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zaiga
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Hippodice

My entry is through to the last 50 as well!

*excited* :D :D :D

Good luck to everyone else who participates!

- Rene Wiersma

sedjtroll
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Hippodice

Those who have gotten to the "final 50" at Hippodice... what did you enter? Is it something you've talked about here, either in a thread, in the GDW, or in your journal?

- Seth

zaiga
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Hippodice

sedjtroll wrote:
Those who have gotten to the "final 50" at Hippodice... what did you enter? Is it something you've talked about here, either in a thread, in the GDW, or in your journal?

I'm entering "Urban Construct". I've talked about it a lot in my journal.

- Rene Wiersma

Scurra
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Hippodice

sedjtroll wrote:
Those who have gotten to the "final 50" at Hippodice... what did you enter? Is it something you've talked about here, either in a thread, in the GDW, or in your journal?

I have mentioned both of mine in my journal entry but hadn't gone into details about either of them really.
"Planning Permission" (which was originally called "Nimby", but I thought that the Germans wouldn't understand the name) was completed almost a year ago, and has had sporadic test runs since which have all been fine, so I decided that it was robust enough to enter.
(Although I find it amusing that Zaiga entered a city building game too - I wonder how we'll each do? :))
"Fire and Ice" (which turns out to be the name of another game released commercially this year so I may have to do something about that) was a game that came to me in a dream; it hasn't been nearly as robustly tested as PP but it somehow felt right (and was quite a different sort of game too - a short abstract multi-player strategy game.)

benedict
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Hippodice

Congratulations scurra and zaiga!

My entry also made it to the round of playtesting (I submitted by email, and received confirmation by email).

I did not discuss my game here on the forum.

Benedict

nickdanger
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Hippodice

Does anyone know what are the options for submitting payment (fees and return shipping)? I'm wondering if it needs to be in cash (Euros), or what other choices are available.

You sure don't get a lot of time to get everything together and ready to ship. At least not for anyone having to ship overseas!

FastLearner
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Hippodice

Congrats to all! It's great to see so many folks here who have made it!

I just got the rejection email. I received an aggregate mark of 7.5, and this year's limit was at a mark of 7.3 on an 18-mark scale. I guess that means the lower the mark the better.

Fortunately I've got some really good games in development! ;)

setarcos
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Hippodice

David, Rene, and Benedict:

Congratulations for getting to the final round! And to Matthew for coming so close! It's inspiring that so many bgdf folks entered Hippodice and did so well. Best of luck to all!

Leland

FastLearner
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Hippodice

nickdanger wrote:
Does anyone know what are the options for submitting payment (fees and return shipping)? I'm wondering if it needs to be in cash (Euros), or what other choices are available.

I heard (I think Mik Svellov mentioned it) that they had set up a PayPal account for paying the fee this year. You might email him amount it. Mik's site (as you undoubtedly know) is at http://brettboard.dk/

And congrats, Nick!

(The shipping time was one of my concerns as well. DHL is almost undoubtedly your best bet for fast and comparitively inexpensive shipping to Germany from the U.S.)

nickdanger
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Hippodice

FastLearner wrote:
I heard (I think Mik Svellov mentioned it) that they had set up a PayPal account for paying the fee this year.

I decided to play it safe and just ran down to the American Express office during lunch and picked up some Euros.

FastLearner wrote:
And congrats, Nick!

Thanks. Sorry to hear you just missed the cut. Makes me feel a bit guilty as I also had two games accepted. But all that really means at this point is that you might need to sharpen your rule writing skills though. I was already thinking that if I got rejected it just means that maybe my games don't "read" real well. But once you hit the play test stage if they don't finish well then it means the rules were fine, the game itself just sucks!

FastLearner wrote:
(The shipping time was one of my concerns as well. DHL is almost undoubtedly your best bet for fast and comparitively inexpensive shipping to Germany from the U.S.)

They specify you need to use parcel post and that they won't accept anything from UPS, etc. Seems odd as I've heard the the German PO uses DHL themselves for package delivery. Again, I don't want to go through the trouble of getting the games there to have them rejected for some goofy reason like that!

