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A helpful resource for all aspects of designing board games: game design, prototyping, playtesting, publishing, and much much more!

[GDS] July 2012 "Tempus Fugit"

Game Design Showdown - July 2012

Tempus Fugit

"There's time enough, but none to spare." - Charles W.

[GDS] June 2012 "Pros and Cons"

June 2012 Game Design Showdown - "Pros and Cons"

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

[GDS] May 2012 "Mother May I"

May 2012 Game Design Showdown - "Mother May I"

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

And the winner is...
The votes are in, and we have a photo finish:
1st, with 10 votes: Artifacts of the Dark Jungle, by avalaunch
2nd, with 9 votes: May I Come In?, by asakurasol
3rd, with 8 votes: Tea with the Queen, by Teaisfortim

I'm happy to announce that while not every entrant voted, the top 3 finalists each did cast all 6 of their allotted votes! There has been some call for a penalty for not voting, which may be implemented next month. Thanks for participating, and hopefully after I get back from KublaCon I'll be able to com up with a fun new challenge for June!

My mother always told me that manners are important. It's nice to be polite, if you don't have something nice to say then don't say anything at all, do unto others as you'd have them do unto you... This month's showdown challenges you to create a game in which the players must receive permission from each other in order to make progress.

Also, since it's the middle of spring, your entry must feature a component that is spring loaded, or otherwise utilizes a spring.

Good luck!

[GDS] April 2012 "Fools Rush In"

April 2012 Game Design Showdown - "Fools Rush In"

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

We have a winner! I have tallied the votes, quite a few of them this month! Thanks for participating everyone! And without further ado, the winner is....

1st place, with 14 votes: Catch That Bunny! by Starflier

2nd place, with 9 votes: The Great Zvengali by TeaisforTim

3rd place, with 7 votes: Heavy Treasure hunt by AndyGB

and tied for 4th, with 5 votes:
Fools Rush In by BMinNY
While the Fairy is Away: The Revenge of Bunny Foo Foo by photeth
Lhasa by GreenO
Hart of the Forest by Matthew Rogers

All entries got at least 1 vote! Thanks again for participating. Congrats to the winners, I'll open up the Critiques thread now!

April is characterized by a few things - Spring, Easter, Passover, and a silly "holiday" called April Fool's Day.

I thought it might be fun to use one of these holidays as inspiration for April's Showdown, but not a theme restriction in itself... So be creative, and let's see some games about hoaxes, tricks, maybe even fish! If that doesn't float your boat, you could instead enter a game with some kind of (egg) hunt mechanism, or maybe a game about a series of plagues, or escape from bondage!

[GDS] March 2012 "Dragon Dice"

Dragon Dice

Game Design Showdown - March 2012

Dragon Dice
"Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth... Tame the dragon and the gift is yours." - Noela Evans

This month, Seth Jaffee's Game Design Showdown has been taken over by me - Sam Mercer. As some of you might know, I hang around on BGDF quite a bit and Seth has kindly let me be the guest poster this month.

What is this all about Sam?

[GDS] February 2012 "Love Conquers All"

January 2012 Game Design Showdown - "Back 2 Basics"

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

We have a winner!
This month's winner, with 8 votes, is Valentine's Day Massacre!

It was a close heat for 2nd, with Chocolate Exchange coming out 1 point ahead of The legend of St Valentine.

And bringing up the rear was Pitching Woo over Love Me True, also by 1 vote.

Thanks for participating! I'll open up the critique thread now...

February GDS:

The move back towards the roots of the Showdown... short blurbs rather than full rules and images for the game entries... seemed to work out nicely last month, so let's keep that up. This time we'll go with a 300 word limit.

The challenge will be open for entries for a week, but I do not expect anybody to spend a week working on their entry. Rather the 1 week entry window should give everyone a chance to see the challenge and send an entry at their convenience.

Main Design Requirements:

  • Theme Restriction: Valentine's Day.
    February is best known for Valentine's Day, a holiday honoring an early Christian martyr named Saint Valentine. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards known as "valentines". The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. This month's showdown challenges you to use some part of the history or tradition of Valentines Day as the theme of a game! Here's a link to Wikipedia for more info, in case you're interested.

