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Hippodice

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Sebastian
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Hippodice

AlfSeegert wrote:
I think that Hippodice is a gift. It offers prospective designers like you and me something very hard to find: honest feedback from multiple game companies who actually look *closely* at one's rules and/or prototypes. It is VERY hard to get that attention any other way (my early designs from years ago got one short look from German companies before ending up in the trash, literally!). So for now I'm glad that I remain unpublished and have the opportunity to test out multiple game designs at Hippodice and to *actually have them get looked at closely*.

(BTW--Does anyone here have any idea how things work for previously published designers? How do they farm out their latest prototypes? I know nothing about that process at all.)

I imagine that getting published will open a number of doors that you wouldn't see as clearly when you're unpublished - not least, the companies may well give you the same sort of scrutiny that you're wishing for on the basis of the previous games you've published, not just because you've beaten off the competition at Hippodice.

Certainly, from what I hear, the successful designers work primarily through personal contact, meeting up with publishers to see what sort of things they want in their lineup, and persuading the publishers that the games they are offering are just that thing. I'm not sure, admittedly, how the in-between types, with only one or two games under their belt work...

AlfSeegert wrote:
Seth asked in an earlier post if the Hippodice finalists would be willing to post their game rules. I don't know how the other designers feel, but I confess that I don't feel comfortable doing that until the game is actually published. But I am willing to share game component and description information on request if anybody wants it, as well as trading game design ideas with each other.

I'm another one who's not entirely comfortable with it. You can only really measure how good a game is in the playing, and as I find it hard to believe that people are going to put together a game based on rules that I post, there isn't going to be anyone appreciating the game beyond 'yeah, the rules seem to be interesting' / 'the rules are badly written here' / 'that's an interesting mechanic' sort of thing. So I'm not sure what other people, would gain by me putting them online. Except for satisfying random curiosity, that is, which I suppose is fair enough.

That's also one of the reasons I haven't taken part in the GDW - I can't really visualise the game from just the rules posted, and when testing with other people, I prefer to test my own or their games, where we have a personal interest. And there are more than enough of those to fill the time availiable.

jwarrend
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Hippodice

First, congrats to all who placed in the competition. Great show!

Sebastian wrote:
AlfSeegert wrote:
I don't know how the other designers feel, but I confess that I don't feel comfortable doing that until the game is actually published.

I'm another one who's not entirely comfortable with it. You can only really measure how good a game is in the playing, and as I find it hard to believe that people are going to put together a game based on rules that I post, there isn't going to be anyone appreciating the game beyond 'yeah, the rules seem to be interesting' / 'the rules are badly written here' / 'that's an interesting mechanic' sort of thing. So I'm not sure what other people, would gain by me putting them online. Except for satisfying random curiosity, that is, which I suppose is fair enough.

I completely respect anyone's decision not to share rulebooks for their games: it's an individual call. I do want to rebut a couple of points, however.

First, while I agree that games have to be played to be understood, there's no question that many gamers (not just designers) seek to read rulebooks for new games prior to playing them, because you definitely can get an idea what a game will play like, even if it isn't the whole story. Obviously, the idea with published games is to decide "should I buy this?" With an unpublished game, there may be a variety of reasons why one might be interested in reading others' rules. Curiosity is certainly one. For myself, I tend to try to err way on the side of originality with my games, and so I like to read as many rulebooks as I can simply to know what others have done, so I can steer clear of their mechanics. (So in that sense, someone like me is actually *less* likely to steal from you if I've read your rulebook!)

I agree that the proof is really in the playing, and so I don't think it would be fair for someone to say, after simply reading the rulebook, "I can't believe this clunker won!" But there's no question that you can get way more out of a rulebook than you suggest, and the GDW, and its perceived usefulness among everyone who's used it, stands as a stark counterargument.

Obviously, if you have no lack of people to help you evaluate your games, there's no sense broadcasting them simply to sate other's curiosity if you don't already seek to do that. Just wanted to point out that the best reason for keeping mum is "I don't feel comfortable doing this", and not "I don't see the usefulness."

Again, congrats to all, especially to zaiga -- glad to hear your persistence with Gheos paid off! And, I hasten to point out that before Gheos placed in Hippodice, it won the "Doomed Civ" contest here. As usual, BGDF is on the leading edge of the game design curve!

