Skip to Content

The next contest?

9 replies [Last post]
jwarrend
Offline
Joined: 08/03/2008

No clue if there are plans to hold another contest, but I had a couple of thoughts for a "theme" that might push us outside the box a little bit. Perhaps it might be fun if the contest were about making a game that was primarily geared at children, or, perhaps instead, "Games my significant other would like." The idea is to make a game that is suitable for a non-gamer audience.

I'm sure many of us would like to design a children's game at some point, and this might be the impetus to do that. But what I think is more important is trying to think of a way to guarantee that we won't have a judging bailout this time around. One way might be to have the "judges" be a non-traditional group like "kids" or "spouses/girlfriends", which are certainly easier to come by than "game company owners."

Alternatively, maybe the contest could be about "2 player games", or "games under 30 minutes", so that the judges (if we can find them) could judge more games in a shorter period of time.

As I said, I have no idea if there are any plans to have another contest, but changing the scope from a "theme-oriented" contest (which people didn't really try that hard to stick to anyway) to a "target game style"-oriented contest might be restrictive enough to get the creative juices flowing on our end, but also streamline the judging process on their end. Just some thoughts...

-Jeff

zaiga
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
The next contest?

I would certainly be interested in another contest! The biggest hurdle hat has to be overcome in order to organize another contest will certainly be finding enough competent judges with enough spare time to judge a bunch of games.

I think Jeff has some good ideas here. I like the idea of changing the scope of the contest to something more "game style" oriented. For example, the restrictions could be:
- an average playing time of 45 minutes or less
- rules of 5.000 words or less
- only 110 cards or less as the components (and no other components)

Perhaps this is a bit too restrictive, but it would be much more manageable for the judges to objectively judge a bunch of relatively light cards games, than a few complex, "monster" games and I'm sure it would be easier to find judges willing to do this.

Another point is that it is quite likely that a new contest hosted by the BGDF will attract a lot more entries than last year's contest. Perhaps some kind of pre-contest screening round (such as the Hippodice competition has) will be needed to cut down the number of entries to a manageable size, the number depending on how many judges can be found.

Also, as with the Hippodice comp, I think it is a good idea if the judging is done by a group of judges, rather then separate, individual judges. Some judges are simply a little bit more critical than others and it wouldn't be fair if some games are being evaluated by a "negative" judge and others by a "positive" judge.

The big question of course is: will there actually even be another contest?

- René Wiersma

Anonymous
The next contest?

zaiga wrote:
Another point is that it is quite likely that a new contest hosted by the BGDF will attract a lot more entries than last year's contest. Perhaps some kind of pre-contest screening round (such as the Hippodice competition has) will be needed to cut down the number of entries to a manageable size, the number depending on how many judges can be found.

I am probably going to expose my ignorance by admitting that I am not familiar with the Hippodice selection criteria, but I am always willing to give a thought if I think it might be beneficial.

One selection criteria that could be considered, assuming you have a panel of judges, would be to divide the pack of applicants evenly between each judge and have them select the n best entrents assigned to them. The pool of n-selections by all the judges will then be reviewed by the full panel. Granted, there may be some fine games that might not make the first cut because they didn't get assigned to the right judge, but hopefully all the ones that will make it to the short list will be so universally good as to make it past any of the judges the first time around.

IngredientX
IngredientX's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/26/2008
The next contest?

Here's one way to handle it... and I'm not promising realism or practicality, though this isn't an outragous proposal.

You assemble a group of, say, four judges. These judges must live close to each other, and be willing to meet face-to-face.

You have one additional person who acts as admissor. The admissor begins by assigning each entered game a random number. He/she records this number and matching game name in a secret file.

The admissor next removes all mention of the author's name from the game with a magic marker or white-out. This would mean permanently altering a copy of the game; let entrants be warned. The game is marked with its number.

The judges then meet, and then over the course of a night or two, go over the rules of each game. They shouldn't do this together; each one grabs a game from the pile, and looks at it seperately. By the end of the night, each game should have been looked at four times.

When a judge looks at a game, he/she marks down the game number, and a Yes or No. The top X games with the most Yes-es make it to judging.

Judging takes place over a month, with each game played once or twice, depending on how secure judges feel in their opinion (in a perfect universe, each game gets played twice, but the judges probably will not be able to meet nightly). It's here that the judges score the game.

This method is similar to how my college literary magazines used to accept submissions. I don't know how realistic it is for us... but hey, it's an idea.

FastLearner
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
The next contest?

Here's what I've been thinking about; it's probably totally unrealistic, but I think it would be great.

