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[GDS] AUGUST 2014 "Immortal in Time" - Critiques

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mindspike
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We have a winner!

Ritual Statue Building

If you're not at GenCON, we know you're there in spirit! Thank you to all our designers for putting in the time and effort to make a game for the challenge!



















Title

Points

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Ritual Statue Building

19

5

1

2

Founding Heroes

12

2

3

0

Monument

11

1

3

2

My Dad is... IMMORTAL!!!

10

1

2

3

Raido the Magnificent

10

2

1

2

Written into History

7

1

2

0

Mosaicus

6

2

0

0

Infamous: The Game of Villainous One-Upsmanship

4

0

1

2

Pinfall Olympics

4

1

0

1

Temple of the Gods

4

0

2

0

Ascension

1

0

0

1

Long Live the Fashion

1

0

0

1

Godhood

1

0

0

1

The End of History?

0

0

0

0

Drawing

0

0

0

0

Ender Poets

0

0

0

0

richdurham
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Critiques

To help give the GenCon crowd a little time, critiques will start on Monday. Congratulations to our top three entries, and to DifferentName for another win!


Title

Points

Designer

Critique date

Ritual Statue Building

19

DifferentName Mon 18 Aug

Founding Heroes

12

Tahrirfirma Mon 18 Aug

Monument

11

SonofMan Tue 19 Aug

My Dad is... IMMORTAL!!!

10

EthosGames Tue 19 Aug

Raido the Magnificent

10

nlivni Wed 20 Aug

Written into History

7

Mr.S Wed 20 Aug

Mosaicus

6

andymorris Thur 21 Aug

Infamous: The Game of Villainous One-Upsmanship

4

JohnduBois Thur 21 Aug

Pinfall Olympics

4

kevnburg Fri 22 Aug

Temple of the Gods

4

davidwpa Fri 22 Aug

Ascension

1

BubbleChucks Sat 23 Aug

Long Live the Fashion

1

Orolon Sat 23 Aug

Godhood

1

Zag24 Sun 24 Aug

The End of History?

0

James Allen Sun 24 Aug

Drawing

0

bike Mon 25 Aug

Ender Poets

0

Level27Geek Mon 25 Aug


For your critiques, talk about the usual things: why you did/didn't vote for the entry. What you think the fun parts are that you want to see more of, and what parts were the biggest detractors.
BubbleChucks
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Ritual Statue Building This

Ritual Statue Building

This design didn’t feature in my medal awards because it contained 503 words. The overspill could have been removed from the outline quite easily, without affecting the readability.

I’m guessing a few tweaks where made in the editor when posting, without checking the altered word count, and they carried it over the limit. It might seem a harsh exclusion, and some might say my decision is overtly pedantic and unwarranted, but to my mind those are the rules of the challenge.

If you miss the rocket ship that could take you to safety from the exploding planet by 1 second or 1 year, you miss it and your molecules are scattered by the solar winds, it’s a simple as that. Deadlines and design criteria are very important aspects of game design and adhering to them in a light hearted contest is a valuable learning exercise for future best practice.

That said, well done on the win DifferentName, it’s a good design and I think it has the potential to be a very good game.

In respect to the design itself

The primary mechanic reminds me of an idea I bandied around the Gamecrafter chat a month or so ago. It was inspired by the game Thomas Was Alone and involved double value cards with basic shapes on them. The first value was a fixed shape and each shape had a fixed secondary value that allowed the player to change the characteristics of other shapes held by a player or affect the game play rules.

The cards could be used to take a matching wooden shape from the general pile or played for their affect. So a circle could alter the color of a piece held by a player, a square could alter shape, a triangle could alter size, a star could alter turn rotation, a rectangle could allow a player to look at a card (another players card or the top of the draw deck and so on). Taking my own musings into account the primary mechanic in this design obviously appealed to me.

I like the part where the item and tool cards are face up and they can be exchanged between players via two different exchange variants. The choice of acquiring cards by random chance (discarding what you possibly don’t need and hoping your opponent gives you what you do) or direct target selection is an interesting one. I could see this exchange format leading to some simple, but enjoyable player interaction. The differing potential of the risk to reward payouts between the two exchange types is also intriguing.

One thing that left me a little cold was something I mentioned in relation to one of last months designs. If the players don’t have the opportunity to deduce what another player is aiming for the game can easily fall prey to the luck factor.

If I don’t know what another player is trying to do in order to win, and I haven’t the means to deduce it, then I’m playing blind. I look to satisfy my own win condition and if I achieve it without inadvertently helping my opponents (and I’m fortunate enough to draw the cards I need before the others draw the cards they need) I’ve been lucky.

The blocking of card takes by hiding them is a nice inclusion, because it allows for tactical play. It also goes someway to providing a deductive element. If I choose to hide a card it’s because it has a greater value to me than my other cards. However, hiding a card is a very costly affair because it takes up my round action and it reveals to the other players information of value.

On the face of it the smart move might be to draw a new card because it doesn’t diminish my defense by making the hidden card a target (revealing no information) and it improves my offense by increasing my card pool. I have more cards that could make a match and more cards also means there is less chance an important one is taken. Even if a card is exchanged I still get a new card that might be one I need, because the other players have little to no idea what I’m after.

In the absence of knowledge regarding the objectives of the other players increasing my card pool, and thereby my own opportunities to satisfy my win condition, would seem to be the clear way to go. Hiding a card as a value bluff to solicit misleading information would simply be too costly.

