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[GDS] JUNE 2015 "The Enemy of My Enemy...." - Critiques

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mindspike
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We have a winner!

Congrats to diluce for “Cabinet Affairs”.


What a selection of entries this month! Huge thanks to all the
designers who stretched their legs and put in a submission for this
month's contest. There's lots to talk about, so let's get started. With the number of entries
this month, we're slotting two per day. Don't be afraid to come back
to an entry and make some more comments!

Game Designer Gold Medals Silver Medals Bronze Medals Discussion
Cabinet Affairs diluce 3 3 1 June 18
Broken Unicorn wombat929 & Rob Huber 3 1 1 June 18
The Show Must Go On lonebluewolf 2 2 0 June 19
Minions! Icynova 2 2 0 June 19
A Lasting Mark debiant 2 1 1 June 20
Metal and Honor markgrafn 1 1 0 June 20
Schwarzwald Asylum MarkJindra 1 0 1 June 21
Mechanized ryu343 0 0 4 June 21
Promotion Thoughtfulmonkey 0 1 2 June 22
Race for the Remedy iamseph 0 1 1 June 22
The Tribe TowerWizard 0 1 1 June 23
Escape Reality andymorris 0 1 1 June 23
Bottleton Prize Garden Hook 0 0 1 June 24
Loot & Wenches ElKobold 0 0 0 June 24
Hook
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Ah crap

:-) I had hoped for a better placement. Congrats to the winners. To give a morale buff to my fellow looser I will say it was a very fun story on Loot&Wrenches.

Overall there was super entries for this challenge.

I did not vote for either Cabinet Affairs or Broken Unicorn. Here are my comments.

I like CA for the idea of playing one card face down on the bills and one card face up. I think it sounds like it could be a great game - Im wondering if it is to easy to guess what others will play. I find it interesting that this game as some of other entries is about "claiming the throne". And another point which I wasn't so fond of is that many entires the team loosed all together. So if it is going bad for you - wouldn't you try to drag all down?

Thumbs up on Bronken unicorn for the philosophy cards. Great idea to have a halfway split. It seems like there was not words enough. How i philosophy promoted?. Why is the malfunctions bad for you?

my two cents.

debiant
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Congratulations

Since I was late with my commentary last time I'd like to get ahead a bit with this one:

Congratulations to diluce for winning this month's showdown. It was an excellent entry. I've thought about the need for a Die Macher style game that plays in much less time and this reminded of that with a copetitive edge. I think the theme was perfect for this particular challenge and it garnered my silver medal. My only concern was that it might be too easy to spoil the game. This is a general concern with most copetitive games, though.

With Broken Unicorn I found that there was a lot of room for cooperation within the systems but the nihilists seemd to act more as a hidden traitor and that was specifically mentioned as not what the contest was about. That being said, I think without that it would still work as a copetitive game. It reminded me of BSG in certain respects.

wombat929
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Starting the talk early.

Congratulations, Diluce! Well done. And thanks, everyone who voted for Broken Unicorn. Hook, sorry yours didn't fare better. There were a lot of good entries.

Hook wrote:
Thumbs up on Broken Unicorn for the philosophy cards. Great idea to have a halfway split. It seems like there was not words enough. How i philosophy promoted?. Why is the malfunctions bad for you?

Obviously at this point I'm elaborating past what we could fit in the submission. But to answer your questions:

1. The malfunctions cause problems if they aren't resolved (it's an old ship, after all), but if they are fixed, a new room and potential place to put workers opens up.

2. The idea of the philosophies is that one of the worker actions is to put your philosophy tokens in the bag, and this would help your party win along the way. It's meant to simulate the consolidating of power in the small community of people on the ship. Does that answer your question?

Hook
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wombat929 wrote: 1. The

wombat929 wrote:

1. The malfunctions cause problems if they aren't resolved (it's an old ship, after all), but if they are fixed, a new room and potential place to put workers opens up.

2. The idea of the philosophies is that one of the worker actions is to put your philosophy tokens in the bag, and this would help your party win along the way. It's meant to simulate the consolidating of power in the small community of people on the ship. Does that answer your question?

Thanks. I'm a believer :-D

diluce
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Congratulations to everyone!

Thanks for the votes - I'm honoured and super excited to get such a response for my first entry! Cabinet Affairs was a theme that I had jotted down, but this month's contest gave me the impetus to actually formulate a game.

