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

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thoughtfulmonkey
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A Lasting Mark; Metal and Honor

A Lasting Mark
A very interesting game. Is there anything that could stop the players banding together to wipe out the settlers? Maybe some militaristic backlash? I also thought it would be interesting if trading with the settlers promoted their expansion - so you might get a short-term benefit, but it could be worse for everyone in the end. Was it a typo to say that the majority group had to move on? Surely they’d drive everyone else out. Having to trade and face a common enemy, while trying to promote your own people seemed to fit well with the brief.

Metal and Honor
An interesting mechanic. I couldn’t quite imagine the cards, or how you could keep track of which cubes were ‘moved last’, but I just put that down to the word/image restrictions. I wasn’t sure what competitive strategies could be employed. It could be a very good cooperative game though.

debiant
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thoughtfulmonkey wrote:A

thoughtfulmonkey wrote:
A Lasting Mark
A very interesting game. Is there anything that could stop the players banding together to wipe out the settlers? Maybe some militaristic backlash? I also thought it would be interesting if trading with the settlers promoted their expansion - so you might get a short-term benefit, but it could be worse for everyone in the end. Was it a typo to say that the majority group had to move on? Surely they’d drive everyone else out. Having to trade and face a common enemy, while trying to promote your own people seemed to fit well with the brief.

That's actually what I was going for. The idea is that the benefits of tools and guns are so advantageous against your opponents that initial trading with Europeans is advantageous and becomes more necessary as the game progresses. Trying to wipe them out, with their progressive expansion, would be a futile endeavor.

As the Europeans expand westward the idea was that the Native American players would be pushed farther and farther west to compete for fewer resources and still have to keep the European settlers from pushing all the way westward before the game ends.

It was a lot to try to capture in a 500 word brief and I think I was only partially successful, but I'm glad people found it interesting.

debiant
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Metal and Honor

I have to say I was really put off by the flavor text at the beginning of this entry. It wasn't merely that it appeared overtly racist but it was inconsistent and seemed to embrace the narrative cliches of American cinema.

I think the Vietnam War Era is an underutilized period of history and is ripe for innovative storytelling, but that wasn't what I found in this entry. Competing to stay alive during war time is an interesting concept, but I think there is a certain level of responsibility that goes into telling that story.

lonebluewolf
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A Lasting Mark & Metal and Honor

A Lasting Mark: I like that this game gives players the opportunity to experience an alternate perspective, to be on the other side of mainstream history; that said, this means that the players are ultimately doomed from the start, which is a hard sell for me. Very few games (like Agricola) can make that feeling of hopelessness from the outset fun to play. The interactions amongst the players/tribes and the Europeans is interesting, but it seems like trading with the Europeans is akin to making a deal with the devil – “they’re going out wipe us out anyway, do you want to be that guy?” As it stands, this feels to me like it works better as a cooperative game with a biggest winner than a competitive game with forced cooperation.

Metal and Honor: The theme was a bit dark and heavy on this one for me, but I soldiered on (sorry, puns) and found the cooperative combat mechanic to be nice and simple. I’m not personally a fan of games where losing results in players dropping out and waiting for the others to finish, but thematically it makes sense here. If I may make a suggestion, I think having a player drop to zero health could then have them assume control of additional enemies in some way, to escalate the danger of the situation while simultaneously emphasizing the need for players to cooperate to keep each other alive. Otherwise, this is a straightforward and clearly presented concept.

TowerWizard
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A lasting mark

I really liked this game, and thus it got my silver.

Instead of writing my own thoughts about the game, I would like to address some comments from others. I don't understand why a game has to be historically correct just because it uses a historical setting. Sure the natives could not resist the Europeans, we all know that. That, in my opinion, does not make a game about natives successfully being able to work together a bad idea. Might it need a disclaimer? Maybe. But in that case, what about almost every movie set in a historical setting? It is just a game, after all.

That being said, I agree that a game that DID teach us something about history would be better than a game set in a historical setting that does not. But then again, would it be fun playing a game in which the goal is to resist as long as possible, knowing that it is just a matter of time before you are wiped from the board? I don't think a majority would vote "yes" on that.

thoughtfulmonkey
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Schwarzwald Asylum; Mechanized

Schwarzwald Asylum
The description was very intriguing, but it seemed like a major part of the mechanic wasn’t described - an example of an event and how it is overcome,along with an example of an inmate’s disorder affecting the event. Another good design for a cooperative game, but the competitive element didn't come through as clearly.

