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Need Honest & Constructive Input

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-Eberhardt-
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All:

In speaking with a reviewer today I was told the following regarding Splat:

1- Mechanic of Card Draw/Luck was Poor
2- Art was weak

I would like a honest assessment and input from the group if you'd be so kind. I have decided to delay proto-typing.

--Text Rules--

SPLAT

Players 2-4
Ages: 8+
Time: 10-20 Mins

Target Audience: 8 year – 10 year olds / families

Type of Game: Player Elimination / Last Person Standing

Set-up of game
- Shuffle Deck
- Deal 7 Cards per player
- Establish first player

Turn Order
- Discard/Draw up to 7 cards at start of turn
- You may use one attack card for each player in the game
- When done turn passes to the person on your right

Attacking:
- You may throw up to one piece of food for each player in the game
o These pieces may be thrown at any target in any combination.
E.g. In a 4 Player game: You can throw up to four pieces of food. The combinations can be one piece of food at 3 opponents and 2 at one opponent, or two pieces at two opponents, three at 1 opponent and 1 at opponent or all four pieces at one opponent.

Resolving
- Opponents may use various items to block the food thrown at them by matching the icons (liquid or solid)
o If blocked put into the discard pile, reshuffle the discards once the draw deck runs out.
- Some cards offer special actions to prevent attacks:
o They allow you to use a friend to block, make the attacker defend/accept their own attack or clean-up.
o Once played all cards (defensive/offensive) are discarded

Getting dirty
- Each player can take 3 hits before elimination.
o If hit place a Splat token in front of them face up to let everyone know that, that player is currently covered in food.

Winning
- Be the last in the game that is clean or kind of clean.

------

Art Location: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1043364755691172.1073741830.10...

ErnstFourie
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Art

I am not a fan of the art, but I can see how a food fight (right?) type game can look good having caartoony artwork.

I don't know what your budget or artistic skills are, but wouldn't it be nice if the artwork showed a hot dog(for example) exploding into a big splat on the side of a kids face. The artwork seems a bit static.

I can't comment on the gameplay just from readig the rules, but maybe you should ask that playtester what exactly he disliked about the draw mechanic?

kos
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Feedback

Gameplay:
Perhaps the reviewer was expecting something with more strategy or player decisions. Clearly, this is not a contender for strategy game of the year. But then it's a kid's game. Whether your gameplay hits the target market or not is something that only the target market can tell you. That is, you just have to get the game in front of a bunch of 8 year olds and watch them to see if they have fun.

From my reading of the rules, there's no in-game reason to throw food at any one particular player over another (since you don't know what defences they have in their hand), so the game has the potential to devolve into metagaming. That is, you stuck your tongue out at me yesterday so I'm going to throw all 4 pieces of food at you and knock you out of the game on the first turn. The one decision point in the game (who to throw food at) is a take-that mechanic (who can I disadvantage the most) rather than choosing the most advantage for myself. As such, the game encourages ganging up on the players who are losing to knock them out of the game.

Player elimination is often frowned upon by gamers these days, even for adults. If the game goes really fast (sub 10 minutes) then you should be fine, but be especially aware that your target market has short attention spans.

Those three factors (take-that mechanic, ganging up on the weakling, and player elimination) combined with the age of the target market all point towards the possibility of yelling, tantrums and/or sulking once the food hits the fan.

Artwork:
I give this feedback with the caveat that the artwork is better than what I could do. Nevertheless, my first impression is that the artwork is an average-to-poor match for the theme. The sepia colors of the background and border don't really do it for me, and the colors of the objects themselves are also muted.

As previously commented, most of the objects are static and don't really evoke the feeling of a food fight. The pie is a counter-example, which is drawn to indicate movement and action. If the attack cards were drawn with "action" poses it would help to differentiate them from the defensive cards which could be more static. There would also be the opportunity to visually distinguish the attack from defense cards using a different color background.

The black lines around the edges of the drawings are very thin. Generally cartoony pictures of this type have much stronger black lines and bold colors. Again I'm not an artist myself, but you could try experimenting with a few alternate versions of one of the cards (with thick black lines and a different color scheme) to see which is better.

Summary:
Don't put the prototype on hold. Prototyping/playtesting is exactly what you need. The best thing you can do with your game is to watch a bunch of 8 year olds playing it. Don't put any adults at the table, and don't intervene in any way. Just watch and take notes.