To answer some of the responses... I see a lot of the play occurring in the meta game - especially as the cards players lay face down can be of varying values. So you know that a player would support a bill, but you don't know by how much, so deciding which cards you play to negate their influence is the bluffing/negotiation factor.

I also tried to mitigate that 'I'm losing so everyone should lose' aspect with the shared deck, which makes it a bit easier for players to influence their own riding without interference from other players. How that would work in practice with especially vindictive people though... I don't know.

----
For Broken Unicorn - The story was great. I can see the game developing a life of its own and each play bringing out different dynamics. I would love to see a longer write-up as it seems to have lots going on.

MarkJindra
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Congrats!

Cabinet Affairs

This one was in middle of the pack for me. The gameplay seemed interesting and in the end it was the theme that simply turned me off to this one. I just do not find political games fun.

Broken Unicorn

Great name, interesting premise, sci-fi based. Although the theme seemed a bit dry this one was my choice for winner this month.

Great job everyone!

=M=

TowerWizard
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Congratulations diluce!

Cabinet Affairs have many interesting mechanics, and even though I don't really like political games, I gave this game the gold medal, since it was very well thought out, and contained interesting mechanics. The idea of a shared deck to be able to draw from if you want, but also having a private deck of your own is is great. The game also fit the theme of the competition. Besides, I think real life politics is a bit like this: if you have the backing of big business, you have to make sure they like what you do as a politician, or else you might loose that backing. Yeah, real life sucks sometimes, but not this game!

Broken Unicorn did not get my vote, even though it was also well thought out and fit the theme (except for the voidists; that idea goes against the spirit of the competition IMHO). I just found it too complicated, sort of. I also did not like the 30 second timer at all, I am sorry to say. I hate stress in real life, and see no point in artificially creating it when having a relaxing time playing board games. Also, the repairing mechanic seems off to me. To draw a random room card and then fix it to gain its benefit is strange, and goes against the idea of the crew having been on a spaceship so long. Shouldn't they know every room on the ship already, and be able to prioritize from among all the broken rooms? However, on a positive note, I liked that the game changes half way through.

lonebluewolf
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Grats to the winners!

Since we're already getting started (and I did all my homework ahead of time), I'll go ahead and post my critiques for the top two.

Cabinet Affairs: This is a fantastic blend of complexity and intrigue that immediately out of the gates had me grinning ear to ear. The theme is great, and I absolutely love the too-many-cooks type of situation that this game sets up. With a balancing act on multiple levels and diplomatic negotiation required to get anything done, this one got my gold. Big social games like this are my favorite genre, and this even has a healthy dose of resource management added in. If ever you decide to draft this up, I would absolutely love to playtest it!

Broken Unicorn: This game feels a bit like a cross between Battlestar Galactica and Omega Virus, and I already love space games, so big points there. You build the lore and setting very well in a short amount of space, and I especially appreciated that. I like that you create the sense of putting out several fires at once by manning different stations (like a multiplayer version of FTL), all the while having to manage political intrigue and resource balancing. The limited communication mechanic is particularly interesting as well, and vaguely reminds me of Space Alert. (30 seconds? Bust out the sand timers!) My only confusion reading the rules was how the philosophies worked, but since you explained that a bit in response to another post, I can get a much better idea of it it in my head. This got my bronze vote.

thoughtfulmonkey
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Cabinet Affairs; Broken Unicorn

Cabinet Affairs
I thought the idea of working together in the party while trying to manuever yourself into position for the top job was a great idea :). it seemed like a good game overall, and if there’s any group that pretend to cooperate while scheming to stab each other in the back then it’s politicians. I wasn’t quite sure why cards were played face-down on the bill - are they ever revealed? I think this detail might have made it clearer how players could use competitive strategies.

Broken Unicorn
This had some similarities to "The Tribe" submission - but in the future instead of the past. The theme was appropriate and fit with the brief. I wasn’t sure about the cult aspect since the game could do without it - just being a generation ship with a new leader and different plans (give-up, go to nearest planet, continue as planned, colonise an asteroid field etc.). I'd be interested to see how else the cult aspect was woven in. The ability for the acting-brigadier to give a speech seemed to fit really well with the theme, and in general it seemed like a lot of thought had gone into the design beyond what would fit in the word limit. It my got my Gold Medal.