-Jeff

zaiga
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Hippodice

AlfSeegert wrote:
It's funny. I was in email correspondence with a German company today and it struck me that I wasn't as eager to be published as I thought. Don't get me wrong--I want to be published eventually, of course, but I don't look forward to the moment when I'm officially barred *forever* from the Hippodice competition *because* I've now been published. I'm not sure that I'm ready yet.

Alf, being a published designers doesn't exclude you from entering the Hippodice competition.

jwarrend wrote:
Again, congrats to all, especially to zaiga -- glad to hear your persistence with Gheos paid off! And, I hasten to point out that before Gheos placed in Hippodice, it won the "Doomed Civ" contest here. As usual, BGDF is on the leading edge of the game design curve!

Thanks Jeff! I agree that it's good to see BGDF people do well in the competition. I hope to see some games by BGDF members published in the near future!

Sebastian
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Hippodice

jwarrend wrote:
Sebastian wrote:

I'm another one who's not entirely comfortable with it. You can only really measure how good a game is in the playing, and as I find it hard to believe that people are going to put together a game based on rules that I post, there isn't going to be anyone appreciating the game beyond 'yeah, the rules seem to be interesting' / 'the rules are badly written here' / 'that's an interesting mechanic' sort of thing. So I'm not sure what other people, would gain by me putting them online. Except for satisfying random curiosity, that is, which I suppose is fair enough.

First, while I agree that games have to be played to be understood, there's no question that many gamers (not just designers) seek to read rulebooks for new games prior to playing them, because you definitely can get an idea what a game will play like, even if it isn't the whole story. With an unpublished game, there may be a variety of reasons why one might be interested in reading others' rules. Curiosity is certainly one

...

Obviously, if you have no lack of people to help you evaluate your games, there's no sense broadcasting them simply to sate other's curiosity if you don't already seek to do that. Just wanted to point out that the best reason for keeping mum is "I don't feel comfortable doing this", and not "I don't see the usefulness."

There are never enough people to test games. Occasionally too few games to test, but that's a different problem ;)

I suppose that part of the reason I'm reticent is because of my approach to games design. When designing games, the rules live in my head, and vary continuously between play tests. This cunningly allows me to update the rules continuously, and unimportant rules, instead of getting set in stone (or the rule book, which is similar), simply get forgotten. (As do important rules, occasionally, to my shame :oops: (but at least then I realise why they're important)). This means that games only acquire rules books right at the end of the design process, where all the adjustment is precipitated on game balance, feeling while playing the game, and so forth. So adjustments based on the rules never feel that necessary, beyond ensuring that the rules reflect how the game is actually played (and that again needs blind testing rather than just reading the rules).

I suppose the main part that's making me feel uncomfortable is not really knowing what publishers want. As some of the publishers want to keep rules to themselves, or at least control the flow of information as a game is released, to manage the press and so forth. For the sake of uncertain benefits (at least with the way that I do my games development) I'd prefer not to scupper my chances with those publishers.

Hmm. Thinking this through, it means that I should be happy putting up the rules for games that I believe, for one reason or another, to be unpublishable. Which is indeed true - I don't have the same feelings of misgiving. Admittedly, I haven't written up the rules to any of these games (see point 1), but when I have a moment free, I'll see what I can do about them.

Anonymous
Hippodice

Sebastian wrote:
I imagine that getting published will open a number of doors that you wouldn't see as clearly when you're unpublished - not least, the companies may well give you the same sort of scrutiny that you're wishing for on the basis of the previous games you've published, not just because you've beaten off the competition at Hippodice.

Certainly, from what I hear, the successful designers work primarily through personal contact, meeting up with publishers to see what sort of things they want in their lineup, and persuading the publishers that the games they are offering are just that thing. I'm not sure, admittedly, how the in-between types, with only one or two games under their belt work...

All that makes sense to me. Thanks, Sebastian. I just wanted to point out how rare the opportunity is (I think) to be able to get feedback from so diverse a group of representatives from game companies as well as from Spiele de Jahres. I can only hope and imagine that once published, one's options only open up. I suspect that they certainly do with specific publishers, but I have no idea what vistas lie open for exposure to game companies at large. I guess I'm just speaking from the part of me that wants to keep presenting multiple game ideas to a diverse group to find out what seems to work and what doesn't. So far I've found out that what I seem to like the most doesn't always match up to what the game companies are looking for (and vice versa).