Regards,
kos

Jarec
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First thing what came to mind

First thing what came to mind seeing the art, is that it blends too well with the background, there's no contrast.
Stronger black lines around the art might go a long way, but I'd try with different backgrounds too, I feel the background is the worst offender here.

-Eberhardt-
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Thank you all

All

Thank you.

The play tests with 8 year olds (aabout 30) before much art went well. If I gave the impression there was none my apologies.

Per the art comments thank you and I did not do it I will speak with the wife gingerly about it. :)

I did do the card back ground and hear what you are saying. I will reach out to a graphic designer for a card and color development to correct.

Per movement that is a great point and explosion into a person etc.

I will also look at revising game play.

I will put up the full artwork res here tonight as on fb it's at a low res but it will not change the other matters. :)

Thank you all for the input and if there is more please continue to offer it.

Thank you
Jon

richdurham
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The design is fine

This is a tough one. I say that because the game already exists in a few forms, most notably Poo the card game. This title uses almost identical mechanics (yes, some differences) to give the feeling of tossing messy things at each other.

You'd be in good company, as Poo was nominated for an Origins in 2010 for being popular at the time. And your audience of children is unlikely to care about the randomness of the draw like seasoned gamers do.

I agree with the previous comments about the art - the background pattern is busy, and doesn't mesh with the flat coloured art, or the primary colours they use.

richdurham
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more personally

More personally:

Full disclosure, I disklike Poo the card game, and I probably wouldn't enjoy playing Splat for the same reasons. This game also encourages some behaviours you might not want in a game for kids - ganging up, playing favourites, and a randomised set of cards whose randomisation does little but distribute "power" unevenly. Choices don't come into play. Fairness doesn't either, but the hurt-feelings meta-game certainly could.

These games also don't do a great job of evoking the feeling of a messy food fight, either. Cleanliness points? Cards with text and numbers? Sitting in a circle around a table? All of the good parts of a food fight (the frenetic tossing of whatever you can get your hands on and dodging it at the same time, indiscriminate mess, the "who cares what mom will think" release) are gone. What remains are structured turns, picking on people, random feelings of alternating impotence or power based on your draw, and nothing you can do about any of it. No thanks.

Imagine a very different game, with stacks of large colourful tiles of food spread throughout the room. All players take one step at time. When they can reach a stack, they can grab tiles. You can hold one tile in each hand. If you can ever touch another player with your tile, they are "hit" by it and collect it in their pocket.


The game ends when first person can not take any more tiles because they are all taken from the stacks.


Players tally up the tiles they were hit with, and only then do the "tile effects" come into effect - not during the moving and hitting part. Some might be worth more; maybe there are other mechanics like "if you were hit by the MOST of a category, don't count those tiles." Doesn't matter; the game is over, now is when we score and can calm down to focus on it.


Player with the lowest score (cleanest) wins, or maybe gets in trouble the least.

I'd play that because it is, hopefully, more of the fun bits of a food fight, and less of the bad bits (eg, players that are ganged up on will probably have the most of a food category, and therefore not count those ones.)

-Eberhardt-
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Thank you :)

richdurham wrote:
This is a tough one. I say that because the game already exists in a few forms, most notably Poo the card game. This title uses almost identical mechanics (yes, some differences) to give the feeling of tossing messy things at each other.

I appreciate the feedback. :)

In speaking with another I've discovered that Poo! and also "What the Food?!" both offer similar sets of mechanics, though Poo aligns closer as you pointed out.

Kos was kind enough to provide me with some great feed back on how to potentially modify the mechanics; how would you Richard?

-Eberhardt-
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richdurham wrote: Imagine a

richdurham wrote:

Imagine a very different game, with stacks of large colourful tiles of food spread throughout the room. All players take one step at time. When they can reach a stack, they can grab tiles. You can hold one tile in each hand. If you can ever touch another player with your tile, they are "hit" by it and collect it in their pocket.

The game ends when first person can not take any more tiles because they are all taken from the stacks.

Players tally up the tiles they were hit with, and only **then** do the "tile effects" come into effect - not during the moving and hitting part. Some might be worth more; maybe there are other mechanics like "if you were hit by the MOST of a category, don't count those tiles." Doesn't matter; the game is over, now is when we score and can calm down to focus on it.

Player with the lowest score (cleanest) wins, or maybe gets in trouble the least.

*I'd play that because it is, hopefully, more of the fun bits of a food fight, and less of the bad bits (eg, players that are ganged up on will probably have the most of a food category, and therefore not count those ones.)*

Rich,

That's an interesting game; however I was going for a card game and marker feel.