As a side note, I got my formatting all wrong and only just found the template at the bottom of the guidance page: http://www.bgdf.com/node/27. Might be of use to anyone else that missed it.

wombat929
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broken rooms

TowerWizard wrote:
I just found it too complicated, sort of. I also did not like the 30 second timer at all, I am sorry to say.

The timer is there partially to help keep the game on pace, partially to add to the theme -- these are fractious relationships, and the ship's in real peril. They don't have time to debate endlessly.

TowerWizard wrote:
Shouldn't they know every room on the ship already, and be able to prioritize from among all the broken rooms?

We've continued working on the design document since the submission period ended, and we agree. The system now has three (or five) visible tiles you can pick from to 'reactivate' and thus have to repair. Our idea was that the ship is in poor repair overall, so any gains in living space or work space come at a repair cost.

lonebluewolf wrote:
This game feels a bit like a cross between Battlestar Galactica and Omega Virus

We weren't thinking of that, but I can see the comparison to Battlestar. We use worker-placement and board-building aspects, but the voidists do recall the cylons. I don't know Omega Virus. Off to BGG!

lonebluewolf wrote:
The limited communication mechanic is particularly interesting as well, and vaguely reminds me of Space Alert. (30 seconds? Bust out the sand timers!)

We also thought about that. In the most recent rules document, we're considering adding a penalty if the Acting Brigadier lets the conversation go longer than 30 seconds.

Thanks everyone for your feedback!

wombat929
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Cabinet Affairs

Things I liked: I think this game hit the overall theme very well, and as other people have said, the mix of personal and shared resources is a nice touch. I think the changing ratios of the various players' popularity in the different cards would foster a lot of competition.

Things that didn't work for me: The theme for this one didn't appeal to me very much--this is entirely personal, so not really a critique. It was also unclear to me how the PM's popularity would go down or be in danger. Also, is there a potential game-breaking mechanic in being able to drive up your riding popularity by playing cards there? What if someone JUST spent cards doing that?

I hope you continue developing the game, Diluce!

Icynova
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Cabinet Affairs

Cabinet Affairs

Theme: The theme is solid, but the idea of embracing and promoting a political ideology at random, and without player choice, does not appeal to me. I understand that’s what role-playing is all about. It’s relatively easy to role play a certain profession like a spy, and assassin, a butcher, baker or candlestick maker. However, you can always put your own brand of personal principles and personal sense of honor into any profession. You can still be yourself.

In this game, you have to at least pretend to embrace ideologies, philosophies, moralities and principles that are at odds with what you believe. That doesn’t seem like it would be much fun.

Mechanics: Options and play are too random. I would want to be more in control of what legislation I do and do not support. Strategy seems to revolve around bluffing & negotiation, which are two of my top 3 least favorite game mechanics. (Timed actions being the other one.)

Impression: A game is more than just theme and mechanics; just as a novel is more than plot and grammar. In the end, I think you have to ask yourself if you would walk into a game store and buy it. So, with all due respect to what is clearly a solid design, it just isn’t my kind of game. I seem to be in the minority on that. ;-)

Grats on the win Diluce!

MarkJindra
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The Next Overlord!

The Show Must Go On

I loved the premise of this but it just needed a touch more of scary clowns. This was my vote for the silver medal. There could be a ton of flavor in this game. I am seeing both Carnivàle and this past season of American Horror Story as great examples of that offbeat circus atmosphere that could make this a very special instead of the plain Ringling Bros feel.

Minions!

So the game is called Minions! but you play the Overlords. I would expect minions vying to overthrow the overlord and become the next overlord at the expense of the other minions. This one ended up in the middle of the pack for me but I feel there some decent potential for a fun/funny game here.

Again I say great job!

=M=

Hook
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gold

It is funny how many successor entries there is. The show must go on is a great idea. Scoring unused cards are clever. Letting the ringmaster play against the others sounds interesting. And I like that it won't possible end with all loosing. This game got my Gold.

I really think Minnions sound interesting - the theme is great, but I had a hard time grasp the full game idea. So I will leave commenting to others :)

Icynova
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Broken Unicorn Critique

Broken Unicorn

Theme: I’m afraid I’m going to sound like a broken record on theme, since my response to this one is similar to my response to Cabinet Affairs. Players don't get to choose their 'philosophy.' I would rather your philosophy be ‘earned’ through player actions. It’s okay to be philosophically destructive in an RPG, but I would prefer it be a strategy choice instead of a random draw. This is a lot like the ‘traitor’ mechanic.

