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Critique the January 2009 Challenge Entries

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Darkehorse
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Use this thread to post constructive critiques of the entries submitted in response to the January 2009 Challenge in the monthly Game Design Showdown. This month's Challenge was entitled "No I in Team", and can be found here: http://www.bgdf.com/node/862

-Darke

ilta
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What, nothing? I'd comment

What, nothing? I'd comment but I've got my own horse in the race...

seo
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Congrats to Ilta

Well done, Ilta! It's ok to come in second as long as the winning entry is the one I voted for (which I consider better than my own). :-)

My thoughts on the entries: a very even competition this month, with Back to You a tad above the rest, and all the other ones more or less on the same level. All entries fulfilled the requirements, which is a good thing; I remember reading entries (on past GDSs) which failed to meet the challenge rules a lot of times, so it was great to see that everyone did the homework this month. ;)

#1 Academic Departments
I found this game idea interesting, but found the evaluation mechanic at the semesters end not too clearly explained, and probably a bit too fiddly (though it might be just how it is explained, I'm not sure).
Format-wise, though, the entry was a total mess.

#2 Back to You
This one was not only a well thought game idea, but also very well written and fun to read.
Theme matched perfectly the teams requirement, and the mechanics used in the game were coherent with the theme. Maybe a bit more info to help deducing the rival teams intentions would result in more interaction.
This one got my vote.

#3 RNA-Race
My game.
The theme might be a bit too complex for those not familiar with how RNA and DNA work, but on the other hand, I wanted to keep all the science in the game as close to real science as possible (which I did) so the game could work as an educative game. Maybe that scared some potential votes, but I don't regret my decision. Other than that, the game is pretty straightforward, and should be easy to learn and play, with interaction and teamwork playing a big role on the game outcome. The team with the best communication should have a clear edge.

#4 Paintball
An interesting idea, though I fear it can becaome a bit too chaotic.
Two things I liked about it:
a) Ingenious hourglass use
b) Limiting interplayer communication (can't help but see a similarity in intention with how I limited it in my own game).

#5 Blueferry
I like trick-taking games, and this one is sort of a trick-taking game on steroids. :-)
The amount of cards per player at the start of a game with 2 or 3 players per team might be a bit too high.

In short, a great GDS, and a lot of fun. I'll run the GDS in February, but I'm already looking forward to compete again in March. In the meantime, I would love to read some critiques from the other contestants and voters. Don't forget that the feedback is an important part of the GDS.

Ariel

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