Mechanized
The mechanic of rotating the cards as a sort of ‘cooldown’ for the weapons is a good idea, but I guess it would need a giant player mat. I’m imagining the enemies advancing similar to plants Vs zombies; and can see some friction there between players as to who should be dealing with them. I liked it, but it was judged edged out of a medal place by strong competition.

wombat929
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Lasting Mark/ Metal of Honor

Hi All,

Sorry I missed the convo yesterday. I agree with most of the comments about LM and MoH already said.

I think the system in MoH would be really interesting if re-themed to a fictional event/time. But the satirical aspect (and quest for glory) didn't appeal to me when placed in a real time period. This is perhaps a personal bugaboo, though, as I pretty much don't play war games set in real wars for this reason.

Lasting Mark sounded interesting mechanically, but the theme didn't appeal to me.

debiant
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Schwarzwald Asylum I really

Schwarzwald Asylum

I really liked the theme of this one. It reminded me of the second season of American Horror Story and I could see it working pretty well as a copetitive game. I could see a fun and engaging game there. My primary concern with the entry was that I couldn't get a good sense of the gameplay. The mechanics described were too vague so I felt as if you had a theme but really might not have given enough consideration to the mechanics. I gave this one my bronze, primarily for the intriguing theme.

Mechanized

Mechanized seemed like a very cool tank fighting style game, and I loved tank games growing up as a child in the arcades. The cool down system was interesting and it reminded me of BattleTech. My major concern with this entry was that there didn't appear to be anything pushing cooperation, so I wasn't quite sure that the entry was in the spirit of the contest. I think it could be quite a fun game, though.

wombat929
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Schwarzwald Asylum and Mechanized

Apologies to MarkJindra, but I really disliked Schwarzwald Asylum. Not only was the theme a big turnoff, but I didn't understand why it would be competitive. Why don't the inmates work together?

That said, there are two things that I liked about it:
1 - the card grid board. I think this mechanic has potential, though could also be accidentally disturbed by a player, but that's easy to do.

2 - the potential in the theme -- the mad scientist experimenting on people? Gold. Those people trying to escape? Gold. Using real-world psychological illnesses as the challenges in this goofy setting? YEESH. I'd have been much better with it if a) it were a real game about dealing with mental illness that tried to simulate those effects, but it couldn't have the crazy theme then OR b) it were just silly by having the inmates not actually be crazy. But mixing the two made me cringe.

Mechanized: I like this game idea a lot. I think the group of mercenaries protecting the town but trying to get loot from the villains and from one another is perfect, and the all-or-nothing loss fits exactly. I'd be keen to play this if it were developed more.

Hook
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I agree

Here are my notes.

Schwarzwald Asylum.
The fire sounds like it would push players forward.. so maybe it should have a fire every time. Like Race for the remedy i think the showdown is in the end - but I don't really understand why the inmates would compete on anything? Good idea overall.

Imo. there is no need to state a game time - it's all very abstract anyway.

Mechanized -
Great rotation mechanic. I think this game sounds quite fun. Im wondering... (it goes for other entries as well) wouldn't you let the enemy win if the other players are too much in lead? Spuer idea to let players shoot on each other to steal loot.

thoughtfulmonkey
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Race for the Remedy

Race for the Remedy
It looks like quite a compact, easy to pick-up game. The draw of the last three tiles might be the deciding factor, but there’s the potential for lots of tension. The theme matches the brief well, but the arrangement of the 'lab' is a bit abstract - a door next to a fire, next to a guard dog(?).

andymorris
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Overdue Thoughts

Sorry that I've fallen behind on posting any comments. I didn't manage to find a moment on the weekend. Anyway here we go:

A Lasting Mark: this one got my bronze. I thought the theme was interesting. I thought there was a good amount of game decisions packed into a fairly simple system. However, I think the flip a card and see what happens system for the Europeans could use a little more to it. It needs to build up as the game progresses. I didn't know that the Native American Nations did not work together. That's interesting. Considering I don't know very much about the topic, did the Native Americans really move farther and farther West away from the Europeans? I'm sure if you pursue this game you'll find a good balance for its historicity.