- Nick

FastLearner
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Hippodice

nickdanger wrote:
Thanks. Sorry to hear you just missed the cut. Makes me feel a bit guilty as I also had two games accepted. But all that really means at this point is that you might need to sharpen your rule writing skills though. I was already thinking that if I got rejected it just means that maybe my games don't "read" real well. But once you hit the play test stage if they don't finish well then it means the rules were fine, the game itself just sucks!

LOL!

I'm pretty cool with this one game not getting accepted. I suspect its major problem was that it simply had a ton of components, something that would make it unappealing for potential publishers (which is the point of the contest). My primary goal in entering this year was simply to enter: I didn't get anything together in time last year and really felt like I'd "failed" because of it. This year I decided I would at least enter a complete and playtested game. I did so and so succeeded: even if the game wasn't accepted I still accomplished my goal.

Next year I'll be entering winners. :)

nickdanger
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Hippodice

FYI -
I've heard back from Hippodice and currently you need to send cash (Euros) or use something called "Coupon Response International". They are thinking about setting up a Paypal option but it will be a few days before any decision is made.

If you're like me and can't wait that long - it's Euros baby!

- Nick

Scurra
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FastLearner wrote:

I just got the rejection email. I received an aggregate mark of 7.5, and this year's limit was at a mark of 7.3 on an 18-mark scale. I guess that means the lower the mark the better.

My two friends* had their entries rejected with scores of 8.0 - indeed, one of them was complaining that they could have given his two games different scores if they were going to reject them!
I wonder what the selection criteria actually were? I imagine that rules clarity was a major aspect, and I suspect that "theme chrome" had some part to play in it. But it's possible that they just picked 50 games out of a hat :)

(*um, I don't mean I only have two friends ;))

prophx
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Hippodice

Their games may have been somewhat similar... I got my rejection back at 14.5! It must have certainly not been what they were looking for... or I didn't submit something correctly. Actually I was not surprised because my rules were very packed and the gameplay, though not "been there, done that", had a familiar feel to it, but I have not seen it in any published games. I was actually hoping to get a bit more feedback than just a number. I am looking forward to creating a game that is more viable for next years competition. I have a few ideas I am working on right now. It was fun getting everything around for this though. Congratulations to those in the finals! :D

A thought just popped up in my head... Any chance someone who's entry made it into the top 50 could post their submission here so that others could get a good idea of what makes a viable entry? I think that would help everyone prepare for next year's competition.

Thanks!

Scurra
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Prophx wrote:

A thought just popped up in my head... Any chance someone who's entry made it into the top 50 could post their submission here so that others could get a good idea of what makes a viable entry? I think that would help everyone prepare for next year's competition.

Hmmm. If I had any idea why "Fire and Ice" made it through, I'd be happy to share it with everyone :) However, I suspect that I will be publishing it on my website once the initial judging period is over since I don't expect to take it any further... (well, unless it wins of course, in which case something has gone seriously screwy with the universe.)

What my two had in common, which my friends' entries lacked, was a diagram page showing the game in action, with scoring and board examples. I think this was probably an important factor, given that one of the games had a front-sheet and three pages of rules and the other one had barely a page of rules including the preamble!

benedict
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Hippodice

I don't know what the judges were looking for in order to determine which games made it throught to the next round. I don't think anyone other than the organizers knows how the points system works (other than that lower is better). I know it is tough not to get further feedback, but since 150-200 games are usually submitted, and the point of round one is to identify games they want to playtest, I don't think you can really expect anything more.

I did make sure that the document I submitted was proofread for spelling and grammar, and that it made complete sense to someone unfamiliar with the game.

Also, I clearly listed the components and made sure there were (small) pictures of the different components within the text. I did have examples of play throughout the rules, as well as an example of scoring at the end.