On another note, Zaiga commented that being a published designer doesn't exclude one from entering the Hippodice competition. I was under the impression that Hippodice was specifically *for* unpublished designers (and only for unpublished designers) to help them get their work looked at. Can you or anyone else clarify?

Many thanks,
Alf

Anonymous
Hippodice

As many of us have already noted, the automatic translations from German into English of the Hippodice results are not exactly helpful (though they are occasionally hilarious).

But I'm very curious to read in actual English a description of the games of the Hippodice finalists--esp. Gheos because I seem to be the only person here who doesn't already know about it. Sounds very cool!

So Rene, Stefan, Sebastian--would you be willing to post, not rules, but game descriptions? In any event, I'm willing to go first to get the ball rolling if anyone is interested.

Alf

zaiga
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Hippodice

Quote:
On another note, Zaiga commented that being a published designer doesn't exclude one from entering the Hippodice competition. I was under the impression that Hippodice was specifically *for* unpublished designers (and only for unpublished designers) to help them get their work looked at. Can you or anyone else clarify?

Well, the intention of the Hippodice competition is to bridge the gap between (unpublished) designers and publishers. However, there isn't actually a rule that excludes designers that already have published a game before from entering the competition. In fact, Heinrich Glumpler, who reached the final round this year, published some designs before.

Quote:
But I'm very curious to read in actual English a description of the games of the Hippodice finalists--esp. Gheos because I seem to be the only person here who doesn't already know about it. Sounds very cool!

Here's translation of the German blurb:

"As gods, players use triangular tiles to create continents, oceans and islands, and inhabit them with civilizations. However, what gods create, they may destroy again.

During his turn a player performs two of the following actions:
- Place a tile, or replace a tile
- Take a follower
- Refresh hand tiles

Drawing tiles is the only random element in this highly tactical game.

In addition to these actions, a player may place a new civilization on an unoccupied continent and/or play one of his three scoring tiles. Players score points depending on the number of followers in existing civilizations. Several symbols on the tiles play a role here as well.

It's possible that through the (re)placement of tiles war or migrations happen, and complete civilizations may disappear as a result. Letting such disaster happen is not without price: a god must pay for it by losing a follower, or a previously used scoring tile.

So called Epoch tile invokes intermediate scoring rounds, which may prove deciding at the end of the game.

Despite a simple set of rules Gheos offers lots of depth. Quick game play, and a short playing of time of around an hour make this game an exciting and excellent playing experience."

s2alexan
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Joined: 10/25/2008
Hippodice

I also don't feel comfortable publishing the rules at this point - not because I think anyone would make illicit use of them, but to simply respect publisher's rights to privacy (I'll let them decide how to distribute the rules, if/when it gets published). But here's a quick description:

Description of “The Cows of Parma” Card Game
By Stefan Alexander

2-6 Players
Ages 8+
30-40 minutes

Components:
150 cards
80 cubes

The Cows of Parma is a card game based on production and simultaneous bidding. Each player is an Italian dairy farmer, trying to grow his herd of quirky cows by making (and aging) different types of cheese, and selling them to get more cows. The cows produce milk, which is used to bid on cheese. The cheese ages, and is used to bid on more cows. At the end of the game, the player with the most valueable herd is the winner.

Play is simultaneous, so there’s no downtime. It’s simple to learn, and players start having fun right away. But it quickly becomes apparent that strategy, tactics and bluffing are required to manage your production (so your groups will have a high value) and bid effectively (so you don’t waste that value).

Sebastian
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Hippodice

AlfSeegert wrote:
So Rene, Stefan, Sebastian--would you be willing to post, not rules, but game descriptions? In any event, I'm willing to go first to get the ball rolling if anyone is interested.

I've no problem with that. As it happens, the description that Hippodice put up is about as good as any that I've managed to come up with on my own, so I'll just post a decent translation of it.

Rally Car

Players: 2-5
Ages: 8+
Duration: 30-40 minutes

Rally Car is a mixture of a card and race game for 2 to 5 players.

Each turn, a player either:

* Plays a card to move one of their cars along the track, manouvering past other cars (or bumping them out of the way) and over four different obstacle types. It is possible to boost your movement through careful card choice (picking up use of previous players cards), and through turbo cards.