Submissions are cleansed of their authors. They are then distributed to several gaming groups, spreading them out with some overlap. Ideally each game would hit at least 3 groups, but a 2-group minimum would be necessary. These gaming groups would rate the games on a couple of simple scales, customized to fit the current contest's theme/rules/whatever. This is similar to what the Hippodice club does now but would spread the games out over several groups to (a) help ease the load and (b) help discourage any favoritism (mind you I'm not saying that this is a problem with Hippodice -- just something that I'd like to try to eliminate from being an issue here).

The highest-scoring games -- no more than 10, and ideally around 7 or so -- are then reviewed by publishers who can evaluate them however they like (from just reading the rules and looking over the prototype to playtesting them), and then score them using a system similar to the game groups, but perhaps including "publishability" or such.

The winners would be announced and the information would be sent to top people at the publishers.

The contest would require physical prototypes, not just printable ones, to help ease the burden on the judges.

This is pretty similar to what Hippodice does now, but would include American publishers.

The downside of all of this is the work required to get it done. Next month I'll be talking to some publishers and some folks in various game groups around the country, and will broach the topic with them to see what kind of feedback I get. If it's at all encouraging then I'll take it to the next step, and if not then I'll step back and reformulate.

Thoughts?

-- Matthew

jwarrend
Offline
Joined: 08/03/2008
The next contest?

Well, of course, the first question is "is there even going to be another contest?" I'm assuming, since you're moving ahead with talking to publishers and groups, that the answer is "yes."

But the second question is definitely one of scope. I felt like the first contest really was about "who's the best designer?" in the sense that everyone was given the same narrow time window to put together a working game. And I thought that was a good idea for what it was.

Now, you're doing something different -- you're bringing publishers into the equation, presumably with an eye towards the winning games making inroads into the publication track. But the problem I would have with this is that, to me, it would be a wasted opportunity to have the game that they look at be the one that I whipped up in 3 months for this contest; if publishers are going to look at one of my games, I want it to be one of my "babies".

So, it seems like you need to define more clearly what the scope of the contest should be. As I think zaiga and I were suggesting, a more restrictive set of requirements for the games would ensure that games were all short and punchy and easily judged. But if you're saying that the games are potentially going to be put before publishers, then I think all of us would rather have our best work judged, and not whatever we happened to put together quickly for a theme- or format- specific contest. This seems very much like an either/or proposition to me, but I could be wrong...

-J

FastLearner
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
The next contest?

jwarrend wrote:
Well, of course, the first question is "is there even going to be another contest?" I'm assuming, since you're moving ahead with talking to publishers and groups, that the answer is "yes."

Not necessarily. I certainly hope that there will be, but at this point I'm just exploring options. As it's likely that I'll be organizing it (or doing much of the organizing), I'll automatically disqualify myself, in case anyone was curious.

Quote:
But the second question is definitely one of scope. I felt like the first contest really was about "who's the best designer?" in the sense that everyone was given the same narrow time window to put together a working game. And I thought that was a good idea for what it was.

Now, you're doing something different -- you're bringing publishers into the equation, presumably with an eye towards the winning games making inroads into the publication track. But the problem I would have with this is that, to me, it would be a wasted opportunity to have the game that they look at be the one that I whipped up in 3 months for this contest; if publishers are going to look at one of my games, I want it to be one of my "babies".
It doesn't have to be whipped up in 3 months for this contest. Well, maybe this next one, but after that there's no reason folks wouldn't have a year. More on this below.

Quote:
So, it seems like you need to define more clearly what the scope of the contest should be. As I think zaiga and I were suggesting, a more restrictive set of requirements for the games would ensure that games were all short and punchy and easily judged. But if you're saying that the games are potentially going to be put before publishers, then I think all of us would rather have our best work judged, and not whatever we happened to put together quickly for a theme- or format- specific contest. This seems very much like an either/or proposition to me, but I could be wrong...

I don't think it's an either/or proposition. If it was similar to last time, in that it was constrained by a specific theme, then indeed, it's a "who can design the best game that fits this criteria" contest.

If, however, it's instead constrained by either very little (say, "strategy board or card game") or by something that isn't too restrictive (like your and zaiga's thoughts on a game that takes 45 minutes to play) then it's much more likely that designers will already have something they're working on.

My personal agenda: I would like to expose more unknown designers to publishers.

My personal agenda 2: I would like to provide an incentive for folks who aren't "finishing" their designs to do so, with the hope of at least getting some feedback, and ideally getting exposed to a publisher or two.

I'd like the BGDF contest to do that.

