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[GDS] FEBRUARY 2014 "From Nothing, Something" - Critiques

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Mr.S
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Keep Your Voice Calm

This is a fine game. Finding 150 similar and noise making small items might be difficult. The items must be quite small as one must fit up to 10 in each hand. I’m sure this game would work well, but it doesn’t offer me much in terms of game play. It’s basically a binary outcome guessing game with a little bit of added information – in the form of reading the other player and listening for stones changing hands. Correct me if I am wrong, but this game seems to be little more than guessing a flipped coin.
How are people supposed to “always see how many piece are left” with 150 stones on the table? I hope people aren’t counting each round because that would take forever and would not be fun. I’m not sure that knowing the number of remaining stone is even important. Possibly, you are talking about the ‘pair sets’ needed? This is only true of your own. You really don’t need to know the other person’s sets as they will tell you what they need.
Also, I don’t think you need 150 stones as the maximum needed by any player is 55 stones. Plus 10 place holders (which aren’t necessary) and maybe a few extra for bluffing if the game comes down to the wire. You can get by with 120 stones much easier and there will be less to keep track of.
The title of this game only remotely has to do with the game and presumes the stones will make a lot of noise when switching hands. Also, it will take a long time to switch a hand from 1 stone to 10 and therefore be easier to spot as a bluff. The smart way to play this game is to start by taking the middle sets and working your way out.

I think you could make this game much simpler. One player takes a token, coin or stone. Behind their back the player puts the stone in one hand and stretches out the closed hands. The bluffer can say whatever they want to try to fool the other player into choosing the empty hand. The other player guesses which hand has the stone by tapping a hand. If they are correct, they get the point. If the bluffer guesses the item, they get the point. This is essentially the same game and only requires one stone, coin, or really anything that can fit in a hand. And if it sounds familiar, it’s because we use this game to divide the last candy. Chose the right hand and you can keep the candy, choose wrong and I eat it.

Mr.S
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Cube Dudes

Looks like I'm one of only two that voted for this game.
There is a lot for players to keep track of here and a handy dandy reference sheet would be the saving grace. Overall, I liked this game. I don’t know what “Dude” and “Jerk” have to do with swords / axes / torches and carts though. Perhaps you can change the name of the weapons (or the characters) to have the game make more sense. I like that this game also offers the possibility of ‘expansion’ by having various combinations make new weapons / places / characters / actions. I think for a starting game this offers an appropriate number of possibilities. ‘Expansions’ can be added after players have mastered these rules.

donut2099
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keep your voice calm

I gave this game my gold vote. In retrospect I think it might have been very late when I turned in my votes, because it seemed to make more sense the first time :) Nevertheless, being the father of five children causes me to be fond of simple games like guess which hand. I played a game when I was young called rock school where the players started at the bottom of a staircase or porch steps and got to move up a stair each time you successfully guessed which hand the teacher was holding the rock in. So I think this game just struck that chord in me. I have another game I play with my kids called pull my finger. That one never gets old.

donut2099
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cube dudes

Out of nothing, minecraft. ok, i thought this game was an interesting idea, but was overly complex. It came with resource management and a technology tree. Very imaginative, but I'm not sure I could have fun playing this. But then I can't have fun playing minecraft either and my 14 yr old loves it. I am old.

bike
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Keep your voice calm - critique

The pairing complicates this simple game. Assuming a player will not ask for a pair that he already has, it comes down to guessing the right hand 10 times. You can do that with 19 stones instead of 150. Have a stone in one hand, and let the other player guess. When right keep the stone. First to 10 wins.
The bluff part of the game can be fun, especially when a player gets a serie of hits, or misses. To little play for me to get a vote.

bike
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Cube dudes - critique

This not felt like a one component game for me. A bit like Monopoly can be build with Lego 4x2 stones. Cubes have a lot of different meanings, and it will be hard to remember for the players.
After reading the entry twice I do not understand the game. Since I thought it fell outside the GDS requirements, I gave up.

Corsaire
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My entry - Cube Dudes

Thanks so far for the feedback. I thought of Cube Dudes for the challenge, because I wanted to maximize complexity within the limits of the challenge. Literally constructing with resources really feels fun. Originally, I was seeing it as Minecraft meets Dominion, but the Dominion concept weakens/over-complicates it.