* Take a pitstop to refresh their hand of cards. As a bonus, they can place an extra obstacle on the board.

The first player to get their cars over the finish line wins.

Sebastian
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Hippodice

Sebastian wrote:

Rally Car is a mixture of a card and race game for 2 to 5 players.

Incidentally, this really is the inspiration for the game. There are a lot of games that are played with cards, and use the board almost incidentally for scoring. There are a lot of games that are played on the board, and use cards almost incidentally to influence the board position. But I could think of no games that have the position with the cards, and the position on the board contributing with equal importance to your decision about what to do next. Rally Car was my attempt to address this lack.

Anonymous
Hippodice

Wow, all of these game designs are intriguing and all sound engaging and fun! Thanks for posting these descriptions (and thank you, Zaiga, for clarifying the Hippodice requirements--very helpful)

Here are the descriptions I sent Hippodice for my own:

BRIDGE TROLL
A Crafty Game of Tolls, Trolls and Treasure

Designer: Alf Seegert
Number of Players: 4-6
Duration: 30 - 45 minutes
Age Range: 8 years old and up

COMPONENTS:
54 Traveler Cards
18 Company Cards
6 Troll Placards (1 per player)
6 Tiebreaker Cards (1 per player)
48 Toll Cards (8 per player)
12 Action Cards (2 per player)

In BRIDGE TROLL, each player plays a Troll that tries to make a living by extorting
travelers who want to cross his bridge. Whenever travelers attempt to enter or leave town,
they are forced to cross one of many Troll Bridges—but you want it to be yours! Travelers
always try to cross the cheapest bridge they can, so to bring customers your direction, each
day you must post the toll you charge that day for crossing. If you charge too much,
travelers will avoid you in favor of your competition. But if you don’t charge enough, you
won’t have the money required to maintain your bridge! To make things worse, you also
have to be careful that your advertisements don’t attract unwanted attention from bandits
and tax collectors (who will take your money), or wandering knights (who will try to kill
you!).

Your goal as a responsible business-troll is to extort as much money as you can from unwary
travelers, but you also have to eat in order to keep up your strength, and many of those
travelers are tasty! The BRIDGE TROLL who best balances greed, appetite and the need
for bridge repair is the winner.

ZIGGURAT
A Contest for Cosmic Power

Designer: Alf Seegert
Number of Players: 2
Duration: approximately one hour
Age Range: 10 years old and up

COMPONENTS:
1 Game Board
1 Palace Placard
1 Ziggurat Placard
22 Bidding Cards
12 Structure Cards
6 Assistant Cards
1 Calendar Keeper Card
10 Power Cards
40 Player Discs (20 blue, 20 red)
20 Platform Squares
10 Building Tokens
1 Ziggurat Token
1 Sun Marker (yellow pawn)
1 “King’s Favorite” Marker (black pawn)
2 Reference Cards

OVERVIEW:
The players are rival astronomers from the court of ancient Babylon. Over a series of eight rounds, they work together to build a ZIGGURAT and a series of smaller monuments demanded by the King. The players receive help from several Assistants who provide their services to the player who offers the higher bid. By performing actions unique to each Assistant, players build structures and align them to the stars and to other monuments, gaining cosmic power as they do so. To keep competition fair, the King has declared that whatever resources either player uses during a playing round will be given to his opponent for use later in the game. Once the ZIGGURAT is completed, the player with more cosmic power is the winner.

sedjtroll
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Hippodice

I understand Scurra got his prototype back of All For One, but evidently it didn't come with comments from the judges. Do they in fact furnish everyone who's game gets tested with a response letter? Should it accompany the prototype? Or is it likely to follow? I don't mean to sound antsy, it's just that I am ;)

- Seth

zaiga
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Hippodice

Although the Hippodice people haven't yet put up the English rules for this years competition, be warned that the deadline for the first submission, November 1st, is getting close!

zaiga
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Hippodice

*bump*

The English rules have been posted.

http://www.hippodice.de/inhalt.php?pg=60

Deadline still 1st of November!

Yogurt
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Hippodice

There's no chance at all that I'll enter this year, but out of curiosity, does anyone know if all entrants email a submission and mail a prototype, or do only finalists mail a prototype? I couldn't figure that out from the English rules.