The addition of tool cards that gave deductive options as new round actions, when they are on top of a players’ card pile, might be a way to address this concern. If a player has the jungle drums (or parrot) card on top of a pile they can ask a player how many aspects of their statue card they can currently complete.

Alternatively, a pencil tool could allow a player to change their current statue card with a new one from the deck (or a collection of papyrus scrolls could allow them to swap their statue card with another player).

I like the cute factor of making statues from everyday objects, although it’s a little too Renee Magritte instead of Rodin for my own sculptural tastes. Its perfect for a light hearted card game though.

However, I think the type of objects used placed the theme outside the Immortal criteria of this months challenge. I’m not sure what the perishable life of a melon is, but they don’t last very long, and they aren’t generally taken as a flattering means of representing an important dignitary for all time.

Overall the theme came across as something that had been attached to an abstract shape sorter, but didn’t quite gel in terms of believability. Outside of the thematic requirements of the challenge, the use of village objects to create statues for a tribal feast day would work quite well.

Disregarding the word limit overshoot this would have been a major challenger for one of my medals, but the absence of a strong immortal theme and the absence of clear deduction regarding win conditions would have hurt it in that consideration.

BubbleChucks
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Some additional thoughts Each

Some additional thoughts

Each player is dealt 3 random cards to start the game, which they place in front of them (face up). The players have a maximum of 6 separate slots to accommodate card piles and no more than 6 can be in front of them at any one time in the game.

When a card is drawn from the deck as an action it must be placed into a pile, forming a new pile in a vacant slot or on top of an existing pile.

A new action is added that allows a player to return a card to the draw deck, along with an action that allows them to move a top card to another pile.

The placement restriction could be made even more severe by limiting the cards in each pile to a maximum of 2 or the maximum cards in play to 9.

This would require the players to think more creatively about what cards they hide, what cards they leave exposed and how they distribute the cards they receive.

Alternatively, if the win condition only applied to the top cards matching the statue card the potential incentive to stockpile cards wouldn’t be as great.

Or maybe the game works perfectly as it is and I'm fussing over nothing, its definitely a very worthy winner.

DifferentName
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Wow, thanks for the votes!

Wow, thanks for the votes! This was a tough challenge, but it was fun coming up with an idea very different from my usual designs.

Tahrirfirma
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Ritual statue comments

This sounds like it would make a great family game (and I mean that in a good way!) with its colourful components and easy to grasp rules.
If aimed at a family audience the element of luck introduced by the card draw and hidden objectives would be appropriate as a way to balance differing skill levels.
Having said that you could introduce greater tactical choices (and player conflict ) by having the leaders placed face up in the middle. Each player could make a statue of any of the leaders in play leading to easier deduction and the potential for two players to be racing to make the same statute.

Mr.S
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Ritual Statue and Founding Heroes Reviews

**Ritual Statue Building (my gold)**
Building a statue is a great way to immortalize someone. The trade mechanic is interesting, but I think players will always “request” specific items. I am not sure why a player would discard a card in the hopes that the other player will discard something good for them. Hiding is also an interesting mechanic. Overall this game is quite creative and would be fun to play. I wonder if a change in theme would make this more fun to play. For example, dressing a pop star instead of building a ‘statue’.

**Founding Heroes**
An interesting take on the theme requirements. Most people went for something becoming immortalized. You looked more at the immortalizing process. I found that interesting. There are a lot of hidden numbers in this game. We were asked to take this game as far away from game theory as possible. This game has strategy based on numbers and essentially, you are working towards having 6 locations.

EthosGames
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Monday's Critiques

Ritual Statue Building

In the end I voted this one gold mainly because after reading over all of the others it simply sounded like the most fun. As other folks have said this feels like a family game which is the kind of thing I am into these days because I am trying to get my family addicted to table top games (my wife has no choice but playtest all of my creations so she gets a little burnt out). It can be a challenge to find games that bridge the gap between ages well. I can see my young kids enjoying the matching shapes mechanic while striving towards immortality is something I would get into. I like the direction of the comments above and personally would probably not have voted for it if I had checked the number of words. No doubt this was an honest mistake. The only other actual critique I have is that it would need a different name (ironic). How about "Shape Your Destiny" or "The Shape of Things to Come"? :-D Congrats on the win DifferentName and let me know if you put together a pnp!

Founding Heroes

This game sounds fun but lost me when they added a game board. I honestly can't remember why that put me off so much at the time. I guess it feels like a light game to me which makes me think the locations could just be cards. (I am also in penny-pinch mode on the Game Crafter and 54 cents for 6 cards vs $4 for a game board is like nails on a chalkboard at the moment. $3.50! Thats like 50% of my profit! ok.. i'm done.) If it were all cards it would also make it very expandable (how about a villain expansion). A lot about this game makes me think of the GDS a few months ago about religion. One of the thing I explored in that GDS was how events outside of our individual control effect belief. War, famine, even the weather can affect how people think and who becomes their patron saint. It would be interesting to see not only individual people ie. bard, monk, mad king, etc. at work but also the hand of fate drudging up stories of the heroes of old or disappointing those who thought they should have given protection. This could be in the form of Fate cards that are shuffled in with the Devotee cards. When a player is dealt a Fate Card they must play it at the start of their turn and then draw a new Devotee card. Overall a great entry Tahrirfirma.

sonofman
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Critique 1

Ritual Statue Building

I didn’t give this one a medal. I thought it solidly fit the restrictions, but I didn’t feel there was enough to the trading to make it interesting as the core mechanic. And I didn’t know if the Leader card for each player was private or not. Making it private would quicken the game but a win would feel cheap because I’d have no idea what someone was going for. Keeping it public might keep people from winning as doing a trade to get your last item will allow that player to steal another one you need. So you’d need to win on a draw.
Hiding your cards sounds great, but I think you’d need to start with more cards for it to function correctly. I think fixing this would be tools that do multiple things, and separating tools and objects intentionally. Put the objects into an open draft, giving players the option of choosing what’s more important to them at any point in time – a good object or a tool.