I ordered 1000 cubes for twenty some bucks and have play-tested with my family. The design is way too in your face at start; so, I'm segmenting it with cards that phase in available builds over time. Personal draw piles (called pullpile in my GDS description) are gone. The theme is coming together a little more, with the draw bag called the wilderness and the row of ten for picking from called the frontier. But the theme needs to be somewhat loose to keep the open-ended sense of play.

In terms of the names: Dudes and Jerks. Fairly inspired from playing with my son. Every character in all playing we do whether Legos or army men is called a dude. Jerk comes from two places one is a variant of Creep referencing Creepers from Minecraft. The second is just the disruptiveness of its game behavior. As in Minecraft it's a forcing function to develop defenses and not just sit on the cubes.

The elements in my write up are only examples. The design currently has six tools (Sword, Axe, Spear, Cart, Work Bench, Torch, Camo) with some upgrades to metal equivalents. And then for stand alones: House, Inventory Pack, Crops (1 per color, 3 cubes), Crafts (two of a resource removed for a third resource), Factories (double craft, stays and produces each turn.)

Lots of playtesting ahead. Next time we play, I'll take a picture of the tableau and post it here.

Corsaire
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Keep Your Voice Calm

I didn't get the game or fun of this. It seems it is purely a guessing game of which hand has the right number of stones in it. The bluff feels too binary to make an interesting long range game, particularly given the amount of fiddling needed. There is a chance that this is strictly a mismatch between my taste and the game type.

davidwpa
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M&M Poker-Critique

This one stretched my minimalist definition slightly but adhered to the one bit of information. I considered the bag like a pocket and not a "second" component which is why I gave it my Bronze medal.

I guess I'm not as germophobic as everyone in that I would assume that playing a game with food people you consider friends would wash their hands, but that is a personal preference. I do think that the poker aspect is a novel idea and it creates a bit of an unknown if the candies are dealt out by chance since there is an unknown quantity of each color to begin with. It makes things a little more interesting.

I do like the previous suggestions about being able to improve your hand as well.

I guess it I didn't give it a higher medal simply because from a technical standpoint, each candy has two bits of information..the color and then the color ranking, but this to me was subtle compared to some of the other designs although it was a hair I split to make my decision admittedly.

davidwpa
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Call My Column--Critique

This game seems kind of deterministic to me. Like some of the previous reviewers I don't see any reason to not play the highest number each time but by doing so, the player who gets the nine column automatically wins the game and there is no resolution for ties. In addition, by having reference markers aren't you taking away the ability to bluff or use hidden information. It is a neat beginning but I don't think it has enough thought into how to keep it from being unbalanced.

davidwpa
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Keep Your Voice Down--Critique

I have to admit I gave this a Silver medal because it was one of the few games that actually met the criteria and if the criteria for this month's challenge was applied to all designs equally first before getting more granular, this was only one of four or five that met the basic requirements.

With that said, when I read the designs first this game seemed to make sense in my head which is why i gave it a medal, but I have to admit that upon rereading it to critique it, it's not as straight forward as I thought.

If I understand it right, both players have ten spaces. Each player calls a number corresponding to one of those empty spaces. The other player grabs that number plus an amount to bring the total equal to 11. I don't know why this makes a difference. It could be 12 or 10 or nothing. from there on out, I guess the second player is supposed to say which hand (honestly or not) has the stones player one is looking for and then he or she decides if the stone hider is telling the truth.

I do think this is an interesting idea and part of the game, but after a while I would think it would cease to be a challenge as you will be able to tell by repeated observation when someone is lying. That plus even if you guess you have a 50-50 shot of getting it right, it doesn't seem to lend enough chance or risk to the game.

With those criticisms though, it seems like a decent casual game, meets the criteria and was one of the better designs this month as far as the requirements go in my humble and somewhat new opinion.

davidwpa
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Cube Dudes-Critique

I too thought of minecraft when I read this game description. Unfortunately I had several issues with it even though the game on its own outside the boundaries of this contest seems to show promise.

First, there is the sneaking of more than one bit of information into the component. I'm assuming there is some color differential to them and then on top of it like in the M&M game there is a ranking which causes this to fall outside the criteria slightly. The difference between this and M&M poker is that in this game in my opinion, the cubes are then used to create multiple components to play this game. This to me is a deliberate stretching of the spirit of the challenge and caused it to fail to meet the criteria for me.

