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[GDS] FEB 2013 "Class-ic Civilization" - Critiques

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sedjtroll
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Use this thread to post constructive critiques of the entries to the February 2013 challenge in the Game Design Showdown, entitled "Class-ic Civilization".

-Seth

sedjtroll
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Open for Business!

The entries are posted, and this month we're skipping straight to discussion... no voting necessary.

Thanks to those who entered!

bike
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My thoughts

What a nice contest-theme this was. And difficult, if not impossible. A good civilization game shows some depth in the development of the civilizations. Multiply that depth by the number of players of the game (one to several school classes)… and forget about any chance to test-develop a game like this. The game should be balanced and playable the first time!

The goal of the game can be that the students learn history, and technical development and how it has improved the standard of life. The goal can also be that the students are more motivated to do well in their normal work.
I would prefer to pick the first one, but it would be very hard to implement. If a student does some research about irrigation, they would need less farmers for instance. In the game the students would really feel the rewards of their research/assignment.
I think it is more easy to implement to give each player (student or class) say 10 points to spend on resources, science, whatever… each period, plus whatevery points they earned by their assignments. This, however, is a bit sad for those students struggling to get average results. They will not do well in the game.
A third option might be to just increase the mood in the class by playing this game at some time. Hardy including any serious work. Everyone has to make certain assignments, so everyone will get those 10 points.

About the game. It should have some development in it. Civilizations getting bigger, learn new technology and develop culture and religion. A civilization that falls behind in any of those categories (especially size and technology) has the serious risk of being eradicated. I forgot culture and religion (… how could I …) and I think those two do belong in the game. I also did not have any gameboard, and I am not sure it is needed. For practical reasons it might be difficult to have a gameboard that dozens of players want to look at, at the same time. Electronic solutions might help here.
I still think that a game of this size would do well without a board. The only disadvantage I see is that it is not needed to develop any sailing skills, since one can move around to everywhere. Maybe splitting the players into some big groups (continents) and not having interaction between the continents for some time can solve this.
I liked the idea of having wanderers. People who leave a civilization, because they do not like it (side note @KrisW: it could/would mean that they would join teams with their friends which you forbid in the first place). Not having enough food, culture, etc. might force that.

I choose to have each civilization being represented by a classroom. The students would feel the difference between a despot (one student makes all important decisions), communism (some make the decisions) and democracy (everyone votes). Each form having an impact on the happiness and growth. Making contact with other classes, maybe trade some technology.
I think the deckbuilding (every traveller takes a card from the current-level-of-civilization-deck) can be implemented in a smaller, say 6-player-one-evening game. In that case the need of a board might arise.

Edit: corrected mistake in english

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