Founding Heroes

My gold medal. I adored how this game used positioning within decks, and the win condition was a Boolean state of whether you are the only hero showing. As described, it’s a very casual game: drawing random cards each turn, and hoping you can play them well against your opponents’ random cards. Assuming all random things being a bit of a wash, this would make it incredibly difficult to get ALL of the heroes buried except your own. The only lasting change being purging a forgotten hero, I imagine this is what players will gravitate towards.

The fun I think you should focus on is in the deck manipulation, setting yourself up for future actions, and forcing players into bad spots. The surprise element of a casual game can come if you do a mild bit of deck building of your collection of devotees. And maybe the locations have a special rule changing condition on them rather than relating specifically to devotees? The strict correlation seems to limit the use of the devotees.

DifferentName
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Thanks for the critiques.

Thanks for the critiques.

BubbleChucks wrote:
If the players don’t have the opportunity to deduce what another player is aiming for the game can easily fall prey to the luck factor.

I'm hoping that as you take items from other players, and hide your own items, that this would give players an idea of at least one or two of the items you need to complete your statue. This definitely crossed my mind though, and if I work more on the game, would probably be a good thing to try out a few variations on what information can be seen. Or like Tahrirfirma said, having multiple leaders on the table. This way, a leader wouldn't necessarily belong to any one person, it could just be whoever built one first.

EthosGames wrote:
The only other actual critique I have is that it would need a different name (ironic). How about "Shape Your Destiny" or "The Shape of Things to Come"?

Those are so much better! I'm horrible at naming things. I should have realized the shape puns! haha.

For the wordcount, I prefer ones that don't count - as a word, like wordcounter.net, putting my rules at 493 words. It looks like most wordcount websites do count - as a word, putting my rules at 496. I'm guessing the bullet points must have been counted as words by the word counter BubbleChucks used. I make sure to stick to the rules, and take time cutting out words to get my rules down to the 500 words, but didn't know any word counters would count bullet points as words.

Founding Heroes

I like the theme of this one. I'd like to see more interesting decisions or interactions being made with the cards though. Maybe I'm wrong imagining how it would play out, but I could see a player feeling like they're out of the game for a while after getting purged a few times, while one in the lead might take a long time to complete their victory. Something that allows for a big push forward could work well, like strategy games where you can choose to build up a lot of cards in one location, making it more effective when you eventually spread cards out.

Tahrirfirma
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Founding Heroes - my entry

Thanks for the votes and the great feedback!

sonofman wrote:
The fun I think you should focus on is in the deck manipulation, setting yourself up for future actions, and forcing players into bad spots.

DifferentName wrote:
Something that allows for a big push forward could work well, like strategy games where you can choose to build up a lot of cards in one location, making it more effective when you eventually spread cards out.

Taking on board this feedback the path I was thinking of going down was to allow players to play multiple Devotees each turn. This would create possibilities for chaining card effects, and would open up more tactical and strategic choices: Do I play a series of Devotees this turn to try to take a series of locations, or do I save up cards for a potentially game winning combo on a later turn (but risk being shut out in the meantime)?

EthosGames wrote:
This game sounds fun but lost me when they added a game board. I honestly can't remember why that put me off so much at the time. I guess it feels like a light game to me which makes me think the locations could just be cards.

It was actually a toss up for me whether to make the locations cards or places on a board. I went for a board for thematic reasons (I liked the idea of playing out the game on a Tolkien style map). But I agree that the board is not a necessary component and that cards could extend the life of the game, by allowing for variable play setup and expansions.

EthosGames wrote:
It would be interesting to see not only individual people ie. bard, monk, mad king, etc. at work but also the hand of fate drudging up stories of the heroes of old or disappointing those who thought they should have given protection. This could be in the form of Fate cards that are shuffled in with the Devotee cards. When a player is dealt a Fate Card they must play it at the start of their turn and then draw a new Devotee card.

I like the idea of shuffling 'event' cards into the deck. Another thematic way to use this mechanic would be to introduce new non-player heroes which takeover a location. This would add to pressure on the players not to 'turtle', and would also simulate the gradual burying of the old founding heroes as new events occur in the kingdom's history.

Mr.S wrote:
There are a lot of hidden numbers in this game. We were asked to take this game as far away from game theory as possible. This game has strategy based on numbers and essentially, you are working towards having 6 locations.

I had a lot of trouble getting my head around the no-numbers requirements this month. I hope I did not stray to far from the intent of the challenge, but am interested to hear the opinions on this of those who are more familiar with game theory than I am.

Finally, I have to apologise for exceeding the word limit this month. I composed my final draft on my phone(!), which does not have a word count function. It was only after entries were posted that I realised the last of my Devotee examples had crept me over the limit. I will be more careful next month!

andymorris
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Thoughts on Statues

Congratulations, nice job on the win. I voted this for gold because I thought it did the best job of staying away from numbers. I also really liked the use of the tools. I thought the idea of making statues was good for the thematic restriction, but I thought calling it an annual contest weakened the immortalization component. However, this could be fixed pretty easily. I think having a group of possible statues face up would probably make the most sense.

