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Level 3: Project Critique

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let-off studios
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Level 3: Project Summary Critique

https://gamedesignconcepts.wordpress.com/2009/07/06/level-3-formal-eleme...

There are no readings required this week. Instead, the facilitator suggests that we should add our critique of at least two other projects that have been submitted for this week's lesson.

Please post the game summary's name/title in the subject line, and your thoughts, notes, and critique in the body of the message. Obviously, there should be some entries in the project forum for Week 3 first before you attempt to post here.

Have fun, think critically, and offer constructive advice! :D

let-off studios
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Critique: The Great Profiteering

I'm following along with the blog's critique framework here...My thoughts on The Great Profiteering write-up by DifferentName.

Quote:
What challenges do the players face? What actions can players take to overcome those challenges?

I like the idea that the player can use a "tech tree" to meet their needs or face up against different challenges that may surface in the game. What you described here reminds me of the tech tree from War!: Age of Imperialism. I played the PC version of the game - which was very accessible - and I fell in love with the nuance of the tech tree and the fact that those who weren't up on their technological research would eventually be left in the dust.

http://boardgamegeek.com/image/181463/war-age-imperialism

This resonates with the Great War theme, as technology (and tactical obsolescence when compared to that technology) was a defining factor during the various conflicts throughout those years.

Quote:
How do players affect each other?

That's not quite clear to me, but it seems like there's a lot of money competition going on. With the final goal of the game to have the most money,and that the designer mentions it has a "solo" feel to it, this makes sense. It would be nice to see some kind of competition going on during the different phases of the game. Do players have to compete for contracts? Are they based in a neutral nation, or with the Central Powers, or Allies? How might this affect their access to different contracts? Might two companies based in the same region or with the same allegiance be affected when trying to work on the same contract? Is there any competition for resources to produce these weapons of war? Most insidiously: since you're a military contractor, why not try to prolong the war somehow, draining country's coffers by filling your own?

There are lots of ways to go with this...!

Quote:
Is the game perceived by the players as fair? (Note that it may or may not actually be fair. Perception and reality often differ.)
I think you could manipulate this perception a great deal. For example, by adding in allegiance or nationalities or whatever, each company could have some sort of regional, customized bonus. That way, players would wonder which country has the greatest advantage at certain stages of the game.

Quote:
Is the game replayable? Are there multiple paths to victory, varied start positions, or optional rules that cause the experience to be different each time?
It sounds to me like there would be randomly-determined contracts or demands available, so it can be a different game experience each time it's played. If more individualized bonuses or custom content was developed for each player's company, then this would increase replayability by offering more strategies with which to experiment in multiple playthroughs. And the massive tech tree can also provide multiple ways to gain the ultimate goal of most money. It seems solid so far.

Quote:
What is the game’s intended audience? Is the game appropriate for that audience?
The game sounds to me like an interesting mix of Power Grid and some other Eurostyle games I've played in the past: Agricola, Puerto Rico, Industria, and so on. Anyone who likes those kinds of games would likely give this one a try.

Quote:
What is the “core” of the game — the one thing you do over and over that represents the main “fun” part?
It's like Axis and Allies without the combat. What remains? Buying and selling, and the tech tree. From what I've read, the tech tree seems the most compelling to me. By making different routes along this tech tree very distinct and exclusive, and/or allowing only one company to acquire certain spots on the tech tree, then this can add some tension and competition without direct conflict, destruction, and territories. Experimenting with other methods of player interaction could result in some interesting, meaningful, and compelling decisions to keep players coming back to this one.

Best of success on this, DifferentName! :D

DifferentName
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Player interaction

At first I was thinking you might just draw cards, and choose which you want to build, but a line auction system like in Suburbia would be a good way to add a bit of player interaction, where you can buy what you want, or what your opponent needs to get it away from them. Players could also interact by selling to the other players country, if that player hasn't met their countries needs for a specific type of tech.

I was also thinking about prolonging the war, but stopped short of fully working out how the game should end. Maybe there's a minimum amount of money needed to win, so you try to prolong the war by selling to the other side if you haven't met that minimum yet. Maybe this would give the game an interesting balancing act, with players working together to keep the war going until the time is right to go in for the kill.

let-off studios
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Hiatus

Looks like we'll be putting the Games Design Course on hiatus. Hopefully BGDF can revisit the course sometime later this year, perhaps late Spring or early Summer.

Best of success to everyone with their game designs. :)

DifferentName
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Critique: WW1: Family Escape

Sorry for the delay on my critique.

The main thing I look for when reading game ideas is what kinds of decisions I would be making, and how that would affect the game. I think a lot of the decisions in this game would come down to the cards. Like, you might find some good escape cards in your first house, and you would have to choose whether to hold onto cards that will be good in phase 2 (lugging them around from house to house in phase 1). Or you could ditch those, and get some cards that help you more in phase 1, with the hopes that you'll find some good escape cards later on. That game dynamic combined with the unique character abilities could make for a fun game.

I could also see something like this working well as a co-op game. I've been playing pandemic recently, and figuring out how to combine character abilities to survive is really fun. Plus, this would combine well with the feeling of a family working together, talking to each other about what to take and where to go. Maybe buildings you go to could have different risks and rewards. Like a house that is more dangerous, but more cards in the deck to choose from.

This game makes me think of "This war of mine", a game where you loot buildings for supplies to try and survive during a war. It's really good.

I also hope we can bring this course back later. Thanks for running the course for a couple weeks!

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