Skip to Content

[GDS] JANUARY 2015 "Collecting Games" - Critiques

19 replies [Last post]
mindspike
mindspike's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/06/2011

We have a winner!

Congrats to tsquared who is

Seeking a Friend for the Zombie Apocalypse

Set collection forms the basis for countless classic card games. Finding a new way to implement this mechanic was a real challenge, huge thanks to everyone who stepped up! A discussion schedule will be posted shortly.

Game Score Gold Medals Silver Medals Bronze Medals
Seeking a Friend for the Zombie Apocalypse 14 4 1
To the Ends of the Earth 9 2 1 1
Estate Sale 9 4 1
The Collector's Conference 6 1 1 1
Numero 2 2
FanCON 2 2
mindspike
mindspike's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/06/2011
Discussion Schedule

As always, the discussion schedule is a suggestion, not a hard and fast rule. If you have feedback and questions about a game, you can be sure the designers want to hear about it! With only six games to discuss, a two-day window will be given to each entry. Begin!

Game Designer Discussion
Seeking a Friend for the Zombie Apocalypse tsquared Jan 19-20
To the Ends of the Earth werhner Jan 21-22
Estate Sale abstractcoder Jan 23-24
Stuff: the Collector's Conference andymorris Jan 25-26
Numero bubblechucks Jan 27-28
FanCON mindspike Jan 29-30
mindspike
mindspike's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/06/2011
Feedback: Seeking a Friend for the Zombie Apocalypse

Overall: I'm not a big fan of the zombie theme, but the basic premise and supporting mechanics ought to be flexibile enough for a variety of skins. This is a heavily thematic game, and I like that.

(+) Heavily themed, with actions that support the story of the game. The components and play naturally fit with the stated goal. There is quite a lot of room here for complexity and multiple strategic options. The different Leader cards can lay out separate goals for each player. There is a large set of options from which to choose during your turn. This has the potential to be a very heavy game.

(-) The assignment was "set collection". While you are collecting Survivors, they aren't divided into sets and set completion is not a goal of the game. Referencing the train car in Ticket to Ride doesn't help me at all; I'm not familiar with the game. Since you are tracking things like strength, food, and morale, those components and their use should have been addressed in the rules - instead they are simply mentioned as being there. I want to see survival gear as well.

(=) I think this rule set needs to be more detailed. The existing write-up is mostly just ideas. It sounds interesting, but I don't have a feel for how the game will play. There is room to add worker placement mechanics and combat mechanics to supplement the card drawing and attribute tests. I think the play weight on this is going to be pretty heavy, and that means a lot more development.

andymorris
Offline
Joined: 03/05/2014
Congratulations

I guess I'll get the ball rolling. First off, congratulations to tsquared for the win. I voted Gold for this game. I feel it would have a nice balance and create some interesting decisions. I really liked the idea of having to choose to play a special event card on yourself or someone else with only one per person per round. My question/concern is if you get to do enough between events. Maybe there could be a way to be a little less formulaic on the timing of the events. Perhaps they could have some kind of trigger within the game play rather than simply action, card, event, repeat. Or maybe they could be further apart early in the game and then you start to have less and less time in between them as the game goes on. Overall nice job.

Tsquared
Tsquared's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/23/2014
Thanks for the Votes

Thanks to everyone who saw anything they enjoyed with this game idea. I admit, it was a loose interpretation on a collecting game, but once I read the prompt, it led me to the idea.

I actually have never designed a game before, but thoroughly enjoy playing them, so I thought I'd give it a try. Since creating the entry two and a half weeks ago, I've really changed the feel of the game and playtested it with a few friends.

To update any who are interested and address items from the critique, here is a more accurate depiction of how it now plays. It may help to read the original pitch before you see these changes.

I didn't like the tracking mechanic for different stats and I didn't like how "random events" happened once a turn in such a "formulaic" process.

Now there are 3 primary card types divided into two decks. One "survivor" deck of about 50 survivor card. One "search" deck of 25 event cards intermixed with 25 supply cards.

The stats are still the same (Food, Strength, and Morale) but have different effects/ ways to obtain them.

