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First showdown challenge ... comments and questions

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Brykovian
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Please post any comments and/or questions about the first Game Design Showdown Challenge (March 2005) in this thread ...

{ducks behind a big, sturdy chair}

Fire away! :-D

-Bryk

Hamumu
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First showdown challenge ... comments and questions

A quick one - even the BGG gaming glossary doesn't include the term, so let me ask: does Area Majority mean a mechanic wherein you are rewarded for having the most widgets in a specific region? I know there was discussion of it here, but a search was coming up fairly crappily.

I have a really cool idea already, that I will shoehorn into the game no matter how stupid it makes it! Also, it has nothing to do with area majority, so that will be even more interesting.

EDIT: I take back/expand my question... it actually says "area control". What DOES that mean??

jwarrend
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First showdown challenge ... comments and questions

I checked the "overview" post, but didn't see this covered:

I'm assuming that the the and mechanics are "required elements", and the "limitations" only apply f he include those elements, but you're not required to. For example, "non-combat based conflict resolution" means that if you have conflictolution in your game, it can't be resolved combatively; but you're not obligated to have combat resolution.

Perhaps you could briefly clarify your definition of what is required and what is optional?

Than thanks again for hosting this; I think it's going to be fun!

-Jeff

Brykovian
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First showdown challenge ... comments and questions

Good questions ...

"Area Control" means that players (or their pieces) control area(s) of the playing surface (read "board", in most cases) in some fashion. This could be as traditional as the wargame definition of "players with most armies in a province control the province" or something more creative. The control of area(s) should be a major enough feature of the game that it could be described as "an area control game".

The three mechanics listed are all required, and limited in the fashion stated. So, there should be some sort of movement ... it should be limited in some way ... and it should include a random element to it somehow. There should also be conflict resolution of some kind, which is not done through combat. Finally, the scoring should be based on collection of VPs throughout the game (as opposed to a single lump-scoring done at the end of the game or scoring based upon number of pieces on the board, etc.).

Now, with that said, I'll state this it was my intention for entries to fully comply with the challenge ... however, you simply have to comply enough to impress the "judges" ... ;-)

I hope that clarifies things ... let me know if you have anything else that's unclear or needs a comment or question.

-Bryk

Hamumu
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First showdown challenge ... comments and questions

"not through combat"... that's a thematic issue, right? I could have two guys competing by rolling dice to see who gets the higher value, and if I say they are fighting to the death, that's not allowed, but if I say it's a pie-eating contest, that is? Or does "combat" have a broader meaning, like you can't resolve conflicts by taking pieces off the board in some sense?

sedjtroll
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First showdown challenge ... comments and questions

Hamumu wrote:
"not through combat"... that's a thematic issue, right? I could have two guys competing by rolling dice to see who gets the higher value, and if I say they are fighting to the death, that's not allowed, but if I say it's a pie-eating contest, that is?

I'm with Hamumu here. Any conflict could just as easily be combat as non-combat.

- Seth

This reminds me, I might have forgotten something in my game entry :O

Brykovian
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First showdown challenge ... comments and questions

You're right -- it is a "theme thing" ... there needs to be conflicts, but no fighting it out to settle it -- no dog fights, no fisticuffs between dog owners, etc. ;-)

-Bryk

jwarrend
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First showdown challenge ... comments and questions

Question for Bryk regarding the scope of the challenge entries. The original Showdowns that FastLearner hosted in the chat rooms were more about writing a paragraph describing roughly how the game would work, what the theme was, etc. Seth and Mike's recent entries, on the other hand, read more like rulebooks. I'm curious which you feel is more the intended entry type?

My concern with "rulebook" style entries is mostly that time constraints would prevent me from putting an entry together, but more importantly, of judging. The prospect of reading 10 rulebooks and picking the best on a biweekly or even monthly basis holds relatively little interest for me. I think that the substance of what I would choose a winner on would be a creative use of the theme and a couple of interesting mechanics -- things that could be described in a paragraph or two. As such, having to slog through a rulebook, even a short one, and tease this stuff out is just more effort than I'd want to put in.