Having said that, everything else here is great. Nice flavor and setting. Sounds a lot like a science fiction novel I once read. This is a rich game environment.

Mechanics:

-Limited and interdependent resources are a very interesting mechanic with a lot of potential to build tension and elevate the importance of strategy.

-Constant problems are great. This creates an element of suspense and anticipation where players are wincing as they turn over a card. Love it.

-Changing leadership could work, but it doesn’t add much in a 2-player game. I’m neutral on this one. The ‘Acting Brigadier’ is free to help a friend or to boost an underdog, but seems to have too much power. The AB powers can also be used to attack, so it does add a layer of strategy, but it can also be a bit arbitrary. In 2-player mode, that power automatically toggles between the two players, making bribes/auctioning irrelevant.

-Limited Communication doesn’t look like a good idea to me, and is prone to abuse depending on the personalities of the players. It seems like a difficult mechanic as well. If you don’t have a worker in the board room, do you have to leave the physical room? Put in ear plugs?

It looks like a 2-player game would be problematic. If both players are not in the same party, then whoever wins the party election wins the game, making resource collection irrelevant. If they happen to be in the same party, then the election is irrelevant and the whole game is about resources. I rate 2-player playability as pretty important to me, so I would have to see the special 2-player rules to rate it, but mechanics would clearly have to change.

Impression: Great theme. Some possible weaknesses in mechanics. You might have to create additional rules to limit player exploitation, as well as accommodate different numbers of players. Player politics, negotiation, traitors, bluffing, and timed actions are all pretty much at the bottom of game mechanics that I like. It’s an interesting ‘hook’ of an opener, but I wouldn’t look twice at this game in a store. Don’t take that as an insult. It’s just not my kind of game.

Grats on second place!

wombat929
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thoughtfulmonkey wrote:I

thoughtfulmonkey wrote:
I wasn’t sure about the cult aspect since the game could do without it - just being a generation ship with a new leader and different plans (give-up, go to nearest planet, continue as planned, colonise an asteroid field etc.). I'd be interested to see how else the cult aspect was woven in.

You have a point -- the cult aspect is mostly theme, but also to establish why these people would set off on a multi-generational colony ship that's so junky it's already significantly malfunctioning only 60 years into its trip.

Icynova, thanks for the comments -- valuable thoughts, all. We haven't talked about the 2-player version yet, but it would definitely need alternate rules.

thoughtfulmonkey
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The Show Must Go On; Minions!

The Show Must Go On
It seems like there would be interesting decisions and strategy. Although it does seem like the type of game that you would need to play at least once before you get a good idea what those strategies are. Similar to my own design this uses blind bidding; which I think overcomes the cooperative-competitive stalemate: “You play your card”, “No, you play your card”. It got my Silver Medal.

Minions
Everyone loves minions, but I’m a little conflicted about the use of licences. There’s always that balance between a good game and remaining faithful to the original theme. This design swung more towards being a good game - e.g. ‘real’ minions don’t work for competing overlords (unless that’s in the new movie), they just work for one person en masse. However, the mechanic of attracting support was very interesting. The option for cooperation or short-term personal game seemed an interesting choice, but I didn’t understand the justification behind cooperation leading to more resources - weakening law enforcement to make it easier to pillage?

anthiasgames
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What a spanking great win!

What a spanking great win! Congratulations!

wombat929
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The Show must go on and Minions

The Show must go on! The theme for this game appeals to me, but the mechanics section was baffling -- I read it several times and just couldn't wrap my mind around how the game worked. I think part of my confusion springs from the idea that the Ringmaster wants the show to fail, and then shouts "THE SHOW MUST GO ON."

Minions! I tried to shake off the idea that this was using the DESPICABLE ME minions, but it certainly evokes them. I like this game idea a lot -- the notion that changing reputation brings all the minions to the yard is great, and I like the idea that if any of the overlords lacks rent money, they all lose. It's a funny add-on that also evokes incompetent overlords like those in the DR HORRIBLE world.

Icynova
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thoughtfulmonkey, Thanks for

thoughtfulmonkey, Thanks for the critique.

From a theme perspective, my tie-in is that conspiracies, by definition, require some level of cooperation between participants. Otherwise it would be an evil plan instead of an evil conspiracy.