Food is now the upkeep stat. Every player starts with 2, and you cannot have more living survivors in camp than food. Only way you can obtain food now is to "search" for it. As noted above, searching has roughly a 50% chance of yielding some sort of supply (various items, but with the most common being an additional food or two), and 50% chance of triggering some form of event (most commonly a zombie attack, but not always negative).

Strength is still the attacking/ defending stat, but accounted for differently. I didn't like the addition of die rolls, as I wanted this to be a true card game, so to keep an "uncertain" action portion to the game, strength is now a simple CCG mechanic where you keep your survivors in your hand, but must play cards from your hand every round in order to use their strength/ morale/ or abilities. All you have to do to win battles is match the strength of the attacker. This "taps" your cards for the round and allows your opponents to see/ reminds them who you have.

You do not keep supply cards in your hand, as these stats/ effects are needed to keep you honest on your food to survivor ratio and because besides using strength to defend yourself from zombie attacks, you can also use it to "raid" other player's camps and steal their supplies.

Morale is now the number of actions you can perform in a turn. Actions are pretty simple but include: draw a survivor card (if you have enough food), draw a "search" card (one way to acquire more food/ other supplies), or "raid" other players for their supplies (other way to acquire more food/ may leave you vulnerable).

Besides strength and morale, many of the survivors have beneficial effects (gaining additional strength in certain situations, counting as more victory points at the end of the game, etc.). And although the majority of the events are some type of zombie attack, some of these can be pretty fun (Lost in the Woods: Each player must pass one living survivor to the player on his left).

I'm still tinkering with various mechanics, and making sure none of the cards hurt the theme/ are too under- over- powered, but it plays a lot better now than the original idea I had. Thank you all so much for the votes and critiques! First time submission, but I'll be sure to participate in future challenges.

Tsquared
Tsquared's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/23/2014
Bittersweet

I also really liked the mechanic of choosing whom to play your event card on, but can't figure out a way to keep this idea meshed with the new play-style. Any ideas you have are welcome!

Tsquared
Tsquared's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/23/2014
Bittersweet

andymorris wrote:
I guess I'll get the ball rolling. First off, congratulations to tsquared for the win. I voted Gold for this game. I feel it would have a nice balance and create some interesting decisions. I really liked the idea of having to choose to play a special event card on yourself or someone else with only one per person per round. My question/concern is if you get to do enough between events. Maybe there could be a way to be a little less formulaic on the timing of the events. Perhaps they could have some kind of trigger within the game play rather than simply action, card, event, repeat. Or maybe they could be further apart early in the game and then you start to have less and less time in between them as the game goes on. Overall nice job.

I also really liked the mechanic of choosing whom to play your event card on, but can't figure out a way to keep this idea meshed with the new play-style. Any ideas you have are welcome!

mindspike
mindspike's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/06/2011
Feedback: To the Ends of the Earth

Overall I really like the variety of combinations that this could yield. I can see it being a great take on a storytelling game.

(+) Huge variety and constant involvement on the part of the players means there shouldn't be any downtime between turns. Even when other players are taking center stage for their stories, everyone should be listening. A little more work on the distribution of the prompt cards should take quite a lot of the uncertainty out of adlibbing a story for an audience, allowing players to create all kinds of wacky situations.

(-) Set collection and set completion are not part of the game; the cards act solely as story prompts and aren't necessarily connected. Players of different maturity are going to see things radically differently when it comes to choosing props and telling stories. This could be big source of frustration. Public speaking and storytelling is the single largest fear in the world, even amongst friends, and there is a good chance any gathering is going to someone that this game makes extremely uncomfortable in that way, especially as it relies on creativity. There could be a problem with players getting frustrated with the storytelling portion.

