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[GDS] JULY 2014 "This Game is Stacked" Comments and Questions

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richdurham
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Use this forum thread for asking any questions or commenting on the July 2014 Game Design Showdown.

  • Rich
ruy343
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If I understand correctly...

The idea here is to stack pieces (like the game Upwords or checkers), not to create a 3-dimensional board layout of some kind (like 3d chess or Clue: The Great Museum Caper). Right?

richdurham
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Correct

Yes, the idea is to stack pieces, not just have separate play boards that could just as easily be put off to the side like the Basement and Attic levels in Betrayal at House on the Hill.

If you stack play areas, at least make the purpose more than "adding additional 2d playing surfaces"

Astrium Rex
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Prize?

Appologies if this was stated elsewhere and I missed it. This is only my 2nd BGDF challenge I intend to enter.

What are the prizes for the winning entries (if any), aside from tons of awesome feedback and recognition from your designing peers? Not to say that that isnt reward enough. :)

Zag24
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Sorry if double submitted

Sorry, I thought I had saved the URL to edit my submission, but when I tried to use it to edit, it seemed to start afresh. If you're not sure which submission to use; delete them both, let me know, and I'll be glad to start over.

Note that the page after submitting says, "If you copy the URL above you can edit your entry later (but before the deadline)" and the only URL above that line is the one for the page itself. I believe the correct instructions would be "Save the URL in the 'edit' link below."

richdurham
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Prize

Yup, Astrium Rex, those are the prizes: fame and glory.

This is a very community driven contest, and at present time there are no material prizes. Then again, it's not a lengthy contest in terms of time frame or demands on your attention.

richdurham
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Zag24 - I'll use the entry

Zag24 - I'll use the entry with later timestamp. Thank you for the correction on the edit link!

MicroStack Games
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First timer here. How do the

First timer here. How do the medals work? Could we link a PNP or WIP thread? What's the reasoning behind the 500 word limit? Are pictures allowed?

Thanks for hosting. Looks like a fun contest.

DifferentName
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500 words

I like the 500 word limit. I don't know for sure what their reasons for it are, but I like it for a few reasons. One is that it makes it easier to read all the entries and vote on them. Reading several giant rule books of rambling ideas would be very time consuming, and probably pretty boring.

The second reason I like it is that limiting the rules to 500 words really forces you to think about how you write rules. You want your rules to get your point across in a clear and concise way. Not simply the rules, but what the game is about, how it's played, and what's fun about it.

I think this limit with the rules can even make you a better game designer, not just better at writing rules. It forces you to think about which parts of your game are the most important. I think of several things I could throw into the rules, but I just don't have enough words for all of them. While in this contest the limit is your words, in real game design there are other limits, like the players attention and time. This helps show how a game may benefit by cutting some of the less important rules.

MicroStack Games
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True - very good points.

True - very good points.

Astrium Rex
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Thanks

Thanks for the clarification. I only ask because in the April contest there was a prize of entry into "GDS Honors" thread and feedback from a special guest reviewer. Are those standard for all BGDF contests including this one, or was that a special month?

Thanks for the extra info. I was just curious. Dont mean to seem ungrateful. I really appreciate these exercises in creative design and writing skills. Any prize is just gravy :)

nazcagames
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Last minute entry

Got my entry in just in time. Thanks for the encouraging words last month Rich! But I just had a lot of work to do before and after Origins. Glad I'm able to participate this month!

-Emerson

richdurham
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GDS delay

Sorry for the delay, everyone. I may have gained a day in flying to the US for holiday, but it didn't help get the entries posted on time. This will be done tomorrow, and the voting extended accordingly.

Cheers,

Rich.

richdurham
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responses

MicroStack Games wrote:
First timer here. How do the medals work? Could we link a PNP or WIP thread? What's the reasoning behind the 500 word limit? Are pictures allowed?

Welcome!

I'll answer briefly since this is now a moot point for this month:

The medals are assigned by voters. Each voter gets 1 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze to assign to a game (that is not their own, if they are an entrant). If you ARE an entrant and do not vote you get a "pyrite" medal.

Medals are 3, 2, 1 and -3 points respectively. After all votes are tallied, the winner is the entry with the most points.

You can NOT link a PNP or WIP for the contest. 500 word entry, crafted for the contest, and submitted WITHOUT images. There were images in the past, and the effect over time of "image creep" detracted from the essence of the contest.

MicroStack Games
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Thank You

Thank you for the response and explanations Rich.

Astrium Rex
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Welcome Back State-Side

Good to have you back Rich.

Really looking forward to reading the entries.

Good luck everyone!

Toa Lewa
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How do you vote?

How do you vote? Is there a form that we will fill out, or do we reply to the game design showdown thread? Thanks.

JewellGames
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An external google form will

An external google form will be linked that you fill out much like the entry form.

You will enter your username and fill out 3 text boxes for your gold/silver/bronze votes.

MicroStack Games
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Good Luck All

My entry was pulled down (didn't know you couldn't use an existing design).

Good luck to all the other entrants. Contests like this are invaluable with the feedback and suggestions you receive.