Through player choices, such as a "choose one of the following" mechanic on a Mischief card, the player is enticed to invest a gem for future returns so that all players share in a bonus (or reduce a penalty).

If the player decides to invest, this creates wealth in the form of gold, bribes, and waivers, which is the currency of conspiracies, so to speak. This wealth is given to all players, in most cases. Game events sometimes distribute a dividend based on invested gems, so that those players who created wealth for all, now get a bonus for themselves.

If all players make the stingy choices, they will find themselves barely able to keep up with the consumption of resources required by regular game events, and the hatching of conspiracies will be tough. Played that way, the game will last quite a bit longer.

Think of it in terms of Settlers of Catan. In Catan, certain resources will be tough to get, while others will be plentiful. This balance is set at the beginning of the game through random board generation and stays the same throughout the game. Players do strive to extract more of the rare stuff, so that the supply changes over time. They may then share that supply through trading.

Minions! takes that in a different direction. In Catan terms, say you roll an 8 and get an Ore. You may then trade that ore to another player in return for something else. With the Minions! mechanic, your choice would be to take that 1 Ore for yourself, or allow all players to take 1 Ore. Down the road, the game will reward you with Gold based on how often you chose to share resources. Gold is used in the game, but it also translates to victory points during the scoring phase at the end.

So, sharing helps all players achieve game objectives, but also earns the sharer more points in the end.

That doesn't take into account the Gems. Gems are what you invest, but you start the game with zero Gems. It does take at least a little bit of cooperation to build and maintain the game board extensions required to generate Gems. So, yes, one rude player can partially disrupt the game for all by being destructive to the game locations. Not completely, but it would affect the availability of Gems. In order to be destructive, you would have to work the locations that produce the least resources, and so penalizes the player that way.

To balance that, there are also "Attack" opportunities, where a player must choose one other player to receive a penalty. What goes around comes around... With a little playtesting, I think I can balance it so that the game is playable and rewarding even in the face of 1 or more players who try to break it.

MarkJindra
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Let's do it like they do it on ... the History Chanel

Well I could not vote for either of these although I was intrigued by the snippets of gameplay I saw here.

A Lasting Mark

I think that this idea attempts to shed some light on a time in history when the white european settlers pushed out the native americans and forced them westward. And in turn backed various tribes against one another. I do not think that what I am seeing in this idea approaches the teachable moment that we see in games like Freedom the Underground Railroad.

The Native Americans did in fact have wars or skirmishes with one another but I'm struggling to see how they are forced together against the European settlement. They were fragmented and this never happened. And I don't think that it does history justice in this case to make an alternate history where the Native Americans could stave off the Europeans.

I believe there is a great bit of history here to tell and would love to see this reworked. My wife who is part Cherokee said that she would also like to see the idea developed but the way it was presented was not something she would like to see.

Metal and Honor

This one left me scratching my head. I couldn't figure out how this fit the spirit of the contest. How were the soldiers being forced to work together? Was it because they were just a bunch of kids that were drafted to fight in a war together who would not have normally can ever come together for any other reason?

Then there is the racist stereotypes in the opening paragraph. "Charlie" and "Gook. These two terms are from two different war's "Korea" and "Viet Nam" and quite simply put these these terms are racist.

With a few minor tweaks to move this towards the rules of this competition and rework of that opening paragraph this one could easily have been in my top five.

...

I hope that didn't seem like a rant. I feel like there was some great ideas here and an attempt to tackle some very difficult subjects. I commend both of you for what you were able to accomplish here. For me these fell just a little short.

=M=

andymorris
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Thoughts

It's great to see such an active critiques thread. Sorry my two cents and I are late to the party.

I think this might have been the strongest overall set of entries I've seen in a GDS yet. I felt like the gap from the top entries to the bottom was very small. Great job everyone.

I don't have much new ground to cover on the dialogue so far, so I'll be brief.

Political Affairs got my gold. I felt the theme hit the essence of the challenge perfectly. I like the idea that each card could go to different agendas.

Broken Unicorn missed out on a medal for me. I really liked the description of the theme and I'm sure you'll end up with a quality game, but I wasn't sure about the inclusion of a timer or how the opening comments by the AB fit. I see now from your clarification what you're going for.

I think the bidding system in the show must go on is interesting. However, to me, it didn't feel like you have enough control of your own fate. I think there needs to be more of an element of putting on a show.

