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Need Advice for Protospiel

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gabrielcohn
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Joined: 11/25/2010

I'm heading to my first Protospiel event in Milwaukee in March and I'm in need of a little advice. I have tons of game projects that I'm working on right now, but 3 that I'm most focused on and I'm trying to figure out which one would gain the most from the Protospiel environment. Please read the descriptions below and let me know which one you think I should focus on most for Protospiel (though I will definitely have all 3 there).

(1) Divine Intervention -- This game is good enough that at this point I actually think the main thing it needs is lots of playtests (hopefully with repeat players) to see if there is a strategy that would "break" the game or if any of the costs to play the Divine Power cards are way too high or low. Otherwise, recent playtests show that the game mechanics are basically sound.

(2) Biosphere -- This game has an odd scoring mechanic that I can't quite get right: I'm trying to motivate people to care about the outcome of a secret bid more than they currently do. Otherwise, the game is working fairly well, but that central dynamic that should be interesting isn't quite as gripping as it ought to be. (And, once it is fixed I'll need to consider re-balancing the scoring of other aspects of the game...)

(3) Children of Frankenstein -- I recently cut all the math in half, which is good and makes the game much easier for people to follow (and makes decisions easier and faster). Without art this game will continue to lack the "wow" factor it ought to have, but mostly it's pretty solid. I've stripped so many aspects of the game out of it that I can't tell if it's interesting anymore. But people seem to enjoy it well enough. So, the main question with this is: is it ready or do I need to majorly rethink parts of it?

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
I don't see...

I can't see how we, as designers, are expected to help you decide which of these three (3) games you should focus on. In my opinion, we don't have enough information about each game.

Maybe if you answered a series of questions for all three, then each designer can pick his/her own favourite. So my questions are:

(1) Divine Intervention. Sounds like a CCG or a card game. But I could be wrong. What is the game about? What are the game's mechanics? What do you think is the WOW factors for this game? What's the age group for this game?

(2) Biosphere. Have no clue what this game is about. Tell us more. Explain more about the scoring mechanic, maybe we can help. What is the "central dynamic"? Again what are the WOW factors for this game? What's the age group for this game?

(3) Children of Frankenstein. Again no clue what this game could be about. You mention math, are you talking about stats? Again what are the WOW factors for this game? What's the age group for this game?

Personally, I can determine which game would be the best choice simply by answering one question for each game: "What's the age group for this game?"

I've been to a Protospiel (North) and I have a bit of experience to know what you should expect. Firstly most conventions say that kids are not always welcome to play ALL the games... So if there is a game made for kids, you might have MORE traffic to your table. On the opposite end of the coin, usually these sort of conventions DON'T have MANY kids... At the North edition, I had two (2) kids that showed up to play Quest AC. One kid played two (2) games and spent some of his own money to buy a pack. I'm at least happy he enjoyed the game enough that he wanted a keep-sake (because one booster pack isn't enough to play the game!)

Games for an older crowd are more abundant... So I would need to see how you feel about each game's "WOW Factors". From how you explain each game, I should be able to give you a personal feel as to which one you should focus attention.

But obviously other designers will have their own opinion. So once you try to SELL US your games, then you can sort of have a POLL of which game should be your priority...

gabrielcohn
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Joined: 11/25/2010
Perhaps I was unclear...

...I wrote about the stage of development for each of those three games because I'm trying to figure out what kind of feedback I can expect to get at a Protospiel event.

I guess the problem is that Divine Intervention is the game I'm most excited about, but I think the type of feedback I would get from other game designers is not actually what it needs right now. So, do I focus on trying to get feedback on that one (which really needs lots of repeated plays) or do I focus on Biosphere or Children of Frankenstein (which might need more "shaking up" to reach a presentable stage)?

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Hmm...

Personally I would focus on choosing the game you feel would appeal MOST to other designers based on the game itself. That's why I asked to SELL US on your games. I know you may be closer to Divine Intervention - but it might not be the coolest of your three (3) games...

As with anything it's more about the more appealing choice, in terms of game play, than it is about the game's Development Stage.

I could easily bring a prototype that I have only tested with my family - but I know that the game is a *unique* product in it's category... That's what I am trying to illicit from you...

More about what the games are about than which stage of development...

Note: Depending on the time it takes to play a game, you may need to present the game (like an overview) and then people will determine if they want to try or know more about the game. To be honest North did not have a lot of people... The designers presenting their game mostly played with the people they came with... Visitors mostly watched the game being played.

I REALLY think you should PITCH (SELL US) on each game... Because at Protospiel that's what you will need to do. People will want to talk first about the games and then they may try...

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Maybe I need to re-phrase it...

If I was at a Protospiel event and it took 1 hour to playtest a game and I knew that I was only going to stay for maybe 2-3 hours, that means I would FIRST go around and see what everyone HAS...

And then I would figure out which games I would talk to the designer about - to know if they are as COOL as I thought...

And then maybe I would sit down and play 1 or 2 games...

Maybe this can give you a better idea of what to expect at the convention...

A different perspective so to speak...

Note: Aside from development stages, the only information you have provided is the title of each game. Based on that information, I would have chosen "Children of Frankenstein" because it sounds like it's about monsters and freakish robots... It also seems to have KID appeal, so kids may be interested in the game.

But you really haven't provided enough details to choose one over the other - aside from names...

Orangebeard
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Joined: 10/13/2011
Games for Protospiel

I think I would take Divine and Frankenstein if it were my decision.

It sounds like Biosphere still needs work on the scoring elements and I think it might be received better if you have a scoring system figured out first.

I think Divine would benefit from having an expereinced group of players/designers take a look at it in more detail at this stage; they may spot some extremeist strategies or other small holes

If you have been stripping Frankenstein then I think it would be beneficial to have another set of eyes look at it and decide if you have stripped too much or need to keep going.

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