(=) I see this as being a big hit as a party game, if the prompt distribution can be cleaned up and expanded. If you can get the whole party involved in storytelling using the mix of situations and prompts, I can see things getting pretty wacky pretty quick.

andymorris
Offline
Joined: 03/05/2014
Thoughts on To the Ends of the Earth

This sounds like the makings of a fun, light-hearted story telling game. I don't think that collecting and matching featured prominently enough for the challenge. I think it would be nice if you were passing the unselected cards between players rather than always discarding them. Also, I think players should be forced to choose their adventure card before they have all of their item cards. Also, what if rather than voting for a favourite, everyone simply voted if they thought the story made sense or not. That way the vote would happen right after each story and you wouldn't have to worry about remembering what everyone's story was. You could get 1 point for each person who thought your story made sense. Overall this game should be able to get people laughing.

mindspike
mindspike's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/06/2011
Feedback: Estate Sale

Overall The theme feels like a very natural fit for the challenge. This game has the potential for a lot of player interaction, and the hidden information makes it a real challenge.

(+) There's a lot of matches to be made, and the fact that a certain number of cards simply never show up means a great deal of effort goes into revising strategy during the game. For a "theme within a theme", the items could be of just about any kind. With the number of rounds that are being played, there is ample time to change your mind about what sets to pursue or items to hunt for.

(-) I miss the opportunity to trade information with other players or to bid on the items. I think that could add a great deal of social play to the game. With the large number of cards in a set, set collection is a bonus feature rather than an emphasis. There seems to be a clear strategy of just taking the highest value items and scoring them as soon as possible. The game seems to lack strategy.

(=) For me, the biggest appeal in this game comes from the fact that the cards can be themed to any kind of theme, as there is only a single variable. It's currently the type of design that is easy to introduce to young players.

andymorris
Offline
Joined: 03/05/2014
Thoughts on Estate Sale

I like the general make up of this game. I think the theme is solid. I'm sure the eccentric uncle must of had some crazy things. However, it feels to me like it's missing just a little something. It needs a little more emphasis on making sets. There needs to be a feeling of wanting to do two things, but being forced to choose one over the other. Right now I think your choice each turn would be obvious. If there's a really good card up you'd grab it. If not, you'd play your best card. If you don't have a good card to play you'd draw blind.

abstractcoder
Offline
Joined: 01/03/2015
Thanks for the feedback

Thanks for the feedback mindspike and andymorris! I'm currently working on getting a rainbow deck to play test this (it has 12 suits 0-15).

I'm attempting to make a game that has some tough decisions. Since you need at least 2 cards (most likely more) to score positive points for a set I was hoping players would have to make tough decisions on whether to start a new set even if they don't currently have cards to score positive points, trade a high value card for one or more lower value cards in a set they already have, trade multiple cards for a high value card while depleting this hand, or take some cards from the discard pile if they are running low on cards.

Once I start play testing I may need to tweak the number of sets, number or cards in a set, or hand limit to make the game feel tight.

I'm also envisioning fun, cartoony images. For example, for a set of instruments the 1 value card might be a kazoo, where the 12 value card might be a Stradivarius violin.

Thanks again for the feedback!

mindspike
mindspike's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/06/2011
Feedback: Stuff the Collector's Conference

Overall: This game captures some of the frenetic activity of a swap meet or an auction house. There is room here for some really outrageous theming.

(+) There's a ton of strategic options and ways to score. Players only have a few options each turn, which will speed up game play, but those options can work out a bunch of different ways, which improves the strategic deicisions. There's a lot of hidden information in the game, making bluffing and second-guessing your opponents an important part of the game.

(-) With all of the other activity going on, I'm afraid that collecting sets will get lost in the background of other activity. There does seem to be a clear strategy of getting as many cards into your hand as possible as quickly as possible. This means your first four turns are spent Grabbing More Stuff, and then negotiating for the best deal possible. If the values are too close together, then there will be a clear advantage in having more cards. If the value are too far apart, then only the highest value cards will be worth pursuing.

(=) There's a lot going on here mathematically, and I like that. The turn options need to be cleaned up a bit, given a bit more structure I think. And there's a metric ton of development to be done with the distribution of the values on the cards, but I think the underlying structure is sound.

andymorris
Offline
Joined: 03/05/2014
Thoughts on Numero

I didn't feel like this game was about collecting or matching, but it does sound like an interesting deduction game. I think this game would have lots of appeal to people who like sudoku and things of that nature. Actually now that I think about it, this would be kind of like multi-player mastermind. The key would be giving players a handy way to track information.

mindspike
mindspike's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/06/2011
Feedback: Numero

Overall: A fascinating deduction game that is suitable for large groups. Very simple components as befits a good abstract game.