Have you thought about doing something like that? It might be great fun!!! :D Even for Dad's chasing their 8 and 5 year olds laughing maniacally. :) Not that I'd ever chase my children with a foam toy going Muhahaha :D

Thanks again
Jon

richdurham
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Mods

Hi Jon,

Based on this exchange, I think the "active' version will go well at a mega-games meetup later this week. I'll let you know how it goes.

For a 'card and marker' feel game you'll definitely want to address what Kos mentioned. I guess I could brainstorm some ideas to modify:

  • All players get the same set of food cards to start, and don't get more.
  • Food cards have a large range in values, but don't cover all numbers: 1,2,3,4,6,8,10,12,15,20 is fine.
  • Instead of knocking a "cleanliness" down, use a "messiness" rating that goes up. Feels more constructive, and if you don't cap it, avoids elimination.
  • Keep scores hidden until the end to keep the focus on making a mess instead of checking who's winning.
  • if someone does get ganged up on, it needs to backfire for the gang-ees. for instance, using the number distribution above, if a player is left at the end of the game with the least amount of food in hand, they can't win. This way they aren't encouraged to toss ALL their big-mess items. Game will have to end another way than 'running out of cards' though.
  • Instead of straight "block" cards, make all those cards redirect to other players, who might have their own redirect cards.
  • Make the cards multi-purpose, so that a good offensive card is ALSO a good defensive card.

Hope that's helpful - good luck with the design, and let us all know how it works out!

-Eberhardt-
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Thank you again

Rich:

richdurham wrote:
Instead of knocking a "cleanliness" down, use a "messiness" rating that goes up. Feels more constructive, and if you don't cap it, avoids elimination."

That actually is a great suggestion and I see how I could flip it to prevent elimination.

I have a concern with the range of numbers as it puts me in line with "What the Food?!" which was launched in 2013, but I do like the concept a lot. I'll play with it. Thanks for the idea. :)

richdurham wrote:
All players get the same set of food cards to start, and don't get more.

I like the idea of it being luck for grabbing food as it would be somewhat random, but maybe for defensive each player should have the same defensive cards allotted to them that they can draw. I'll play with that.

richdurham wrote:
if someone does get ganged up on, it needs to backfire for the gang-ees. for instance, using the number distribution above, if a player is left at the end of the game with the least amount of food in hand, they can't win. This way they aren't encouraged to toss ALL their big-mess items.

Great idea for controlling Gang-up style attacks.

richdurham wrote:
Make the cards multi-purpose, so that a good offensive card is ALSO a good defensive card.

This is interesting, how would you do this? I have been using objects to block and food/beverages to attack.

Thanks again
Jon

danieledeming
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You've got some really great

You've got some really great feedback on the mechanics there, so I won't waste type restating someone else's post - I did just want to mention some points about the graphics, as that's one of my stronger skills (although I am by no means a professional, so...grain of salt.)

Kos makes two very good points:
1) A cartoony style like this needs stronger outlines and less detail, exaggerated features. The flying Meat Pie would be perfect if it were darker outlined and a little less detailed.

2) Bold colors - you need something eyepopping. Poo! has a very strong lime green feel to it, and similarly, games aimed towards a younger audience like Uno (first one that comes to mind) employ bright, primary colors and few earth tones.

Some other ideas that come to mind:

- The background texture doesn't fit with the theme, it just muddles the colors - you want more contrast, so if it's not a strong texture (maybe spaghetti all over the place?) you're better off relying on bold colors for your background.

- With more color, you could rely more on the background colors for the 'type' of card and make that aspect of playing the game a little easier, similar a game like Fluxx with their side bar, or MTG. Keep the symbols, certainly, but incorporate them into the rest of the card.

- Overall, it doesn't have a 'professional' look - if you're just playtesting, you really don't need that and ignore it. But if you are looking to get it out there, both the Graphic Design and the Art will need an upgrade. I have learned a lot of my techniques from looking at the artwork I've liked in games and replicating it and there are a TON of free resources out there on how to do so.

I know that's all pretty broad stuff, but my biggest suggestion is to study cards/art out there that you like and may want to resemble and figure out what made it work, what made you like it.

Hope it helps!

-Eberhardt-
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Thank you

danieledeming wrote:

1) A cartoony style like this needs stronger outlines and less detail, exaggerated features. The flying Meat Pie would be perfect if it were darker outlined and a little less detailed.

