast would be difficult to judge as you exemplified with Doomed Civ. However, I do believe there are some gaming groups in the US that are comparable in size to Hippodice. Heck, in my little city of Columbia, South Carolina we have almost 50 members so I KNOW there must be other groups who are 3-4 times larger than us. What we need is to find a key community figure who would be willing to commit his/her gaming group to such a task. It would be quite prestigious for that gaming group, especially if it became an annual event.

-Darke

phpbbadmin
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FYI

Zzzzz is working steadily on scripts to migrate both the user database and the forum messages over to tiki. Once the scripts are in place and tested thoroughly, I think we'll want to test it for a month or so and get it looking nice before we do that actual migration to the new software.

Any thoughts?

FYI - the test site is at tiki.bgdf.com.

-Michael

sedjtroll
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Some Stuff

It seems to me that the community is booming. I mentioned in a post recently that there seem to be a lot of new nicknames in the Members online box, and quite a few of them are starting to post.

I think that's great!

As for the GDW, I think before we do anything with or about it we should simply advertise it again. A lot of these newer members don't know about it. I've mentioned it to a couple people and they had no idea what I was talking about.

Maybe we could have a series of posts targetted at the newer members,w hich would end up as a reference which we could point new members to in the future. It could start with a Welcome, there could be a description of the GDW and a suggestion to (a) read through a few of the submissions and (b) comment on any of them and finally (c) submit a game. There could be references to the TiGD threads and maybe the chat transcripts.

I think if we got the new members sifting through the GDW and commenting on games that interest them it will not only get/keep them interested in the site, but might spark some community interest in whatever game comes back to light. Like "what ever happened to Everest?" or "how did those changes affect Dirty Business?" or "Was there ever a playtest of Conquistadores?"

- Seth

Scurra
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sedjtroll wrote:
or "Was there ever a playtest of Conquistadores?"

Yeah, I'd like an answer to that one too...

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