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Hippodice

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nickdanger
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Hippodice

As some people were curious as to the games some of us submitted to Hippodice, and I was playing one of them today during lunch, I figured I'd take a couple shots and post them for anyone interested in taking a peek.

http://www.nickdanger.com/cm/cm.htm

The pics are from my game Castle Merchants which is a tile laying/pick-up & deliver type of game.

The quality of the pictures aren't great, but I was just using the shop camera and it's under the office flourescent lights.

--
Nick

benedict
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Joined: 08/16/2009
Hippodice

The results of the 2004 Hippodice Game Design Contest have been announced at http://www.spielbox.de - click on Aktuelles

phpbbadmin
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Interesting

benedict wrote:
The results of the 2004 Hippodice Game Design Contest have been announced at http://www.spielbox.de - click on Aktuelles

None of our people placed highly. :( Congrats though to all of those who were able to get their entries in and accepted.

Interestingly enough, two american entries scored well; The Vapors of Delphi by Alf Seegert and Pharoah's Heir by Phillip Lerche. My question is, why aren't they on this site? My other question is why aren't all of the finalists on this site? We need to recruit some of these fine folks.
:D
-Darke

benedict
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Hippodice

Actually, I am Phillip Lerche (Benedict is just a web pseudonym). I should probably get into the habit of ending my posts with my real name. Although I live in the USA, I am actually an Englishman.

The reason most of the designers aren't on this site is probably because English isn't their first language, and other countries will no doubt have their own equivalent of the BGDF.

Spielbox points out that the 16th HippoAWB was interesting because only 2 out of 7 finalist entries came from German designers - I think this design contest is gaining more of an international reputation every year.

Phillip

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Hippodice

Very surprised to not see any familiar names in the winner's circle! Sorry, guys!

I knew I had heard of Pharaoh's Heir somewhere before; a google search refreshed my memory, it won the Piecepack contest last year. I am not sure what the game is actually like, but the brief description on the Hippodice site made it sound like a Puerto Rico knock-off. I'm sure there's more to it than that.

I was absolutely shocked that a game about putting together the best harem was the winner! Now, I'm sure this is a great game mechanics-wise, but this award seems to be at least a little bit about publishability, and I don't see how you could make any money selling a game about that subject. No doubt it will get a retheme before coming out in print. Very interesting that some themes (war, eg) are "verboten" in German games, but a game that denigrates both women and Arabs all in one shot is a contest winner!

-Jeff

zaiga
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Hippodice

Congrats Philip! Your game sounds a bit like a cross between "Amun-Re" and "Puerto Rico". Nothing wrong with that, as those are currently my favorite games!

I, too, am somewhat surprised by the theme of the winner! I assume the mechanics must be very strong in this one! Funny that the game is listed as being very "theme oriented". That makes me wonder if it will be easy to port the game to another, more marketable, theme?

I am also anxious to see the comments on my entry, "Urban Construct" and why it didn't make the final 10.

- René Wiersma

Scurra
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Hippodice

jwarrend wrote:
Very surprised to not see any familiar names in the winner's circle! Sorry, guys!

I had vague hopes that one of my games would have made it (the other one was submitted more for the playtest feedback than anything else) but obviously my congrats to the finalists, esp. Mr Lerche.

(And yeah, I was thrown by the theme of the winning game too.)

FastLearner
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Hippodice

Congratulations to all of the winners, and especially you, Benedict! Very cool, good work!

-- Matthew

phpbbadmin
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Congrats

benedict wrote:
Actually, I am Phillip Lerche (Benedict is just a web pseudonym). I should probably get into the habit of ending my posts with my real name. Although I live in the USA, I am actually an Englishman.

The reason most of the designers aren't on this site is probably because English isn't their first language, and other countries will no doubt have their own equivalent of the BGDF.

Phillip

Great job Phillip, congrats! Let us know if you get or have been approached by any companies to publish your design. And Yes I am aware of the language barrier. However I think that it isn't such a great issue as I know a lot of people who are users here don't use english as their primary language.

-Darke

benedict
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Hippodice

Thanks to everyone for their kind words. I was surprised when my game was selected for playtesting, and amazed when it made the final.

jwarrend wrote:
I am not sure what the game is actually like, but the brief description on the Hippodice site made it sound like a Puerto Rico knock-off. I'm sure there's more to it than that.
-Jeff

I was amazed because I think that it is hard to describe the mechanics of Pharaoh's Heir without making it sound like the bastard child of Puerto Rico and Amun-Re. Even when people read the rules for the first time they often comment that it sounds like PR set in Egypt. I think the game plays totally differently. Sure, some of the mechanics are similar, but the overall experience isn't. Incidentally, Amun-Re was released after I had finished the majority of work on the rules, so that is more of a coincidence than anything else.

zaiga wrote:
I, too, am somewhat surprised by the theme of the winner! I assume the mechanics must be very strong in this one! Funny that the game is listed as being very "theme oriented".
- René Wiersma

I also thought that it was unusual to single out the theme in that way. I will be very interested to see if the game is picked up by a publisher and if so whether the theme stays or goes.

