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Game #61: Acronymania by Aaron

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Anonymous

My apologies first and foremost, because I completely forgot that this was my week. I have been very busy as well as sick with the flu so it has been a long week.

On to the game though, the game Acronymania was inspired by several games, some of which include Balderdash and Apples to Apples. The idea was to create a game where players submitted phrases that began with each letter drawn.

A bit of warning before you check the game out, the letter tiles aren't shown, but they are basically all of the common letters (so letters like X are removed). The full list is:

A through I, L through P, R through U and W.

What I would like to have answered about the game mainly are:

1. Does it have enough structure to be sold as a word game, or should I just put it up for download on my website?

2. I'm not so sure I like the scoring system, any suggestions?

And of course anything else you can think of is of course greatly appreciated. Once again, sorry for being so late, here are the links to the files:

http://www.bgdf.com/files/My_Uploads/snipy3/AcroCCs.doc These are the Category Cards and fastest answer tile.

http://www.bgdf.com/files/My_Uploads/snipy3/Acronymania.doc
These are the rules.

http://www.bgdf.com/files/My_Uploads/snipy3/AcroVandA.doc
And lastly these are the answer and voting cards.

Sorry about the low-quality production, I'm really bad with art as a whole and my Microsoft Paint program doesn't work for some reason, so I have just been using Word.

Hamumu
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game #61: Acronymania by Aaron

I just had a look, and I hate to tell you if you didn't already know, but your game is almost word-for-word the online game Acrophobia. On the plus side, that is a fantastic game which people get seriously addicted to (or at least did several years ago, but I think it's still popular). On the minus side, you've duplicated an existing game!

That being said, it does mean that I think you've got a really good game, and there's no question it would be very fun to play. I know, because I played it a lot, years ago.

Only real issues I can bring up are that I don't like it always being a fixed 4 letters, though I think it would be annoying to have to roll a die or something like that. If there are duplicates of letters in your letter bag (or however you draw letters), maybe they could be marked with a number 3-6 at random, and the number on the first letter you draw determines how many letters long the acronym will be. Or your category cards could exist in triplicate, with 3, 4, and 5 written on them, so depending on which version of each category you draw, the category you pick determines the length involved.

The other thing was that it seems odd that the one with most votes gets such a big bonus. I guess playtesting determines how that is, but it seems excessive, especially since he's already got the most votes! I do like the bonus for being first that is awarded only if your fast entry also happens to be liked by somebody.

Anonymous
Game #61: Acronymania by Aaron

Hamumu wrote:
I just had a look, and I hate to tell you if you didn't already know, but your game is almost word-for-word the online game Acrophobia. On the plus side, that is a fantastic game which people get seriously addicted to (or at least did several years ago, but I think it's still popular). On the minus side, you've duplicated an existing game!

Oh man, that's not good. Does the game still exist so I could try it and see how close they are compared? Where can I play it if it does?

Hamumu
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game #61: Acronymania by Aaron

Google tells me this is the game (looks like you need to sign up some kind of free account to do it though):

http://www.gamezone.com/ongaming/p10877.htm

And another interesting result supporting your game:

http://www.petitiononline.com/acroltbs/petition.html

Oh great, here are the rules:

http://www.uproar.com/games/rules/acr_rules.asp?id=500

Wow... I was going to say in my original post that the only place I thought they differed was in the scoring mechanism, but... yikes! Maybe you used to play this game and forgot!

The good news is that it looks pretty dead. Maybe that's your niche to fill.

DSfan
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game #61: Acronymania by Aaron

I don't mean to sound rude, but does it matter that the two games are almost exactly alike. I mean one is a computer game, and the Snipy3's is a board game.

I have seen another game on this site that is just like a game that I played at school just a few weeks before I saw it in a journal entry. The game I am talking about is thelemurgod's game Root. Which is talked about in a journal entry.

Snipy3 may have not played the game, and come up with this idea all by himself. Showing that the person who created Acrophobia, and Snipy3 both must think alike. ("Great minds think Alike")

Anyways I think what I am trying to get at is, as time progresses more of the same games will start to arise. Even though the person who created it never heard of the other game.

I hope some of that made sense
-Justin

Hamumu
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game #61: Acronymania by Aaron

It may or may not matter, depending on what he wants to do with it. I just thought I'd share some very pertinent information, considering that the similarities are astonishing. I know that's something I like to know about my games, hence I asked it right upfront in my GDW session.