Zag24
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Feedback

Entry #1 - Infamous: The Game of Villainous One-Upsmanship

This sounds like fun with the right crowd, and certainly fits the category well. One change I'd make is not to have the Goal and Scheme be on the same card, but to have two different cards which the player somehow has to fit together. Trying to put together goofy matches would be a lot of fun. Either have two separate decks, or just one deck where every card has both, but you draw one for its Goal and another for its Scheme.

The villains, of course, should include plenty of ethnicity, so that the players have to give their descriptions with exaggerated accents.

Entry #2 - Pinfall Olympics

This reproduces quite well what I imagine wrestling is like. :-) Your mechanism with the cards and the tokens is very clever, and keeping only one card hidden adds a lot to the WIFOM. ("Wine In Front Of Me." It's the cyclic I know he knows that I know ... analysis. The reference is to 'The Princess Bride.') I like simultaneous action games, and games where out-guessing the opponent is key, and I suspect I would like this one.

Entry #3 - Written into History

Interesting. I wonder if this game might be more fun if the players have their hands revealed rather than hidden. That is, your hand of milestone cards normally sits face-up in front of you. Only when someone wants to steal a card do you pick them up, shuffle them, and the person chooses blindly. Also, rather than all the milestone cards being different, I think it would work better if you have only, say, 10 or 12 different cards, with 3 copies of each card in the deck.

The give or steal mechanism is clever. I was about to ask why anyone would give rather than steal, but then I got it.

Entry #4 - Temple of the Gods
I think that the extra action you get for having complete sets in play lends to a runaway winner issue -- only a little. The person who gets lucky enough to make a set quickly then gets more chances to get lucky. However, I didn't quite follow how long the sets stay in front of you. Maybe it's not that big a deal.

In any case, I think that this sort of thing -- where you get an extra action if you play XXX, should only be a rule when playing XXX is otherwise not a great play. That is, there is an opportunity cost to playing the cards that give you extra actions in the future, creating a decision tension. Do I take a hit now to have a better opportunity in the future?

Entry #5 - My Dad is... IMMORTAL!!!
I am intrigued by the mechanism where the winner of a challenge gets the cards that the loser of the challenge used, but I'm not sure it works. I think I'm understanding that right -- he gets the cards the loser played, plus he replaces all the cards that he played, so his hand grows by perhaps several cards. Hands never shrink, at least until there are no cards left to replace those played, right? So they just grow and grow until the deck is used up, with the showdowns getting longer and longer and huge swings in the number of cards.

Also, once the deck is gone, there is no upside to being challenger. What happens if no one challenges the Initiator.

So, I think that this game is interesting and worth working on, I don't think it works as it stands. How about this: Both combatants replace the cards they played, plus the winner of the contest gets to take his choice of the cards the loser played, and the rest are discarded. Therefore, the winner's hand increases by exactly one card. You play until the deck is gone, and the player with the biggest hand (who won the most combats) wins.

Entry #6 - The End of History?
There just isn't enough here for me to understand what's going on. Also, I'm not really buying the theme, as if you had this game ready to go for the "no numeric comparison" challenge and then noticed the "immortalize something" part of the challenge.

Entry #7 - Raido the Magnificent
Oh, the arguments! :-) Actually, I think that this would be a fun party game, but you need to include some way to adjudicate the inevitable arguments. But I totally want to try this game, and I'm definitely giving it one of the top spots.

Entry #8 - Ascension
I'm not sure I understand the play, here. I do like simultaneous action games, though, and I think this would be worth trying out. I'm sorry I don't have more interesting feedback, but I think you were just too limited by the 500 words.

Entry #9 - Long Live the Fashion
Sorry, but the world of fashion carries no appeal to me. That said, taking it just as a game and ignoring the theme, I think that there is something there but it is still a bit too simple. You have the players placing their cards face-down, and they are shuffled and voted on. Then, I assume, you just expect the player to claim their cards? People are just going to vote for whatever is the same type as their own, and just hope to split the other votes. The bluffing aspect of being able to discard cards makes it a little interesting, but I don't think that there is enough decision tension there to make the game fun.

With your alternative play and actions, I think it improves, especially if you do it after voting but before votes are revealed.

Entry #10 - Godhood
This was mine, and it had a major typo. I said 8 of each type of card per player, but I meant 2 of each type. (I had originally written 8 of each type for 4 players, ...) Anyway, I hope it didn't ruin the concept. (Edit after results were revealed: Oh well. At least it got one point. I did not consider it to be my strongest showing. Thanks to the one person who threw the game a bone.)

Entry #11 - Drawing
This fits the challenge very well, and would probably be fun to play.

My concern is that it is too much like simultaneous solitaire. Player interactions are minimal; there's only the occasional case where another player makes a line that you can use. However, once you've gotten basically started, it's not as if you can move what you've drawn so far to take advantage of a segment of someone else's efforts. If theirs didn't fall right for you, it doesn't matter.

Also, I don't know how frustrating it would become when you don't get the last drawing element you need, and it just becomes luck who draws the last few he is looking for.

Rather than using sticks, I think it would work better actually to draw, either on a dry-erase board or make the board a specially-printed pad of paper, and you just use the top sheet and then throw it away for each game.