Minions got my silver. I think bad guys working together is a great fit for this challenge. I like the way things are stacked up to increase what you can do, but also what they cost.

Hook
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my favs

I think maybe MarkJ knows more about the native american history than me - but when I read the entry I really loved it. To me the theme fitted the challenge of the month perfectly. I imagine how Indian tribes sometimes allied against the white man - even if they also fought each other. I think it sounds like it could be a really good game - Its not really described how to fight europeans - but I think it would be good if there was a personal gain by attacking them. The best part I think is that you sacrifice goods to add attack value. Maybe if you move out of the way from one european another tribe well get in trouble. It got my Silver vote.

Metal of honor was also one of my favourites - it has a nice humorous layer to it. This was a really fun idea for a seemingly light but fun game. To me it seems like players healths will follow each other quite close? Is it not an advantage to be the last (highest ranked) player each turn?.I think it could be cool if the players each reveal an enemy card to simulate that the enemies are coming from all directions - Then it could be a strategy to let the leading player bleed a little before aiding him ..well described game so simple that I could follow along - as a sidenote I think it might a good idea not to complicate the game concepts too much . This almost got my vote - but i think there was too little strategy in the idea.

debiant
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The Show Must Go On

I really liked the theme of this one. I don't think there are enough games based on the circus, personally. It did seem primarly focused on the competitive gameplay and I wasn't quite sure how well the cooperative aspects would work.

debiant
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Minions!

This one just struck me as being really fun and engaging. The mechanics sounded interesting and the description of the everything left me wanting to read more. I gave Minions! my gold this month. It was my favorite of all the entries, including my own.

debiant
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MarkJindra wrote:Well I could

MarkJindra wrote:
Well I could not vote for either of these although I was intrigued by the snippets of gameplay I saw here.

##A Lasting Mark

I think that this idea attempts to shed some light on a time in history when the white european settlers pushed out the native americans and forced them westward. And in turn backed various tribes against one another. I do not think that what I am seeing in this idea approaches the teachable moment that we see in games like Freedom the Underground Railroad.

The Native Americans did in fact have wars or skirmishes with one another but I'm struggling to see how they are forced together against the European settlement. They were fragmented and this never happened. And I don't think that it does history justice in this case to make an alternate history where the Native Americans could stave off the Europeans.

I believe there is a great bit of history here to tell and would love to see this reworked. My wife who is part Cherokee said that she would also like to see the idea developed but the way it was presented was not something she would like to see.

Thanks for the critique, Mark. I was not in anyway trying to imply that the Native Americans could stave off European settlement. Perhaps my synopsis was a bit sensational, but I think the implication here is that I'm attempting to rewrite history or provide an alternate history. That is not the case.

The problem with comparison to Freedom is that in Freedom there is not only a clear enemy but there is a clear objective provided in the history of the struggle to abolish slavery. In the history of Native American genocide there is no clear goal except the survival of your people.

Perhaps that should have been the goal, but it didn't suit the spirit of the contest, nor did it suit the feel that I was going for in the game. I chose the western expansion and the pushing of tribes westward as the focus primarily because it was an opportunity for cooperation between disparate chiefdoms. There was never a point at which I meant to imply that they actively worked together only that they all face a common enemy.

I've played Freedom several times. The teaching moments in that game come while making decisions. The realization that no matter how hard you try you still have to make decisions you don't want to make. The realization of just how easy it is to see people as nothing more than objects moved around a board.

So what is the teaching moment of A Lasting Mark? Does it mean to be an educational game in the first place? I really meant the game to be more of a statement that provokes questions.

The stark white of the early Europeans against the vibrant colors of the Native Americans. The Pandemic-like spread of the European settlers as the colorful tribes dwindle and fight the Europeans and each other for survival and a piece of land to rest their head. People pushed farther and farther away from their homes. An imperfect and human people fighting against a system which they cannot possibly hope to set to rest. This is colonialism and that is my statement.

It's unfortunate that it missed the mark for you and your wife. My grandfather was Lenape. I think he would have quite liked it.

MarkJindra
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A Lasting Mark

I think you probably needed another 500 words to really convey what you were going for with the game. I would love to see the subject covered in a meaningful way and think that you should consider developing the game further even if you change the game mechanics from what what was presented here.