Metal and Honor: I like the way the abilities are setup. I think that would work well and create interesting choices. I think you'd need more enemy cards and maybe just use 15 per game to create variety. My concern was that I didn't see what created separation between players to create a single winner.

Schwarzwald Asylum: As others have said the theme was really well outlined. I like how there's a strong build up and I like the layout for the asylum. However, I have no idea how the winner is decided.

Mechanized: This sounds a bit like a Tower Defense game. I like the idea of rotating the cards to add an important timing component to the strategy. I think it might make sense to use square tiles instead of cards, as they would be easier to manipulate and take up less space. I wasn't clear on how the game ends.

Promotion: I think the general idea is solid and the theme fits the idea of the challenge well. My sense, if I understand correctly, is that there's no reason not to just always play your highest card. Also, I think there should be a little more to what the other branch does than simple a blind draw. What if 1 or 2 of the other branch cards are flipped up at the start of the round? I think there needs to be an element getting a disproportionate amount of credit to your work. What if everyone plays a card in the work phase and then your cards in the credit phase rearrange the work cards in some way so that the one who did the most work doesn't necessarily get the most credit?

Race for the Remedy: I like the basic idea of depending on each other to open places you can't on your own. I think that makes good sense for the challenge. However, overall I think the gameplay here it is a bit too simplistic and I think the setup would be a bit tedious. There needs to be more of a sense of strategic planning in how to get to the lab and then how to double cross your allies once you get there.

Icynova
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Looks like I got way behind

Looks like I got way behind on critiques over the weekend. I think most folks are dancing around the fact that they found some of these themes offensive. I'm sure they're trying to be polite. I will say it plainly where appropriate, since you need to know that before you try to market a game. An offensive theme is simply unnecessary baggage on a creative project, in my opinion.

We can debate all we want whether people should be offended, but as a developer trying to market an idea, it is important to know that a significant percentage of people will be offended. Those people won't buy your game.

Metal and Honor:

Mechanics: I was too offended by the theme to take the mechanics seriously.

The Show Must Go On:

Mechanics: Game was hard to follow, and strategies are unclear. However, scoring unused cards is a great twist. There is a social aspect that I'm never very good at, blind bidding, bluffing, etc., so I may not be a good audience for this one.

Theme: A cutthroat circus is an interesting twist. There is a lot of room for 'flavor'.

A Lasting Mark:

Mechanics: This design failed in theme, and so I did not evaluate the mechanics.

Theme: I was not particularly offended, but this is, essentially, a racial war. I doubt any game stores in the United states would carry it, especially with the raging controversy over the name of the Redskins football team. It's kinda nuts, to me, but it's the environment we live in.

Now if both cultures were fighting side-by-side against aliens or a zombie apocalypse using the technology of the time... that might work.

NOTE: The game "Five Tribes," which is one of my all-time favorites, was recently forced to rename the 'Slave' card to 'Fakir' in order to market it in the US. Even Days of Wonder can get tripped up by the politically correct craziness over here.

Hook
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my notes.

Promotion: The main idea here is one of my favourites (but similar to other entries). I really like the idea of trying to save your good cards for the right time. Im wondering if it would be more fun if the payers new how good the other branch project is - or almost. For example you draw for the other branch first except one or two cards and then play your own cards. I had some difficulty fully understanding this concept but it got my bronze vote.

Remedy: The common enemy is the obstacles. A clever idea - I assume it will all come down to the last moves where all players will use their mercy card. A fun little game.

Tribe
Was a bit complex to evaluate but I liked the overall idea of a tribe - sound like it is going to be hard to balance. Good idea with cards that are good and bad at the same time.

Escape Reality
The dual scoring system is a smart way to ensure some teamwork. Great idea

MarkJindra
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Busy Weekend

I had a busy weekend including an all day playtest of a game I'm developing.

Anyway I wanted to start with my entry and my thoughts about what I wrote.