Entry #12 - Ritual Statue Building
Interesting. Possibly quite fun. However, I'll give the same criticism I said for the previous one -- it sounds too much like just simultaneous solitaire. There needs to be more interaction between the players. I think it needs a bidding phase or something along those lines.

Entry #13 - Mosaicus
I was going to say that octagons won't tessellate, but I see that you've added squares to fit in the holes. :-) I'm having trouble seeing how this game isn't just luck, where the winner will be whoever happens to be playing when the rotating dial makes a winning opportunity. (I suppose it might be tricky to spot winning opportunities -- I'm not sure.) Anyway, I don't see how, for instance, my action on one turn might help to set me up to win on a later turn. I think that this is a necessary characteristic for this sort of game.

Entry #14 - Founding Heroes
How does the game end? I think that there might be some interesting decision tension, as you try to balance defense (keeping your hero on top where you are) with offense (moving to the top where you aren't). But I'm concerned that it will just come down to luck, where, given a circumstance, people would almost always agree what the right play it.

Entry #15 - Ender Poets
I'm afraid that this game will not have the sort of silly fun that, for instance, 'My Dad is ... IMMORTAL!' would have. Also, if people are actually trying to win, they will start to vote based on whether or not the poem's success will give the speaker a victory.

Entry #16 - Monument
This is probably a fun game to play a couple of times. I like the draw mechanism, and I suppose I could stand to try another part balancing game. :-)

andymorris
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Thoughts on Heros

This would have been a strong contender for a vote except for the word count. I have never checked word counts before, but after someone mentioned it in the comments thread it made me curious. When I did a word count this one came up around 525, so I just couldn't vote for it. It's interesting to hear that different word counters could have such varying results.

As far the game itself, I really liked the theme. In the end the winning condition boils down to a score. I think it would be very difficult to ever get your hero on top of each pile. I think you're on the right track by giving the possibility of multiple actions. Maybe the game could be restricted to a limited number rounds.

andymorris
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Thoughts on Monuments

I did not consider voting for this one because I felt like the idea of comparing height didn't move far enough away from a score or numeric comparison. Aside from the that I like the concept. I like the idea drawing three things, passing one and discarding one. I like getting to keep one piece that falls off. I did not like the inclusion of the clay. The clay would work well to help make towers, but it would have a limited life span forcing you to buy more clay, if you want to play the game again. Perhaps you could have different types of connectors to allow some of the pieces to interlock. Something along the lines of having three kinds of connectors where each structural shape piece can only connect with two types of connector. It would give you different kinds of shapes, connections, connectors and angles to think about while selecting pieces.

EthosGames
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Tuesday's Critiques

Monument

This got my silver mainly because I liked the departure from the usual cards and boards and because the presentation of the entry itself was clean and organized. It is actually similar to a game my engineering buddies and I used to play: Build the tallest tower, longest bridge, farthest launching device etc. from only materials within reach of each player. I like each mechanic in the phases. I felt the comparison of height fell within the numerical restrictions of the game. It could be argued that it broke the comparisons rule X>Y>Z but even voting breaks this rule (3 votes for X 2 for Y so X wins). I'm just glad that rule is behind us now. At any rate, as far as I can tell you could go ahead and play test it. Way to think outside the box!

I'll comment on My Dad is... IMMORTAL!!! a bit later.

andymorris
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Thoughts on My Dad is... IMMORTAL!!!

I think you've definitely got the foundation for a fun game. I did not vote for it because I didn't feel like kids arguing over whose dad is best was sufficient for being immortalized, but I like your thinking. It would nice if you could have more than two people involved in the argument each round. Of course the issue would be not having anyone to vote. I'm not sure voting is the best way to decide the winner anyway as there could be a tendency to simply vote for the player with less cards. Now that you don't have to worry about avoiding numbers, maybe you could add a quantitative element to the cards to help decide the winner.

davidwpa
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Ritual Statue Building and Founding Heroes Critiques

Ritual Statue Building--Critique
I liked the concepts in this game including the novel approach to constructing the statue from unusual objects. I gave it a bronze medal because I wasn't sure exactly how the chiseling and color changing would work with the cards and how that would be tracked as you build the statues, but that could just be my interpretation.

Founding Heroes--Critique
I gave this game my gold medal because I liked the theme which I thought fit well with the challenge and it adhered to the avoidance of numbers. I liked the replayability of this and it seems to be able to easily expand to keep it fresh.

I just thought this was a cool game with easy to understand mechanics and it would be fun to play.

davidwpa
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Monument and My Dad Is Immortal

Monument --Critique

The physical tower building aspect of this game is a neat idea. I wonder if the players would see the items in the box or is it supposed to be a blind draw. I'm not sure how the draw or trading mechanics would affect the game. I guess what I wasn't sure about though was comparing the heights to determine the winner. To my interpretation that seemed to be keeping score in a loose way by counting height instead of score it is an implied score. You cannot count the number of blocks but only measure relative height and I was torn by whether that violated the challenge or not so on the side of caution it was a great game but that uncertainty left it without a medal

My DAD IS IMMORTAL!

This is a cool game I think to play a few times, but it would seem that the concept would get old and unplayable after several iterations. How many different ways can you one up each other with the same cards. Also, I'm not sure how the mechanics of ending these challenges would not go until someone runs out of cards. I don't see any course of action that would make the initiator not want to initiate or make the challenger decline. Finally, I'm not a big fan of totally subjective voting in a game without some empirical foundation as well because these games could turn into a gang up situation or a shut out situation on one or two players at the expense of others. I'm just not a fan of this type of game.