Hopefully Mik Svellov will do his usual update of the results at Brett & Board in English once his computer is feeling better.

Phillip

FastLearner
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Hippodice

nickdanger wrote:
As some people were curious as to the games some of us submitted to Hippodice, and I was playing one of them today during lunch, I figured I'd take a couple shots and post them for anyone interested in taking a peek.

http://www.nickdanger.com/cm/cm.htm

The pics are from my game Castle Merchants which is a tile laying/pick-up & deliver type of game.
I didn't catch this post back in December, Nick. Now that the contest is over are you willing to describe the game a bit? It looks amazing.

-- Matthew

Anonymous
Hippodice

Well well,
our game-theme seems to be quite an issue!
If I may speek frankly though, I think you should know the game before you can give critics.
In our harem, women choose themselves if en with which sheik they want to stay. I think it's a game making fun of they male macho behaviour at least as much! Every sheik wants to be the most handsome one, the richest, ...
sexistic??? it was a theme invented by myself and believe me, I am a woman! :)
And I totally don't see any link with Iraq ???????? :?:
Maybe people take everything too serious, in life and certainly in games it's all about having fun! Don't try to see more than that in it!
Kind regards,

Harem-theme inventor Liesbeth

jwarrend
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Hippodice

Hi Liesbeth,

Welcome to the group, and congrats on your Hippodice win! That's a fantastic accomplishment. I'm sure all of us would be happy to hear more about your game, and I have no doubt it's excellent.

As I said before, though, I will be surprised if the game gets published with its current theme. The fact that a woman designed the game certainly helps, but even so, a game built around a practice that is/was very degrading to women is going to raise a lot of red flags -- it certainly raised mine. And that's really as far as my comments go. I'm obviously not saying your game is not good or not fun, just that the theme is potentially quite volatile.

I definitely understand your point about games being "just having fun", but I think there's a fine line and that it's exponentially more difficult to handle "touchy" subjects in a non-offensive way. Obviously, without having seen the game I couldn't say where it sits relative to that line.

Good luck with the game, and do keep us informed as to whether you receive any offers for publication-- and particularly, whether they include keeping the theme intact or not!

Best,

Jeff

Anonymous
Hippodice

Funny to see that a theme can make such a fuss.
We are with the privileged ones that were able to play Harem several times, and the thought never crossed my mind that it was offensive.
It was tested with several woman. I never heard a bad word about it. And believe me, the girls we play with, can protect there rights!

The game (as any) is easily adapted with an other theme. Lets say that you can attract exotic birds to your bird-farm…
But why should you chance it? The game is good; the theme suits perfect and as Liesbeth sad, don’t judge the game on “political correctness” if you do not know it.

And I am sure that a theme with a wink can attract more curious players than yet another game about traders, pets (lets say my exotic birds) or a quest in the dessert.

The fact that here - and on other leading forums - this discussion is taking place, proves that it is a good theme: people are talking about it. And I am sure that lots of these people are willing to test it. And than they will find out that the theme is well suited, but not at all a cause of a big fuss. But meanwhile they will have played a seriously good game, waiting to be bought!

Anonymous
New Member (Hippodice finalist)

Hello All,

Congratulations to all of the finalists at Hippodice! (I saw Liesbeth and Philip/Benedict on this forum --perhaps there are others)?

My name is Alf Seegert and I'm the designer of The Vapors of Delphi, which came in second place at Hippodice this year. While looking for Hippodice links I found this thread and thought I might join in. Last time I was part of an Internet game design group it was a listserv that over-filled my mailbox--so I had to stop subscribing. I hadn't thought of looking for a game design forum. I'm happy to have stumbled upon yours!

One thing about Hippodice that is exciting to me is the wild diversity of themes. Harem sounds very fun and intriguing (as does Pharao's Heir). Many of the names intrigue me but I have no idea what the games are about (e.g., all I've been able to glean about Verruckter Zirkus is that it's about a circus, but that's not terribly helpful). It would be very cool if there was an English translation of the game descriptions of the finalists in the contest--I'd like to know more about them! (The babelfish-type translations I've been able to perform online are hilarious but uninformative!)