However, the main thing I'm looking for is simply clarification as to whether entries should be high-level descriptions or mini-rulebooks. Thanks!

-Jeff

sedjtroll
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First showdown challenge ... comments and questions

jwarrend wrote:
The original Showdowns that FastLearner hosted in the chat rooms were more about writing a paragraph describing roughly how the game would work, what the theme was, etc. Seth and Mike's recent entries, on the other hand, read more like rulebooks. I'm curious which you feel is more the intended entry type?

I agree with Jeff that that's what was cool about the original showdowns... time constraints. There was no way in hell you could formalze a rulebook in the 5 minutes or whatever we were given. My original entry was about 2 hours worth of effort I think, and clearly I had a lot more time than that (still do, hence the edits). Why would I stop with a description when I could continue to think about the game?

My point is that this is a much different contest than the original showdowns because of the different time constraints. I could add a summary of my game at the top, so those that don't have time or want to slog through a rulebook wouldn't have to, but with a week to think about it I will be hard pressed not to flesh it out.

While typing about time constraints I had an interesting idea- though I think it would be difficult to put into practice:

Announce when the Showdown begins, but do not announce the topic or rules. Anytime during the week people could e-mail/pm you for the rules/info. You could send it to them with a return receipt or something so you know when they open it. Then their e-mail reply has to be within like 30 minutes of that time or whatever for it to count.

If we could find a way to make that work (automated response e-mail?) then it would solve all kinds of "problems"... noone would see entries until the end, there would be a time constraint on the design, the entries wouldn't be fully fleshed out rulebooks...

Another thing- maybe don't LIMIT the design to a particular amount of time, but PUBLISH the design time along with the entry and it could factor into the voting or something. Maybe a multiplier on the score somehow- the shorter the design time, the more it helps your score. Also the number of votes you get applies to your score.

Know what I mean?

- Seth

Brykovian
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First showdown challenge ... comments and questions

In answer to Jeff's question, I don't know how to respond other than to quote the original overview post:

Quote:
Unless otherwise stated in the challenge, the entries do not need to be "fully completed and tested" rulesets ... there should be enough of a description, rules, examples, etc., to give other readers a good "feel" for the game ... the extent to which an author wishes to go is up to him -- it will be the voting of the readers that will decide the winner.

So, I would say that I'm not overly surprised from what I've seen so far ... not complex games with long rulesets fully worked out, but more than the quick-jot paragraph ideas from the 5-minute chat session showdowns.

I can understand that some folks simply don't have the time (or the want) to read through all of the entries ... and it would give some strength to Scurra's original suggestion about only letting things run for 4 days instead of 7. I figure that these are part of the kinks that will need to get worked out as we shape these monthly showdowns into something that will fit better each time.

I'm not sure if that sufficiently answers the question or not ...

-Bryk

sedjtroll
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First showdown challenge ... comments and questions

Brykovian wrote:
and it would give some strength to Scurra's original suggestion about only letting things run for 4 days instead of 7.

I submit that 4 days and 7 days are effectively the same in this case. I think this contest would benefit from limiting design time to approximately "one sitting", or something measured in hours, not days.

I realise you're trying to include people that can only check out the site sometimes and not every day, so I guess that's a conflict. What if it were a weekend? Post on Friday afternoon, put up voting on Monday afternoon. The theory here is that people have stuff to do on weekends, and therefore will likely spend not much more than 1 sitting on the idea, and everyone who wants to participate should be able to find time on the weekends to do so.

- Seth

jwarrend
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First showdown challenge ... comments and questions

To me, the time constraints are more about the flexibility to participate whenever one wants, rather than an expectation that folks will use the entire time. So in that sense, having a week to judge entries doesn't change the fact that I still only want to spend about 30 minutes reading the entries and picking my favorite; it just means that I have a lot of flexibility as to which 30 minute window I pick during the week.