My game is about resource management (farmers, villagers, acolytes, grain, land, buildings) in Ancient Egypt. I would classify it as a German-style strategy game (i.e. there is some luck, which is in the form of variable Nile activity and available land each turn). The theme is heavily integrated into the game.

robinventa
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Hippodice

I have received a rejection for my submitted game. If you are interested in the game I sent them you can find details at -

http://www.tent.freeserve.co.uk

Regards

Robin

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Hippodice

Hi Robin,

Thanks for posting your rulebook and picture of your game. The production value is spectacular, and the gameplay seems simple and elegant.

As for why you didn't make the top 50, I obviously couldn't say, but the conventional wisdom that successful entrants seem to be generating is that rulebook clarity is important. To that end, I admit to having been confused by the rules you posted on your website. I'm not sure what a "transporter" is or what a "terrorist" is. A clear description of the components, or better yet, pictures, would have helped quite a bit. Some gameplay examples would also no doubt have contributed to my ability to understand the game.

So, I'm not sure how much of a difference this would have made in the Hippodice department. As Scurra says, maybe the competition just reflects the 50 games they want to playtest. That's pretty subjective, but maybe that's how it goes. Certainly, that would be a valid way of judging a contest whose aim is to select publishable games -- after all, the games that people are most interested in playing are probably the ones publishers want to be looking at! But certainly it won't reward the 'best" games necessarily, which would be disappointing.

Anyway, I think you have a beautiful game and should definitely keep going forward. It sounds like you have the game pretty fine-tuned, but you're always welcome to put the rules up for discussion in the Game Design Workshop. If nothing else, we could give you suggestions how to tighten those up a bit. And identifying who exactly the publishers are that would be interested in your game might help in determining who you should submit to. Depending on how much time and effort you want to put in, you could always consider self-publishing and selling small runs.

I actually thought you were serious when you said you were submitting a "gooey louie" style of game. Maybe sarcasm just goes right over my head!

Good luck with your game!

-Jeff

FastLearner
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Hippodice

Clever engineering, and an interesting game. I dig the tactileness of it and the clever way the terrorists are hidden.

Things that I suspect cost you points, and remember that I wasn't selected either:

The theme: I think you would have been better off with the spy theme, or even better with something that has no political implications at all. Terrorism is a very touchy subject and is likely to turn off any publisher.

The guessing: By your own admission, "Unless the Smuggler sets up the transporters badly, a clever Customs can usually search no more than four transporters - leaving a fifty-fifty choice for a raid if the terrorist is not found." This is definitely not German-style gaming. It shouldn't come down to a crapshoot, with the best guesser winning the game (after all the missions are complete).

The simplicity: While I personally like clean designs, I suspect that this game is just too simple for the current German market.

Just my thoughts.

-- Matthew

zaiga
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Hippodice

I agree with jwarrend that the rulebook could have been a bit clearer. I too was confused and had to read the rulebook a couple of times to try and understand what you meant (I'm still not sure on all the rules).

Like FastLearner I also think the subject isn't very well-chosen. Perhaps you would have been better of leaving it as an abstract.

Finally, it is a two-player abstract and I suspect the Hippodice people are more interested in multiplayer games with a bit more theme. This is something you cannot help, obviously.

This all doesn't mean that it is a bad game, not at all, it could well be brilliant, but apparently your presentation of the game wasn't good enough to convince the jury of that.

- Rene Wiersma

robinventa
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Hippodice

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to look at the game – and give your comments.

Yes, as you know, I was worried that they are looking for a ‘German-style’ game. With that as a criterion I was never going to be able to compete with you guys.

The rules (rulebook) is not as detailed as the one I sent – but the questions you raise about clarity were present in the longer version. Reading you comments has seriously brought into question whether I’m taking too much for granted.

Jeff wrote –

Quote:
I'm not sure what a "transporter" is or what a "terrorist" is. A clear description of the components, or better yet, pictures, would have helped quite a bit. Some gameplay examples would also no doubt have contributed to my ability to understand the game.

I can understand this as a generalised comment about woolly rule writing, but were you, personally, after looking at my site left with doubts about how to play the game – or which component was a ‘transporter’ or which a ‘terrorist’?

Quote:
Maybe sarcasm just goes right over my head!