2) Bold colors - you need something eyepopping. Poo! has a very strong lime green feel to it, and similarly, games aimed towards a younger audience like Uno (first one that comes to mind) employ bright, primary colors and few earth tones.

Daniel, Thank you :) For the past week we've been working on the re-write (well many re-writes) and also one (1) image, the hot dog. In this image we are trying to capture exactly what you've listed above in addition to the other feedback we've received: Action, Movement/Flight, Strong Boarders, Bold/Bright Color/Tone, and Contrast.

Once we're done we're going to place both the re-write (one of them) :) and the hot dog up here for critique of the group as we've appreciated the AWESOME, honest and helpful assistance we've gotten so far.

danieledeming wrote:

Some other ideas that come to mind:

- The background texture doesn't fit with the theme, it just muddles the colors - you want more contrast, so if it's not a strong texture (maybe spaghetti all over the place?) you're better off relying on bold colors for your background.

We were thinking of the Theme of Castle Wall Bricks - Grey w/ Window potentially. What do you think of that? Do you feel we should instead use a sauce dripping off the stone wall?

danieledeming wrote:

- With more color, you could rely more on the background colors for the 'type' of card and make that aspect of playing the game a little easier, similar a game like Fluxx with their side bar, or MTG. Keep the symbols, certainly, but incorporate them into the rest of the card.

I greatly enjoy Fluxx, but I do not want to ahem "steal" from another even though emulation is the highest form of flattery. :) How would you do this w/o theft from MTG or Fluxx?

danieledeming wrote:

- Overall, it doesn't have a 'professional' look - if you're just playtesting, you really don't need that and ignore it. But if you are looking to get it out there, both the Graphic Design and the Art will need an upgrade. I have learned a lot of my techniques from looking at the artwork I've liked in games and replicating it and there are a TON of free resources out there on how to do so.

Fair enough but trying to run it on a shoe string budget is tough. I was doing the card backs myself. I have started to contact the artists on DA that I have contacted for another project as I am not a Graphic Designer or artist.

-Eberhardt-
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Revised Rule Set 2.75

All-

Placed the revised rule-set up: http://www.bgdf.com/node/16157

Let me know what you think, would enjoy getting any feedback you have.

Again, thank you VERY much for some AWESOME feedback.

Thank you
Jon

danieledeming
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-Eberhardt- wrote:We were

-Eberhardt- wrote:
We were thinking of the Theme of Castle Wall Bricks - Grey w/ Window potentially. What do you think of that? Do you feel we should instead use a sauce dripping off the stone wall?

-Eberhardt- wrote:
I greatly enjoy Fluxx, but I do not want to ahem "steal" from another even though emulation is the highest form of flattery. :) How would you do this w/o theft from MTG or Fluxx?

My issue with the brick wall would be that it doesn't relate to your theme. You've got this great food-fight-free-for-all idea and the brick wall wouldn't help that message. But with a quick google image search I found images of close ups of spaghetti or piles of food. Take the image, fade it out and make it monochromatic and it could work as your background.

I also thought of Ascension, and I think they do this extremely well, too. The backgrounds for the four different classes of cards appear to be the same, just different colors - blue for enlightened, pink for void, grey for mechana, green for lifebound. Then they use the text for the title, but also to describe if it's a 'hero' or a 'construct'. Given your different types of cards, and how some of them overlap, I could see this working. Keep the symbols, but add that continuity with the background and then have your artwork have it's own background.

I know that's kind of abstract in description, but I can't think of anything specific that does it well. Check out the art for Killer Bunnies - just came to mind and, I never really played it but it looks like more of the idea. 7 Wonders does a good job with their colors and frames, as well...

I hope that helps - if I get a chance in the next few days, I'll try and mock something up for you as an example, if you want.

-Eberhardt-
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danieledeming wrote:My issue

danieledeming wrote:
My issue with the brick wall would be that it doesn't relate to your theme. You've got this great food-fight-free-for-all idea and the brick wall wouldn't help that message.

So you like the new rules? :) That's good to hear. :) Was there anything in particular you enjoyed or would enhance or change?

I wouldn't call it a brick wall, rather a "castle" grey stone wall and if I said brick wall I do apologize I may have been tired. :)

danieledeming wrote:
But with a quick google image search I found images of close ups of spaghetti or piles of food. Take the image, fade it out and make it monochromatic and it could work as your background.