I just question its replayability which kept it from a medal in my opinion.

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Raido The Magnificent and Written into History

Raido The Magnificent

This game to me would be hard to follow. It seems to cerebral and unmanageable after a while. It almost requires someone to transcribe all of these facts revealed in each turn in order to be sure that nothing is contradicted. It just seems like too much work to me.

Written into History

This was my gold medal winning game. I liked the theme of the game and the mechanics of set collection. I think it would be an interesting game to play and it seems to me that it would be easily expandable to increase its replayability. I like how the cards are exchanged and changed and I think it is a simple game to learn and could require some memory skill and luck to win. I would like to play it. Good job.

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Tuesday Critique

My Dad is... IMMORTAL!!!

Thanks for all of the feedback everyone. There were some great suggestions. I hope to make a rough prototype and see how it plays when I get a chance in the coming weeks. I am sure there will be lots of changes based on your suggestions and the freedom of being outside the GDS. Though, often restrictions can be liberating as well.

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Raido the Monument Dad into History

Monument

The theme works well for immortalizing. I thought it seemed odd that you describe the clay blobs being in specific shapes. Isn't the point of clay blobs that it's in amorphous shapes? I thought about doing something with clay because it would allow you to use amounts of clay without numbers connected to it, although I didn't really figure out how to make decent rules based on that.

Players draw 3 items, play 2 items, and the game ends on round 5. To me, this was too many numbers, too central to the game play. This could have been done in a way that uses no numbers, and allows more interesting interactions between players. Maybe there are some pieces in the center of the board, and every turn you add one more to the center, then take a piece. Or maybe since it's already a dexterity game, you just build as fast as you can, and whoever can grab the piece first gets it. Maybe two people grab a piece at the same time and just rip the clay in half. It could end with a sand timer.

My Dad is... IMMORTAL!!!

This one felt a bit weak on the immortalizing theme, but seems fun. The way the cards work to determine the winner seems odd. It sounds like you wouldn't want to challenge anyone, because you could hold onto your cards longer if you stay out of it. Then there's a strong incentive to holding onto as many cards as possible during the boasting, using the minimum number of cards each time so you don't lose them unnecessarily. Then once one player has more than another, they have a huge advantage against the other because the other could just run out of cards.

Maybe it would work better if someone wins for using more cards instead of less. Using more cards would be more of a creative challenge, and being quick witted would let you be the first challenger more often to get rid of more cards.

I recommend not using the "My Dad is… IMMORTAL" card. It undoes everything else good about the game, and says no matter how creative your boasting was, you lose all of those cards and give them to your opponent because they got a lucky card.

Raido the Magnificent

Like "My Dad is Immortal", this also immortalizes through telling stories. While "Dad" feels more light hearted, and mostly funner, I think "Raido" fits the theme much better. It also did really well at staying away from numbers and game theory, and got one of my votes for this.

I'm not saying this broke the rules or anything, but why did you have so many numbers in the examples?! I was really looking for more games that cut out as many numbers as possible from the rules since that's the main challenge of the contest this month. Your game had no numbers involved in the gameplay at all (which is a big reason why I voted for it), but then you put more numbers than any other entry into the examples! haha

Written Into History

The rules were written in a confusing way, and included many more numbers than were necessary. You also got some of the numbers wrong, explaining that players are dealt 4 cards, then after one player gives a card to another, one would have 6 and another would have 4. If they were dealt 4 cards, after giving/stealing one would have 5 and another would have 3.

This could have been explained in a clearer way (and better for the rules of the contest), by cutting out those numbers. For example: "After a card is given or stolen, the player who lost a card takes one of the facedown cards from the table, and the player who gained a card chooses one of their cards to show to the other players, and place facedown on the table". I really didn't understand what this game was going for until getting to the explanation at the end that it's a memory game. I recommend including those descriptions in the rules, as part of the rules, instead of making them a separate blurb at the end.

EthosGames
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Wednesday's Critiques

Raido the Magnificent

Sounds like fun! Could be a great game to play on a long road trip. I bet a little playtesting would iron out any wrinkles it might have. Thankfully there is zero prototyping to be done. All you need is a group of test subjects.. I mean.. friends to try it out on.

Written into History

Has potential. This is the kind of game I think could shine with a historical fiction theme instead of striving for immortality. What if it was set during the World Wars but the characters and their goals are based on real historical people? I am thinking Henry Ford, Madame Curie, Alfred Nobel, Amelia Earhart, Winston Churchill etc. I think it could lend some gravity to the feel of the game.

kevnburg
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Critiques

I found it very helpful to write comments on the games before voting; I arranged the games into a few categories.

Speak What You See Games

These games all involved making statements based on card art.

Infamous: I really enjoyed the theme, but I did not reward this game a medal because it lacked player interaction. I would like to see changes that give the other players ways to interact ("thwart") the schemes of others. I'm picturing a player jumping in during the middle of another's scheme explanation, laying down a card, and explaining how it would cause problems.

Ender Poets: As someone who enjoys writing, I love the concept of players having to create poems, and I would certainly rather play this game than Uno. However, like Infamous, player interaction is minimal. The rule symbols provide interaction, but this interaction feels too impersonal to me. I'd like to see something for players to do during another's turn.

My Dad is Immortal (Bronze): I felt satisfied by the player interaction that this game offered. The showdown dynamic has the potential to create a lot of humor. I gave this game a medal because I felt it was the best of the Speak What You See Games.