Thanks debiant

=M=

Icynova
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Joined: 06/02/2015
debiant, thanks for the vote

debiant, thanks for the vote of confidence. Minions! does have some subtlety that got lost in the word reduction. Things that I had explained in more detail got trimmed down to the least words I could find.

Still, it's my job to explain things in a pitch, and a pitch has to be brief. In some cases I had to imply certain things. Sort of like this is 2 and that is 2 and I had to leave it to the reader to get 4. I'm afraid the reader has to read carefully to get all the content that I intended. Ah, well.

In any case, I am fleshing this one out, and I am committed to finishing it up. I already have way over 100 cards and tiles defined on spreadsheets with some parameters for balancing.

My plan is to have about 250 cards and tiles altogether, and I do have a lot of wooden and acrylic 'bits' ready for playtesting. My rules booklet sits at 8 pages, which was my target based on the games I am comparing it to. I may trim that down, but I wanted to explain things in fairly simple language, which sometimes stretches it out in word count.

It's a pretty complex game, but I designed the game that I wanted to play--and then trimmed it down to one I thought my wife would play--rather than what I thought might sell at the store. I hope others like it, too.

In my first version, I had a lot more dice rolling. Now you only roll once per turn, plus a little here and there due to card text and sub-games.

Perhaps some of the folks on this site will be my playtesters someday. ;-)

Thanks to those who voted, and just as much thanks to those who did not vote for Minions!, but are posting to tell me why. Honestly, telling me what you didn't like is very valuable, and I respect your collective opinions.

lonebluewolf
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Joined: 01/23/2015
Minions Feedback, and The Show Must Go On

Minions: It sounds like there’s a lot going on here, and I like it – the adjusting economy and limited resources seems really interesting. Your presentation of the idea is excellent, and I like that there’s a precarious balance between personal and group goals. I got a pretty good idea of what the board and cards could look like just by your description, and the slightly wacky theme is fun. The only reason I didn’t vote for this one is that I felt like the cooperative aspect could be a bit stronger; cooperating with other players seems more like a limiting/guiding factor than the centerpiece, like tenuous alliances rather than forced collaboration. But, this absolutely makes sense for a game of evil overlords, and I would love to play this.

Thanks for all those who provided feedback for The Show Must Go On! A lot of people I shared this with before submitting it liked the theme a lot, but clarity on the mechanics was one of my biggest hurdles -- it tended to be kind of hit or miss, which seems to have been the case here as well. Some clarification...

Hook wrote:
Letting the ringmaster play against the others sounds interesting. And I like that it won't possible end with all loosing. This game got my Gold.

Thanks for the vote, Hook! I did like the element of having everyone win or lose together, but didn't want it to be totally game-ending, so having it go in rounds was my compromise. Each round does tend to be the Ringmaster against everyone else, in addition to whoever they want to share the blame/responsibility as the Main Attraction. Which brings up the next point...

wombat929 wrote:
I think part of my confusion springs from the idea that the Ringmaster wants the show to fail, and then shouts "THE SHOW MUST GO ON."

Everyone wants the show to succeed (or else nobody wins any points that round), and the Ringmaster and Main Attraction both additionally lose points for a failed show; essentially, they should want to see it succeed more than anyone else. Being able to shout, "The Show Must Go On!" is the Ringmaster and the Main Attraction's safeguard, in case the other players make it completely impossible to win, even if nobody tried to fake out with their 0 Fame card. Everyone ultimately wants the show to succeed with as little effort on their own part as possible, so that they can score whatever Fame they don't bid.

andymorris wrote:
However, to me, it didn't feel like you have enough control of your own fate. I think there needs to be more of an element of putting on a show.

My biggest regret was not going more in-depth about the special abilities for each role. The Juggler, for example, might be able to take X Action cards from another player, and then return X cards back to them; the Magician would be able to exchange their scored Fame cards with another players' once during the entire game. So, in that way, everyone has some small way of nudging things in their favor.

debiant
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Joined: 05/03/2015
MarkJindra wrote:I think you

MarkJindra wrote:
I think you probably needed another 500 words to really convey what you were going for with the game. I would love to see the subject covered in a meaningful way and think that you should consider developing the game further even if you change the game mechanics from what what was presented here.

Thanks debiant

=M=

Thank you. I think your critique probably pushed me to convey what the game is really about. I could have done more with the feel of the game and less about the mechanics.

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