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[GDS] OCTOBER 2014 "Thinking Inside the Box" - Critiques

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mindspike
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We have a winner!

Quadplex

by andymorris

Followed closely by:
Heistronic by mulletsquirrel
Camera Obscura by BubbleChucks

Themes and games are all over the place; congrats to all our participants!

Game Score Gold Medals Silver Medals Bronze Medals
Quadplex 10 1 3 1
Heistronic 9 2 1 1
Camera Obscura 7 1 2
Vasectomy Surgeon 6 2
Space Fight 5 1 2
Plateau Chess 3 3
Journey to Eden 2 1
mulletsquirrel
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Wow! A silver medal for

Wow! A silver medal for Heistronic!? Here are my overviews/reasons for medals:

Plateau Chess

Pros:

  • Tunnelers seems to be a very interesting piece to add to the game.
  • The idea of only crossing one fold at a time adds a “wall” of protection
  • Cons:

  • Chess variations have been done to death
  • Journey to Eden

    Pros:

  • No cards, just tiles = easy portability
  • Cons:

  • It seems this game would be very hard to win.
  • The game seems to have a much larger luck to skill ratio than I’d desire.
  • Honorable Mention: Vasectomy Surgeon - It’s in the Bag

    I would have given this a medal if the game didn't seem to degrade in quality over time. The theme is really interesting, although polarizing. I think it had one of the best uses of the criteria for the competition.

    Pros:

  • Theme seems unique, could be a gift for new dads
  • Multiple strategies for winning
  • I like the idea of measuring the “flow” out of the testicle after the surgery to see if it was truly successful
  • Cons:

  • Probably couldn’t sell this at WalMart
  • Seems after a while, players wouldn’t even have to cut the scrotum, just untape a previous cut. I suppose super glue included in the box could remedy this.
  • The tubes would become shorter and shorter over time - limited replayability
  • Players could cut themselves
  • You have to squeeze a testicle
  • Bronze Medal: Space Fight

    I really liked the idea that different players could purchase different ships to match their personalities and playstyles. Expansions could be released over time so you could surprise someone with a new attack or bonus they hadn't seen yet.

    Pros:

  • Each player could have his own customized ship
  • Game about the internals of the ship instead of the outside battle
  • Do you keep battling to destroy enemy ship or focus on defending your own?
  • Cons:

  • Each player would have to have their own ship or one player would have to buy multiple ships
  • The only way to board an enemy ship is to use the teleporter, would maybe be better to have some sort of mini pod that could fly to the enemy ship.
  • Silver Medal: Camera Obscura

    This received the silver medal because I really liked the theme, and the use of the box/camera.

    Pros:

  • Glow in the dark ink is a neat idea.
  • The theme is very intriguing
  • Cons:

  • When do players get to look inside the camera? If at any time, the camera would move around a lot and would become tedious. If only at specific times, would be a neat mechanic because players might have already satisfied their condition but don’t know it!
  • Gold Medal: Quadplex

    This got my gold medal because it is the game I would most likely want to buy after reading the descriptions. The game could have done without using the box, but the cramped feeling of the box really fits in with the theme.

    Pros:

  • Interesting theme that most adults can relate to
  • The assumed crampedness from trying to place the pieces in the storage units and the apartments seems to translate to the moving process
  • Cons:

  • If pieces need to be positioned very carefully, bumping the box may be disastrous.
  • richdurham
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    Critique Schedule
    Title Designer Points Critique Date
    Quadplex andymorris 10 Sat 18 Oct
    Heistronic mulletsquirrel 9 Sun 19 Oct
    Camera Obscura BubbleChucks 7 Mon 20 Oct
    Vasectomy surgeon - its in the bag. kindsight 6 Tues 21 Oct
    Space Fight DifferentName 5 Wed 22 Oct
    Plateau Chess Zag24 3 Thur 23 Oct
    Journey to Eden MalthusX 2 Fri 24 Oct
    andymorris
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    Thanks and Thoughts

    Thank you everyone for the votes. What a close contest. Great job everyone!

    I voted Camera Obscura Gold and Heistronic Silver. It was a tough choice. Even though I like the gameplay a bit better for Heistronic, I settled on Camera Obsucura for Gold because I thought it was the most innovative and integral use of the box.

    Heistronic did an great job of applying the theme. I like the idea of buying your way out of trouble when you get caught. I think there's room for a bit more tactical depth by adding an element of "casing the joint" where you have to check out what you're up against and build up enough skill to complete the job. The use of the box was creative, but in the end it is more gimmick than necessary. However, it is a gimmick that would probably go over well and work.