Yogurt

benedict
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Hippodice

yogurt wrote:
There's no chance at all that I'll enter this year, but out of curiosity, does anyone know if all entrants email a submission and mail a prototype, or do only finalists mail a prototype? I couldn't figure that out from the English rules.

Yogurt

Hi

All entrants either email or mail their set of documents (rules, summary, etc) by Nov 1. 3 of the Hippodice folks grade the rules and usually let authors have the results mid-November. Games that make the cut must then be submitted (with the rules again) in prototype form by Dec 1. So basically you should have your prototype ready to go by mid-November. The finalists are then chosen from the prototypes submitted.

Benedict

ensor
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Joined: 08/23/2008
Hippodice

zaiga wrote:
*bump*

The English rules have been posted.

http://www.hippodice.de/inhalt.php?pg=60

Deadline still 1st of November!

Ok, it's submitted, Brett and I entered Die Wichtelmänner. Who else is in? Good luck to all who enter, the deadline is tomorrow!

zaiga
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Hippodice

ensor wrote:
Ok, it's submitted, Brett and I entered Die Wichtelmänner. Who else is in? Good luck to all who enter, the deadline is tomorrow!

Not me, unfortunately. My home computer decided to die a few weeks back (actually the operating system did) and the good folks at Packard Hell haven't been able to send me the correct repair CD on time, so I couldn't write the rules for my entry to be...

Anyway, good luck to anyone who enters!

Kreitler
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Hippodice

ensor wrote:

Ok, it's submitted, Brett and I entered Die Wichtelmänner. Who else is in? Good luck to all who enter, the deadline is tomorrow!

I entered two of my own games: Big Rig and Bloc War. Bloc War is available in the Downloads section. I can post Big Rig if anyone is interested.

K.

Sebastian
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Hippodice

ensor wrote:
Who else is in? Good luck to all who enter, the deadline is tomorrow!

I've just entered 'Gang War'. We'll see how it goes.

IngredientX
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Hippodice

Wag the Wolf is in. Lots of BGDF'ers helped with this game... many thanks to all of you!

Good luck to all the participants!

s2alexan
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Joined: 10/25/2008
Hippodice

I just entered "Studio City". Despite having developed several very different games between last year and now, there was only one I felt was ready. And it ended up being a very similar type of game to last year's entry - a quick, simple auction game that works with lots of players. Hopefully I'll make up for in consistency what I lack in originality :)

Good luck to all the competitors!

jwarrend
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Hippodice

I'm going to enter "Disciples". Good luck to all!

-Jeff

Gamebot
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Hippodice

I entered the latest incarnation of Monkey Lab game.

And now to quote Homer Simpson:

"Now we play the waiting game...ah, waiting game sucks. Let's play hungry hungry hippos."

Xaqery
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Hippodice

I just read the last 7 pages of this thread. Hippodice sounds very cool.

Good Luck to all that just entered!

While it might be difficult for me to have something ready for next year starting now I think I may try.

- Dwight

TruMobius
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Hippodice

missed it again..not that I really had much of anything

ensor
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Hippodice

Cool, at least 7 bgdfers with submissions, that's good representation! It's been two weeks, anyone heard back yet? I was really hoping for some hippodice news today... should be soon...

jwarrend
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Hippodice

I haven't heard anything yet.

-J

sedjtroll
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Hippodice

Hmm, I completely forgot about this. I will have to plan a little further ahead next year. I didn't really have anything to submit except All For One again (newer version)... do they frown upon submitting a game that's already been submitted?

Maybe I will make it a point to have Hot and Fresh ready by next year. It's a pickup-deliver/routeplanning/press-your-luck game about breakin' traffic laws and delivering pizza for tips. It's got some mechanics I really like, including the traffic light thing where available routes change over time, just like traffic!

That last will be the hardest part to prototype, but I have an idea how it will be done.

jwarrend
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Hippodice

I don't think you're allowed to re-submit a design that made it to the prototype testing stage. From the rules:

Hippodice rules wrote:
Any games whose application ha been done for in a previous Games Authors'Competition of the Hippodce Spieleclub e.V.may apply again,if they were rejected in the first place an ha not been actually submitted for test playing.

But hey, a year from now, hopefully A41 will be in the queue in some publisher's 2007 lineup!

-J

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