(+) The deduction aspect of the game is very strong. It is essentially a self-building logic puzzle. Deducing variables will keep players occupied, minimzing the effect of downtime on the game.

(-) Set collection is not a part of this game. Accurate deduction depends on the other players correctly adding your cards. A single bad roll of the dice can cost a turn, leaving players sitting out.

(=) I'm going to need a cheat card and note paper to play this. That's not a bad thing, but I can definitely see that it will limit the number of willing players.

andymorris
Offline
Joined: 03/05/2014
Thoughts on FanCON

There are lots of interesting concepts in there. This one definitely lived up to the heart of the set collection challenge. I like that the values of the items is only secondary as a tiebreaker. The make-up of the cards within the series, category, type framework wasn't totally clear on first blush. Perhaps there are different terms that would have made the card structure easier to understand. I think an example card and an example goal would have been helpful. I really like the simultaneous play, but I think it might be better to change the order so that you swap before you add a card to the shelf. Otherwise, if after you manage to con someone into to giving you the last card you need to win you have to wait for the next round to play it, it would give the other players a chance to lucky draw their winning card before you play yours. Also, I think having four cards in hand would give more options for the swapping.

As a side note, I thought it was interesting that you and I landed on such similar themes.

mindspike
mindspike's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/06/2011
Thoughts on FanCON

Overall: Well, this is my design. When I thought about collecting, I naturally landed in fandom.

(+) Set collection is the only object of the game. Each of the cards has multiple variables with different functions. The number of combinations of sets is very large. Hidden information makes the single mechanic work smoothly. There is a guaranteed number of rounds of play.

(-) This game focuses on social interaction and just isn't going to be as interesting with less than three players bare minimum. More is better. The rules weren't explained very well; they needed multiple concrete examples of cards and sets. Andymorris points out a much needed revision to the order of play (thank you).

(=) If traders are allowed to ask a single yes/no question about the trade, it will increase involvement while retaining hidden information.

BubbleChucks
Offline
Joined: 06/07/2012
FanCON

Overall: It reminded me a little bit of the frantic trading game Pit, but this game has a lot more going on and a lot more to offer the players.

(+) I liked the theme and the different options for the players to gain/exchange cards to complete their target sets. The simultaneous action and social exchanges should make for a very lively game. Having three values on the cards was a nice inclusion, because it increases the likelihood of making a match. It also means other players could be hindered by a player taking a card with a value needed by another player (simply because they need one of the other values). So in essence the cards have a double usage, set collection and blocking.

(-) The description of the category values was very confusing, but I think I figured it out. However, when I got to the examples I was completely confused again, because they didn’t associated with the value distribution I surmised. The scoring is interesting, but matching category sets to the role cards limited the game a little for me. With so many possible matches to be made narrowing down success to the role cards put me off a bit. I had the feeling (rightly or wrongly) that the game had been directed at satisfying a 72 card count (18 x 4) and the 8 role cards where made as a focal point of the game scoring to use all 72 cards. With 16 different values in the distribution I couldn’t really see how they could be split amongst 8 cards equally and in a way that made sense and full usage of the values in the game. Each card could have 2 different category values, but with role satisfaction being the only win condition that would leave a lot of cards without a collection value for each player. The cards could have more than 2 values, but then you have to accord everything equally in respect to the different category types and the overall distribution (which could be fiddly).

(=) With a little tidying and a clearer description of the vales in the game, along with the values associated with the role cards, the game should work very well and be a lot of fun to play.

(+++) I like the format you use in your critiques :)

I jotted down this outline after reading about the game again; in the hope that it might generate some ideas or contain something that might be of help to you.