Jeff, don’t blame yourself – my cryptic humour gets me into trouble on a daily basis.

Matthew wrote –

Quote:
The theme: I think you would have been better off with the spy theme, or even better with something that has no political implications at all. Terrorism is a very touchy subject and is likely to turn off any publisher.

That is a very interesting point. I had thought about it a lot – having read here about the German aversion to war themes etc. Perhaps you have hit the nail on the head. My ‘score’ was 7,5 by the way.

Quote:
It shouldn't come down to a crapshoot, with the best guesser winning the game (after all the missions are complete).

I don’t think this is what happens. If any mission ends with Customs ‘raiding’ a transporter the choice of which transporter to lift is strongly influenced by the play of the opponent – not just on that mission but on previous missions.

benedict wrote -

Quote:
I did make sure that the document I submitted was proofread for spelling and grammar, and that it made complete sense to someone unfamiliar with the game.

Would this attention to detail really be rewarded – I mean, would it be reflected in the translation? In your case, apparently the answer is ‘yes’. I suspect that more than this they just liked what they saw :)

Regards

Robin

FastLearner
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Hippodice

I posted at the same time as Jeff so hadn't read his report, but since both he and Rene noted that the rules were hard to understand I suddenly question my own rules-writing skills. While I agree that they could be quite a bit more clear, I understood the game instantly the first time through.

Weird.

nickdanger
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Hippodice

At the risk of sounding like a "me too" parrot, I do have to concur that maybe part of the reason your game was overlooked may have had something to do with the theme. When I read about the terrorism aspect I winced slightly. Add to that the rules are a bit vague, especially if you didn't include a contents section specifically identifying each part. Top it off that the game, while looking quite nice definitely has that abstract look to it and I think that was enough to push it out of range of the cut.

Just my opinion, but being that a few others think along the same lines there may be some substance to the thought.

Writing the rules has been the biggest struggle for me in any of my designs so far. I hate doing it. Luckily my wife is a former English teacher and editor which helps. Add to that the fact that Snoop owed me a favor and proofread the rules for me was a big plus. He was able to help me clarify something that I didn't even notice was a bit unclear until he pointed it out.

As for the judging procedure itself, here's a rather detailed quote from a member of the Hippodice club on the selection process:

"We judge the games the same way an editor of a games publisher would do: Is the underlying idea new and fresh? Is it promising fun (lighter games)? Is it challenging? Do the mechanisms work? Are they new or a well done composition? Is the estimated time of play too long for a relativly light game? Do you have time for developing your position in a relativly complex game? All questions you would ask if you are going to buy a game with one exeception: We try not to be biased by our own taste of games. So if I like complex and heavy games a light and fun game would have the same chances to go to the next round if it meets the criteria written above.

From all this questions we rate the game with the grades mentioned above. This is done by three guys independently and from these grades we form the average, that's all. In recent years another two guys read the descriptions and made grades from that on their own. This was abandond this year and might disappear forever. The most difficult part is to "translate" the rules into an imagination of a game. This takes hard effort and needs a lot of experience. But if you play 50 prototypes every year, read 100-150 rules every year not counting the 50+ newly published games, you get used to it ;). That doesn't save us from misjudging games but we try to minimize the chances."

--
Nick

benedict
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Hippodice

Interestingly enough, the winning games of the last few contests have been pretty varied (all info thanks to Mik at his site and BGG):

2003 Aquadukt - (Various phases, Influence cards, trading, strategic positioning).
The players are developing the aquadukt system in the Early Roman Empire and they will try to acquire the fields most likely to become paricular fertile thanks to the new water way, while at the same time trying to influence the actions of the local Prefect who is in charge of the decisions in that province.

2002 Herscher der Anden - published as Maya - (Tactical card play, building, area influence scoring)
Players take part in the construction of pyramids in centres such as Chichen Iza and Palenque, in order to receive the greatest portion of gold from the Mayan leaders. However, the help of workers is required to quarry and transport the stones required for the pyramids to the building sites.