Edit: not sure how this rule is really enforced anyways. Do you check other sites like bgg/unpub/designer websites/twitter to make sure? What about people who have been designing a game for months and haven't posted it online?

Isn't the purpose of contests like this to get feedback and suggestions from other designers and to build new relationships with people in the industry?

What about people who already voted? Are those people required to submit new votes?

richdurham
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Earlier

Sorry I didn't catch it sooner to let you know, Microgames. Yes it is difficult to enforce, as much of it is taken on good faith entries for the showdown are unique. In cases where it's publicly a previously developed game like this, it's disqualified to be fair to the entrants that are sticking to the spirt of the GDS and designing in the moment based on that month's restrictions.

I've no plans to police it past that, and had it not been called out to me it would have been missed. The hope is that contestants don't need policing, and that we can all leave our doors unlocked at night.

As for the purpose of this contest - yes, you are correct. And added on to that, and even more focused on the GDS, is the skill development that comes with pressured game design in a time and word limit. The larger picture of building relationships with designers and feedback on general designs (outside GDS ones) is in the realm of the overall BGDF.

In regards to the votes: being early in the process your votes were the only ones currently logged, and so results will be unaffected.

I apologise if this has put you off - as the GDS gains more popularity and boundaries previously untested receive scrutiny I imagine rules will necessarily tighten-up. Your feedback to the other entries will still be welcome, and if history has shown anything here it is that giving feedback on BGDF is the best way to make those connections and get feedback of your own in the future. Regardless of it being on the GDS or not.

MicroStack Games
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Response

Rich - it was my first time entering a contest like that, and I've only been on this site for a little over two weeks.

It is a little concerning that someone went out of their way to report my design to you. I'm just looking for feedback here. Looks like some people take design contests on bgdf pretty seriously. Didn't know this was such a competitive industry....

That type of behavior kind of goes against building relationships with other designers and offering them feedback/suggestions.

You could have at least left the entry up for people to critique (even if I couldn't "win" the contest.)

Looks like I'll stick to bgg for now.

Mr.S
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On the Verge of Plagarism

Microstack games, there have been other games that have made it through voting and reviews that were copies of exsisting games. They usually don't get many votes anyways. I view GDS as a way to try new ideas and see if there would be interest in certain games. Its a great jumping off point if you want to develop certain ideas. Rich has mentioned on several ocassions that games that have started on GDS have ended up being published.

But there are a lot of entries to go through. Some of us spend a fair amount of time analysing each entry. I hope everyone does as it will result in better critiques. With the popularity of the contest increasing, its taking longer to critique all the entries. It is much easier and quicker to eliminate the ones that arent really in the spirit of the challenge or new ideas. This allows us to spend more time on the entries from people who have spent more brain power on them. I do it while choosing medals.

With all that being said, I hope that you join next months challenge and that you are not turned off. It's a competitive industry, but we are all in the pursuit of FUN. Game design and the show down are essentially games in their own right. They should be enjoyed accordingly.

MicroStack Games
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Response

Disagree with your statement that this is a competitive industry. Believe it is a very small community (that has been gaining popularity again with sites like kickstarter and new games on the market).

Since I've been on bgdf, I've noticed maybe 4 or 5 posts a day. This doesn't seem to be an active community. I could easily be mistaken here.

A lot of games actually get published when you go to conventions, network, etc. I think you'll see a lot more games getting published that way then through a monthly design contest on an Internet forum. That's why I'm looking forward to unpub and meeting new people there / playtesting my design / etc.

Last month had what - 6 or 7 entries? That is not a lot at all compared to the contests I've seen on bgg (where you receive just as valuable feedback). The monthly 24 hour contest is similar as well.

I wouldn't have entered if I knew of the rule ahead of time either. I hope you can understand my frustration with modifying the existing rules to fit the format of this contest as well - and then being told someone reported my design and they took it down (no chance of reviews - and no reviews on the WIP/PNP thread here). I've received quite a few recommendations and suggestions on bgg/reddit other sites and have enjoyed offering others suggestions and feedback as well.

The design contests at the other sites seem to be pretty popular too - with a lot more contributing and offering feedback.

Mr.S
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MicroStack Games wrote: Last

MicroStack Games wrote:

Last month had what - 6 or 7 entries? That is not a lot at all compared to the contests I've seen on bgg (where you receive just as valuable feedback). The monthly 24 hour contest is similar as well.

January – 12 entries
February – 13 entries
March – 14 entries
April – 18 entries
May – 20 entries
June – 7 entries (the exception in the trend)

MicroStack Games
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Mr. S

Thank you for the information. Like I said before - I've only been on the site for a couple weeks.

BubbleChucks
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I’ve only entered 2 of the

I’ve only entered 2 of the previous showdowns, May and June, but I tend to view them as a bit of fun and a stimulating design challenge. In respect to input, after reading each of those challenges I spent a couple of hours designing a game from scratch to satisfy them.

Having loitered around the forums for quite awhile I am aware of the spirit of the GDS. Namely, that all submitted entries should be new designs and not existing designs or re-imagined/re-tooled variants of existing designs. Submitting an entry that existed prior to the release of the challenge outline, because it fits the bill or it can be made to fit the bill with a few tweaks, would seem to be at odds with the spirit of the competition.

