Skip to Content

[GDS] APRIL 2014 "Fool me once..." Critiques thread

45 replies [Last post]
richdurham
richdurham's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/26/2009

Apologies for the late tallying.
Critiques this month are now altered a bit, to accommodate for the growing number of entries we are receiving.

The process is now:

The schedule will flip stylings a bit to focus the top half on how you voted, rather than specific entries. The bottom half of the critiques will be the bottom results, who need critiques the most. Here's the general layout:

Day 1 - Critique your gold medal winner
Day 2 - Your silver Medal
Day 3 - Your bronze medal
Day 4 - The entry that got the overall Lowest vote
Day 5 - 2nd lowest vote
Day 6 - 3rd lowest vote
Day 7 and on - Requests for critiques

Make sure to include why you voted for the entry, what you thought was most interesting and what could be improved to emphasize the fun bits.

richdurham
richdurham's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/26/2009
The Winners
Gold Silver Bronze Total Points
Idol Flattery 4 1 2 16
Countdown D.C. 1 5 3 16
Yes, Peas! 2 3 2 14
Auction Showdown! 3 0 2 11
Fight or Fleece 2 1 1 9
Sheep or Cow 1 3 0 9
Agents and Agitators 1 1 2 7
Rakshasha 2 0 0 6
Dragon's Dojo 0 2 2 6
Bluffer's Park 0 2 1 5
Cunning and Conjecture 1 1 0 5
Go Go Gatherer 1 0 1 4
Odds and Evens 1 0 0 3
Hidden War 0 0 1 1
Stranded! 0 0 1 1
Versus 0 0 1 1
Who's the Fool Now? 0 0 0 0
Trojan Pinata 0 0 0 0
richdurham
richdurham's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/26/2009
The Schedule

Going by the new schedule,

Day To Critique
Saturday, April 19 Your Gold Medal winner
Sunday, April 20 Your Silver Medal winner
Monday, April 21 Your Bronze Medal winner
Tuesday, April 22 Who's the Fool now?
Wednesday, April 23 Trojan Piñata
Thursday April 24 Versus
Zorblag
Offline
Joined: 12/26/2013
Gold Medal Winner

My gold medal went to agents and agitators and was based on a lot of potential that I see in the game rather than the game in it's current state. It was the most appealing first draft of a game of all the options for me.

Pros
* I like the asymmetric nature of the game; it fits the theme well and the roles made good sense.
* I liked the use of area with 3 attributes to be revealed by the agitator in an order of their choosing. The numbers of each type felt like they could be changed to handicap one of the players in a more advanced variant pretty easily.
* The choice of how many districts to reveal determining how likely the agitation was to succeed was nice; when to switch from the aggressive 3 dice version to the more conservative 2 dice, but more hidden information would be an interesting one in the game.

Parts to be polished
* I couldn't tell what the raid accomplished exactly. I assumed that it was a way to quell rebellions that had already and wasn't an auto-success, but maybe I misunderstood their purpose.
* The game is probably too long. Getting all 18 districts into revolt would take quite a while given that the revolts only happen on the roll of a 6.
* The end game gets pretty restrictive as it stand for the agitator. This relates to the last point. If there's only one district left that hasn't revolted yet the agents player knows exactly where the agitator would like to go and that they might need to go there multiple times for that win condition as it's stated.
* I do worry about balance in a couple ways (numbers of pieces of each type, difficulty of events happening, and so forth,) but playtesting could take care of that.

Some sort of effect where districts in revolt could spread their status to neighboring districts without the help of agents might be nice. Or maybe the target numbers for the districts being effected by the number of nearby or similar districts already in revolt (if one slum is revolting the others might be more likely to revolt as well) might add a fair amount to the game.

On the whole I liked the theme a lot and I think that there's a good chance that the implementation could be tweaked/overhauled to make a great game. It hooked me as a strong bluffing, asymmetric area control type game.

-Zorblag R`Lyeh

nazcagames
nazcagames's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/01/2014
My gold went to "Auction Showdown!"

This game reminded me a bit of "Going, Going, Gone!" from Stronghold games. But each player had secret characters which adds an interesting twist. The ability to bluff your opponent into a minor bidding war is interesting. I wondered if having the bidding cards face up, or at least some of the cards face up would encourage more contentions for each auction pile. Perhaps the first card in each pile from each player is face up.