Genre

Adventure / Romance / Horror / Mystery

Theme

Steampunk / Gothic / Fantasy / Super Hero

Item Category

Literature / Costume / Merchandise / Memorabilia

Specific Item

A description or graphic that relates to the specific item on the card which represents the combination of the three value areas associated with the card.

Example

Adventure + Super Hero + Memorabilia = Batman Film Cell

Sample combinations for the Adventure genre

Adventure - Fantasy - Literature
Adventure - Fantasy - Costume
Adventure - Fantasy - Merchandise
Adventure - Fantasy - Memorabilia

Adventure - Steampunk - Literature
Adventure - Steampunk - Costume
Adventure - Steampunk - Merchandise
Adventure - Steampunk - Memorabilia

Adventure - Gothic - Literature
Adventure - Gothic - Costume
Adventure - Gothic - Merchandise
Adventure - Gothic - Memorabilia

Adventure - Super Hero - Literature
Adventure - Super Hero - Costume
Adventure - Super Hero - Merchandise
Adventure - Super Hero - Memorabilia

Game Play

The players receive a hand of cards and one card for each player is placed in the centre of the table. Subsequent game play is then simultaneous.

The players can take a card from the central area. To take a card a player must replace it with a card from their hand that matches one of the category values on the card they want to take.

The players can offer to swap a card from their hand. To initiate a swap a player announces one or more of the values on the card they want to swap.

Announcing all three values on a card gives very specific information about the card which increases the chance of another player accepting the card.

Only giving partial information decreases the likelihood of a swap, but it can be used to make cards less attractive to individual players. So if a player has deduced that another player is collecting adventure cards they may choose to offer a card in a swap without revealing its genre to decreases the attraction of the swap in respect to that player.

The players can request a particular card from the other players. To request a card a player announces one or more of the values on the card they want to receive.

Requesting a card that has all three values could lead to the player receiving the exact card that they want, but it will be hard for the other players to satisfy the request increasing the likelihood of the request going unfulfilled.

Requesting a single value has more chance of receiving a card, but it reveals the category that a player is focusing on. In contrast a player could ask for a card with two values, even though only one of the values is of interest to them. The second value is given as a means of disguising the focus of their interest.

The players can put down a set of three cards at any time, providing that the three cards share at least one common category.

After putting down a set the player takes three new cards from the draw deck to replace the ones they included in their set.

Play continues until the draw deck is depleted.

The players score their sets. For each matching category within a set a player receives 1 point. So the minimum score from a set is 3 points, reflecting the 3 common category symbols the player had to match to play the set. However, sets can score more than 3 points if at least two of the cards in a set have other category symbols that also match.

Example

Adventure - Gothic – Literature
Adventure - Steampunk - Literature
Adventure - Steampunk - Costume

The cards in this set would score 7 points (3 for Adventure, 2 for Steampunk and 2 for Literature).

The role cards serve as bonus point generators. Each role card features a number of category values. These category values represent the specific interest of a fan boy or fan girl.

During the final scoring a player receives 1 additional point for every appearance of a category type in a set that corresponds with a category type on their role card.

BubbleChucks
Offline
Joined: 06/07/2012
Thanks for the critiques. I

Thanks for the critiques. I thought the game satisfied the criteria, because the players are attempting to collect 1 set of cards into their scoring pile (the unknown set of cards in front of them). Submitting a game where the focus is on collecting a single set is a little unusual, so I knew I was on dangerous ground entering this game.

The possibility for a player to exit a round on their first roll is a fair point, but the odds are 1/216 so it won’t happen often. Despite that I’ve changed the design in response to the helpful observation.

The game now has 9 cards in each suit, giving a total of 45 cards. I increased the card count to make the deduction a little more difficult. Each player receives 5 cards, so in a six player game 30 cards are used. The remaining 15 cards are placed in a draw pile.

With fewer players one card number in each set is removed for each player less than 6. So in a five player game all the 9’s are removed.

When a player craps out in the course of a turn they can take a card from the draw deck, look at it and keep it. If they crap out on a subsequent turn they can replace their held card.

