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[GDS] DECEMBER 2013 "The Gifting Season" Critiques

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Corsaire
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Joined: 06/27/2013
Christmas Rush

A few of us caught up in the specific spirit of the season. I do think there is room in the market for Christmas focused games with mechanics well integrated into the theme. I ilked Christmas Rush as a game with the running in and out and scrambking to get the gifts. The one theme looseness is why you are drawing purchase cards, feels odd. But there is perhaps an easy thematic link to make that feel right.

For the challenge, this is spot on about the avatar, but the gifting didn't feel strong or integral to the play.

Definitel a good pickup game, and with my son getting Monopoly Empire at Christmas, I could see a real chance to have product type in game advertising,heh.

anonymousmagic
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Joined: 11/06/2013
The holidays wreacked havoc

The holidays wreacked havoc on my feedback posting. Anyone who missed a response from me to their game can ask for one by PM or invite me to submit to a fresh forum thread of their game if they so desire. :) I should be back to my regular schedule tomorrow (December 27).

Corsaire
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Refugees

This is an intriguing game concept with the abstracted board implemented via cards. I don't find the gifting concept at all compelling in the design in that there are no mysteries to the gifts and it seems to be strictly tactical piece movement. I do see this to be tunable into a strong game mechanic, but not a theme I find interesting and almost unappealing for some reason.

bike
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Joined: 03/08/2012
Refugees - Critique

A difficult theme. My personal opinion is that most countries in the world can do much more than they are currently doing to help refugees. A bit of a stretch... but maybe the U.N. is interested in a game with this theme to bring the refugee problem. That game should have a lighter mechanic though. Enough about the theme, onto the mechanic.
The game seems somewhat dry. Moving refugees around, and try to remove them from your own country. It will certainly suffer a bash-the-leader effect. The U.N. actions must be selected carefully, they can easily unbalance a heavy calculation game.
At first I thought refugees belong to a player as well (at least, some of them) but... they do not. That means that the single-avatar prerequisite is met. The giving element is not really good. The present is always bad news for the other player.

fnordy
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Joined: 10/28/2011
Christmas Rush - Thanks for the feedback

Most of the comments on Christmas Rush seemed fairly complimentary, so about all I can say is thank you for the commentary. A lovely Christmas gift of my own.

anonymousmagic
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Joined: 11/06/2013
Feedback #9 Refugees

It's definitely a hard subject matter, but the fact that you got from gifting to refugees, was enough reason to give bonus points to theming and originality. The game ended in the mid-range scoring-wise, because the sheer number of actions mean remembering all possible actions (and where to take them) give the game a steep learning curve and might possibly bore some people.

Secondly, the movement paths between the countries were a bit vague to me. You don't want things to be too dependent on neighbors, especially if they carry a grudge. A little more detail on the connections would be appreciated.

Also, the bash-the-leader-effect means unless you remedy it with special cards, it might be impossible to win with refugees constantly being shuffled around -- much like in the real world.

FUN: 7
Theme: 9
Mechanics: 7
Contest limits: 7
Cohesiveness: 6
Bonus: 7
Total: 43

Edit: Since richdurham suggested the gifting might offer a surprise, I didn't consider it a requirement...

sonofman
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Joined: 11/22/2013
Refugees Feedback

This reminded me of the old game we would play in gym class as kids where the class is split into four teams and each team has a corner of the gym taped off. Each team started with something like 10 volleyballs and the object was to have no balls in your section of the gym. So the goal was to throw them at the other teams as fast as you can, really.

In this case you want to throw refugees out of your country and in to the others, as fast as you can. The speed is regulated by the cards you have available and your avatar's location regulates where you can throw them.

In all a pretty simple concept and I think it could work as a game - but personally I'd get rid of the offense and defense cards. The game's focus should be on the meta-game between players, convincing them to play certain actions that benefit you as well. If instead of a random pull of "offense and defense" cards, everyone could have the same 7 actions and you play one every round. You just try to play the RIGHT one based on where your avatar is and what the avatars near you played.

The gifting here is pretty weak, isn't it? Especially if the gifting is supposed to be "unknown?"

baberahamlincoln
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Joined: 08/28/2012
Response to Feedback on Entry #9 - Refugees

Thanks all for the feedback. This is my first GDS and was a really interesting challenge. I look forward to future GDS, and developing my design skills further.

Some responses to the feedback.

Gifting – I based my use of gifting off the original GDS posting “... a core mechanic players must give some component to other players. The receiver does not need to know the exact nature of the component  “. I interpreted this as the component being given could be known, or could be not known. In the case of my submission, the receiving player obviously does know (as there is only one thing being gifted - refugees). I may have missed some subsequent clarification of the gifting mechanism.

Theme – I didn't think people would focus on the theme so much when I wrote the submission. But after reviewing and providing feedback on other people's submissions (a great exercise in itself), I realized how important the theme is to a game, especially when doing a 500 word write up / overview. When I chose the theme, I was sort of trying to be a bit contrary to what I thought the other submissions would be like – I was expecting a lot of presents, santas, cookies and other holiday themed stuff (especially with the mechanic and GDS writeup). I thought going for the less mainstream (but some may argue more important) message of the holidays – good will to others, peace on earth, world peace, and a reminder that there's other people out there who have it rough, might be an interesting thing to present. But after my recent revelations regarding the value / importance in theme, I really see how limiting this may be to actually marketing this game. When writing it up, I also considered an intergalactic / planetary theme instead of countries, with players trying to find homes for settlers / colonists / whatever. This would help lighten it a bit, but at the same time I could see pushing it into something more comical, and have the game themed around races of intelligent space hamsters or animals and zoos or something less serious. Overall, thanks for the feedback on theme – it's got me thinking a lot more about this.

Options / Cards – I'd imagined the options / cards would be pretty limiting, but the feedback raises some interesting / valid points. Sonofman – I'm really interested by your suggestion of just selecting actions each turn – this would remove the luck aspect that the cards introduced, and seems like it would change the overall feel of the game. I think I might take a shot one day at re-drafting this with straight options, and see how that looks.

Overall, great GDS experience, and thanks all for taking the time to provide feedback, both to my entry and all the others. It's been a great learning experience, and I look forward to participating again in the future.

See you in the New Year!

fnordy
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Joined: 10/28/2011
Refugees

I thought there was nothing wrong with the gifting in the refugee mechanic, especially since I thought the idea behind the game was to highlight the fact that no one wants people flooding into their country, and refugees are generally looked down upon. I found it decent social commentary. Probably true that the market for such is limited, but a bold theme.

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