At any rate, I'm happy to have signed onto the forum and I look forward to interacting with you all!

Best wishes,
Alf

FastLearner
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Hippodice

Welcome, Alf, and congrats on your placement! Nice work!

I've been working on a translation using a combination of the Babelfished results and my German dictionary, but it's very slow going. :)

Can you tell us a bit about your game?

Anonymous
Hippodice

Thanks very much! I was really happy (shocked, really) to see my game come in 2nd place at Hippodice. Here's a little bit about it.

THE VAPORS OF DELPHI
By Alf Seegert
An oracular contest for two players, ages 10 and up.

Love, money, warfare, disaster. The ancient Greeks sought guidance for such uncertainties by consulting oracles: enigmatic mouthpieces of divine wisdom. Both kings and common pilgrims visited the oracles’ cavern shrines to obtain advice and witness their pronouncements about the future. By inhaling vapors that issued from far below the earth, oracles entered deep trances and responded to questions with cryptic utterances, frenzied ravings and riddles, impressing visitors as much with their ecstatic gyrations as with their puzzling replies. Enveloped in pungent, mind-altering vapors, many oracles were overcome with delirium and died, but some found the strength to embrace the fumes and were thereby able to channel the mysterious voices of the gods Apollo, Dionysus, and Zeus. Among these oracles, an honored few were sent to the most prestigious shrine of all, Delphi...

Overview
Players begin by sending four oracles to the shrines surrounding Delphi to serve as the mouthpieces of the gods. On their turns, players use cards to attract pilgrims to shrines and to add to the vapors that their oracles inhale. These vapors send oracles into trances that impress visiting pilgrims. When three crowds occupy a single shrine, both oracles at that shrine are required to utter their pronouncements. The oracle with the more impressive utterance is sent to Delphi. At the end of the game, the player whose oracles bring greater honor to the gods at Delphi is the winner.

--

I've got to run for now, but I can post more details later if you're interested.

Best wishes,
Alf

benedict
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Joined: 08/16/2009
Hippodice

Congratulations Liesbeth (and Paul) and Alf on doing so well in the contest. Great to see you post here as part of the discussion.

I am also looking forward to reading a translated version of the results of the other games, as I don't understand any German. Thanks for posting your summary, Alf, sounds really interesting, and I think the theme is great.

I think this is what the summary of Pharaoh's Heir says in the Hippodice results pdf:

Pharaoh's Heir

(structured play, changing distribution of roles, individual playmats, common central resources; complex, tactical, strategic)

Players establish a civilization on the Nile in two cycles, aiming to gain the highest value in five different areas at the end of each cycle. Each player possesses his own play mat. Interaction occurs between the five central actions. The active player selects an available action, receiving an advantage, however all players implement the action. Careful distribution of the population on the three different types of land tile is important, as is the placement of buildings. In addition to population and buildings, the harvest, sacrifice and land are evaluated for victory points during scoring.

Here is the summary that I sent in as part of the initial round of judging:

Welcome to the land of Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs! Pharaoh is dying and has no heir. He has decided that the Noble Family that can best take care of its own estate’s needs will ascend to the throne of Egypt and rule the lands of the Nile. Rival families will provide stiff competition, and all will have to contend with the force of nature that dictates the pattern of life in Egypt – the River Nile…

The player whose Noble Family has the most victory points (VPs) at the end of the game will be named Pharaoh. VPs are awarded twice during the game for relative performance in five areas: the size of the harvest; the size of the population; the value of land developed; the amount of the sacrifice; and the value of buildings constructed.

The game is played in two cycles. Between the cycles is a period of unrest when intermediate scoring and set up for the second cycle occur. The end of the second cycle signals a final round of scoring.

Each cycle, representing a year of ancient Egyptian life, consists of six turns with each turn divided into two parts. A turn starts with the Nile Segment where the flow of water to the estates is revealed for the year. Occasionally Egypt will be subjected to flooding which can damage structures, or drought which causes starvation of the people.

The Action Segment follows the Nile segment. The five actions will occur every turn but not necessarily in the same order. Players take it in turns to be the Overseer and choose an action. All players carry out the action and the player who is Overseer gains a special benefit during the action. The actions are:
- Land development – players will add land tiles to their estates
- Sacrifice – players will offer grain and acolytes to the gods
- Population – populations will increase or stagnate depending on the flow of the Nile
- Harvest – players gather grain for their people and the sacrifice
- Improvement – players improve their land by building canals, altars, farms, markets and floodwalls

After six turns the first cycle ends, Egypt enters the time of unrest, and the intermediate scoring begins. Once scoring is completed, players exchange their buildings for resources with which to start the second cycle.

