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Would anyone like to playtest my very silly game?

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TimothyHeadwound
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Joined: 01/27/2009

Hello.

I'm primarily an artist and writer, but I've dabbled various kinds of game design in recent years and have finally come up with a game idea which I think could have some genuine widespread appeal (for once). I've completed a second generation of prototypes and and right now I could do with as much feedback as possible on this unusual and silly little game.

It's based on the kind of futile arguments I'm sure many of you have found yourselves embroiled in: "Who would win in a fight between a shark and a ninja?". That sort of thing.

I'm not sure what game genre you'd put it under - I usually refer to it as a "talking game" as the real fun of the game is had in simply talking and laughing with your friends. Strategy is minimal - it's all about wit and imagination, with a little bit of luck thrown in.

The game consists of just two decks of cards plus a rules sheet explaining things in a little more detail. You can download all three documents in PDF format here: http://www.box.net/shared/67xmq1b60t

Hopefully it should be easy enough to print up a working copy, should you wish to give it a go. Any/all feedback, however slight, would be greatly welcomed.

Thanks in advance!

tomchaps
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Joined: 09/09/2008
Have you seen this game?

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/44614

I've not seen it, but it seems similar.

This is not to dissuade you, of course, but it's something you should be aware of.

Sounds like a fun idea--I can't playtest it, but good luck!

ilta
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Joined: 12/05/2008
This is definitely within the

This is definitely within the same genre as Apples to Apples and Giftrap, which is to say what we in the States call a "Party Game." A Party Game is one made for parties, where people find themselves tipsy and not in the mood to, say, conquer Normandy or colonize an island of hexes, but would still like a bit of structured fun.

Some people prefer to call games of this type "Experience Games" in order to distinguish them from thinking-heavy "Strategy Games" but not limit them to parties per se, but the general idea is the same. "Family Game" is another term but it's even more vague and could include anything, theoretically, from AtoA to Settlers to Risk and in any case rules out risque comparisons, which are part of the fun.

In any case, any game that involves matching up cards is going to live or die on its selection thereof. Apples to Apples currently ships with several hundred cards, and Giftrap has at least 200 objects, if not more. Your idea is strong, now get you to making those cards!

I think you may also want to provide a bit more help to players looking for some structure. You could do a lot of things with 900 nouns and 300 adverbs, but Apples to Apples gives you a clear set of rules for their cards, along with a goal and criteria for judging, and the whole idea of rules seems almost like an afterthought in your game. Maybe that's ok -- again, a party game could live on card selection alone.

TimothyHeadwound
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Joined: 01/27/2009
tomchaps

tomchaps wrote:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/44614

I've not seen it, but it seems similar.

This is not to dissuade you, of course, but it's something you should be aware of.

Sounds like a fun idea--I can't playtest it, but good luck!

Damn. It looks like exactly the same principle but rather less quirky/open. I'm really not sure whether this is worth pursuing any further... especially considering that it's slated for a 2009 release.

I first started work on this idea late 2007. If I hadn't had a thousand other things to worry about (principally getting a degree) I might've got in there first.

Bugger. Thank you for pointing that out anyway. It's good to know at least.

InvisibleJon
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Joined: 07/27/2008
Great minds think alike. Sometimes, too alike...

TimothyHeadwound wrote:
Damn. It looks like exactly the same principle but rather less quirky/open. I'm really not sure whether this is worth pursuing any further... especially considering that it's slated for a 2009 release.

I first started work on this idea late 2007. If I hadn't had a thousand other things to worry about (principally getting a degree) I might've got in there first.

Yeah, that happens sometimes. I suppose parallel development is one of the hazards of working in a creative field.

TimothyHeadwound
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Joined: 01/27/2009
ilta wrote:I think you may

ilta wrote:
I think you may also want to provide a bit more help to players looking for some structure. You could do a lot of things with 900 nouns and 300 adverbs, but Apples to Apples gives you a clear set of rules for their cards, along with a goal and criteria for judging, and the whole idea of rules seems almost like an afterthought in your game. Maybe that's ok -- again, a party game could live on card selection alone.

I understand where your coming from, but when I first came up with this idea I deliberately wanted to create a game with as few rules as possible.

I'd previously worked with my friend/writing partner on an absurd board game with a huge number of complicated and unnecessary rules. I wanted to see if I could completely invert that and come up with a playable game which left almost everything down to the individual.