I don't have any problem with folks fleshing out their entries, editing them, even playtesting them. But I don't see what purpose this level of detail serves: I don't see myself giving any advantage to a rulebook that has a very clear "setup" section, or a well-balanced scoring system. That doesn't seem to me to be what this is supposed to be about, and it's certainly not what the chat-room version was about. I'm simply trying to get clarification from Bryk as to what level that chat room showdowns are an analogy for these showdowns.

I don't advocate complicated time-constraint procedures that limit the amount of time people can work on their designs, or anything like that. Rules and protocols are anathema to this kind of contest: this is supposed to be simple, fun, and low-stakes. My perspective is: take the whole week, if you want it! Just, when you enter, put your entry in a succinct paragraph that sums up your theme and your couple of mechanical hooks. Don't make us wade through an elaborate turn sequence, diagrams, examples, etc, as doing that for 10 entries is just too much work.

But that's my opinion, and it's Bryk's that really matters. The sense I get from you, Bryk is that the "mini-rulebook" entries are valid but not required, and that's just fine. I'll decide based on the # of entries and the total length whether to participate in the judging or not.

Thanks again!

-Jeff

Brykovian
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First showdown challenge ... comments and questions

I think you sum things up well, Jeff.

I should also make the point that it will come down to the voting in the end. I, personally, might also be inclined to skip over an entry that is *way* too long or complicated and then find that I'm extremely entertained by a couple of well-pitched paragraphs. Instead of simply not voting at all, you could use your vote to back the style of delivery you prefer as part of your criteria for "overall best".

Again, I'll shove the responsibility back to the participants -- impress the judges ... be sure to give them enough meat to chew on, but don't make your entry seem like a chore to get through. ;)

-Bryk

Scurra
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First showdown challenge ... comments and questions

Part of this will also be affected by other entrants: Seth rather raised the bar a little by posting a full(ish) ruleset very very quickly, thus intimidating other people :-)

sedjtroll
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First showdown challenge ... comments and questions

Scurra wrote:
Seth rather raised the bar a little by posting a full(ish) ruleset very very quickly, thus intimidating other people :-)

I assure you, that was not my intention.

But now that you mention it, if noone else enters then I win :D

J/K. In reference to Jeff's point, I was just saying that the design constraints were what made the showdowns fun. Given a lengh of time to work on an idea feels to me like more of a design contest that a quick 'showdown'. Both are fun, but they are different kinds of fun. As Byrk said, these aren't meant to be just like the chatroom ones, just a similar idea.

I think I'll try and get the best of both worlds by doing the following (and suggesting the same to other entrants with more than a quick paragraph entry):

Summarize the game into a quick blurb at the top, so noone has to read down to the rulebook unless they want to.

- Seth

FastLearner
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First showdown challenge ... comments and questions

I suggest limiting the length of the entry. 1,000 words, for example, is plenty to describe a game fully, but only takes a few minutes to read. A length like that (even 500 words) would allow for plenty of clever creative expression while forcing people to be good rules/description writers, something that all game designers can use.

In addition to having fun, part of the idea of the original chat-based GDS was to help everyone sharpen their skills. A maximum word count would do the same.

Heck, perhaps even better would be something like a maximum 250 word summary, followed by a maximum 1,000 word additional description/basic rules. Those 250 words are all you're likely to get when describing your game to a potential publisher (that is, all that they'll read and/or listen to before making a snap judgement about whether to read/listen on), so it's a handy skill to hone.

-- Matthew

sedjtroll
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First showdown challenge ... comments and questions

FastLearner wrote:
Heck, perhaps even better would be something like a maximum 250 word summary, followed by a maximum 1,000 word additional description/basic rules. Those 250 words are all you're likely to get when describing your game to a potential publisher (that is, all that they'll read and/or listen to before making a snap judgement about whether to read/listen on), so it's a handy skill to hone.

Matthew is a genious. This sounds like a much better 'solution' than everything I've suggested. Makes my posts look like Scurra's rulesets... fiddley and complicated but sounds like it'd be neat if it worked ;)

- Seth

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