Schwarzwald Asylum

I'm not sure that I was effectively able to convey how the theme of the competition. The patients of the asylum are meant to be criminally insane. They obviously can't defeat the evil doctor and get past the obstacles with-ought each other. But they also don't trust anyone and don't want anyone else to escape that knows they didn't die in the fire. You must all work to beat the game but the first person out must also be ready to seal the exit in some way so that no one else escapes alive.

As an elevator pitch I did not go into much detail especially on the gameplay. The basics would be obstacles and ways to cooperate to overcome them meanwile you would be collecting something that would assist you in the big backstab and your rush to victory. Of course it is possible for everyone to die in the fire and have no winner. But I didn't formulate any actual game mechanics. But rather generalized some basic concepts from other co-op games.

...

And now on to my thoughts about a few more of the entries.

Mechanized

I am not sure I would be all that into the drafting idea. But I like the idea of a game in the genre of Battletech, Robot Wars, and Pacific Rim. Just please no drifting ;)

Promotion

Sort of The Office meets Office Space? I liked the overall game ideas though. There was a designer who taught video game design who I heard once say that good game will let you do something that you couldn't do in real life. A game where you pilot a star ship is a far better idea than a game where you drive a lawn mower. This one hits a little too close to home as I have worked at places like this.

Race for the Remedy

I like the idea of this one and had it tied for the bronze but the list of components and the overall gameplay actually turned me off just enough to drop it from my top three. I think a name that wasn't so close to "Pandemic: Race for the Cure" might have kept this in my top three.

Great Job All!

=M=

debiant
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Promotion / Race for the Remedy

Promotion

Promotion seemed to embrace the spirit of the contest with a theme and central mechanics that fit the constraints very well. One of the biggest issues I had with the game as I read it was claiming credit. The claiming credit part of the game seemed to big the big competitive part of the game but there didn't appear to be any decision point there. It was simply draw a card, highest card gets it. It's possible that I missed something in the entry, but this is why this one did not get a medal from me.

Race for the Remedy

This reminded me a great deal of the recent release by Smirk and Dagger: Student Bodies. Effectively, there is only one antidote and it is in the science lab and everyone is racing to get to it and make it out alive. But only one person can make it out alive. One thing that game has going for it is that if the players are killed they can turn into zombies and continue playing.

I had trouble imagining what space would be occupied by competition in this game. It sounded as if you needed everyone else so much that it would work better as a cooperative game. I think the entry struggled to illustrate how the competitive aspects of the game would work without breaking because players would end up throwing the game or stalling out because no one wanted to give up the win. Again, this is where a lot of the entries struggled for me.

lonebluewolf
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Some catching up.

Sorry for the delayed feedback!

Schwarzwald Asylum: I thought the story and atmosphere for this one was good, and the theme and buildup is excellent. I could see the mental disorders resulting in some interesting mechanics. It’s a bit difficult to imagine how the player cooperation mechanic works for this one, though – I would have liked to see more information about the press-your-luck system, and the in-game effects of the disorders.

Mechanized: Mercenaries are cool. Robot mercenaries are even cooler. I particularly like your mechanics for building mechs and keeping track of weapon cooldowns. I’d like to have seen more cooperative aspects other than just combining firepower though, especially if it’s just as easy for players to outright attack each other. That said, I’m not even a huge fan of mechs, and I’d totally play this one, just to shoot some awesome big guns and drive a giant robot.

Promotion: Nothing says cutthroat to me like group work in a corporate setting. The theme and presentation is a lot of fun, and I thought the competitive/co-op aspect was very well captured. My only complaint would be that the project work mechanic is more randomized than I would have personally cared for; you could have a bit more strategy and underhandedness with a publicly known target. If this was balanced out by adding a ‘pointing the finger’ phase when projects fail, in addition to ‘claiming credit,’ I think that would have sold it for me. Overall, I gave this my silver.

Race for the Remedy: I like the urgency of the theme in this one. The exploration mechanic is cool, and reminds me a bit of Betrayal at House on the Hill. I would have personally liked to see more about the types of cooperative interactions that could occur between players, or the events and challenges they would have to face together. As it stands, the gameplay seems lightweight and easy to learn, and the randomization of room tiles makes for good replay value.

thoughtfulmonkey
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Promotion - responses to feedback

Thanks for everyone's feedback. Just to clarify the design: there would essentially be two independent phases where you draw a card, and then play one from your hand. In the first phase you are looking for a high combined team score; if you advance to the second phase then you're looking to personally get the highest individual card.