TimothyHeadwound
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Joined: 01/27/2009
InvisibleJon wrote:Yeah, that

InvisibleJon wrote:
Yeah, that happens sometimes. I suppose parallel development is one of the hazards of working in a creative field.

Indeed. Do you suppose there's any potential in me continuing to develop this with a view to getting it published? I had grand visions for where this could lead - endless expansion packs, design-your-own cards, etc. etc. I suppose I was getting ahead of myself...

If it really is hopeless then I shall probably go ahead and make free copies for the art community I'm involved in. At least that way I can push things as far as they can go without having to worry so much about public domain images and all that rot.

scifiantihero
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Joined: 07/08/2009
Interesting thought.

TimothyHeadwound wrote:

I understand where your coming from, but when I first came up with this idea I deliberately wanted to create a game with as few rules as possible.

I'd previously worked with my friend/writing partner on an absurd board game with a huge number of complicated and unnecessary rules. I wanted to see if I could completely invert that and come up with a playable game which left almost everything down to the individual.

I'm wondering when this works in games? I would hazard a guess that the reason most people play games is for structure (probably the reason we do many things). It's why we have words like 'fair' (not the cotton candy type!). I mean, I'm an anarchist, and that's part of what draws me to games. They're structure is beautiful, compared to real life. I also hate munchkin. Heh. Digressing.

D and D is one of the games I can think of that gives players the most freedom and options. It probably has more rules than any game I've played, that one must learn to understand how to play.

Tic tac toe has like . . . I dunno, 2 rules? It has absolutely no choice, once you understand it.

So, I may be biased towards beautiful, elegant, rule driven structures, but I'm wondering what would be some examples of games that offer depth vs. rules at a drastically higher rate relative to others.

Wow that was a broad question. Meh. Just go with it anyway!

simpson
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Joined: 10/22/2008
Quote:Do you suppose there's

Quote:
Do you suppose there's any potential in me continuing to develop this with a view to getting it published?

IF your end goal is to develop a game, then I say keep developing it and enjoy the experience. IF your end goal is to publish a game, then I would say start looking for that hook that is going to make it different than others on the shelves.

Design-wise it has a good start.
You have your game topic, your game theme, a core mechanic, and game expectation. But there is no sense of resolution. You draw a card at random, debate one side, then ... everyone decides who debated their random card the best? It just sounds like a conversation with flash cards.

Players need motivation. Games that have no payoff are just exercises -- a player needs to accomplish, needs to invest, needs to have want in order to rise to a challenge. Add tokens, let players steal/swap hands, make a player a debate judge, add a timer, add a lightning round, allow in-game alliances and rivalries, whatever your fevered mind can come up with. Give a player motivation to make heavy use of your core mechanic - debating - and build fun from there.

simpson

TimothyHeadwound
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Joined: 01/27/2009
simpson wrote: Players need

simpson wrote:

Players need motivation. Games that have no payoff are just exercises -- a player needs to accomplish, needs to invest, needs to have want in order to rise to a challenge. Add tokens, let players steal/swap hands, make a player a debate judge, add a timer, add a lightning round, allow in-game alliances and rivalries, whatever your fevered mind can come up with. Give a player motivation to make heavy use of your core mechanic - debating - and build fun from there.

simpson

The motivation in this game is the same as with any other - the desire to win. In the playtests I've conducted no one's ever felt there needed to be additional motivation as their pride spurred them on to fiercely debate the merits of some very bizarre things indeed.

Having said that, I completely understand what you're saying and, should I wish to try and get this thing published then that's definitely the road I ought to be taking. In all honesty, though, I don't think that's where I want this project to head.

As I said before, I'm an artist and I naturally approach all my game designs as a kind of tool for performance art. In some of the games I've developed , additional rules have enhanced that performance (the one I mentioned earlier, for example, featured a bewildering number of arbitrary rules which simply impeded gameplay, slowed things down and got in the way of the main goal) but in this case I think they'd simply detract from the only real purpose of this game - to get people arguing about nonsense.

Anyway, thanks for all your responses chaps/chapettes. It's been incredibly useful and has made me substantially reassess the overall aim of my forays into the world of game design.

Incidentally, now that I've decided to keep this project simple and free, you are all welcome to distribute the files/hard copies of this game absolutely free of charge, so long as you include a copy of the original rule sheet (primarily so players have my email and can contact me if they wish).

H'enjoy!

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