Now, having said that, and having read the GDS WIKI

http://www.bgdf.com/node/27

I can’t actually see any rule or commentary that applies or makes mention of the new design requirement. Taking that into account I can see how someone new to the forums and the competition could be completely unaware of the spirit that governs it, through no fault of their own.

It might be helpful if the WIKI was updated to include mention of the spirit in which the competition entrants participate, vis-a-vis original designs.

The only rule I’ve strictly stuck by in respect to my 2 previous vote allocations is the 500 word limit. In my game playing I’m super relaxed and easy going, as far implementing and sticking by the rules goes, but in a competition like the GDS the rules have to be the rules or everything quickly gets out of hand. So if an entry contains more than 500 words I disqualify it from my considerations, irrespective of whether it is a great design outline or not.

If you would like comments on your design Microstack then by all means open a general forum entry requesting a critique. People might be a bit busy commenting on the large number of great entries in this months GDS, when the results are out and commenting begins, but after that is concluded people will be free to address it.

MicroStack Games
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Thanks

BubbleChucks wrote:
I’ve only entered 2 of the previous showdowns, May and June, but I tend to view them as a bit of fun and a stimulating design challenge. In respect to input, after reading each of those challenges I spent a couple of hours designing a game from scratch to satisfy them.

Having loitered around the forums for quite awhile I am aware of the spirit of the GDS. Namely, that all submitted entries should be new designs and not existing designs or re-imagined/re-tooled variants of existing designs. Submitting an entry that existed prior to the release of the challenge outline, because it fits the bill or it can be made to fit the bill with a few tweaks, would seem to be at odds with the spirit of the competition.

Now, having said that, and having read the GDS WIKI

http://www.bgdf.com/node/27

I can’t actually see any rule or commentary that applies or makes mention of the new design requirement. Taking that into account I can see how someone new to the forums and the competition could be completely unaware of the spirit that governs it, through no fault of their own.

It might be helpful if the WIKI was updated to include mention of the spirit in which the competition entrants participate, vis-a-vis original designs.

The only rule I’ve strictly stuck by in respect to my 2 previous vote allocations is the 500 word limit. In my game playing I’m super relaxed and easy going, as far implementing and sticking by the rules goes, but in a competition like the GDS the rules have to be the rules or everything quickly gets out of hand. So if an entry contains more than 500 words I disqualify it from my considerations, irrespective of whether it is a great design outline or not.

If you would like comments on your design Microstack then by all means open a general forum entry requesting a critique. People might be a bit busy commenting on the large number of great entries in this months GDS, when the results are out and commenting begins, but after that is concluded people will be free to address it.

That is an excellent response. Thank you.

Mr.S
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Voting Issue

Richdurham,
I sent in my votes, but got an error message. So I sent them in again and the same thing happened. I am not sure if it comes up as me voting twice or not at all.

richdurham
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Hi everyone - sorry I've been

Hi everyone - sorry I've been silent the last week. Holiday leaves little internet, for better and worse.

Mr.S - your votes show in the database once, so that's fine unless you wanted to change them.

Bubble chucks and MicroStack - updating the wiki is something long-overdue; thank you for the suggestion. The "spirit" of the competition is not something to prevent you from writing down an idea you had three years ago that never saw the light and could apply. However, when it's already posted on BGDF with a thread asking for critiques, then that is where it belongs, rather than the GDS thread. As a small note, it spoils the anonymity of the entrants if it's posted here already.

Regardless, it seems it's time for either the GDS to grow up and include actual prizes and therefore warrant all kinds of rules about entering, or stay what it is and only put rules around the form and structure of the entry itself. Since this has always been community guided I ask you all:

Grow up, add structure and an actual prize, or limit all rules to structure and form of the entry text as currently is?

MicroStack Games
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Hi Rich

I don't think you need to add prizes, maybe just a small rule clarification like you said. I think the real value is getting critiques, offering feedback to others, and meeting new people in the industry. I understand where you're coming from as well - just didn't really know how it worked before. Anyways, hopefully I'll be able to enter a future competition. Thanks for hosting and allowing me to participate on this site.

Zag24
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Seconded

I don't think you need to offer prizes or anything. Just the recognition and feedback is plenty, IMHO.

And I don't believe that MicroStack Games was terribly offended, just a little chagrined that he had unintentionally violated the spirit of the contest.

While the two contests I have entered have both been new ideas that I came up with for the contest, I don't think I had understood that to be a requirement. My point is that it's only luck that I didn't violate the rules in the same way that MSG did. So maybe just add a sentence or two which says that the expectation is that the game is a new, original idea, that you haven't shown anywhere else -- I think that would be plenty to avoid such unintentional mistakes in the future.

About intentional mistakes, well, you can't be expected to police those. While it will probably happen, adding prizes that anyone cares about will probably guarantee it. For this reason, I consider the lack of prizes to be a plus.

And, if I haven't said it before (or even if I have), I very much appreciate all your work in providing the site and in running the contests.

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