After the second cycle final scoring occurs and the player with the highest score is declared Pharaoh’s Heir.

Phillip

Anonymous
Pharaoh's Heir

Pharaoh's Heir sounds very good, Phillip. I'm sorry that the advent of Amun Re after the fact may have stolen your thunder in terms of the theme. (I've had this happen with two designs I've worked on!) But yours seems to be a different game entirely. I'm a big fan of the "role-taking" mechanism in Verrater, Citadels and Puerto Rico and I'm including something similar in a new game I'm working on.

Best wishes,
Alf

benedict
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Joined: 08/16/2009
Hippodice

This is the original Hippodice thread -if you are entering for the first time this year reading through the info here may be worthwhile.

Official website: http://www.hippodice.de click on HippoAWB for the contest.

I would say that a good-looking prototype is obviously beneficial, but not if it is at the expense of gameplay. This contest has been running annually since 1989, so these people know what a good game is regardless of looks, so your time is better spent on refining the way the game plays.

Good luck to anyone entering this year - I found last year's experience to be a great one for me, even though nobody has picked up Pharaoh's Heir for publishing yet. (I am still approaching companies when my real life permits me the time).

Phillip

Z-Man
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Pharaoh's Heir

benedict wrote:
Good luck to anyone entering this year - I found last year's experience to be a great one for me, even though nobody has picked up Pharaoh's Heir for publishing yet. (I am still approaching companies when my real life permits me the time).
Phillip

**Hi, Phillip,

I tried to PM but am not sure if you got it or know about it (or maybe you're ignoring it :)

I would be interested in looking at Pharaoh's Heir - email me if interested.
zmangames@shadowfist.com

benedict
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Joined: 08/16/2009
Hippodice

Congratulations to Liesbeth and Paul (their game Harem won Hippodice 2004) - Phalanx is going to publish their game and release it at the Nuremburg 2006 game fair.

Link to the Gamewire news item, which includes another link to a photo of the prototype:

http://www.gamefest.com/news/news_detail/1716_0_4_0_C/

Phillip

doho123
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Hippodice

Cool, after looking at the picture of the game that was entered, I don't feel so bad using Foamcore for my counters anymore!

IngredientX
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Hippodice

So... has anyone heard from Hippodice yet? Will we be notified even if our application is declined?

s2alexan
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Hippodice

IngredientX wrote:
So... has anyone heard from Hippodice yet? Will we be notified even if our application is declined?

I haven't heard anything yet - I was under the impression we would hear, either way.

The problem is that regular (i.e. affordable) shipping to Germany takes 7-10 business days. If I need it faster, I'm going to pay $45 to make the Dec 1 deadline. So if my game gets accepted, I might end up paying a fortune to get it there on time.

Anyway, good to know there's at least someone else that hasn't heard yet.

Anonymous
Hippodice

s2alexan wrote:
IngredientX wrote:
So... has anyone heard from Hippodice yet? Will we be notified even if our application is declined?

I haven't heard anything yet - I was under the impression we would hear, either way.

According to their website their club meeting is the second Friday of each month. Is this meeting used to evaluate what games to accept? If so, I would expect to hear something next week.

Jonathan

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Hippodice

You are supposed to be notified if your application is rejected, but last year I had to ask them (as the shipping cutoff neared)... that's when they told me I'd been rejected.

So... I'm not sure what silence means. :twisted:

jwarrend
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Hippodice

The shipping issue is a legitimate concern that I wonder if they're willing to be at all flexible on. If a significant portion of the accepted games are from US designers, there may be enough of a quorum to request more time to get the games there. It doesn't seem in the spirit of the competition to force the American designers to break the bank paying for rush shipping due to not having enough notice to get the prototypes out on time. Hopefully, we'll all know soon and still in enough time to get the games out to them without having to pay super-duper double bubble shipping costs.

Good luck to all who have entered! Hope to see some of our games in the top ten this year!

-Jeff

sedjtroll
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Hippodice

jwarrend wrote:
If a significant portion of the accepted games are from US designers, there may be enough of a quorum to request more time to get the games there.

Of course, my solution is to team up with a European and let him do the shipping... of course this might mean I have to ship stuff to him first, in which case I'd better get a move on...

Oh, and I'm not sure there's such a thing as 'enough of a quarum'... either you have quarum or you don't ;)

FastLearner
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Hippodice

jwarrend wrote:
It doesn't seem in the spirit of the competition to force the American designers to break the bank paying for rush shipping due to not having enough notice to get the prototypes out on time.

Or perhaps it's perfectly within the spirit of the competition. Perhaps they prefer European entrants.

-- Matthew

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