I wanted to have a draw in each phase to allow deception: "You said you only had a three", "I just drew the 5", *suspicious glare*.

There were a couple of suggestions for improving the drawing for the other branch. I agree that having a fixed sequence like Texas Holdem, with one or more drawn at the start, would probably be better.

A 'blamestorming' option could also be a good addition.

I was also thinking about feedback on other games about how to prevent a losing player from sabotaging the game. Possibly one player could be in line to get fired. So if the team loses, one person really loses.

Thanks again. It's a fun and mentally stimulating experience.

thoughtfulmonkey
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The Tribe; Escape Reality

The Tribe
The theme seemed to fit really well with the brief - it’s believable that the warriors would think that their role is the most important etc. I wasn’t sure about the cards that negatively affected groups to begin with, but the examples cleared up the intention. The fixed number of 4 players might make it less playable, and it would depend massively on the board design and areas. It got my Bronze Medal.

Escape Reality
As with the similar book/movie franchise the cooperative/competitive aspects fit well with the brief. Would the best strategy be to alternate between helping others and helping yourself so that both tracks are the same? If there were enough challenges to ensure that unless you helped the team then you’d die, then it could be a good system. The EP system seemed like it could add to the atmosphere - with more actions as you get closer to the end making it more frantic.

wombat929
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Race for the Remedy / Promotion

I'll echo other peoples' thoughts here, as they said it better than I did.

Race for the Remedy sounds fast paced and light, but like there would be an awful lot of cooperation by fiat, and the last draw would have way too much weight in determining winner.

Promotion sounded like an interesting idea, and the mechanics are good, but the theme was too close to home for me. I think this would be great re-themed in another time/place?

MarkJindra
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I'm Escaping Reality ...

The Tribe

This one seemed interesting, although a bit like a dry euro, to me but I wasn't sure the "common enemy" bringing them together was present in this one. Still though I think there might be a decent worker placement engine in here based on the description of play.

Escape Reality

I can't stand reality television so it was hard for me to even read this one. The overall feel I got from the game mechanics description seemed pretty good but nothing stood out for me that made me want to know more about the game.

MarkJindra
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Sabotage

thoughtfulmonkey wrote:
I was also thinking about feedback on other games about how to prevent a losing player from sabotaging the game. Possibly one player could be in line to get fired. So if the team loses, one person really loses.

I had the same thought when thinking about my entry. I think that giving the remaining players a way to "eliminate" an uncooperative player by teaming up could be one way to go. Although I do personally not like player-elimination games.

If you have to go the route of elimination then bringing the player back as in a Nemesis role could be interesting. As players get eliminated for non cooperation they could go to another team that is working against the first team and finally against the final player who is not only still working towards a goal but also against the other players.

Another idea might be some sort of catch-up mechanic that would reward players that have fallen behind for cooperation could work. Maybe something like a deck of cards that the last place player draws from that gives them a task that grants points or movement but requires them to perform a cooperative task. Although nothing specific is coming to mind.

=M=

Icynova
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Last Player Bonus

I struggled with that a bit as well. Originally, I had written a few Luck cards where either the richest player has to share the wealth (one time action), or where the poorest player gets a freebie.

Then I watched a Dice Tower webisode where last-player-freebies were discussed as one of the 'worst' game mechanics. That's just the opinion of a few folks, but I guess it would irritate a significant portion of players.

Their rationale was that a well-balanced game shouldn't need to be 'fixed' in such a crude manner.

I left the last-player-freebie in (just one), but removed the first-place share-the-wealth card. Sort of a compromise.

andymorris
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Thoughts on The Tribe

I like many of the ideas here. The idea of having different numbers of meeples for the different groups is quite interesting, but I worry the player going last every time would get tired of always being last. I wasn't sure from the write up if you could gain and lose meeples throughout the game, but that would definitely need to be an element. The end condition of being better off than you started didn't seem quite sufficient for the working together requirement, so that kept it out of the medals for me.

Icynova
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You were probably beginning

You were probably beginning to think that I didn’t like any of this month’s entries. But I did! This critique covers two of them.

Schwarzwald Asylum

This one got the Gold. MarkJindra, grats!

Theme

All I wrote was, “Good theme, lots of tension.” So the theme was a little soft. The antagonist is trying to prevent the patients from escaping in the middle of a fire. He is obviously evil. Not all games need to be heavy on theme, so I didn’t rate it any less for that. The best thing going for it is player ‘conditions’ that limit potential actions.

Mechanics

Pluses:

• Uses a press-your-luck dice system to maintain a sense of risk-taking and suspense.

• Avatars have disabilities. Awesome! I’ve heard of giving each player a unique bonus, but integrating mental disabilities with gameplay options is an imaginative and creative idea. For instance, with agoraphobia, the player would be nearly useless in a large room. Claustrophobia? Not much use in a stairwell. Bipolar? Your effectiveness might be determined at random at the beginning of each turn. This idea captured my imagination. Great work!

(I'm sure someone would be offended by making light of mental handicaps, but I used the name minion, which would probably be offensive, too. You can't please everybody.)

• Replayability is high, with only 1/3 of event cards in play.

Minuses:

• Multiple mechanics seem to be a good mix, but cooperation is critical in the endgame. If you must cooperate to kill the 'boss', then who wins?

• It appears that some players could be eliminated by isolation caused by the fire. In a two-player game, this would pretty much end the game by default. You can’t kill the evil doctor alone, so everyone dies.

Needs a little polishing, but I would like to play this game.

Gold! ......................................

Mechanized

Mechanized got my Bronze medal, and it was very close to silver. I have played a tower defense game before (Castle Panic!), and it lacked a sense of real tension. The ‘fun’ quotient was low, and the gameplay was simple matching. Frankly, I was a bit bored. I think Mechanized would add some of the tension back into this type of game with salvage, and the complexity of play would certainly keep me awake. ;-)

Theme

Very tower-defense-ish, video gamey, etc., but piqued my interest. I have never played a robot battle style board game, but it looks like fun. Unlike Castle Panic, I think players would get a sense of accomplishment by winning. I like the balance between competition and cooperation in this one, and I think it would be engaging to the end.

Mechanics

I like the draft mechanic. It may be a standard thing, but I have not seen it before. You are already deep into competitive strategy during the draft because you can influence what other players get. You might be forced to discard a great upgrade just to keep another player from getting it. The balance between co-op and cut-throat is well executed.

Downers: Number of players is not specified. Could you adapt this to two players? I know this doesn’t sound like a fair statement, but ‘accessibility’ is a factor in marketing and sales. Frankly, one of the factors in giving this a bronze instead of silver was because I don’t think I would be able to convince my wife to play. It’s just a little too hard-core wargaming for her.

Great work, ryu343!

TowerWizard
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The Tribe

Thanks for your comments. They help me making my next entry better!

Hook: Glad you liked my card idea, with both good and bad effects. I agree that the balancing the game would be very hard. I will try to make a less complex game entry next time.

Thoughfulmonkey: Thanks for your bronze! I agree, a game like this depends very much on the exact details, like what actions are available. I was thinking some sort of resource gathering, used to build up your influence and also to bribe other players with. Also, I was thinking about alternative rules for 3 players (leave out the shamans) and 5 players (one is playing the environment in some way, sort of the evil player).

MarkJindra: I love euro games, being a Swedish citizen and all. Although I agree with you, it is kind of generic, except that all players play on the same team, and the uneven factions. Also, there was nothing in the competition stating that there had to be a common enemy, just a common goal.

AndyMorris: Yes, you can gain more meeples, or lose them to events. I did not write that explicitly, but I did mention the warrior faction wanting many soldiers. The last player would be last because he has the most meeples, but if he loses some and/or others gain some, he will not be last anymore. Also, there could be some use of being last, especially with many meeples. Let's say some actions (not all, some are also limited actions, like getting more meeples) grow better with every meeple present in it. Like the first producing one wood, the second producing two and so on. Then, if the earlier players want wood, they in effect give more wood to later players (if they want wood). That being better off at the end is to weak a goal I can understand. You are right, something else would be needed.

lonebluewolf
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The Tribe & Escape Reality

The Tribe: Worker placement is one of my favorite types of games, and you’ve set up some interesting dependencies between each of the players with the group cards. I also like the balancing and differences between each of the tribes – I’m guessing the smaller groups have more high-risk/high-reward actions available to them? Everyone needing to collectively maintain a constant middle ground makes this a nicely complex balancing act that I would love to play.