  • Mechanical Restriction: Two different play modes.
    This months' game must be not only playable both 2-player and multiplayer, but rather than "scale well" (here meaning providing a similar game experience across all player counts), it must provide a significantly different play experience between 2-player and multiplayer games.

  • Word Limit: 300 words.


[GDS] January 2012 "Back 2 Basics"

January 2012 Game Design Showdown - "Back 2 Basics"

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

The votes are in, and WE HAVE A WINNER!

First of all, let me thank everyone who entered the Game Design Showdown this month, as well as all the people who voted. I had hoped the new format would encourage more participation - both entrants and voters. This month we had 5 entries and 11 different people voted! I think that's a step in the right direction :)

The next step is to see if the critique thread is more robust this time around, as people discuss how they'd proceed with these games (if they were going to do so). Maybe some of these ideas will evolve into real games one day, perhaps not. The thing about the GDS is this: whether the idea ever becomes a game or not, everyone becomes a better designer through the process!

And the winner is...

Here are the 5 entries and the votes they received:

  • Hollow Words, by GreenO: 5 votes
  • The Dam, by kviki: 10 votes
  • Greed and Government, by richdurham: 16 votes
  • Horde, by dobnarr: 11 votes
  • Vice, Virtue & Values, by ddm: 7 votes

Congrats Rich, and everyone else who participated. The Critiques thread is now open for business!

January GDS:

Starting with the new year I'm going to shake up the Game Design Showdown a little bit in order to make both entering and voting participation easier. I thought it would be good to move back towards the roots of the Showdown... rather than full rules and images for the game entries, this month you need only to describe your game in a short (200 word) blurb. After the GDS, entrants can expand on their entries and post more thorough rule sets in the forums.

The challenge will be open for entries for a week, but I do not expect anybody to spend a week working on their entry. Rather the 1 week entry window should give everyone a chance to see the challenge and send an entry at their convenience.

Main Design Requirements:

  • Theme Restriction: Resolutions.
    January is a time for New Year resolutions! To celebrate that, this month's GDS challenges you to design a game in which players make - and keep - resolutions. This can manifest any way you like - some form of pre-planned turns like RoboRally, or binding deals, or game end goals set by the players. Up to you!

  • Component Restriction: Pairs of stuff.
    Other than basic commodities in the game, all significant player pieces (or communal pieces which players can use) must come in pairs.


Low voter turnout for GDS this Month -

Guys, was the topic for this month's GDS not attractive enough? There were only 3 entries, and only 2 voters so far.

Is it the time of year? Because if the GDS isn't something this community is interested in participating in, then maybe there's no need to go through the motions month after month.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled game designing!

I apologize for the recent down-time - I contacted Dreamhost about it and just received this reply:

I looked into the issue and there was a problem with the permissions on the server. I corrected this for you and everything is working fine now! If there is anything else you need help with, please let me know! Thanks! Have a great day!

Anthony S DreamHost Support

It looks like whatever they did worked, as BGDF is back up and running again! I'll delay posting the BGDF winner so that people who tried to vote and weren't able to log in can do so!

[GDS] December 2011 "Reindeer Games"

December 2011 Game Design Showdown - "Reindeer Games"

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

The December Game Design Showdown results are in!

Only three entrants this month, and low voter turnout as well. According to the votes, we have a tie for this month. Congrats to...

  • Merry F'ing Christmas by Richard Durham (richdurham), and
  • Overnight Delivery by Jim C (magic_user) which each received 5 votes.

Congrats also to runner up:

  • Top Elf by Mike Holcomb (devilindesign), which received 3 votes.

I consider all entrants this month to be winners! The Critique thread for this month's GDS should be open now, so if you have a minute, give these guys some comments on their game ideas.

Hopefully after the holidays the GDS will garner more participation, and potentially a new format. Stay tuned!

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by Dr. Radut