If you're going to present a game to a publisher, you better hope it's not too close to an existing game! In fact, Game Inventor's Guidebook details stories about that a couple times in it, including unintended duplication. In the "Top 10 Reasons Games Get Rejected" in that book, reason #2 is "Unoriginal mechanics. Poor inventors use play elements stolen from a traditional game or a competitor's game, whether intentionally or unintentionally. While no game is 100% original, it shouldn't feel like something we've played before." (Sorry snipy, that shouldn't be implying you're a poor inventor - if you have actually never seen Acrophobia, you're a great inventor with bad luck, because it is a VERY VERY fun game)

Gameplay can't be copyrighted or trademarked, only patented, so unless there's a patent, which is immensely unlikely (in the computer game world you DO NOT get patents - whenever I hear about board game ones, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth, it's really looked down on in my biz), there's nothing stopping him from profiting from this game. On the other hand, I have experienced firsthand that companies can and will sue you (not me, but I was involved) for copyright infringement entirely on the basis of gameplay (and not super-identical gameplay either). While there is no way for them to win, and in fact there is precedent in the courts against it, they can still bankrupt you and make your life hell. Seems remarkably unlikely in this case, but I do know it can happen.

So, it's all up to snipy... I just shared some information I happened to know that pertained to his game. However much that matters to him or doesn't is his business, just like any other feedback in a GDW thread. I figure more info is better!

Really, in this case my personal call, if it were my game, would be that I don't think there are any legal problems, and the other game has faded into obscurity, and I doubt any publisher would have heard of it, so I don't think it would slow me down one bit. It'd just be depressing and eerie.

Anonymous
Game #61: Acronymania by Aaron

Hamumu wrote:
Google tells me this is the game (looks like you need to sign up some kind of free account to do it though):

http://www.gamezone.com/ongaming/p10877.htm

And another interesting result supporting your game:

http://www.petitiononline.com/acroltbs/petition.html

Oh great, here are the rules:

http://www.uproar.com/games/rules/acr_rules.asp?id=500

Wow... I was going to say in my original post that the only place I thought they differed was in the scoring mechanism, but... yikes! Maybe you used to play this game and forgot!

The good news is that it looks pretty dead. Maybe that's your niche to fill.

I think I remember playing something like this a looooooooooong time ago at a friend's house, and I probably "thought" of the idea because of the time I played it. Oh well, it isn't a big problem since most of my games are nothing worth pursuing anyway. I guess I have to just keep working at it =)

Scurra
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Game #61: Acronymania by Aaron

This whole "oh rats, I've reinvented someone else's game" business happens quite a lot.
I came up with a really neat little card game a few years back, and upon research discovered that it was effectively the same as Reiner Knizia's "Flinke Plinke" (or Quandary). I imagine he wasn't the first to come up with that game either, but he's got the published credit.

As for this game, it does have the feel of one of those old family pencil-and-paper games that enterprising people have transformed into commercial successes, so I'm not surprised to find out that it probably is - it's a close relative of Balderdash type games after all. I certainly recall playing something slightly akin to this, although we used a real Acronyms book to generate the letters ("OHMSS - Oh Hell, My Skirt Slipped".)

There's probably a more elegant way to do the voting using counters rather than having people write down their vote, but I'm not sure it's that important really. I do like the Fastest Answer bonus idea though, but for a game like this it might not work; firstly the answers are generally shorter than they are in Balderdash-style games, and secondly, the game is about writing the answers down; how do you monitor unreadable answers, apart from rejecting them?!

markmist
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game #61: Acronymania by Aaron

I just reviewed your game, and it is a shame that it was based on an old computer game, as it showed promise.

If you are still considering pursing the development of your game, I would look at the computer game and try to make it as different as possible, by taking out the most glaring simularities and adding new touches that don't appear in the original. With enough tweaking, you may make a game different enough that still contains the original reason that you created it in the first place.

some other comments:

    Of your examples, I think the reader's choice idea shows the most potential. Picking categories can get boring really quick especially if its the same ones over and over again. An idea would be to include a deck of cards (maybe a 100 or so) that each have a situation on them to write an acroynm for. This would cause the same issue as in Apples to Apples when you have played all of the cards, but that is what expansion sets are for.

I agree with other reviewers that there should be an option for 3 letter acroynms as well as 4.

I like the fastest answer mechanic, awarding points for this person, but only if their answer ultimately gets picked.

I also like the idea of earning points if you pick the majority answer, it applies a good guessing element to the game

If you decide to continue to pursue this idea, then I wish you luck.

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