    As I said, Camera Obscura had the best use of the box. I think the gameplay would work. The action paths could be interesting. I'd be concerned about how well the glow in the dark ink would work and how well you would be able to see the composite images. I'm not sure it makes total sense thematically, but I don't think that would matter too much.

    DifferentName
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    First Three

    Quadplex - I like how the game is ready to be played when opened, and is done being put away when the game is finished. This fits great for the contest, making the game function differently by using the box than it would work without using the box.

    The rules for this game talks a lot about the things you would do in terms of the theme, but I wanted more detail about the gameplay of those actions. Without much detail given on how you move furniture, it sounds like the game uses almost no player interaction, and may be "solvable" with a single optimal way to move furniture in the fastest cheapest way. However, I really like the victory condition, which may fix both of those potential problems. Since you have two goals, to be faster, and within $100 of other players, the player interaction may appear as you try to figure out the speed and spending of the other player, being forced to update your strategy so you don't outspend them.

    Heistronic - The pillbox is a clever way to use the box. The game feels too random, as you're just picking a container and hoping for the best, but seems like a good start to do some fun stuff. I like the part about upgrading your own security. I think it would be interesting having more involved with upgrading security or getting good theft gear, and changing the way the turns work to allow for the different strategies to shine. Like, choosing to be involved in heists or not (focusing on your own store instead), and maybe letting players choose to do a heist wherever they want instead of getting lumped in with the group.

    Camera Obscura - Good use of the box to do something unique. The rules are unclear about when you get to look in the box, and what you do to score. I guess when you got to look in the box you would have to declare that you scored and pass the box around for everyone to confirm?

    andymorris
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    Thoughts on Vasectomy Surgeon

    First off, A+ for originality! Having said that I had no idea what to make of this. I imagine the theme would limit the game's reach. I'd have the same concerns as mentioned about the components degrading. In the end maybe it's a great idea, maybe it's a terrible idea. I'm not sure. Fortunately, I didn't feel I had to try and decide when I was contemplating my votes, as I don't think you'd be able to get away selling and storing the game without a box. Therefore, I didn't feel it totally satisfied the challenge, but again I have to say great job on originality.

    DifferentName
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    Vasectomy Surgeon

    Is this a game? Seems more like a tool for teaching medical students. I feel like the contest was trolled.

    andymorris
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    Thoughts on Space Fight

    I like the sound of things going on with this game. It seems like it would have a lot of interesting elements going on. It missed out on a medal for me because the use of the box while novel is not actually integral or needed for the gameplay. Having said that, I'm sure there would be a market for this as collectable make your own ship boxes. Good job.

    andymorris
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    Thoughts on Plateau Chess

    This was a really good use of the box and seems like a solid, interesting chess variant. However, as a variant rather than original concept I didn't feel I could go higher than a bronze. My concern would be the visibility of the pieces on the sides of the box, especially those facing away from you. It seems like you'd either have get up to look at it, or spin the box.

    DifferentName
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    Plateau Chess

    Very interesting use of the box. As a variant of an existing game, I was hoping to see more that would change the feel of the game. The special unit that travels to the other side of the box fits this, but overall I was hoping for more to separate this game from standard chess. I know this was in my top 4 but can't remember if I voted on it.

    andymorris
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    Thoughts on Eden

    For the contest I didn't feel it fit well, because I don't think there was any reason why it would be packaged in a sack rather than a box. Also, the use of the sack isn't that integral to the game. Moving past that, the game sounds like it could have some promise. My sense is that the luck factor is a bit too high, so there would need to be something to bring a bit more strategy. I think the theme is solid.

    DifferentName
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    Eden

    This game seems like it's based entirely on luck, since you just have to have the right equipment when you get a random location from the sack. Although you would work on balancing the game so this doesn't happen, it also sounded like you would end up losing more progress markers than you gain, since you can only have one equipment at a time and would be more likely to fail a location than to succeed.

    I think it would be fun to have more information available, and more decisions being made by the player. Maybe they can have multiple pieces of equipment at once, and have more control to choose the location they go to (like if multiple locations were drawn and you could choose one, leaving behind the others for other players to choose). A push your luck mechanic might fit well with that too, giving the player the option to keep going, with the risk of losing the progress they've made.

    kindsight
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    Feedback

    Hi

    This was my first entry so thanks very much for all the constructive feedback.

    For my part I liked Quadplex as I thought it very faithful to the theme of using the box. I also liked Plateau Chess for the novelty of the tunneling mechanism.

    All the best

    Kindsight

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