2001 DinnXX (abstract, tactical)
each player has a number of tokens valued 0-3 which should be used to gain as high a score as possible. A scoring takes place as soon as 3 adjacent spaces has a combined value of 7 or more. The center token is then replaced with a neutral token valued 0-1. When a space contains two neutral tokens can it no longer be used as the central space for scoring purposes. The game is over when all neutral tokens have been used.

2000 Koggen - published as Kogge (economic, pickup and delivery, action point system)
across the web of trade routes, the players try to trade goods as profitably as possible and to build trading offices, known as Kontore (sing. Kontor). The ever-changing routes between the cities don't make life easier for the players vying for victory as best merchant on the Baltic Sea.

1999 Das Kollier - set collection, auctions

Players buy and sell or auction gems. 2 different types of auction mechanic.

1998 Kontor - tile laying, city building, area control
The core mechanism of the game is that each of the 90 or so cards in the game has a unique number on it. Each turn, the players choose a card from their hand and reveal them simultaneously, and the higher-numbered card is placed into the layout (a grid that grows until it fits inside a 7x7 square) first. Cards are either water cards or dock cards. Dock cards form scoring regions, and water cards separate the docks from one another. Each dock card belongs to one of the players, and contributes a certain number of warehouses to the scoring region. There are three colors of warehouse, and a player scores a region (for which one victory point is awarded) by having the greatest majority of warehouses in one color.

FastLearner
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Hippodice

nickdanger wrote:
As for the judging procedure itself, here's a rather detailed quote from a member of the Hippodice club on the selection process:

Excellent information, very useful. It's all fairly obvious, I guess, but it's good to hear it from the horse's mouth, as it were.

-- Matthew

Scurra
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Hippodice

FastLearner wrote:
all fairly obvious, I guess, but it's good to hear it from the horse's mouth, as it were.

And it reinforces a point I made - I suspected that the single page of "examples of play" that I included with my entries made a lot of difference - as a friend observed, seeing a diagram not only helps a gamer "see" the game, but also they start to imagine different strategies, which then reinforces the desire to play the game... (after all, we were given two extra sheets on top of the rules to play with.)

Mind you, I also made a fair effort with one of the games to "sell" it by including a cover sheet that explained why the central mechanic was interesting. As I said, what amuses me is that the other game (which was entered almost as an afterthought) did almost as well...

As William Goldman says, "Nobody knows anything" - and that applies to games just as much as to films.

robinventa
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Hippodice

I have enjoyed reading everybody’s comments.

I do say that the rules on the site are ‘brief rules’. One thing not included is the list of components present in the full rules (I still amuses me to describe one page of text as a ‘rulebook’, but no doubt that is the correct terminology). Although I did not give a pic with each component in the full rules I thought that contents of – Playing Board, Custom’s Cube, 6 Transporters, 8 Terrorists – could leave nobody in any doubt what was what. If you are reading the rules in isolation the contents are meaningless and totally confusing, of course – but when you read the rules to a new game surely you have the game out in front of you, don’t you? I just thought it would be patronising to show someone a picture of the cube and label it as a ‘cube’ – and so on.

Anyway, that is all water under the bridge – and I think I agree with the view that other factors apart from unclear rules contributed more to the game’s rejection.

Just one more thing though (if you can stand it). In your opinion have my design criteria been met?

1. Does the game offer a new game-playing experience?
2. Does it look like or play like or remind you of any game that has gone before?
3. Does it use any mechanic that has been used elsewhere?
4. Does a popular ‘final retail price / manufacturing cost’ compute?

Regards,

Robin

jwarrend
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Hippodice

robinventa wrote:

Anyway, that is all water under the bridge – and I think I agree with the view that other factors apart from unclear rules contributed more to the game’s rejection.

I don't know if you should see it as a "rejection". It sounds, from the other comments, that your game only very narrowly missed the cut. I know you went in to the contest expecting to win, (which puts you in pretty good company, since everyone probably felt that way), but it doesn't really sound like you did "badly" or anything...

I'll comment on your questions below.

Quote:

Just one more thing though (if you can stand it). In your opinion have my design criteria been met?