Even if I was to over look this big issue in my mind, there is too much complexity for me to wrap my head around and terms are not explained well. What is a jerk or a dude? This jargon is just dropped into the design without explanation.

It is an interesting idea, but I don't think it met the guidelines of this month's challenge.

regzr
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cube dudes

Hundreds of cubes! I was delighted at first sight. Without thinking anymore, I gave the most valuable medal to Cube Dudes. Cubes themselves are a fascinating theme. And the challenge materializes in cubes in a best manner.

I felt the game was only a fuzzy demonstration what will be to come. Components need not necessary be physically connected. Cubes are beautiful without any connector. Just make the dude on the table.

Cube/color combinations exists endless number. It opens designers possibility to tens game types and many options how to pattern components on the table. Playmats may be needed, but the fresh view is, that a game board is not obligatory.

Now, when the game is free from GDS restrictions, I'm glad to hear that further development is in progress.

Corsaire
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Cube Dudes - more info

The cubes come from the manufacturer in ten colors which I've assigned to ten resource names: White=Crystal, Brown=Wood, Green=Plant, Blue=Water, Orange=Fire, Black=Metal, Lime=Slime, Yellow=Stone, Red=Health, Pink=Energy.

I may have glossed over the dude and jerk specifics too much...

Dudes are your workers that limit your number of actions. They are built like everything else. Three cubes (pink on top of blue on top of brown) make a dude, and it actually looks like a little guy. They can pick pieces from the common area, or use a weapon to attack another player or Jerk, or man a work bench to combine cubes into a new cube.

Jerks are independent enemies that are constructed (3 cubes, pink on top of lime green on top of lime green...looking a bit like creepers) either intentionally by players (allowing it to be temporarily controlled) or incidentally by randomly pulling their pieces from the common cubes.

Corsaire
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thanks Regzr

It is nice to know someone got the same vision I had for this. I originally had regular wood cubes in mind, until I searched for a source and ran across the connectable ones for a lower price than wood ones. My son was enjoying picking up his dude with an axe and literally attacking my health bar.

Pure Stats
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Cube Dudes

Very confused about this game - tons of info and now that there is more info, i understand more how to play

Pure Stats
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Keep your voice down

This would be a very difficult game to play with kids of different ages. This would limit the game to only players of like ages. Could be an interesting game for adults or teenagers though.

danieledeming
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Keep Your Voice Calm

Too little play for me, with no variation. Just seemed like an embellished coin flip probability.

danieledeming
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Cube Dudes

I wanted to get on board (pun intended) with this game. I did...it just got way too complicated for me to understand. I love resource management games and the fact that you stayed at one component was impressive, but I think it might be a little too abstract for this challenge.

That said, I'm glad to hear you're fleshing the idea out. It sounds like with the right theme and rules it could be a lot of fun and have some great variation/replay. Keep me updated.

anonymousmagic
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Keep Your Voice Calm - Feedback

For me this entry lost points on creativity since stones was the first component idea on my own mind when I was considering entering myself. With a total of 150 stones, no matter how small you make them, they're not going to fit into your hand.

I do like the bluffing element, but I felt there was just a little something missing in the gameplay to get me excited enough to give it a medal.

anonymousmagic
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Cube Dudes - Feedback

Although this entry technically met the requirements of the challenge in my opinion, it didn't receive my vote. This was mainly because the limit in the different amount of components, suggested to me, a certain level of simplicity would suit the winning games. After reading the rules multiple times I couldn't tell you the names of the resources or which actions you are able to take. There's simply too much depth going on to comfortably remember the rules.

That said, maybe I was a bit prejudiced to begin with, because what you've described is not usually my sort of game anyway.

Mr.S
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davidwpa wrote: If I

davidwpa wrote:

If I understand it right, both players have ten spaces. Each player calls a number corresponding to one of those empty spaces. The other player grabs that number plus an amount to bring the total equal to 11. I don't know why this makes a difference. It could be 12 or 10 or nothing. from there on out, I guess the second player is supposed to say which hand (honestly or not) has the stones player one is looking for and then he or she decides if the stone hider is telling the truth.