There was nothing particular innovative in the mechanisms, but the implementation seemed very solid .. and sounded like it would be an enjoyable filler auction game. I would imagine this game playing better with more players. I may be biased in that I do enjoy the auction mechanism, but this one sounded like a game I could see hitting the table with my gaming group. Great Job!

baberahamlincoln
Offline
Joined: 08/28/2012
Countdown DC

My gold went to Countdown DC. It seemed like an interesting Statego variant, with great asymmetrical gameplay. Movement and mechanics were clear and simple. Great implementation of bluffing / misdirection.

The presented scenario seemed interesting enough, with lots of options for different strategies. I could also see the base game supporting different scenarios (such as save / assassinate the VIP, escort missions), with different pieces, such as police dogs (can detect but not stop bombers), shooters (can kill VIP / police from a few squares away), and perhaps allowing players to choose their team composition to some degree.

Astrium Rex
Astrium Rex's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/26/2013
Auction Showdown

Auction showdown snagged my gold medal for a couple of reasons

Out of all the contestants, this game sounded like the only one I would have picked up off a game store shelf and played with my family. I really liked the hidden roles element and the secret goals for the auctions. Overall it also came across as one of the more polished games.

While it does bare striking similarities to other auction games, to me it seemed like there was enough here to set it apart.

Great job!

If there is ever a pnp of this game and you want feedback, let me know.

davidwpa
davidwpa's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/05/2008
Idol Flattery-My Gold

While I liked many of the entries in this showdown, and I am sorry but my work schedule this month made it really difficult to enter so I was not able to do so.

The criteria was a game of bluffing and misdirection for two players. Of all the entries that fit the bill, I think this one hit the nail on the head.

The concept was clear. Bluffing and misdirection were the primary mechanics and they inter-meshed well with the theme and the game just sounded like fun and playable the way it was written. Of the games that met the criteria, this one to me was the best and is completely dealing with bluffing and misdirection.

Only three or four of them really did rise to the challenge, the others while sounding like good concepts just did not make my cut because they did not adhere their mechanics to the challenge.

andymorris
Offline
Joined: 03/05/2014
Rakshasha got my gold

I felt the spirit of this challenge was a game that forced you to lie directly to your opponent's face. For gold I was looking for the game that had the best risk/reward balance in trying to decide whether or not to bluff and or to call a bluff. In this game you would not be able to avoid bluffing, but you'd have to be careful how much you try and get away with, so I thought it did a good job of really forcing you to weigh the value of when to bluff.

I liked the concept and how each creature could only overcome 2 of 4 obstacles. I think it might be nice to have more than one Rskshasha card. It also might be worth trying to reverse how the tokens are used. You could start with a bunch and have to pay them to get around obstacles or possibly to allow you to switch your shape card. Perhaps sometimes being forced to pay tokens to the other player.

Very creative idea, great job.

Koen Hendrix
Offline
Joined: 11/24/2010
Amazing!

Wow, that's amazing! This just makes me so proud and happy. ^_^
Thanks everyone for your confidence in my design, I definitely didn't think I was going to win on my first entry!

I'm on holiday at the moment, so I xon't have internet access every day and I've not got my notes with me, but I'll write up as many critiques as I can.

Thank you again everyone, I'm over the moon! :)

Artichoke
Offline
Joined: 04/07/2014
Idol Flattery>Liar's Poker

In reading, I thought many entries resembled liar’s poker. (For those unfamiliar, liar’s poker is 5 card draw - draw 5 cards, then you may discard and draw 0 to 3 cards, or 4 cards if you show an ace - then claim a value for your hand. Opponent can accept or reject claim. If opponent accepts, she takes your hand and (may) draw cards and pass back to you, claiming a higher value. Game ends when a claim is rejected and is discovered to be a truth or a bluff.) The question for me is whether these games have new design elements or themes to want to play/purchase over simply breaking out a deck of cards.

Of the liar’s poker-type games, my favorite was “Idol Flattery” (also my gold) because it had the best theme and writing. The others: #3 Hidden War: Liar’s poker with less cards, #7 Odds and Evens: Liar’s poker with dice. Like war, could last forever, especially with good liars., #13 Flght or Fleece: Liar’s poker with sheep. Unfortunately, helicopters>sheep., #15 Bluffer’s Park: Liar’s poker with lawyers. Unfortunately, sheep>lawyers. In liar’s poker when someone goes from a lowly pair to a flush without exchanging cards, it’s funny and ridiculous and often not a bluff...but going from lowly beat reporter to “no, seriously there’s a freakin’ helicopter outside...and Samuel L. Jackson’s flying!”. That’s a hilarious improvement.