A player can also ask to look at a card another player has acquired by crapping out. They do this by asking if any player has a card of the color associated with the color of the dice they crapped out on. If a player has a matching colored card the two players exchange cards. If the player that crapped out doesn’t have a card to exchange they take the card of the player that acknowledged their query and that player takes a new card from the draw deck.

This addition gives the players a small reward when they crap out by providing information about he cards that aren’t being used in the current game.

Adding the cards together shouldn’t be a problem. It’s only a matter of adding a maximum of 3 cards with a high value of 9 for each card and since the question is being asked to all of the players one of them should be able to manage it.

I made a crib sheet – http://www.bgdf.com/image/numero

The players mark their rolled sequences and the corresponding totals in the right column. In the upper left column they add their deductions, so if they know red is two higher than yellow they would put a +2 in the red row under the yellow column. When they eliminate a number they cross it off in the lower left column.

I’ll give a quick critique of the other entries over the weekend. Sorry for being tardy, but I’ve been super busy this last week and the weekend should see me having some free time.

BubbleChucks
Offline
Joined: 06/07/2012
Estate Sale Overall: A solid

Estate Sale

Overall: A solid set collection game

(+) I liked the swap action mechanic where the players can either take one card from the estate for multiple cards from their hand or multiple cards from the estate for one card from their hand (with the cards being of equal value in both exchange instances). I think this would result in some shrewd strategic thinking, because it makes each acquisition a dilemma between what you want to take and what options you open up for the other players by putting down cards. Working with the hand limit would also increase the variables linked to a choice. Simple, easy to understand and the potential for very interesting decisions, loved it.

(-) The final scoring seemed a little over fiddly and accumulating as many cards, in hand and in front of a player, seemed to be a clear strategy to aim for.

Seeking a Friend for the Zombie Apocalypse

Overall: Some interesting concepts and the potential for a very good game

(+) I liked the idea of working with and adding to a single evolving set as opposed to the collection of multiple sets. The theme was appealing and the potential for player interaction could be very high.

(-) The outline was a bit sketchy, but the general details that where given outlined an intriguing game. I don’t think the Zombie element is strictly necessary and the theme could work just as well if dealt with survivors of an apocalypse facing challenged like starving dogs, polluted rivers, cannibals and so on. Having the values for the characters constantly escalate seemed a little weird, because people don’t get perpetually stronger without any supporting reason.

(=) It needs a lot of work to bring out a fully fledged game from the initial conceptual outline. I like a lot of the thoughts that where included in the response to the critique and the game is already looking much improved.

Stuff

Overall: Another solid set collection game

(+) I liked the twist where the cards had a dual use, as items and as vehicles for payment. The employment of dual usage cards is an interesting mechanic that always serves to up the strategy in a game. I also liked the restoration mechanic that allows players to take cards and increase their value by paying other cards, at the expense of lowering the cards they have to bid with.

(-) Accumulating as many cards as possible seemed to be a clear strategy, because having a dual usage for each card gives every card a value (albeit some cards have a higher collection worth). Dealing with so many cards in hand could be confusing for some players.

Thoughts – It might be interesting to consider giving the cards four values; collection worth, restored collection worth, pawn value payment and restoration value payment. And/or link the restoration value payments to specific sets of stuff.

By giving restoration payments their own value the diversity of the values on the cards could be increased and the players could be given an additional decision. Do I take a card with a low pawn value but a high restoration value (in the hope that I can associate it with the linked stuff type) or do I take a card with a low restoration worth that will benefit me more in general bidding.

To the Ends of the Earth

Overall: A fun party game with an attractive and immersive theme

(+) I really liked the theme and the scope of play offered by the story telling element.

(-) I would have liked to see an extra twist to make it stand out further in comparison to other games like Snake Oil and The Big Idea. The rich theme offers plenty of scope for introducing something to spice thing up a bit more in terms of game play.

It could mean giving the players the option to draft cards in relation to a hand limit in the form of object total weight or drawing a second set of cards that can be used to introduce events into the stories. So the players could give an event (like head hunting pygmies) to a player on a jungle adventure and the player would have to counter that event by telling an escape story that utilized their chosen object. Or it could be something else entirely.

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut