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Critique the August 2008 GDS Challenge Entries

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Brykovian
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Use this thread to post constructive critiques of the entries found in the August 2008 GDS Challenge, entitled "Moving Day". (Found here: http://www.bgdf.com/node/119 ...)

-Bryk

jeffinberlin
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oops

Sorry--I just noticed I goofed by using a graphic with my name on it.
It wouldn't be fair to vote for my entry, since it breaks the rules, so I'll disqualify myself.

I would, however, enjoy any feedback you may have on the idea, in case some of it appeals to you.

fecundity
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Jeff, I think the game sounds

Jeff,

I think the game sounds fun. Here are some random thoughts about it.

I like the bonus for loading 1s, since it gives you some reason not to just go for the highest boxes you can everytime.

I am not sure about allowing players to lock out numbers on the trucks; as in your example, where green got on the 3rd truck with 4s, so only 5s, 6s, or a straight could use that truck. This rule seemed superfluous at first, but I guess it also encourages people to load lower numbers as boxes (when higher numbers are needed for workers.)

Is it possible to score negative points in a turn, if you end up with too many useless (worker) dice?

I can't tell without playing, but I worry that it might just be obvious what the best move is most of the time. There are the choices of which trucks to lock up and whether to advance on the one track or not. But you could add a further choice if there were an option to press your luck and reroll some dice.

OK, I did promise random thoughts. So... The game needs more ducks.

jeffinberlin
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A Moving Game soon to be published

By the way, for anyone looking for a finished game about moving, friend Bernd Eisenstein has "Zack und Pack" coming out with Kosmos at Essen this year. It's a very nice speed/spatial reasoning game that I tested many times and even presented to Kosmos for Bernd at the Game Designer's Meeting in Goettingen a few years ago. If you like these kinds of games (Ubongo, Tetris, etc.), check it out!

Mitchell Allen
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Way To Go, Contestants!

I wanted to wait until voting was over so that, when I mentioned all the entries except mine, it wouldn't be so obvious :)

#1 - Macho Moving men
I liked the idea of physically placing furniture on a truck. I think the element of luck in throwing the dice for the truck row and column detracts from what could be a strategical challenge.
It would be cool to have a tournament-style challenge, where each player must try to load the same items on the truck in 30 seconds.

One question: When the bag is empty, do players continue emptying the sidewalk, or does the game end immediately?

#2 Krappa Krappa Krappa
I laughed out loud at this one! I can see myself enjoying this game.
I really liked the inclusion of the Feng Shui tokens and the Beer can pyramid tokens.
While Feng Shui seems out of place in a BadAss dorm, I bet it speaks to the inner decorator in us all :)
The idea of having specific locations for the krap is very clever!

#3 Schools Out
I tried to understand this one ...
What's on each card? Is the Red X card a single item, or can you get more than one?
It's not clear whether we have our own trucks or share them - trying to get more stuff out of our hands?
The tie-breaking procedure is a head-scratcher. If there is a tie, the person to the left of the last person who loaded, unless it's the first turn, etc . . . why not just let the next lightest load go?

#4 That's mine :)

#5 the Geek Split Caper
I'm not familiar with Decktet cards. Nevertheless, this game sounds like a fun card game. My favorite part of this game is the method for moving stuff toward your boxes.
I chuckled at the lip service given to the dice requirement.

#6 Hand-Truck Hustle
This is my favorite entry! The hand-truck and item card combination is very well-done, rivaling Man with Van and Macho Movers for the physical element. The game board is beautiful and seems to be planned well.
Game play seems like it would be a riot - as the Event Cards are sure to keep everyone off-balance.

#7 Moving Trucks
This one is unique, in that the moving vans are more like a mass transit system.
I'm not sure how much fun it would be on a board, but I'd give it a go on my PC.

#8 Pirate Treasure
This is another game that made me laugh, picturing a sailor sitting on a chest to weigh it down.
It reminded me of Sokoban, except for that grey area - would that be gang planks to move between ships?
What happens if a sailor jumps off a chest onto the grey area?

#9 Moving Dice
Oh no! Don't disqualify yourself! This was my second favorite entry!
The dice mechanics are very well done, giving players something to think about with each roll.
The graphics are slick and the theme of a moving company business is fully realized.
I'd like to see a variant leaving out the bonus track - I feel that it puts too much emphasis on the use of a one for cargo.

10# Man with Van
This one received a vote for the clever use of physical blocks. I also like the Arrangement Plan cards and the "messing blocks". It's like the Feng Shui and Beer can tokens in Krappa Krappa Krappa.
The random-like decision to run a van at any time jars the theme of moving stuff with vans.
If that were resolved, there would be an enjoyable challenge to completing your Arrangement Plan.

#11 Panopticon
Okay, we're moving, just not very far! LOL
I love this game concept - the last man standing when there's no way out. It's just ghoulish enough to be loads of fun.
Interestingly, the idea of limiting the prisoners by segregation is a very real concern in California, where a long-standing practice of segregation was abandoned recently. The prisoners are afraid they'll be mistreated by rival jail mates.

Chilling.

Cheers,

Mitch

tinymachine
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rough notes

Entry #1 - Macho Moving Men!
i liked the concept of this one - seemed a reasonable puzzle game. i expect in practise there
is much too much luck involved and the placement will become frustrating but i like the idea
of it. the scoring looks a little fiddly - maybe better just to score if you can place the
piece anywhere.

Entry #2 - KRAPPA KRAPPA KRAPPA
didn't seem much to this skill wise - maybe an idea would be to have some kind of house
manager (i don't know what that is called in US) come around and inspect some of the rooms -
so players have to hide their contraband in other peoples rooms - for a fee. also have parties
in individual rooms and try to get as much beer as possible and as many students in each room.
just loading up squares with objects might get a bit dull.

Entry #3 - Schools Out!
couldn't understand this one on a read through - a graphic would help and simplify the
scoring system.

Entry #4 - Haulin' Assets
This looks ambitious and fun. Didn't understand how everything comes together but the ideas
look strong - especially the items slowly being smashed to bits.

Entry #5 - The Geek Split Caper
This didn't strike me as particularily about moving - i think something moving would be good
as well as hand management.

Entry #6 - Hand-Truck Hustle
I like all the graphics and detailing of object movement but i think the lack of any player
interaction is a big miss. with 4 players stacking trolleys of stuff in a confined space i'd
love to be able to tip over other people's stuff. maybe even run them over with the truck.

Entry #7 - Moving Trucks
I like the basic concept of this one - fighting over which route to take. i think the game
needs a lot of finessing from what you have - would possibly end up going in circles, but the
basic concept is good - maybe extend it so each player owns some trucks and can be paid to run
routes. that graphic hurts my eyes.

Entry #8 - Pirate Treasure!
i think this sort of game needs a lot of playtesting - the rules look well thought out but i
suspect it just ends up in a stalemate.

Entry #9 - Moving Dice - cancelled.
looked fun - not sure how well a dice set collecting game reflects the movement aspect.

Entry #10 - Man with Van
seems OK but i found it hard to visualise without a graphic or board. and again is there enough interaction?

Entry #11 - Panopticon
mine

Isamoor
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Well, if everyone else is

Well, if everyone else is doing it:

Macho Moving Men

Yea, it was mine. I know nobody really cares about answering feedback, but I'll at least answer the question above. I meant the game to be over as soon as the sidewalk couldn't be filled. I also didn't have it be individual races because I tried not to copy Ubongo. (I do agree however that Ubongo is a better game than this tidbit.)

Krappa Krappa Krappa

Well, the theme is there in abundance at least. I also like the idea of a grid board referenced by dice (I used that too.) I'm not too sure about the trading though. I mean, people aren't going to be trading their badass shit, so you're just going to shuffling around the low point cards I'd think. There's no imbalance of resources that the trading will solve (like settlers). The thematic elements are strong with this one. The final scoring seems a little convoluted, but probably not too bad.

Schools Out!

Geeze, you don't think we're a college crowd? Or is it the moving mixed with dice that draws out the dorms? (Side note: I don't think we need to read about a 2-player variant in a GDS. Heck, the longer your entry the less time I'll spend reading it unfortunately.) Not sure of the thematic reason for tossing the lightest. And since when do the players have pawns? Also, pretty bad formating on the entry. "Phase 2" is just a huge block of "If ... then" statements. I couldn't really make it through it. Might be a good idea in there somewhere.

Haulin' Assets!

Well, I love the title right off the bat. I don't really understand the movement bid system. Can just a normal auction not work? I do really like the truck movement though. When you roll numbers you mark mishaps and all that. That sounds like a lot of fun! Interesting that there is all this money management, but the final victory condition is just items saved.

The Geek Split Caper

Again, the theme hitting close to home. I do like bluffing games though, so I'm hopeful. After reading the rules though, didn't really sound like there was any bluffing. Oh well. It is a cute little tug of war game. You just influence the assets on each side and then the "prizes" adjust themselves based on the new balance. I'm not big on tug of war, but this design does have it's charm. Some meaningful decisions, but limited by luck to make it not too dry. Of course, now I just realized the dice hardly do anything. That's kind of sad.

Hand Truck Hustle

Ooohhh. I like this one. Very thematic and yet uses the dice well. I really like the way the push-your-luck game play has been added in. I can see some interesting decisions being made. This one seems like a winner in my book.

Moving Trucks

I realize the graphic was just a rough prototype, but it was really pretty gawdy. I had to spend awhile making out what it was supposed to do. The dice are just tie breakers?!? Why not just use rock paper scissors? It sounds like a good game, but not in line with the challenge. I did like the idea of players just slightly influencing the trucks each turn. And you end up with the same quandry of using a captain card in "Lifeboats".

Pirate Treasue

Very intricate, but it has pirates!!! I do like the idea of the dice being little pirates. And there's bombs! Sounds like some reasonably thematic offerings. Unfortunately, doesn't look like there's any random elements. And with a preset setup, I could see this getting very "samey".

Moving Dice

Well, I got a chance to at least understand part of it. I like the bit about rolling and looking for straights and sets. Seems very Yatzee / Tichuish.

Man With a Van

A quick skim looked very promising. I like loading things.

Panopticon

Well, that's a real stretch on matching up with "moving cells", but I suppose I'll flow with it. I do like the dice use in this one. Very backgammony. I also like the risk of the beam just eating you right up. I do wonder how long the game might last though. I suppose the ability to gut a loner dude would keep the game from being never ending. Fun concept!

Mitchell Allen
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Feeding on Feedback

Isamoor wrote:

I know nobody really cares about answering feedback, but I'll at least answer the question above. I meant the game to be over as soon as the sidewalk couldn't be filled.

Thanks, Isamoor. Now, I'll return the feedback favor :)

Isamoor wrote:

Haulin' Assets!

Well, I love the title right off the bat. I don't really understand the movement bid system. Can just a normal auction not work? I do really like the truck movement though. When you roll numbers you mark mishaps and all that. That sounds like a lot of fun! Interesting that there is all this money management, but the final victory condition is just items saved.

While a normal auction would probably work, I wanted to tie the insurance to the distance in a meaningful way. One doesn't want a Phyrric victory, wherein you win the bidding but, as a result, the distance is so great that the moving company gets to trash most of your stuff! On the other hand, if you took out insurance, you should recoup some of that - either in claims or by limiting upfront damage.

As for the money, I based the outcome on my real-life moving experiences. For me, having my stuff arrive intact was far more satisfying than crowing over how much money I saved.

That is expressly built into the game, where you may save money by packing more, but you risk having more damage.

Thanks for the critique! :)

Cheers,

Mitch

MatthewF
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I wrote a bunch of notes on

I wrote a bunch of notes on printouts of the entries and will be posting them later this weekend (or so). There are some really cool ideas here, in every game!

jeffinberlin
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Nice entries and comments

It was fun to see what everyone came up with. Is it better to ALWAYS have 2 weeks to enter? I would think we might get more entries, and each entry might be developed a little better (or would everyone just procrastinate?)

My vote is for a 2-week period to get entries in, then 1 week to vote.

I wish I had time to look at them all in detail so that I could comment (I'm travelling quite a bit at the moment), but there are some very good criticisms already here. Thanks, by the way, for those who voted for me even though I goofed and put my name in there--it was a nice ego boost:) And the comments are always helpful.

tinymachine
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yeah two weeks would be good

yeah two weeks would be good to get more entries.

i also think it's crazy that 11 people entered and only 7 voted.
this is a boardgame site - i think we need a rules fix to add incentive to vote.

i think everyone who enters should vote even if they think all the other games are rubbish. because any vote for someone else diminishes your chances of winning there's a good reason not to vote. to solve this i think you should be allowed to vote for yourself - then you have the problem of people just voting 5 for themselves and none for anyone else so i propose you have 3 votes valued as following -
4 points, 2 points, 1 point, for first , second and third - you can choose yourself - but you must award all three. this way i think you would get more people involved.

thanks Brykovian for organising this event.

Katherine
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I vote two weeks for the

I vote two weeks for the submission deadline, I would have voted for the august games but I don't understand the vote point system that is used. - is there info about this on the site?

I disagree that entrants should be allowed to vote for themselves.

PFreer
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low votes

Disappointed to hear only 7 people voted: seems to be a continuing trend. Is it that people whom don't enter don't feel compelled to vote? I noted, on the old site, the last few previous GDS's many people viewed the threads (in the hundreds) but virtually no-one voted. I understand lifes busy for a majority of people here, but, really, it doesn't take too much effort to read through the entries and vote. I think it is a really important part of BGDF.

tinymachine
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i voted this time reluctantly

i voted this time reluctantly - why give votes to your competitors? - but haven't before.
i think if there was a simple method - like a poll or something they'd get more votes.
i can see PMing Brykovian is a bit of a hassle.
a poll might mean that people just glanced over the entries and picked the most superficially appealing one - but that's half of the challenge - to make it quick and easy to appreciate.

MatthewF
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I think it's fairly easy to

I think it's fairly easy to resolve, at least for entrants: you may not vote for yourself, and if you don't vote, your game is disqualified.

It's really not that hard to vote for the games you like most among the ones that aren't yours. Yes, you're voting for someone besides yourself, but if every entrant does that, it evens out just fine.

fecundity
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"It's really not that hard to

"It's really not that hard to vote for the games you like most among the ones that aren't yours."
Except that voting can be treated as a game, if your objective is winning. The strategy is then to vote for the game that is least likely to defeat yours if you vote for it. (This will not necessarily mean voting for the worst game. If all of the entrants did that and voted for the worst game, then that game would win.)

You might say that entrants should be nice and vote for what they think are the best entries, but it isn't necessarily *mean* to game the system. We are all gamers, after all, and so it's natural enough to turn voting in the competition into a game. And if you suspect that other people are likely to game the system, there's more incentive to respond in kind.

To confess, I didn't vote. I wasn't sure how it worked, got busy with other things, and was generally a bum about it.

MatthewF
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Immaturity and Sportsmanship

fecundity wrote:
You might say that entrants should be nice and vote for what they think are the best entries, but it isn't necessarily *mean* to game the system. We are all gamers, after all, and so it's natural enough to turn voting in the competition into a game. And if you suspect that other people are likely to game the system, there's more incentive to respond in kind.

Valid point, though I wasn't contrasting "mean" and "nice." I was contrasting "immature" and "mature." It is, I now realize, too much to expect a large proportion of the latter. (I don't mean you, I mean folks voting in general, just in case that wasn't clear.)

I vote for the games I like best for the very same reason I don't cheat when I play boardgames: good sportsmanship. Personally, I don't see the difference between "gaming the voting system" and "cheating."

Brykovian
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Personally, I'd rather go

Personally, I'd rather go with no voting at all ... I think the actual task of creating something in response to the challenge and the written critiques are where the value lies here.

Voting simply gives a way to give everyone a quick-n-easy way to see which ones appear to have done the best job responding to the Challenge.

The 10-vote-point system came about because the original use of an anonymous single-vote poll seemed easier to game ... and the main folks involved in responding to the challenges at that time seemed to make it work. The crowd responding has continued to shift and evolve over the past couple of years ... so, perhaps we can revisit the voting structure.

I'm not a big fan of giving 2 weeks to respond (other than once in a while as an exception) ... I've never really cared to have "more" entries. Getting the 8 to 12 entries seems about perfect to me -- still within an exceptable limit for the admin to process and within the normal attention span of the people who care to read through the entries and post critiques. I'd rather have 6 really good ones than 20 "just because I could" type entries.

I'll point back to the original idea of the Showdown (based on a *chat* session done by MatthewF a few years ago) ... it should be a quick, tight challenge for designers to respond off-the-cuff ... and submit a response that gives the *idea* without having to be a truly fleshed-out design. I know it generally seems to stray into that solid, already-seems-tested area ... I don't think giving an extra week will add or subtract from that area.

-Bryk

Mitchell Allen
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Thanks Brykovian, Participants and Voters

2nd place, woo-hoo!
I participated in quite a few of the challenges on the old site. I haven't been able to enjoy the new site until now, due to ISP issues.

Votes or no, I enter these contests for the creative outlet. I love designing games and thematic challenges really give me a workout.

More important than votes, is the feedback. If I decide to pursue the development of this game, it will be much better as a result of the critiques.

I remember these time-constraint and voting discussions on the old site.
My own feeling is that I can learn a lot from the polished designers here. If it takes two weeks to make a game more fleshed out than a week's worth of brain-storming, then I'm all for it. A week for voting should be sufficient.

Plus, I never would have learned about Decktet cards :)

Cheers,

Mitch

tinymachine
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i'm definitely for a vote

as game players aren't we naturally competitive? - coming second (or 9th in my case - grr! must do better) just encourages the designer to keep working with that game/mechanism, taking the design that next step further - isn't that what this is all about?

GrimFinger
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Brykovian wrote:Use this

Brykovian wrote:
Use this thread to post constructive critiques of the entries found in the August 2008 GDS Challenge, entitled "Moving Day".

-Bryk

Just a suggestion, but you might get a better overall response and participation, if you provide a handy link to the entries, when you post the critique thread. A link at the top of the page, up in the blue header area, would be useful, too.

Currently, if you're not on the front page of the site, then you have to look for a link to click on. A link to the current contest should always be readily at hand, to continually tempt site visitors to click on it.

On a personal note, I would prefer to see each entry on a page of its own.

Also, some of the images for some of the entries are so small, it's hard to make out what they say or intend.

Overall, I like the new site. The format for the Design Challenge is not one of the things that I like, though. Every time that I click on it to look at the current contest entries, I have ended up just clicking the page off. The long, narrow format is annoying. I didn't bother to vote, because I didn't finish reading all of the entries. Improve the format, and you'll probably receive a greater response/participation from site visitors.

Brykovian
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Well, Grim ... You caught me

Well, Grim ... You caught me on not having a link handy this time. I think you'll find that I've almost always done that for the very reasons you've given ... but, missed it this time.

Frankly, I'm not sure what to do about the formatting structure of the site ... it seems the forum is now forcing the pictures down to a specific size (didn't look that way when I first added them), which makes some of them uncomfortably small, imo.

In the past, using the forums to run the GDS has been the easiest way ... not sure if I need to change that with the new site or not. I simply haven't had enough time to investigate, test-try, etc.

-Bryk

jeffinberlin
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2 weeks and no voting

I like the two weeks time mostly because I often don't have time to develop something enough in just one week, and often I don't even get the chance to see the current contest guidelines until halfway through that period. I don't think you would necessarity get a whole lot more entries, but it might help some users of this site to enter contests more consistently (like me). It wasn't long ago when there were only 4 participants, as I recall.

As for voting, I don't really think it is necessary, either (although I would love to "win" someday and get my free year's supply of Rice-a-roni:) The critiques and comments are the real reason to do this (and it would be great for designers who enter to continue posting developments, should they take their games further).

bluesea
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What if authors forward you a

What if authors forward you a PDF, and you compile it into one big PDF, with a boiler plate cover and description of the GDS. That would be great for printing and formatting. Now this does not allow for the gallery display of the games which is really a great part of the site too. Maybe the top four or five games are then reformatted for display in an online GDS winners’ gallery.

And what about this: We could make it a bound volume for sale on lulu, say, every couple of years to raise money for the site (with permission from the authors of course.) Something like BGDF:GDS 2008-2010

Katherine
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oh dear ... I have change my

oh dear ... I have change my mind.

I should not have voted for the allowance of two weeks design time in the GDS.

Why? Because the vote was made in ignorance - now having read up on the GDS I have learnt this challenge has been successfully running since 2004. Don't fix something if it isn't broken ...

loading pdfs may fix the small image problem.

Congratulations to all who have kept this challenge going for as long as it has.

GrimFinger
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I think that going to a PDF

I think that going to a PDF format will result in less interest, overall. But, you could try it and see what the reaction is.

Brykovian
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Any more critiques of the

Any more critiques of the August entries? ;-)

-Bryk

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