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[GDS] DECEMBER 2013 "The Gifting Season" Questions and Comments

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richdurham
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Use this thread for any comments, questions, requests for clarity, etc., regarding the December 2013 Challenge in the Game Design Showdown, entitled ["The Gifting Season."](http://www.bgdf.com/node/13622)

-Rich

anonymousmagic
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I already PMed before I

I already PMed before I noticed this thread. Sorry about that.

I'm a bit confused about the rules. Technically speaking, any component you give away is something you have control over, which kind of muddies the idea of a "single in-game avatar you control". Could you please clarify the intended difference between the two?

richdurham
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Component ≠ Avatar

Sure thing.

The GDS calls for you to have a core mechanic where you must give something to other players - something that they may not know the identity of (you know, like a present). Just because you have control of something doesn't mean it is your in-game avatar.

My money in Monopoly is not my "avatar" just because I control it. That's reserved for my (much-maligned) thimble pawn, which represents "me" in the game.

The spirit of the December GDS is to have the player control a physical piece in the game, and to have to give "gifts" to the other players as a core mechanic.

Hopefully the pawn part makes sense in games. The gift-giving part isn't too common as far as I know. A game that does do gift giving is the under-appreciated game Bacchus' Banquet. In this game a core mechanic is selecting three visible cards and then facedown keep one, discard one, and offer one as a gift to another player (who can refuse). In order for a player to get a turn in the game, he must accept a gifted card - which isn't always a good thing to do.

If that doesn't clear it up, let me know!

Good luck!

anonymousmagic
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That's crystal clear. Thanks!

That's crystal clear. Thanks!

Corsaire
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Cool challenge, rare but a

Cool challenge, rare but a mechanic I definitely enjoy. My favorite card game comes to mind, Hearts. And my favorite Cosmic Encounter power: The Philanthropist. I also slipped it into my entry in the last challenge. One game idea has already sprung fully formed from my head, but some more are lurking.

richdurham
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More examples?

Corsaire, you bring up a good point - this is a relatively rare mechanic. Maybe the community can think of more examples of games that use it?

richdurham
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Few days left

Quick reminder to all designers out there: the due date for the December GDS is a few days away! PM entries to me before the end of the 9th to enter!

mindspike
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Last call for votes!

The holiday season is upon us, but don't forget to read the entries and cast your votes! Last call!

fnordy
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Final tallies?

Are the final tallies being formatted? Thank'ee.

Best,

-A.

Corsaire
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Hi fnordy, check the

Hi fnordy, check the critiques thread.

Corsaire
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Now that we've wrapped. I had

Now that we've wrapped. I had a thought for the daily critiques, as a bit of bonus from scoring, it might be nice to order the critiques based on final rank rather than submission sequence.

For the mechanic of gifting, it was interesting to see the variations of interpretation. At a rough level we could call most anything gifting like "You give damage counters to your opponent and when they are out of life, you win." But satisfying the constraint is not the same as excelling with it.

Even if it isn't every move in the game, the effect of a great giving mechanic is insidious. To capture the feel of receiving a gift of a sweatshirt with pictures of your cousins on it is high art... You might never wear it, but it is thoughtful, but you can't throw it away, and there isn't anyone to give it to... Hearts has it, getting the queen of spades passed to you is that sort of thing... and passing (gifting) itself significantly changes Hearts from a predominantly luck game to a predominantly skill game.

Which also leads to another thought on describing a game in a limited word count pitch. It is probably a good practice to describe the strategic potential that evolves from the rules; really over and above the nuances and details of the mechanics.

richdurham
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Nice points

Good points on the gifting mechanic. I was glad to see so many variations on "gifting" and what it meant to other designers. Frankly this is a very subjective contest with limited votes, so the interpretation by the designer (and the application of theme and whether it matters) will wildly swing votes. As you can see by the votes this month, many entries received someone's gold medal.

This was another great month for the GDS and I am glad to see so many returning designers. The suggestion of reviewing in vote order is a solid one, and I think we'll try it next month.

Remember that designers are encouraged to make a separate thread I the Game Design section of the forums if they wish to continue discussing their title.

Have a happy new year!

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