If I may speak for the designer, I believe that 11 was the correct total number to use. First you need to have two numbers that fall into the parameters of the game (10), so that there are always two choices that can work in the game. Secondly, the lowest number that would satisfy this is 11 (1+10). Thirdly, for the game sake, you need paired numbers and the 11 total is the only one that works for a 1-10 pairing system.

Does the game need pairing? Or could you just have one hand holding the stone and the other empty? Well, I guess it might depend on how many stones you have at your disposal.

Mr.S
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Rocks in a Pot

I think the issue I have with this game was also highlighted in the first sentence. It is the game odds/evens with expiring ‘resources’. It doesn’t offer me anything interesting which is why I couldn’t give it a medal.
Also, I think this game is broken. There is no incentive to wager any stones. Always put out zero and hope that the other person puts out what you want. You never risk anything and have a 40% chance of winning the pot. Of course these games will generally end in stalemate if both players use this strategy. Perhaps the rule should be added where players must bid something.

Mr.S
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Who, Where

Well, good effort trying to make a game without components. The good news is that you’ve got a great game for ESL students. I know this because I have used a similar game in my classes. This is like story dice without the dice. Additionally, you may include a set of “who” cards and a set of “Where” cards. I know for the purpose of this BDS you can not; but if you plan on making this game, it is an idea. Also, instead of having players make one clue per round… why not have them each write down 20 (or so) Whos and Wheres and put them in bags to be used for the duration of the game? It will save time during the game as well.
Beyond that, this is not a board game. It’s also not a table top game. At best this is a party game or word game. It is great for education, but I don’t see how it fits on a site called “board game designers forum”

One more thing: I’d like to see someone make a “game” called a big bag of nouns. In the box will include sets of nouns broken into who, what, and where. These can be used for a variety of games like Pictionary or Charades. You can buy different boxes of varying levels. Expansions include boxes of adjectives, verbs, etc… If these existed, I would definitely buy them as it makes designing games for my students so much easier.

MaxGamesSeidman
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Keep Your Voice Calm - Critique

My first impression of this game was that the only bit of agency was trying to detect whether or not someone was lying from their voice. While I'm not sure that isn't the case (I may not have fully understood the rules), this led me to thinking about why the classic cardgame Bullshit is more interesting than just guessing "lying" or "not lying." What I came up with, and what Keep Your Voice Calm may lack is discernible and various incentives to lie. In BS, you can make an informed guess about whether someone is lying from the information you have, however imperfect, because you can understand their motivations and weigh their options. In Keep Your Voice Calm as I understood it, this kind of information doesn't exist; the liar makes a somewhat arbitrary choice, and the guesser tries to guess what they chose.

MaxGamesSeidman
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Cube Dudes - Critique

I felt like this game had potential to be fun, but I thought its presentation highlighted the much less important parts and didn't focus enough on the important parts. I felt like almost the number one things I needed to know was what things could be built with cubes, what they did, and the potential tensions that could arise from them. So yeah, I just think it needed more clear presentation, which I know is really hard especially in 500 words and in games with lots of exception based content.

Corsaire
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Rocks in the Pot

Well, it requires pockets to play. Which means yoga points aren't an option, and anything reducing the amount of yoga pants in the world is not a good thing.

That zero is an option makes this a non-starter concept.

It fits the challenge in terms of component, but I look at all of the challenges in terms of whether something has an arc to reach a market. I don't see that possibility here.

Corsaire
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Who's Where

Fails the challenge. A pencil, paper, and a timing device are all required components.

Outside of the GDS challenge... you have the storyteller, the judge, the where player, and the what player. None of those can be guessers in this scoring structure. So, the minimum players is five, but to make a round interesting at all, you'd need six or more. Seems a difficult package and not a game as is that could have a market. However, packaged as a handheld electronic game that generates random words and provides the timer, I could see some potential.

Pure Stats
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Who Where

I loved this game, I had it finishing fourth on my list. If you decide to finish this game i would contact YMCA's and after school programs to get it tested. This is a perfect game to promote comunication and creativity.

Pure Stats
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Rocks in a pot

Intersting time killer game for two people, just competitive enough to keep you interested for a little while, however, like the card game war, actually winning the game would and could take forever. love the minimal components, and the rules are simple enough that you could just pick up something around you and start playing. Seashells, acorns, whatever is around.

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