1. Does the game offer a new game-playing experience?

This is hard to say without playing. I would say that you have some neat ideas going on here, the most creative being the die that simultaneously determines what piece can move AND creates a mechanism by which a transporter can be searched.

Unfortunately, with respect to gameplay experience, unless I'm missing something, it seems like the game will be fairly deterministic. Do I have this sequence right?

0. The "good" guy puts the die down.
1. The "bad" guy puts a "terrorist" under a "transporter".
2. The "good" guy rolls the die around, forcing the other guy to move.
3. In some situations, the transporters are checked.
4. Either the terrorist is caught, or he makes it through.

Did I miss something crucial? It seems like the only decisions that matter are (a) where will I, the "good guy", put the die, and which face will show? and (b) Based on where the "good guy" put the die, where should I, the bad guy, put my transporters and terrorists?

It seems like the game would be a lot more interesting if the bad guy had some creative control over his moves. Like if he could move sideways to try to avoid being caught. Then you could have a neat element of bluff, or some deduction. As it stands, the "good guy" will just try to move the die in such a way that it will catch the most terrorists. But this is very deterministic -- a good player can probably calculate how to maximally catch the most transporters. In contrast, I'd likely find the game more interesting if I had to base my guessing on something -- based on the way he's moving the Green Anchor transporter, I think he's trying to protect it from the die; how can I move the die to get to that transporter and check it before he makes it through?

Another thing, there is a catastrophic rules ambiguity. You say: At any point in the mission, without warning, and irrespective of the position of the pieces, Customs can 'raid' a transporter (by lifting it) to see if it hides the terrorist. But, you don't say how many times this can be done. Could not the Customs player just use this ability 6 times at the very start of the turn to check all 6 transporters?

Quote:

2. Does it look like or play like or remind you of any game that has gone before?

It seems a little like "Ghosts!" by Alex Randolph. To be a little blunt, that game is just about as simple as yours, but because it has some strong elements of bluff, it is far more interesting to me. What I personally look for in a game is a high density of decisions. I think your game, with a few simple changes, could really increase in the decision department and could really benefit from that increase.

My personal guess, now that I think I understand the rules, is not that your game wasn't "German" enough for the judges, but that it doesn't feature enough meaningful decisions.

Quote:

3. Does it use any mechanic that has been used elsewhere?

You definitely should check out Ghosts. I wouldn't say the mechanics are identical, but there are some similarities. Any kind of hidden information game is worth looking into -- Stratego, Scotland Yard, Incognito -- all of these will have similar elements, though the games themselves (except Ghosts) have more complexity than yours.

I definitely think that your die mechanic is original and brilliant. I like the "guy hidden under the transporter" as well, I just think the movement execution needs to be made more interesting.

Quote:

4. Does a popular ‘final retail price / manufacturing cost’ compute?

I would probably be willing to pay about $20 for your game. I don't know if it's realistic to produce it in such a way that you can make a profit on that. (Note that I'd probably expect to pay more based on the nice wood components, I'm just saying that if it cost more than $20, I probably wouldn't buy it.)

-Jeff

FastLearner
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Hippodice

jwarrend wrote:
My personal guess, now that I think I understand the rules, is not that your game wasn't "German" enough for the judges, but that it doesn't feature enough meaningful decisions.

I consider those synonymous, and is what I meant by not being "German" enough.

-- Matthew

DavemanUK
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Hippodice

Scurra wrote:

My two friends had their entries rejected with scores of 8.0

Hello,

As one of the afore-mentioned friends I entered a tile/secret pattern laying game which scored 8.0 probably due to the lack of play diagrams (*hindsight is always 20/20*). Next year I'll include photographs :wink:

When I helped David with his 'sell page', the main thing I wanted to come across was the brilliant voting mechanism (its results can often be hilariously unexpected). Thus, I do feel that the first round of Hippodice was (in fairness) looking for clear presentation of ideas and concepts. Game terminology is an area worth being aware of too :)

Best of luck to all finalists :)
Dave W.

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