On the other hand, I also see the value of a contest that's a "best designer" type of contest, where there are some specific restrictions and a limited amount of time. I don't know, though, that the results of such contests should be judged by publishers (like we had in the first contest here), though. I think that type of contest should be judged by, for example, the folks here at the BGDF.

And so... maybe we have both. We've been talking for a while about a greatly-expanded version of the Game Design Showdown, which this would sort-of be (though the constraints wouldn't need to be quite so specific). We could have similar rules, along the lines of "no voting for yourself" and no open discussion of the entries prior to the conclusion of the vote, etc.

Again, any thoughts?

-- Matthew

jwarrend
Offline
Joined: 08/03/2008
The next contest?

I think it's possible I didn't express my point very well. Let me say that I agree with you that an "American Hippodice" would be a great thing, and the judging structure you laid out (a "filter round" with respected game groups followed by a "finals round" with publishers) is basically sound, perhaps with a tweak here and there.

My point was more that if that was the way the contest was going to be run, I personally would want the restrictions (at least as pertains to theme) considerably relaxed. If you said to me "we have a contest that you can get your game looked at by publishers, but it has to be a game about a doomed civilization", I'd say "what a waste!" I don't want publishers to look at some game I made just to suit the theme of a contest; I'd want them to look at my A-list #1 stars.

Now, as you say, you can still be restrictive in format of the game -- only 2 players, or <45 minutes, or cards only, or whatever; those requirements presumably would be tailored to what the publishers' particular interests were, perhaps.

My point was simply that I would want to have the freedom to put in whatever game I felt was my best effort. And that this is a different kind of contest than the Doomed Civ contest, which was, "here's a theme, you have 3 months to see what you can make." Both formats are fine, but mixing them would be, to me, a complete waste of the opportunity a panel of publishers represents.

Also, I don't know if I feel you particularly need to recuse yourself; if the submissions process is blind, you wouldn't be given any special treatment. It wouldn't bother me, anyway...

-J

Anonymous
The next contest?

...I don't want to scoop hpox or Darkehorse on this, but we've been thinking of sponsoring another contest, but under some rather rigid guidelines.

The not so great news: It'll be a micro-game contest.

The better news: The winner gets published, under license, by us.

The sigh of relief news: We'll post the contract that will be quid-pro-quo for the winner before the contest ever begins.

Contest II: This time its personal...

The Bad news: We'll post a list of materials that the designer may use... nothing outside of that list will be ok, and use of anything outside the list will mean immediate disqualification.

The so-so news: We'll be doing this as a 'commercially-minded' contest... with an eye towards playability, marketability, cost vs.profit, and potential sales...

The Cool news: You GET published :-)

...the most probable basis will be:
Winner automatically recieves a payment of $50, and a guarantee that the product will be put through distribution into the games industry. Sales beyond 200 units will net the designer a royalty of $0.10 - $0.14 per game sold (which isn't bad on a game that retails for $5,$6, or $7...and therefore has a max wholesale of $2.80... it comes to an average of a 5% royalty on gross, 10% on profit).

...and again, the entire 'deal' will be posted here BEFORE the contest begins.

Designer will also have the option of demanding their name on the cover of the product. (It only doesn't go on their if the designer says, "don't".)

Probable list of components that can be used includes and is limited to the following:

6 colors of pawns

6 colors of space ships (although there are two kinds available)

six-sided dice

Score pads in B&W... up to 50 pages and up to 5X8 inches in size.

Anything that can be created by printing one-sided on cardstock in one color (black, although any color cardstock can be used) in sizes up to 5X8. Fold-over pieces can be created in this fashion for board games.

Anything that can be Printed on 60#paper one color (black).

Game Boards printed (one color) on card stock can be as large as 11X15 inches.

Plastic T-stands - 1/2 inch wide.

Oh... and the gang here at ICGD will be your judges... after all, we're prepared to risk our money producing it :-). We like humor games, but we aren't against others, so long as they'll sell. ..and I'm thinking that other than that the game must be made with the listed componentry, and must be a micro (fit in a 6X9 baggy), - no theme or other restrictions.

Why post this if I'm not yet ready to do it (and I'm still a bit buried)...?

For feedback, of course. Thoughts please... and feel free to be brutal.

Sebastian
Offline
Joined: 07/27/2008
The next contest?

XXOOCC wrote:
Anything that can be created by printing one-sided on cardstock in one color (black, although any color cardstock can be used) in sizes up to 5X8. Fold-over pieces can be created in this fashion for board games.

Anything that can be Printed on 60#paper one color (black).

One point of clarification - you mention 'cardstock'. Does this translate to 'cards'? If so, is there a standard translation mechanism - ie one piece of cardstock produces X cards, or something?

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut