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[GDS] MARCH 2014 "Make Mine Random" - Critiques

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mindspike
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We have a winner!

Tornado Town

Spinning and twisting into first place, Tornado Town tore up the competition! A close second place goes to Exo Prime. Both are truly outstanding entries for this month's challenging competition. There is much to discuss about this particular challenge, and with the high level of participation there's bound to be some fascinating points raised about all of games. Congrats to all our participants; now let's start generating some feedback!

Game Score Gold Medals Silver Medals Bronze Medals
Tornado Town 23 pts 4 4 3
Exo Prime 18 pts 5 1 1
Black Hole Vortex 9 pts 1 2 2
Hostile Robot 8 pts 1 2 1
Arctic Dissection 6 pts 1 1 1
Fate and the Wheel of Fortune 6 pts 1 1 1
Bumbling Bees 4 pts 1 1
Fishing Float 4 pts 2
Gaja Moon 4 pts 1 2
Do or Dial 1 pt 1
Warriors of Spinaria 1 pt 1
Critter Scamble 0 pts
Time is Money, Money is Fame 0 pts
Word Drop 0 pts
SugarPillStudios
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Notes from Judging.

Congrats to the winners! Here are some notes from my review of the entries. I actually wrote a bit more than this in my notes, but wanted to focus these critiques on the most salient aspects of the games that most influenced my decision to vote or not vote for each. Take these comments with a grain of salt, as I'm sure that even the least promising sounding ideas could be developed in really fantastic games.

Critter Scramble - Suspicious about mixing a timer with use of spinners. Also not a big fan of the grab-as-many-as-you-can dexterity element.

Time is Money, Money is Fame - Would have liked to have seen the spinner used for more than tracking time.

Bubbling Bees - It wasn't clear to me whether the bees could actually block the spinner from spinning past them. And honestly I wasn't sure whether that would make the concept more or less fun.

Hostile Robot - I really liked the idea of having interchangeable modules within the spinners. Less excited about the take-that battle system built around this mechanic.

Black Hole Vortex - Sounded too roll-and-move-ish, or I guess spin-and-move-ish to me.

Arctic Dissection - This is the only medal I voted for that didn't end up in the top three. The cut and choose style mechanic sounded interesting, although I did have some concerns that a Dominant Strategy might appear after a few plays(?).

Gaja Moon - I thought this seemed really promising, but I am certainly biased by having designed it :)

Word Drop - Seemed like it might be very hard to strategize about where to place cards around the spinner, which seemed like the most novel part of the design.

Do or Dial - Reminded me of math dice, but with dials. I liked the randomized challenge/goal aspect of this idea the most.

Fishing Float - Seemed like a decent game built around a somewhat questionable mechanic to me... I'm not sure about the idea of using a spinner as a dexterity element, especially in how this design ties that spin to both type and number of fish caught.

Tornado Town - Great pairing of theme, and somewhat reminded me of the game Survive. A well deserved win.

Warriors of Spinaria - Spinner seems to automate a war-like battle mechanic that is further complicated by a bit of extra math.

Exo Prime - I really like how the random spin result can trigger multiple destinations that workers are working in. The cards that help manipulate the spin result are another nice additions. Another well deserved win, IMO.

Fate and the Wheel of Fortune - I'm not a big fan of how this game constantly beats players up, and only provides them with limited protection from those beatings via cards.

richdurham
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Critique Schedule

Here's the schedule for the March GDS:
Congratulations to anonymousmagic and ruy343 for earning the votes of your peers!

This month we continue with the double-duty voting, as the new methods and tech aren't implemented yet. Please remember to comment on why you voted the way you did, and what could be done to win your vote if you didn't vote for it.

Game Score Designer Critique
Date
Tornado Town 23 pts anonymousmagic Monday 3/17
Exo Prime 18 pts ruy343
Black Hole Vortex 9 pts iisjreg Tuesday 3/18
Hostile Robot 8 pts Mr. S
Arctic Dissection 6 pts Lawrencelot Wednesday 3/19
Fate and the Wheel of Fortune 6 pts davidwpa
Bumbling Bees 4 pts sonofman Thursday 3/20
Fishing Float 4 pts bike
Gaja Moon 4 pts SugarPillStudios Friday 3/21
Do or Dial 1 pt andymorris
Warriors of Spinaria 1 pt danieledeming Saturday 3/22
Critter Scamble 0 pts KrisW
Time is Money, Money is Fame 0 pts Melx Sunday 3/23
Word Drop 0 pts regzr

anonymousmagic
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Thanks!

If I had to use one word to describe this GDS, I'd say "dumbstruck". I mean, here I am entering the contest for the very first time, and I get the most medals and the highest score to boot. I was literally speechless when I read the results. Thanks to everyone who voted for my entry!

I'll keep my personal thoughts on my entry to myself for the moment so as not to influence the feedback. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has to say. Don't be afraid to give negative feedback. As long as it's given with good intentions and some form of politeness, I can take it :)

Mr.S
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Tornado Town Critique

This was the best game by far and my gold medal winner. The playability overcame the lack of spinner innovation. While the spinner was random, the idea of having a compass is not a new one. I think that the use of only four directions also limits the game. I would take out the cards and have the whole game about running for safety. The strength of the tornado is also unnecessary, and you could replace them with NE, SE, SW, NW. In this way players can’t just hide on the diagonals. They must really start running. I have used the compass spinner idea before and found that you really need the 8 directions to make a game fun. It is also more thematic as tornadoes don’t stop on a dime and then shoot out in one direction.
I am also concerned about the number of components in this game. I suppose they are all necessary, but you are looking at 303 pieces before cards.
Some questions I have:
Why should I care about clearing rubble? This only makes sense if you are not allowed to cross rubble. Also, what happens if the Tornado leaves the board? Is the game over? What happens if the spinner keeps landing on strength spaces and never moves. Or what happens when the strength decreases to 0? Is that the end of the game?

Anyways, if you take out the fluff (cards + strength), I would like to play this game.

Mr.S
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Exo Prime Critique

I like that you put effort into analyzing spinners for this challenge. You came up with the same observations as I did. After that we both took very different paths. I thought you had an interesting idea on the use of the spinner. The roulette wheel style of the game makes things interesting and fun. Of course, this function could be replaced with a polyhedral dice, but I think the spinner makes this mechanic work better. Tension will build as the spinner is slowing down, just like in a casino. I suppose it would be better to have a roulette / life style spinner for dramatic effect.
The big issue I had with this game was the weather control mechanic. Thematically, you are saying that a species has the technology to occupy, terraform, colonize and exploit another planet and control the weather. But they can’t control the machine that ‘controls’ weather? To make this more thematic consider changing the concept of the spinner from weather control machine to hand of god. OR try an ant farm theme, where you send off workers, etc to create a large ant colony. As the human overseer you would also have more control over the weather than you would by gong to another planet. Just a thought.

bike
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Tornado town - critique

Good game, my silver medal. Not so much using the spinner special abilities, but a tornado is a big spinner! The theme wins the points here.
I do think it is to easy to avoid being hit with the current rules. Maybe the tornado not only can change speed, but also size!? One step besides the tornade line you are safe now.

bike
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Exo prime - critique

Good use of the spinner, both the changing of tops, and the random landing spot. Just missed out on bronze for me. I think there is too much randomness for the type of game.

ruy343
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Tornado Town Thoughts

Congrats Anonymousmagic!

I gave Tornado town my Gold medal, and here's why:

-I liked that it used the spinner in a way that would make sense tot eh players. When you play the game "Forbidden Desert" , wherein you use cards that dictate how the sandstorm moves, it's a bit confusing which direction the sandstorm is actually moving because people sit in different orientations. The spinner would remove all ambiguity.
-I think that a lot of people liked the theme of this game: it felt relatable.
-I enjoyed the aspect of hunting for survivors and trying to save as many as you could. I think that the idea of finding shelters for them was good

Here's what I thought needed work:

-If shelters are distributed randomly, that could definitely mean that players who started at the wrong spot could have a significant disadvantage.
-I worried that the tornado wouldn't move enough to cover your 11x11 grid. If a player is on the opposite side of the town, they'd have a long time to see the tornado coming. Consider shrinking your grid.
-In a similar vein, I feel that there could be times where the tornado ends up in one side of the map and all the players feel safe. Consider allowing the tornado to jump (because they do) whenever it reaches the edge of the board to the opposite side of the board, as though the board wraps around (as in Moonbase Commander). Suddenly, there is no more corners for the tornado to get stuck in.
-Consider a cooperative game with this theme as well. The idea of a competitive game works ok, but it feels like it's a man vs. nature sort of game, and personally, I feel that a man vs. man vs. nature game has too much going on.

mindspike
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Tornado Town and Exo Prime

Tornado Town

Tornadoes fascinate me. I grew up in Tornado Alley in the midwest and loved watching these massive storms … from a safe distance. Having also lived through the direct path of several tornadoes, the theme struck an immediate chord with me.

(+) The theme struck home, nailing the idea of “things that spin”. The modular board allows for an endless variety of constructions, keeping the game fresh. The action of moving survivors to safety is a natural fit for the game, and the tornado provides a fresh and impersonal menace. The movement of all the components seems natural. The game seems like it would be easy to pick up, and appeal to a broach audience.

(-) I would rather have seen the spinner and the tornado be the same component, so that the tornado actually spins. Nested spinners could separate direction from other effects. I also see no reason the tornado needs to be restricted to a movement grid. The idea of survivors killing each other to gain access to a shelter turns me off. Survivor movement doesn’t feel quite right, either, but maybe that just needs to be inverted so that individuals move faster than groups. I’d like to see additional rules to flesh out both the rubble and event cards, if either component is truly necessary.


Exo Prime

I’m not much for the agri- Euro- style game, but you had me at “weather control satellite”.

(+) The use of the spinner to trade one resource for another is a good implementation of the mechanic, and fits naturally with weather control. Rain in one area means drought somewhere else. Both layering the spinner and changing out the face are good ideas that could change the nature of the game. Since the spinner represents “natural” weather patterns and the cards control the “satellite”, the weather control mechanic is not perfect … and it shouldn’t be.

(-) The worker placement aspect feels tacked onto the more interesting part of the game. I recognize that it fits thematically, and gives purpose to the weather control. I just find it uninteresting. But I don’t play Farmville, either. I like the idea of terraforming the planet, though. I’m unclear on how players will interact with each other, or what the end goal of the game is.

iisjreg
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March Critique

Preamble

This was my first challenge after rediscovering BGDF (even though I noticed I've been registered for 3 years 34 weeks!!)

There were some awesome games, so congratulations to everyone for the effort. I tended to rank games that I can see myself playing. Although this may have affected my voting a bit, I did try to maintain parity as much as possible.

Anyway...

Tornado Town

My Gold medal! The potential is massive. I agree with previous comments that, with a bit of work, this would be a fun game and a definite purchase. I think the general design is good, so will only comment on possible changes:

I agree with removing the action cards, while moving those events onto the random tiles, themselves, such as a tile where you find some more survivors or a tile where you find some energy drink and gain a movement bonus.

I think a balance between having more directions and variable power would be to have 8 directions but segment each of the 8 into sectors which increase or decrease the power (e.g.: http://imgur.com/HnFxOfr).

Exo Prime

I had some difficulty with this. I had trouble picturing the spinners, which is an issue with text only descriptions (perhaps I just need to develop my imagination!). I think this made it seem quite complicated to me and meant that I thought the spinners could easily be replaced with dice, albeit quite a few of them. I may be wrong...

Apart from this, I liked the idea of worker placement with crazy and variable, yet controllable, weather effects. I just think it could be cool with loads of dice, instead.

danieledeming
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Tornado Town and Exo Prime

Tornado Town:

This was my silver medal. I thought this was a great concept...and did work very well with the spinner. I agree w/the movement critique (moving in groups/solo) that it was inverted. I would love to see a balance form between movement and shelter, i.e. once shelter is found, only the group that finds it can hide there. So while smaller groups could find shelter faster, if you break up, you have to find more shelters, where a large group could all hide the same place but it might take longer for them to find it.

Aside from that, the violence aspect was a turn off, but I'm sure could be adapted. A little less Cormac McCarthy...otherwise, it sounded like a fun game with some interesting decisions to be made.

Exo Prime:

This game - for me, anyway - might have been the victim of the word count restriction; it didn't medal for me. I feel like it's the start of a concept that, once developed, would be really complex and interesting, and I like the way you really looked at the mechanic of a spinner. I am a huge fan of the idea of being able to change the spinner.

The shortcomings I saw here were that there *were* no rules - it was just the concept without an explanation of how it works. So I really felt like I had no idea of how the game play would actually work and whether it would be fun/challenging/balanced and couldn't evaluate.

That said, I would be an avid follower of the Exo Prime Game Journal.

andymorris
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My thoughts

Tornado Town

I liked the potential of this game and gave it a bronze even though I thought it still had some things to iron out. All of the questions/issues I had have been mentioned already. I think the biggest question is what happens when the tornado gets to an edge? As written this would happen after the tornado's very first movement. I think it would work to just have a new tornado show up. Also what if there could be the potential for more than one tornado at the same time?

Eco Prime

I liked the concept. I thought this was the most creative use of a spinner and the best answer to the question what can a spinner do that dice can't, so I gave it a gold medal. I thought thematically it made sense that the more you mess with the planet's weather the more extreme it becomes and the harder it is to control. As the game gets fleshed out, I think the most important thing would be to make sure that the players have enough control so that they are not just at the whim of the random element of the weather. Rather it should be the player who is able to do the best job of planning and preparing for the different possibilities that wins.

Mr.S
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Black Hole Vortex Critique

Ok, I am not sure you understand what is meant by abstract game. An abstract game has no theme and its mechanics do no lend itself to theme. Your game has the deep space theme and, therefore, is not an abstract game. The gravity theme makes sense as you have no control over gravity just as you have no choice in strategy for this game. And I think that’s the hardest part of this game to deal with.
The division between the randomness of the players moving towards the center and the other players moving wherever they want is a little hard to understand. Are the players sucked towards the black hole also able to move one space? How would anyone actually get knocked out?
You will also have to do a lot of prep work to make sure that players can’t just move back and forth towards points.

davidwpa
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My Critiques

Tornado Town

This was my bronze medal game only because the top three were so close I had a really hard time deciding the order. It came down to some subjective things that are still debatable in my mind.

I think the suggestion made by some other reviewers about making the spinner the tornado is a good touch that would tighten up the game. I also think the concept would be strengthened by allowing the tornado to move diagonally and wrap around the board.

I also think a multi-tiered spinner where the eight segments are subdivided into four smaller divisions that handle the increasing and decreasing the strength of the tornado as well as drawing the event cards.

The drawbacks I had were minor. I think the movement of the individual versus the group is backwards as well, and I really don't like the idea of one survivor's groups killing members of another's group.

One thought about the cards is instead of letting the spinner select when you can draw them, maybe you can further randomize the board by dividing the cards among the tiles face down under the tile (or on it) and whoever lands on it can take and use the cards.

Exo Prime

This was my gold medal game. Even though the specific rules are not complete, the concept I thought was pretty cool.

I liked the mechanic of using the spinner to produce dual results and the idea of replacing the spinner to create more radical events as the game progresses.

I think the terraforming and resource management part of the game needs a little more fleshing out as it's not exactly clear what kind of board and components would be used to implement this but the concept at a high level I think is pretty original and I would like to try it.

anonymousmagic
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Exo Prime -- Feedback

Four of the games this month scored 15 or 16 out of 20 points in my scoring system and I took a closer look at all of them to determine who got my medals. In the end Exo Prime received Bronze.

I liked how the spinner had multiple effects once and how things deteriorated over time with each depletion of the card pile. It makes perfect sense that the weather would deteriorate when it is constantly being pulled around and influenced by the different players.

It lost some points on theme, because I'm not a fan of space games in general. And I can't help but think it might have ended higher if the entry included some specific rules and gameplay rather than the lighter pitch it has become. Please continue developing this. With some more work, I think this could be a fun game. Also, maybe the ant colony theme suggested earlier is worth considering. I'd like the idea of something like this since it's a relatively rare theme.

Scoring:
Spinner: 4
Theme: 3
Mechanics: 4
Clarity: 4

anonymousmagic
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Thanks for all the feedback

Thanks for all the feedback on my game Tornado Town. It is an eye opener. What I thought were the game's strong suites actually received criticism, while the things I thought were weak, you guys actually liked.

I'll probably be starting a game journal later today.
Thanks again.

andymorris
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My Thoughts

Black Hole Vortex

I think the use of the spinner to draw a sector in towards the black hole works, but I think the game needs to be more centred around the idea of avoiding being sucked in to the black hole. There ought to be more of a dynamic where you are trying to stay away from the vortex while forcing the other players towards it.

Hostile Robot

I liked the idea of cutting wires to disable the robot and the use of different spinner configurations. I wasn't sold on the hostile part. What if each player has their own robot? This could add the dynamic of choosing between sabotaging someone else's robot versus repairing your own. The players could earn points for being able to perform more complex movements and maybe have the option to upgrade the robot to do even more.

ruy343
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Thanks!

Like Anon above, I thank you for your feedback.

Word limit was definitely a restriction, because I couldn't dive into the game the way I wanted. However, I think that I still wouldn't have won first place because, you're right, I don't know where I'm going with this one.

At first, it was a bit of a mix of carcassone and settlers of catan, and then I started working on war mechanics, and then I realized that I had a game that would take place in several phases, as the players were scraping by to survive at the beginning, but later not really caring what the weather does. It's a problem, and I'm not sure how to solve it. I hadn't considered starting up a game design journal, but I just might... Who knows?

I still think that the idea of my spinner that affects everywhere on the board at once is a good idea, but I just might change it from affecting each space individually to affecting regions of the board. This way, maybe I'd be able to simplify the resource collection mechanics a bit, and allow players to change the location of certain sectors with relation to others on the spinner wheel, causing there to be any number of possible outcomes.

I liked the weather control satellite idea, so I'll probably develop this game as far as it goes and see what happens.

sonofman
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black hole and Hostile robot

Neither one of these got my medals. Tornado town got my silver and Exo prime my gold. Sorry I missed that day of commentary!

I still quite liked one aspect of these:

Black hole vortex

I liked the spinner hitting the pieces and making them fly off the board. Granted this will probably mean players whacking it as hard as they can if none of their pieces are in range, but it was a unique use of the spinner as a physical object rather than just a randomizer. I'm quite biased of course because my entry approached spinners in a similar way.

The reason I didn't vote for it is because everything else felt quite random and undefined. Why do you even have your own cubes if all cubes on a space move? Do you take actions with any person's cubes if you land on a space? Do the actions really have much impact other than moving cubes towards or away the spinner? And is that really a choice since you'd obviously want to move yours away and others' towards, or if you can always score points. The options of movng other player's pieces sideways also seems largely irrelevant because whether they get moved or not in the future is random anyway.

Hostile Robot

I liked the semi-cooperative nature of this, and that you could ignore that if you wanted and just try to disarm the robot without anyone taking over a certain amount of damage.

Then again, that is also the part that I think needs to change to earn a vote. SO random. A player spinner used only at the start of the game? Seems superfluous, but not a detriment. I liked drawing the random insert, but it's still random - your one of two choices in the game is whether to spin on the current insert or the one you drew. Assuming they share some colors but the distributions are different there would be a right choice each time since you are probably aiming for a particular wire or wires to cut.

Or are you?

Since the wire color you can cut is almost random, and the robot function that activates is random, it doesn't matter which wire you cut. Basically, you can't predict or influence which function activates so why deactivate one over another? This means that it doesn't matter what wire you cut so long as you don't spin a color that is no longer available. And that makes a clear choice (to pick an insert with the most colors that are available to cut).

In the end I liked this game as aimed at kids that are learning to make decisions in games and know their colors. They can feel like they are making choices and feel the tension of that choice when spinning the Robot Function spinner, even if their choice didn't matter much.

davidwpa
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Today's Critiques

Black Hole Vortex

This game won my silver medal. As I stated yesterday, all three of my top picks were very close and I struggled ordering them, but settled on the order given.

I liked the idea of the spinner not only choosing the pieces to move by pointing at the space but then the spaces also providing actions that could occur. I liked the mechanism of drawing one section's pieces toward the center when the spinner points to them as well as also allowing them to move to other locations if they wanted.

I'm not a big fan of the spinner knocking pieces off the board as that could get messy unless maybe the board is inside a frame that could contain knocked out pieces. Overall though that was a minor item. I'm also not sure what an invalid spin is. If you are talking about on the line, I would think that could happen fairly often which might cause a player's pieces to move quite quickly to the center.

Those were really my only criticisms of the game. I think it sounds interesting.

Hostile Robot

This game is interesting. I like the semi-cooperative aspect of it. I like the changing inserts on the spinners and the variety of options as to when and how to change them.

I think the Player spinner is gratuitous since it is only used once from what I can tell and is never used again. I'm not sure how the Wire inserts would work without quite a bit of playtesting and I could envision that with constantly changing them you could get into a random sequence where you will spend a lot of time toward the end of the game trying to get a particular color to progress to the end. In the beginning it probably will work well, but as you move to the end game, I could see more and more spinning and less actions against the robot. The damage I don't think is as much an issue but the wire cutting I think would get tedious. Anyway this fell in the middle of my list and I would probably play it if I could, but I felt the possible spinning frustration edged it out of a medal, but it was a very close contender.

davidwpa
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Wednesday Critiques

Arctic Dissection

I have to be honest. I would need to see this game in action to understand what is going on. The description feels kind of vague to me from the beginning. It implies there are several pairs of countries and the players just pick two of them. I'm not sure if this matters. The country thing seems like window dressing. I like the idea of picking and dividing regions but I cannot visualize this game play. Most importantly I don't understand what is on the spinner or how many regions there are on the spinner. I think it is probably a decent game, but I would need to see this in action to totally "get" it.

Fate and the Wheel of Fortune

Okay, I'm not going to critique my game, but I want to add a couple notes just to explain my thought process.

I understand the idea of dealing with random disasters destroying your populations over time doesn't initially seem like fun, but I think it is somewhat like life. We are all put here to die eventually some of us sooner than others. The idea behind the Fates is we all have some length of time and then we are done and that was what I was trying to capture in the game albeit through disaster. The player functions as a demi-god who is protecting his population as much as possible which I think mitigates the disaster marathon.

I considered and still consider adding action cards that allow populations to regrow just like they mitigate or aggravate disasters. The cards could do anything and my thought was to use them to balance the randomness of fate (the spins). Also, there could be cancel cards as well that deflect the altering of an action.

One idea I do like and will incorporate is the idea of having a class of action cards that would act as interrupts and allow the person to alter the spinner by moving it one or two spaces and averting the disaster or possibly ending the game by hitting that third peaceful period. Thanks to Sugar Pill Studios mechanic idea in their game for that concept. I really didn't consider it in my original design..

That was my thought process and of the three games I created for these showdowns, I have to admit I really like the potential for this one.

Mr.S
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Hostile Robot Response

Thank you to the reviewers.

Hostile Robot was not actually my first submission to this challenge. I had another game, but decided to switch it to this one in the spirit of the challenge. This game relied on the spinner mechanic more and used it in a more interesting way.
Also, I really wasn't in love with the game title.
That being said, I conceived the idea and uploaded it in under two hours, while working much longer on the other game. I think it shows, in that the end of the game kind of just drags out. I would like to just address a few of the comments to clarify some things:

andymorris wrote:
.

. What if each player has their own robot? This could add the dynamic of choosing between sabotaging someone else's robot versus repairing your own. The players could earn points for being able to perform more complex movements and maybe have the option to upgrade the robot to do even more.

I like this idea. If I were to develop this game, I think that I would go down this road.

sonofman wrote:

... that is also the part that I think needs to change to earn a vote. SO random. A player spinner used only at the start of the game?
…Assuming they share some colors but the distributions are different there would be a *right* choice each time since you are probably aiming for a particular wire or wires to cut.

...In the end I liked this game as aimed at kids...

For the ‘random’ criticism please see the title of the challenge. As I understood this challenge, the spinner must be used to create a random element that can only be done with a spinner. Perhaps I went off the deep end with randomness.
The player spinner also dictates who receives the damage from each hostile action.
If we took the idea from andymorris, the player spinner can be taken out and each player decides who to attack.
As it is currently written, there is a logical choice depending on what you want to cut, or not cut. All of the colors are on each insert with different distributions.
I think this game is suited for kids. I really don’t think gamers would flock to it.

davidwpa wrote:
I'm not sure how the Wire inserts would work without quite a bit of playtesting

...you will spend a lot of time toward the end of the game trying to get a particular color to progress to the end.

I knew this was going to be a problem, but I didn’t see a decent solution that would keep the game simple. Again, andymorris has a great idea to make the game work.

Mr.S
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Arctic Dissection Critique

Arctic Dissection
Ok, I like the idea of the theme. The Arctic Circle is a very interesting area historically. It is actually patrolled by a joint venture of Canada and USA in this hemisphere. Ships as far away as Japan have tried fishing in the area. The history of the Northwest passage is also an interesting one. Did you know that magnetic north is actually in Canada. True North is the rotational axis. I encourage everyone to do a little research on the area. I think I will be doing some rereading on the subject as well. So, it’s a theme I like, but this game doesn’t do it justice.
Now, the actual game: I don’t really understand the map that is being used. How many “territories” are there? How do you define a territory. How do you use the spinner to pick two spaces to place the pawns? I don’t know if I am missing something in the game, but it seems like this is just a coin flip game with a map. Is there something in the scoring that I am missing?

Mr.S
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Joined: 01/05/2014
Fate and the Wheel of Fortune Critique

Fate and the Wheel of Fortune
I had not even thought about Wheel of Fortune until you used it in your title. That may be the most popular spinner game next to roulette and in the mix with the Game of Life and the spinner used on The Price is Right. I know that is not what you meant in your design, but I can’t read it without thinking of the TV Show.
I feel like this game could have been done with dice (D12, D8, D12). The only advantage of using spinners in this case is having enough room to write the names of disasters on it.
As a game, this looks like it would work fine. I am just not particularly interested in it personally. As it relates to the challenge, I wouldn’t choose this as a spinner game.
A couple questions: How are players to ‘simultaneously’ to move players? What is the advantage of having a fate marker? Since spinning is just random and turn order doesn’t matter (thanks to the simultaneous movement mechanic), this seems unnecessary.
This game missed on medals because I felt it offers me nothing really unique and the spinners were not necessary.

anonymousmagic
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Joined: 11/06/2013
Black Hole Vortex -- Feedback

This game scored 3 out of 5 on each of my 4 judging criteria, which was not enough to qualify for a medal.

I liked the idea of theming the game around a vortex, but I disliked how the spinner could throw pieces back out of the "black hole" center; thematically speaking, I wasn't expecting anything to escape. This could prolong the game more than it really needs. Make it definitive. If it's out, it's out.

Secondly, the option to move any piece sideways or down depending on the number spun was something I didn't like much. Most of the time, an opponent's piece will be moved down.

I think this game would benefit from a modular board where you can build the board from different rings so the tactics to get on (or around) specific spaces is different each time.

anonymousmagic
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Joined: 11/06/2013
Hostile Robot -- Feedback

This game received my gold medal.

Although I'm not generally a fan of the robot theme, I found the way it was implemented to be engaging. Also, the comments that there would always be a clear strategy on which insert to choose, don't make sense to me. Wouldn't it be obvious that you have to make the decision before you see what is on the replacement insert?

I don't have much negatives here. The only comment I have left is that I would like to see this as a cooperative game.

Score
Spinner: 4
Theme: 5
Mechanics: 3
Clarity: 4

anonymousmagic
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Joined: 11/06/2013
Arctic Dissection - Feedback

This game narrowly missed out on a medal because all the medal winners had 15 or 16 points, but this doesn't mean it's a bad game.

I found the theme a little weaker than most in this challenge, but the idea to place a spinner on the north pole and using it to determine moves was genius. I like the idea of chosing between points and keeping your turn.

I had similar problems as other mentioned with the clarity of the entry. Otherwise it might have received 1 or 2 points more for clarity.

Overall, a great entry. I'm looking forward to see what this can become with some nice materials and additional artwork. Maybe use some globe-like structure and magnets?

Score: 14 out of 20
Spinner: 4
Theme: 3
Mechanics: 4
Clarity: 3

iisjreg
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Joined: 07/23/2010
Hostile Robot

I really liked the idea of a big robot and cutting the wires to its limbs but agree with comments about the high amount of randomness and I feel that the spinners could be replaced by dice. It's a good theme and could work well as a coop against the robot.

(There's quite a few points for me to address in Black Hole Vortex, so I'll use a seperate post)

iisjreg
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Joined: 07/23/2010
Wednesday Critiques

Arctic Dissection

This got my Silver! I really liked the theme and the mechanic fitted really well. I think that it cleverly shows the political back-and-forth and has very simple risk-reward thinking.

With regard to the issue of the number of territories, I imagined it as being more 'free-form', so that there are no defined sectors, expect for those as defined by the black tokens.

My only query is what happens if there are two "Canada" territories next to each other - do you remove the black token between the two to make one territory?

It was a very close call for my gold medal but Tornado Town had more to it. However, the simplicity is what attracted me to this.

I could see this a a nice filler game in my house :)

Fate and the Wheel of Fortune

This was an interesting idea of destruction. However, I thought it was just a bit too random with so many spinners and random cards. Perhaps, a way of adding some depth would be turn it into a bit of a deck builder, so each player has their own deck of cards (or just a set few cards and the player chooses when to play each card, such as "Improper Vaccine", etc.) i.e. which card do I play now and which do I save...

Also, it would probably work with dice the spinners, or even cards (like territories in Risk 2210).

Overall, it has potential, so thumbs up.

Mr.S
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Joined: 01/05/2014
iisjreg wrote:I feel that the

iisjreg wrote:
I feel that the spinners could be replaced by dice.

I felt that one major thing the spinners add (when it comes to randomness) over dice is the ability to change probability. Each insert changes the probabilities. When using dice, all possibilities have the same probability (with the exception of loaded die).
I am unsure how you propose to switch out the spinners with dice. Could you elaborate?

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