Koen Hendrix
Offline
Joined: 11/24/2010
My Gold & Silver

It's Sunday already here (Happy Easter!) so here's my critiques for my numbers 1 and 2.

Fight or Fleece

I like the theme, and it feels like a 2-player design. (To me, at least half of the designs -- including my own! -- feel like they might be better with 3+ players.) I like how this game makes you bluff about your own random hand, and how the point system is intergrated in the player's decks which also prevents a runaway leader. The automatic raising of the stakes (as players's hand grow larger) is another nice touch.

My only worry is that because the Shepherd provides a 'perfect defense', some hands might go on and on forever with neither player willing to attack. Otherwise, very neat mechanics and appealing theme.

Yes, Peas!

As someone who eats more quinoa than chicken nuggets, the "veggie is bad" theme put me off a little bit. But the entry is well and thematically written, and the resulting bluffing and double-bluffing gameplay is clear. The game may be a little repetitive; otherwise it's hard for me to find fault with this concept.

DanielGarcia
Offline
Joined: 04/08/2014
Gold and silver

Rakshasa got my gold medal, because of it’s originality of lying through an obstacle race and it’s theme, but it also seemed fun to play. I wasn’t fond of the tokens, mainly for flavour reasons, though it could be changed easily to hp or “spiritual power” and removing instead of taking them . It was unclear if when you run in reverse order the obstacles remain as they were and if you could use the 6 cards again, it feels unnecessary to have to run back as it seems good enough with one run each player.

My silver went to Idol Flattery, i liked that instead of only being a lying game, it’s more of an exaggerating game, a little difference that can change the dynamics of playing the game, and can be even more fun if you add dramatic flair as is mentioned. The theme really helped a solid but simple game.

Mr.S
Offline
Joined: 01/05/2014
Gold - Yes, Peas!

Good title and a great game. I think it’s a theme that everyone can relate to – whether by personal experience or the advertisement battle of tasty vs health. I think this game is simple enough to pick up right away, but the game play is much more complex and relies on a lot of misdirection and bluffing. This fits in well with the GDS. I just liked this game and would like to give it a go. Kudos.

Mr.S
Offline
Joined: 01/05/2014
Silver - Bluffer's Park

To give this game a broader appeal, consider making it more generic. Also, everyone in Canada hates Ontario… Everyone in Ontario hates Toronto… so everyone in Canada hates Toronto (see Toronto Sucks by the Arrogant Worms). People outside of Canada don’t care enough about the city to warrant a game. A generic game would make it more enjoyable for more people.
As a game, it takes a basic bluffing mechanic used by many in this challenge, but uses it in a unique way. The theme and the mechanics are blended very well. Overall, I think this is a solid game that met the criteria of this month’s challenge. Silver Star.

Mr.S
Offline
Joined: 01/05/2014
Bronze - Idol Flattery

While this theme does not interest me, I am sure that it has a place in modern society.
Basically, this game is an auction / wits game where you are trying to get your opponent to overpay for an item. That part of the game is nothing new, but I like the twist of peeking through the window and adding things to the crowd. You could throw in a red herring to trap your opponent. In a lot of ways this is the game “Liar’s Dice”.
While not original in mechanics, I felt like this reused themin an interesting enough way to win bronze?

Astrium Rex
Astrium Rex's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/26/2013
Silver: sheep or cow

My silver went to sheep or cow purely based on the bluffing nature of the card buying. This single mechanic really interested me and kept me thinking about it all day. I worry about balance though. One bad bet where you lose all your money by being forced to by an overpriced card could extremely limit your bluffing ability for several turns after, if not for the entire rest of the game. A bad hand should hurt but not be game breaking. Just something to keep in mind for balancing.

Aside from that mechanic, the rest of the game didn't really appeal to me much. I felt the theme was too generic and unexciting and having trails of cows connecting to water so they can drink, didn't seem to fit thematically. I understand that for the bluffing mechanic to have weight and consequence, there should be an underlying game which it effects, but I would be really interested to see how this mechanic could be built into other games and themes.

Overall though, this game more than any other was on my mind for a long time, so good work!!

andymorris
Offline
Joined: 03/05/2014
sheep or cow got my silver too

I really thought the half truth, set the price idea was very creative and that's what made it stand out for me. I think it would force some interesting and difficult decisions. I think you might need a different term other than dealers and something more thematic to differentiate them. That might help develop the theme a bit, but nice job.