Abstract Games

I did not reward these games medals because I felt their mechanics did not substantially relate to their themes. Seeing that theme was a criteria for this month's contest, I only wanted to reward medals to thematic games.

Written Into History: An entertaining game of set collection. Well designed.

Godhood: Interesting puzzle. The passing cards mechanic provides a good amount of player interaction. I feel that there's potential to add more player interaction, but I'm not sure if the game needs it (adding more interaction might add unnecessary complexity).

End of History: I would have liked to see more detail in the rules. This game, despite its simplicity, was difficult to understand because of how the rules were written.

Art Games

Drawing: I like the theme and the player interaction, but I have some questions about the rules. Specifically, I'm confused by how the material card system interacts with the step system (you need to have the material card associated with the space to move to that space, and then when you move you choose what action to do on your step?)

Mosaicus: I enjoy the goofy concept, but am unfortunately having trouble completely understanding the game without pictures.

Building Games

Ritual Statue Building (Silver): Good adherence to theme and excellent forced trade mechanic. That mechanic alongside the hiding mechanic got this game a medal from me. My one concern is that tools may be too powerful; they'll need to be carefully balanced.

Temple of the Gods: I like the theme and I like the dynamic of set building and deciding what action to choose. However, I did not reward this game a medal because its large quantity of moving parts made it difficult for me to completely wrap my head around it from the 500 word description.

Monument: The setup method is very interesting to me; more interesting than the gameplay. I'd like to see more spice in the gameplay. I recommend including interesting shapes that stack best with specific combos of pieces. To spice up gameplay: What if, on a player's turn, he took one piece from the player to his right and gave one to the player to his left?

Misc.

Raido the Magnificient: I love the thematic idea of immortalizing by converting oral myths to written canon. This game fit the contest restraints excellently. If I could have given 4 medals, I would have given one here.

Ascension: Interesting theme, but hard to understand on the first read.

Long Live the Fashion: Interesting theme, but I'm not sure if gameplay would hold up; what strategic reason do players have to vote in certain ways (aside from the choice to white vote their own items)?

Founding Heroes (Gold): The concept of only the top hero of the stack being remembered made this game what I consider to be the most thematic entry. Concern: I wonder if the devotee cards listed are too specific; the game might work better with more general devotees that simply either revive, spread, or purge any area the player chooses. I feel like there's a lot of potential to play around with how the devotees work. For example: you could replace the entire devotee card system with a "pick an action to perform" system.

andymorris
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Thoughts on Raido

I like that this game does not require any components, so it could played as a car game or something like that. It was a good fit for the challenge thematically, but there wasn't enough to the gameplay to get a medal for me. It would be difficult to keep track of everything, but I think that is partly what you were going for. I think you would need a larger number of people to make this work well, but the player elimination factor would be a drawback. Perhaps now that you don't have to worry about the contest restriction, you could simply have a fixed number of rounds and anytime you mess up you get a point. After the set number of rounds the person with the fewest points wins.

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Thoughts on Written into history

I voted this one for silver. It did a great job of fitting both the theme and gameplay restrictions. A couple of quick questions, do the character cards have two possible winning sets on them and you could work on either one? Did you mean that one player has 5 cards and one has 3 or is the character card included in the cards that get passed around? I like the general flow of what's going on as you choose between stealing a card or giving a card. I think it would be nice if there was a little more manipulation of the face cards to put more onus on the players to remember where cards are.

DifferentName
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Flags and Evil

Mosaicus

Good job at making the rules with no numbers at all, sticking to the contest rules very closely. It sounds like it would be fun doing the puzzle, with player interactions as dials are moved around, but I'm concerned like Zag said that there might be a lot of luck in getting the dial turned just right.

A large part of the rules were just in explaining the visuals of the board and how things in the dial were pointing at other things. Unfortunately, since I can't actually see it, it's really tough to imagine how all the pieces fit together. I was hoping to learn more about how the gameplay works and the kinds of decisions I would make, but it's tough to get there without

Infamous

I didn't think this one really fit the theme. I can see where you were going with it, since telling stories was a common theme in these games about immortalizing, but the premise of yours was telling stories so you could become an evil leader rather than becoming immortalized. A slight tweak could have made the theme fit the theme better, like voting on who was the best evil person of all time, putting their star on the walk of evil, or in the evil villain hall of fame.

As for the game, it's mostly just telling stories, without much to the game rules aside from determining the kind of story you're going to tell. It does sound like a fun theme of story telling though, describing what your evil villain would do.

I think there's too much randomness with the end of game trigger. I don't know how many duplicate goals there are, but you could draw a duplicate goal on your second card when some players didn't even get a turn, or after everyone has had several turns.

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Thoughts on Infamous

Personally, I didn't think the use of a timer fit the challenge restrictions. I liked where this was going. Having the most evil of evil villains live on for the magnitude of evil, but I didn't feel like the gameplay quite got there. I think there needs to be more one-upmanship where as the game progresses you have to be able to say you have done even more terrible things the last person's tale. It could possible include a bluffing element where there is a risk reward calculation to exaggerate.

davidwpa
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Mosaicus and Infamous

Mosaicus--

This game design sounds interesting and off to a good start but I was concerned that the changing of the dials might make it difficult for anyone to actually win and I was having a problem visualizing how the game mechanics would actually work, but I think it has potential to be a colorful fun game with some possible refinements.