Escape Reality: The theme here is great, and fits very well with this month’s requirement. I’m also a big fan of using dice as pawns, and the EP system seems very elegant and well thought out. The need to roll 3d6 for stats, and how they’re used for skill challenges here, seems unclear to me. With a reality TV theme, I was expecting to also see something a phase where players can vote each other out (or maybe to instead impose penalties if you didn’t want to eject people from the game), which would make the cooperative aspect more important. Your mechanics seem really solid, but more clarifying information and exploration of your theme would have really elevated this for me.

thoughtfulmonkey
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Bottleton Prize Garden; Bottleton Prize Garden

Bottleton Prize Garden
This seemed to be bordering on a game with miniatures (maybe along the lines of Takenoko) - which made it appealing. The way of dealing with pests would be central to determining if cooperation was required - and I didn’t get a full sense of it. E.g. if there was a single gopher token moving around, why would I care if it was over on the other side of the board? If it was more of of an infestation across the whole garden, and if my neighbour didn’t clear it at the same time as me then my garden could get reinfected, then more cooperation could be needed.

Bottleton Prize Garden
There’s a very interesting mechanic here, but I’m not sure how much cooperation would be needed if each player has a variety of types. It might force more cooperation if each player had a single type; but then you’d need to be careful which monsters were played (you couldn’t have a monster that needed a cloak if no player was the cloak character). I’m not keen on the term ‘wenches’. If they’re being saved then ‘damsels’ might be better, or generic ‘aristocrats’?

ElKobold
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Quote:Tere’s a very

Quote:
Tere’s a very interesting mechanic here, but I’m not sure how much cooperation would be needed if each player has a variety of types. It might force more cooperation if each player had a single type; but then you’d need to be careful which monsters were played (you couldn’t have a monster that needed a cloak if no player was the cloak character).

The decision that any player may pursue any of the 4 suits of victory points is necessary. It removes a situation where a player is at a disadvantage because not enough monsters with his VPs are drawn.

The game is balanced in such a way, that players are often forced to complete quests that they are not interested in reward-wise, least everybody looses, or some really nasty bad effect comes into play.

And since the actual reward tokens are kept face-down, it discourages the "I can't win, so i'll make everybody loose" gameplay, because you don't know who is actually winning at any given moment. I might have more reward tokens than you, but they can be all of different suits, while you have all the glory, for example. Both of us will play against the game first, to have a chance to win.

I have actually built a working prototype and it proved to be working the way I've described. At least in those few tests I made.

Quote:
I’m not keen on the term ‘wenches’. If they’re being saved then ‘damsels’ might be better, or generic ‘aristocrats’?

Google "korgoth of barbaria". You'll get the aesthetics I was aiming for and my naming choices will make more sense. The game is a parody on sword and sorcery genre.

wombat929
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Bottleton Garden / Loot & Wenches

Bottleton Garden This sounds like it could be a cute game, and the garden theme is less common. I'll agree with the comments above that the game doesn't have enough explanation of teamwork. But more for me is the level of luck in the game -- the season is determined by a card draw, the bugs are determined by dice, and all your growth is also determined by dice. In dice games, they often mitigate these factors by letting people roll multiple times (like KING OF TOKYO). Your game doesn't seem to have that. You also don't explain what the gardener cards do.

Loot and Wenches I like the card turning countdown mechanic (also used in mechanized for weapon cool-down) in this game. I'm unclear, though, on how this game asks players to work together. The shared negative if a quest fails is a good motivator, but it still only allows one player to do it, right? Reminds me of Elder Sign a bit in that way.

The biggest suggestion I'd make in revising this game is to look for a more unusual theme. It seems like dungeon-crawling adventure games are pretty common these days (Boss Monster, Welcome to the Dungeon, Pixel Hero). Also, it isn't until you get well into the example discussion that it's clear the game is supposed to be funny.

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