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[GDS] August "The GenCons and GenCants" - Critiques

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mindspike
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We have a winner!

10 Days

by andymakespasta

Another tough challenge to close out summer. Thank you to all our participants, I can't wait to hear some of the thinking behind the design choices this month.

Game Designer Score Discussion
10 Days andymakespasta 14 August 20
Ravnica markgrafn 9 August 21
Secret Orders debiant 8 August 22
The Witches of Scotland tahrirfirma 8 August 23
GoblinBall Draft rvkrause 7 August 24
Wealth and Status iamseph 5 August 25
Out of the Swamp tuscansun 4 August 26
markgrafn
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I got second!

Puzzling. I didn't think I had a very strong entry. Congrats andymakespasta, I thought 10 days was the strongest of the entries and apparently others did as well.

Tahrirfirma
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10 days

I thought this was a simple but effective area control game which encourages negotiation. The use of a "countdown" creates a great sense of tension and threat, and could also be tweaked to hit that ideal 45 -90 minute game length.
My only real criticism in relation to this month's challenge is that the formation of defined groups or cliques is not baked into the rules. Each shelter could have a different mix of pawns & players aren't required to form alliances across shelters.

debiant
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congrats to andy for the

congrats to andy for the win,

I forgot to mark in my spreadsheet how I voted on this one but I think I gave 10 Days my silver due to the very now theme of post-apocalypse and the strong focus on group formation and separation.

andymakespasta
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Thank you for the feedback.

Thank you for the feedback. I'll learn to use Markdown Input format next time...

I liked many ideas found in the other entries, but most entries felt like they needed more refinement.

Ravnica was the only game to hit this month's challenge spot on. The theme is also one I like.

Secret Orders had a nice bidding mechanic that urgently needs more development. It feels less like bidding, and more like trying to get the best combination of orders on a matrix of orders by alliances and jostling, and probably lying.

Witches of Scotland had the best theme. Hands Down. How do you even go from Gencon to Macbeth?

Wealth and Status gave me a laugh. Needs to be fleshed out more though.

andymakespasta
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Comments on my design

I don't know if this is par for course, but this showdown's theme is really weird and the components weirder. My original idea didn't use any of the components in the list, so I had to scrap that and start from another direction. I realized dice and game boards and pawns can work together fairly well, then the game came together surprisingly easily.

The only idea that I kept from my first design was:
"once a group is too big, it loses value", which translated into capacity and overcrowding mechanic. Apocalyptic themes are so cliche, but the only other theme that fits with the mechanics I could think of was nightclubs, of which I'm not a big fan.

If you dominate any group/shelter, and other players appear at the door, you either have to share, or you have to add pawns of your own to bolster defenses. But the decision becomes tough if you're near over crowded. And the people just keep coming and coming.

Since everyone inside is killed on an invasion, it's actually better to be camping than inside the shelter before endgame. Therefore I added the rule that you cannot camp unless you've been rejected by the people in the shelters.

Though not mentioned in my entry, the distances to the shelters are only 4-18 spaces from the city. I aim to have 3*total_capacity pawns on the board by the end of the game. (minus the ones that have been killed) This can be regulated by giving each player more or fewer pawns.

The gist is: you have lots of extra pawns you use to disrupt your opponents, and so does your opponent, so the game is really about timing rather than area control.

The choice of 10 days and name is a subtle reference to the Decameron and hiding in the countryside.

debiant
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Ravnica

Ravnica didn't receive any medals from me, mostly because it seemed rather noncommittal. But the guild formation and deformation seemed central to the game mechanics so it gets definite marks on that.

adversitygames
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Ravnica/Witches of Scotland

Ravnica

This seemed fairly good, but the problem I saw with it is that there's no explanation of *how* one goes about getting power. Just that there's power, and you need to get it, and a bunch of things you can do that maybe do or do not get you power.

Witches of Scotland

I felt the theme and mechanics of this were really disconnected. I couldn't really tell what "choose counterposed ideals" was about at all. I also wasn't sure what the point of a lot of the mechanics were and why you would use them (hah, that's a criticism you could level at my submission too!)

MarkJindra
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Wall of text incoming!

I'm trying to remember how I voted for these. I will be so busy this week and weekend at Pax (playtesting my game) that I sort of need to toss out all of my critiques at once.

Overall folks this one had some very creative themes. Great work!

=M=

10 Days

This one was very reminiscent of those disaster movies like 28 days. I am not a big fan of those movies but I am sure that this idea was in my top three. If the game had strong visuals that brought out that sense that the end is fast approaching I think it could work.

Ravnica

I think I put this one near the top but with the caveat it not use the same name as a Magic The Gathering Expansion. The overall game could work=although I sort of felt it was more of a good start for something that could be a solid 90 minute game.

Secret Orders

I like the basic premise. But my go to Illuminati based game is of course Illuminati but the overall idea seems good. I am not a big fan of card drafting but the idea seemed like it would be a pretty fast paced game and maybe even a filler for playing between games at your local game night.

The Witches of Scotland

A game based on Shakespeare's Macbeth! I am almost certain I voted for this one. Based on the theme alone. That opening paragraph would have sold me on a kickstarter.

GoblinBall Draft

I'm an old-school Blood Bowl player and this sort of reminds me of the Blood Bowl Team Manager card game that came out a few years ago. I would rather actually play a sports game called GoblinBall than a drafting manager simulation though.

Wealth and Status

Political and socioeconomic themes really turn me off when it comes to games. I think that the description of gameplay seems interesting enough to warant a more enticing theme.

Out of the Swamp

Marbles! I wanted to like this based solely on the name and the frog theme. But shooting marbles was not a favorite past time as a child.

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