I also thought of Ascension, and I think they do this extremely well, too. The backgrounds for the four different classes of cards appear to be the same, just different colors - blue for enlightened, pink for void, grey for mechana, green for lifebound. Then they use the text for the title, but also to describe if it's a 'hero' or a 'construct'. Given your different types of cards, and how some of them overlap, I could see this working. Keep the symbols, but add that continuity with the background and then have your artwork have it's own background.

I know that's kind of abstract in description, but I can't think of anything specific that does it well. Check out the art for Killer Bunnies - just came to mind and, I never really played it but it looks like more of the idea. 7 Wonders does a good job with their colors and frames, as well...

I hope that helps - if I get a chance in the next few days, I'll try and mock something up for you as an example, if you want.

We'll look at putting a pile of in a solid faded color in the back as well as Ascension, Killer Bunnies (great game you should play it, especially if you can get the alien bunny cards) and simple flat colors.

Also everything helps. :) I appreciate all constructive advice.

Good luck with your kickstarter, please let me know when you kick it off.

Cheers
Jon :)

richdurham
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new rules

Hi Jon,

Read through the adjusted rules - lots of changes!

I may not have clearly understood the table for "blocked" cards. Is blocking the same as "defending?" Is it showing, for instance, that a Solid Food card blocks solids, dual-foods, OR allows me to defensively move/reassign a tossed food? Or does it mean it blocks solids, dual-foods, or can be used to stop someone I'm attacking from moving/reassigning?

Now that there is a rule that "cards left in hand are negative points" and each food you toss at others is a point, I'm curious how the end-game will run. Particularly because of these new rules:

Getting cards when you are Attacked by More Then 1 Opponent (3+ Player Game): Draw 1 card for each card beyond the first card in font of you (even if blocked).

Or you are Attacking all opponents on your turn (3+ Player Games): Draw 1 card per player successfully attacked.

This tells me that you will be regularly drawing more and more cards, which in turn you will want to get rid of as soon as possible by using them for defense/attacks on others. Could be really interesting, or really disastrous! Hope it works out!

richdurham
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Ran "live" food fight game

Last night I took part in a mega-game design meetup, and we gave a play with the "active food-fight" variant I wrote about earlier in the thread.

Generally speaking, it was a great experience. We ran it with myself calling out "STEP!" and everyone could take as large a step as they wanted and then plant their feet in place. As players were trying to tag each other with the food cards, it meant a lot of stretching and flailing at body parts of nearby players - which was fun!

During the game, players didn't think about 'points' at all, only the task of "hit others but don't GET hit" which was of course the goal.

The game-y bit came at the end with tallying up points, as we tried a rule where food was worth a bit of points in a particular category. There were 5 categories, and if you had been hit with the MOST points in a category, those didn't count for you.

It didn't feel right. There was no thematic purpose, took too much time, and still resulted in players hit the least winning.

Suggestions raised were great - from publicly displaying your hits at all times so players will ignore saturated players in favour of those hit least, to getting one "Swing" at a player each step you take, to using stickers instead of cards that let you score points per body-part instead of per-food category.

Certainly a game worth pursuing, so thanks for the inspiration!

-Eberhardt-
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@RichDurham

richdurham wrote:
I may not have clearly understood the table for "blocked" cards. Is blocking the same as "defending?" Is it showing, for instance, that a Solid Food card blocks solids, dual-foods, OR allows me to defensively move/reassign a tossed food? Or does it mean it blocks solids, dual-foods, or can be used to stop someone I'm attacking from moving/reassigning?

Sorry for any confusion and I will attempt to clean them up. Blocking is defending. The wording will need to match thank you for that catch.

Solids thrown at you are blocked by: Solids with a "Stop sign over a Solid", "Dual Stop Signs" one over a Solid one over a Liquid, and by "reassigning" the attackers attack to another player. This means you can shift the attackers attack to someone else.

richdurham wrote:
Now that there is a rule that "cards left in hand are negative points" and each food you toss at others is a point, I'm curious how the end-game will run.

There may be some confusion w/ the rule write here, it's to "reduce" the meter count. I.e. You are at a count of 23 on the meter, you have a set of cards in your hand worth 10. At the end you would reduce the meter by 10 making it 13 total.

richdurham wrote:
This tells me that you will be regularly drawing more and more cards, which in turn you will want to get rid of as soon as possible by using them for defense/attacks on others. Could be really interesting, or really disastrous! Hope it works out!

Ty, I have reached out to the initial play-testers parents and the few adults and awaiting responses. I am also going to be posting a simplified PNP here this weekend, hopefully it'll be clear and functional enough to gather input back from the group.
:)

PS: Glad the test you ran worked well. :)

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