Tahrirfirma
Tahrirfirma's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/19/2014
Bronze - Auction showdown

Auction showdown I liked because it is a straightfoward implementation of the bluffing mechanism, and cleverly captures in two player format a theme typically associated with party games.
The intermission round and character cards immediately struck me as providing plenty of potential for introducing really rich thematic elements. I imagined a diverse cast of dubious characters assembling for a black market auction, and mingling in a seedy bar between rounds.
My only suggested modification is to enhance this potential for theme and player immersion by removing the item definition mechanic. Drawing sets of cards to define items seems abstract and less exciting than bidding on unique treasures. Perhaps the three item decks could be replaced with a single deck of predefined item cards. Each item card would have three symbols defining its unique combination of age, type and origin. You could thereby also include a name and illustration for each item, and give players the feeling of bidding on real (or fantastical) treasures.

Tahrirfirma
Tahrirfirma's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/19/2014
Gold - Yes Peas

The theme really stuck out in this game and it strikes me as one which would be fun to play with kids (or made into a family game by adding extra players).
The rules I found a little confusing, but the idea of guessing/bluffing over a partially known "stew pot" of ingredients was appealing enough wedding of theme and mechanic to get my vote.

tgosiaco
Offline
Joined: 02/26/2014
Idol Flattery- Gold

I loved the way the theme captured how bluffing gets things or of hand so quickly. As someone else commented, it reminded me very much like Liar's dice. Can't think of much that would need changed. Would play.

Tahrirfirma
Tahrirfirma's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/19/2014
Silver - Bluffers Park

This entry appealed to me because it used not only hidden information (as did most entries) but also that classic Cheat style choice of whether to risk calling of the other player a liar. This felt particularly well matched to the conniving world of local politics depicted. The rules explanation was also excellently interwoven with the theme.

I was a bit unclear as to what the reason was for enabling players to attempt a win at 8 votes which complicates the game a little. Is this related to theme somehow (as an Australian I am ignorant of council rules in Toronto), is it to level the game if one player is falling behind, or is it to add a further bluffing element to the end game? Its not that there is an obvious problem with this, its just not immediately clear why this very specific win condition has been included.

andymorris
Offline
Joined: 03/05/2014
Countdown DC got my bronze

There were a number of games that did not involve direct, lie in your face, bluffing. This was my favourite amongst those. That's why I gave it bronze. I think the theme was strong and the gameplay would be interesting. There's good potential. There were lots of interesting themes, but this one felt like it had the most depth to the gameplay. Nice game concept, good job.

andymorris
Offline
Joined: 03/05/2014
Thanks for the feedback and the vote

I added the appeal to the winning conditions, because I wanted to give an additional element to consider when selecting which card to play. This way you can't just play your best card every time.

andwilk
Offline
Joined: 03/27/2014
My medal winners

Sheep or Cow (Gold)

I went back and forth between this game and Countdown DC for gold and silver but this ultimately won out for the card auction system that it uses. I thought the system was innovative and really captured the spirit of the contest. Overall, it was a little weak on theme, but strong on mechanics.

Countdown DC (Silver)

I felt that this was the best written entry from the lot and did the best overall job of incorporating theme and the contest guidelines.

Bluffer's Park (Bronze)

I really enjoyed the combination of hand management and bluffing mechanics in this game and that pushed it to the top of my bronze medal candidates.

Zorblag
Offline
Joined: 12/26/2013
Silver Medal winner

My Silver Medal winner was Dragon's Dojo. I like the mechanic of moving both the actual player and the decoy around the board. Once again, I'm giving this credit for the game that it could become rather than the draft that was turned in.

I like the fact that there are obvious targets spread out around the board that you want to go for (the relics, which increase your movement options,) but should also have some desire to keep your decoy and your ninja close together so that if you're attacked you'll have a chance to retaliate.

The description as written didn't seem have any way to spawn a new decoy if one was attacked, but I assumed that would be part of the mechanics in a finished game. I think that there could a fair amount added with the relics beyond just extra moves (an extra decoy springs to mind, but powers in general could work well in this sort of game.)

This game and my bronze medal winner were both bluffing via hidden movement; they remind me of an old lord of the rings game where you spawned rumors which would move around the board and were just a distraction to the other player. Sadly I don't remember what the name of that game was.