Infamous--
This is a cool story game, but I didn't think it rose to the level of immortality. I'm not a big fan of story games as I said with the other design, but villainy is one of my favorite subjects. The idea of developing a story is a great use of one's imagination, but I like games with more strategy and less "socialness". Not my cup of tea, but it's a neat design overall but I'm not certain it rose fully to the theme.

davidwpa
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Pinfall Olympics

I really liked this game but I didn't feel like fully embraced the limitations and theme of the challenge. On its own, I like the design and the originality of the mechanics, but within the context of the challenge the items that concerned me were:

--The accumulation of fatigue tokens seemed to much to me like keeping score in an indirect way in reverse though in that too much fatigue could cause a loss instead of a gain.
--The color comparisons seemed like scoring as well in that the colors were ordered even though there was not a numeric value.

I like the game but I think the reasons above did not meet the requirements of the challenge.

davidwpa
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Temple of the Gods--Notes

This was my game and I appreciate the two silver medals. It was really difficult to cut it to 500 words and I think it lacked some clarity as a result. This is my fourth attempt at design and the fact that most of them got some kind of votes makes me appreciative. It is hard to design something in a few days.

Anyway, some people already gave some feedback. I hope to hear from some more, but I can clarify a few things that may not have come across.

THE WORKER SETS
The Worker set collection was designed to provide the additional action points. Everyone starts with one action and as in any building project, you need to start with building teams. The team required three different talents so in order to do anything my thought was that you have one action to start and completing up to four sets adds four additional actions one per set. One of the sets needs a sculptor as well to seat the statue of the king at the end and win the game. The sets provide action points and once completed they remain in play for the rest of the game.

In addition the workers would have abilities on their cards that give bonus manipulations (one worker may allow you to move two stone decks and such, another worker may let you immediately lay a block (set of four) into the temple).

Also note that at any time three workers are visible to recruit and available for an action. In addition some action cards might allow you to search the pile or turn over extra workers to make this less tedious and pace increased. There will be enough cards so no one is shortchanged. You also can switch a worker for one with a better ability as well.

STONES
The cards in the stone deck represent stones of different colors. The mixed up deck is divided into four somewhat even (but not exact piles) Each player is one of the colors. The idea is that the four piles represents the quarry and that you need to get four of your color stones on top to harvest them and create a "block of four" or set of four stones. The manipulation of moving cards and cutting the pile or piles (or searching based on action cards) is the digging in the quarry.

BLOCKS

Each set of same colored four stones of your color becomes a block you can layout in a temple (4 by 4 grid topped with a centered block of four). The idea is that once you have all four sets of workers recruited. You can manipulate the stone decks and bring your color to the top of each. These sets of four are kept in front of you until you place them in your temple face up (ie lay them into the grid)

Each set of four stones that form a block are laid into the grid so one you have all four sets along with the action cards and the workers, that surpasses the mechanic that would make the deck movements an endless shifting from pile a to pile b and back. You could potentially move several cards per turn which would lessen what would be a frustrating one card per action movement. The idea being that everyone will be able to move several cards to harvest sets of the same colored stones for their temples.

EX.

X X set of four stones same color form a block
X X

The first temple level would contain 16 stones laid in sets of four

X X X X
X X X X
X X X X
X X X X

The middle four stones would be where the second level block is laid and then the statue card (or pawn) would be sat in the center of the layout

ACTION CARDS
This is where the action cards came into play. They could be used to stop a player from taking the set of four stones and laying them as a block. A block already played in the temple could be damaged by an action card and this would be represented by flipping one of the four card set stones face down. A repair action would reverse that . To win all the blocks must consist of face up stones. The action cards allow you to provide dilemmas to other players as well as fix problems created by other players for you. (ie a strike would prevent you from laying a block, or a shut down quarry might prevent you from harvesting a block or shifting stones) The action cards would be balanced and plentiful so that it doesn't debilitate into a game of waiting for the right card.

STATUE
One set of workers needs to include a fourth card (a sculptor) in order to finish the game. YOu can only recruit one sculptor so this does not become a bottle neck.

Although I ran out of specific space, my thought was once all the blocks (four on bottom, one on second level, 20 stones altogether), you would need to harvest one more set of four stones, but once it was harvested you would need an action to convert the block to a statue and an action to place it on the top of your temple to win.

---

Overall I know there are a lot of cards but I felt it was necessary to have the three different decks (stone cards, action cards and worker cards) to truly make the game interesting, although the stone cards could be replaced with cubes of different colors in a bag to make the game more 3d which would alter some of the actions but possibly make it more luck of the draw. The idea of using cards is that quarrying requires moving earth and searching for the right stones which is why I went with using cards.

I struggled to keep my design in 500 words so that I would not violate the rules of the challenge, but as you can see there was a lot more thought. It is hard to explain everything without diagrams or pictures but that is what makes this so rewarding and challenging as well.

I read somewhere the way to get to a good design is to move through your first ten or more designs and get them out of the way. I'm halfway there and the added part of fulfilling a challenge on the way makes it more fun and ups the ante.

Thank you all for allowing me to participate with you and for the consideration and feedback you have given my designs. With one week of work, this is difficult so just having something resembling a design that is possibly workable is rewarding.

Thanks and peace,

David

PS.

I ended up cutting the color text from the top of the design but for completion I wanted to share it here:

" If there were no immortality there would be no need for temples." -Gordon B. Hinckley.

A decree has gone out throughout the kingdom. The first province to build a temple suitable to worship the gods will be richly rewarded by King Hirus and join the ranks of the immortal builders of history.

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