-Zorblag R`Lyeh

Zorblag
Offline
Joined: 12/26/2013
Bronze Medal Winner

My bronze medal went to Countdown: DC. I once again found the decoy element appealing and this one felt closer to a finished game.

I was a bit concerned about the balance for this one; it was tough for me to figure out whether the police player had an obvious winning strategy (it seemed pretty possible,) but that could easily be handled by tweaking movement, placement of buildings and possible other types of units with some play testing.

This one felt a little one sided in terms of the bluffing (and by a little, I mean entirely.) Thinking about it now, that was an issue for my gold medal as well (Agents and Agitators,) but somehow I held it against this game a bit more for some reason.

Apparently I like games that involve moving around on a grid. In any case, this would be a game that I'd probably be happy to play if it were ever made. Nice work!

-Zorblag R`Lyeh

Zorblag
Offline
Joined: 12/26/2013
Special Consideration

The one game that I didn't award a medal to, but which I never eliminated from contention was Yes, Peas! It was easily the game with the most flavor (if you'll pardon another pun,) and it looked very charming. The big reason that I didn't get it into the medal categories was that it felt a little too light for my tastes and it looked like there was a pretty good chance that it made sense to consistently try to get your own recipes made and eat them and not focus so much on the other player. I think that it could also be expanded to more players more than most of the other games that were submitted, though that's neither here nor there as far as my rating went.

For anyone interested, my game was Rakshasa (which I apparently misspelled the title of when submitting.) My thanks to the two who voted for it for their thoughts! I agree with some of the criticisms shared and have overhauled it a bit to clarify some points and make the scoring more interesting and thematic along the lines suggested. I'm working with an artist that I know to get some cards designed and plan to share it in the forums more generally in a bit should anyone else want to comment. The 500 word limit for the rules was tough and I look forward to submitting more games in the future to practice the concision that it requires.

-Zorblag R`Lyeh

Mr.S
Offline
Joined: 01/05/2014
Who’s the Fool Now?

I am a bit confused about the components. Are there 52 cards? Are the 26 divided between the two players (13 each)? Are the 5 sets of (1-5) in addition to the colors or included on those colors? The grammar also made this game difficult to understand.
From what I can tell, this game is similar to one entered in the “From Nothing, Something” challenge. So, I can’t give this game points for creativity. I think this game could work fine as a time-filler or pickup game, but I couldn’t give it a medal.

Tahrirfirma
Tahrirfirma's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/19/2014
Thanks for feedback on Agents & Agitators

Thanks for the detailed feedback Zorblag, it has prompted a bunch of ideas for further refining and developing the game. The difficult choices facing pro-democracy activists in repressive states is something I am keen to continue exploring with this game concept. In response to your feedback:
* Raid was intended to give the Imperial player the choice of just guessing the location of the agitator based on available Clues without "spending" a Spy (which are single use) to reveal more Clues. This was a bit underdeveloped and I think there are more interesting ways the Imperial could be given choices (more ideas to be posted later).
* Length and restrictive end game scould be fixed by modifying the Radical's win conditions. Instead of needing to control every district they could win by either surrounding the palace or controlling all of one type of district (eg. all factories), this would add another layer of deduction to the Imperial's hunt for the Agitators.
* Balance is tricky to predict at this stage of development, but my feeling is that changing the number of Agitators would be a quick fix for an overpowered Radical.

nazcagames
nazcagames's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/01/2014
My Silver went to "Dragon Dojo"

*Pros:*
This entry won me over mainly for the theme. The idea of two stealthy Ninja's moving thru a dojo or temple sounds very appealing. Players would use the tokens to show where they 'could' be. Or they could be traps. I enjoy hidden movement games and bluffing quite a bit. This had the basis for an interesting cat-and-mouse style game. So this got my silver medal vote.

*Cons:*
Unfortunately, the description of the gameplay left a lot of unanswered questions.. so I took the liberty of filling in those blanks myself to make more sense of the intended gameplay. The use of the tokens described sounded overly fiddly having two bags and players are allowed to obfuscate swapping tokens using sleight-of-hand. Not many games would assume legerdemain on the part of the players. But be that as it may, I suspect there are better ways to handle the hidden movement rather than drawing tokens from two bags. Perhaps using set tokens that move on the board rather than constantly placing tokens on the board may reduce the fiddlyness.

*Overall* - A really compelling theme with the potential to have exciting gameplay with the downside of some fiddlyness and prestidigitation prerequisites. Great job on this entry!

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut