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[GDS] April 2012 "Fools Rush In" - Critiques

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sedjtroll
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Use this thread to post constructive critiques of the entries to the April 2012 Challenge in the Game Design Showdown, entitled "Fools Rush In".

-Seth

sedjtroll
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Great turnout this month -

Great turnout this month - thanks everyone for participating!

Congratulations to Starflier for his winning entry: Catch That Bunny!

GreenO
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Well, it takes all sorts of folks....

I could tell I wasn't going to win this months GDS when I saw the submitted games. Everyone seemed to have gone light except me! Was there a meeting? Is there a mailing list I'm not on?! Lhasa was about an order of magnitude heavier than anything else on there, but it was such a good fit for the theme and restrictions that I thought I'd enter it anyway, just to get it fleshed out a bit more. I knew it was heavy from the outset but I'd hoped that a few more heavies would be entered. Ah well.

TeaisforTim is rocking this house though! 1st last month and a 2nd now. Nice work. I thought The Great Zvengali was great. I'd play it. I'd pay money for it too. I thought it was clever, nicely weighted and had enough depth for a decent amount of replay. 2 votes. Others agreed with me, so my tastes can't be that much of an outlier.

On to the controversial stuff:

I was the only person to give 3 votes to Hart of The Forest?! I thought this was a fine game. It had the feel of an old English style game that comes in big games compendium books that children cut out counters for. It's really accessible. I could see this made in wood or printed cheaply as a promotional item on packaging. I thought this could make it to market. 3 votes.

Catch That Bunny! I'm looking forward to seeing the critiques on this one, because it passed me by completely. Didn't hook me at all. Re-reading the description it seems very playable but fiddly with other players having to close their eyes. What did I miss?

War of the Worlds. Never going to be a winner this one, but there were a few elements that I really liked. the martian movement mechanism and the viable game end point seemed to work very well in this. I was reminded of Pompeii and Incan Empires- which is pretty good company to keep. Overall I thought it was uncluttered and looked like it would play smoothly. Possibly the title put folk off from voting for it? Mechanically, one of the best games of the bunch, a bit of rub and polish and it could be very cool indeed. 1 vote.

Tyberius
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Fun theme for a fun month

Catch that bunny
I liked the whimsical nature of the game. One issue is that the bunny might not remember their starting space turn to turn.
Setup will be hard, unless the bunny player also sets up the wolves. The 'close your eyes' part may lead to cheating, but what game doesn't? I think the nature of this game would make a good phone app.

Revenge of Bunny foo-foo: Cute game, I think you could lower the age range to 3+ (No reading required). I'm sure both of my kids would've loved this game at a younger age. It would make a nice easter basket goodie.

Heavy Treasure Hunt
How fixed are your fixed actions? Do you amass more cards every turn? (Is it possible to get a bad deal where you cannot maneuver your pirates, and every turn be stuck? Example: All of your cards are 'move North') I like the concept of flanking the treasure chest to pull it.

Lhasa - I'd like to know more about how players' actions can affect each other. From the description, I foresee people just leap-frogging over each other to cross a known hex into an unknown hex. I'd like more tile esamples to see the advantages of visiting known locales.

The Great Svengali
Interesting game. I like how the theme really complements the design. Matching the flop cards on the table makes me think of a mix of Clue and Mastermind. What I like most in the game all the choice given to players. (5 theatres to select cards or see Svengali). My only suggestion would be to penalize a player more for an incorrect guess to make them think twice before guessing. Once Svengali's trick elements are known, it will bring the game to a speedy close.

Leprechaun Rumble
Interesting game play. I like how you drop items as you move. I don't think the game will end if you need to dump 20 shamrocks. I could see the players just circling each other ad nauseum. Maybe add a mechanic that at a certain point, discovered shamrocks are not returned to the player, or slow the rate that they get reowned by the player.

Easter Egg Hunt
(my game) The hardest part of the challenge for me was to convey the idea in 300 words. My first draft was 600. I believe I lost a bit in the translation, chopping down the rules to fit the limit.

AndyGB
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April comments bring May... uh...

...Well, I don't know what April comments bring, but for what they're worth, here's some thoughts on the April GDS entries. Also, thank you to everyone who voted for Heavy Treasure, I'm really excited to have made the top 3!

Cheers,
AndyGB

The Great Zvengali
First on this one I loved the theme, I think it has great potential artwork, fonts and would visually be great. The game seemed smooth in terms of mechanics and overall likely fun to play.

Fools Rush In
Again, the theme here was great, I am a sucker for gangster era. I think I didn't understand what other cards are in the Police Deck that you go through as the game progresses, there would be good opportunity for action cards, free loot and other choices here that could give you more player interaction... "Call the cops - Draw 5 cards off the top of the police deck, and discard them, if Arrest appears, the game ends as usual" or so on. Also, if you take back the bluff card, the advantage of bluffing is only that someone else may search for loot that you didn't really put there. What if you take a receipt card, even though you didn't stash any loot? Then you'd need more bluff cards to appear throughout the game, but they could be in the police deck... just a thought

Revenge of Bunny Foo Foo
This one definitely made me smile and I think it would be a great game for kids. How do the mice escape? Or do they just have to be alive after 10 turns?

Hart of the Forest
I thought this game sounded fun, though I had concerns that it might be possible for the hunters to just gang up around the heart of the forest and overpower any harts coming through. (I liked Hart/Heart of the forest too...). But I didn't see teh board, so I may be off base with that concern. Any way to scale this up to more players? I thought also the harts might should have a power/advantage when they're alone to outweigh their penalty to being together. An unencumbered hart with nothing within 2 squares can move more (bounding through the forest) or similar? Still, sounded very solid.

Lhasa
Thematically this one felt really good, I felt like the description was limited by the word count, and that it could develop really well. I like the unknown location of Lhasa within a known subset, that felt right-on to me and would help with the story arc/progression through the game. I thought the end time limit of the British Invasion was (though accurate) sort of a bummer ending for any game "...and then they were taken over. The End." But otherwise a promising start.

Catch that Bunny
This game caught my eye, but my problem with it was that I thought that the wolves would be able to close in too quickly and easily every time? I may have missed some balancing in the description, so that may not be right, but it felt like everything would favor the wolves. I'm not wild about the eye-closing either as another poster mentioned, though I can't think of an easy way around it.

BMinNY
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Fools Rush In

AndyGB wrote:

Fools Rush In
Again, the theme here was great, I am a sucker for gangster era. I think I didn't understand what other cards are in the Police Deck that you go through as the game progresses, there would be good opportunity for action cards, free loot and other choices here that could give you more player interaction... "Call the cops - Draw 5 cards off the top of the police deck, and discard them, if Arrest appears, the game ends as usual" or so on. Also, if you take back the bluff card, the advantage of bluffing is only that someone else may search for loot that you didn't really put there. What if you take a receipt card, even though you didn't stash any loot? Then you'd need more bluff cards to appear throughout the game, but they could be in the police deck... just a thought

I tend to be a bit wordy, thus the 300-word limit was extremely tough for me on this one. I had so many ideas and other twists and turns, but when I got done putting it all into words I was at over 800 words. Obviously, I had to trim some things to get it down to the 300-word cap.

RE: Police Deck - you are spot on...I was thinking that these cards could help introduce a little chaos to the game. Perhaps one would say, "No stashing cash next round", or "Everyone pass one card to their left", etc. Little things to keep the game interesting.

RE: Bluff Card - The bluff is there just to draw other players to that hideout. Say it's a 4 person game, and you have already seen all three of the other players visit and "stash" at a particular hideout. You now have to decide, are you going to play it safe and keep stashing your original loot, or are you going to make a run at that hideout, hoping that there is a bunch of stashed loot that you can swipe (and also remove those receipts from your opponents hands). However, you may make it to the hideout to find that everyone was bluffing, and there is nothing stashed in that house.

I don't think this would ever become a real heavy game, but I could see with the proper cartoon animation...maybe something like the old Ant Hill Mob cartoon (http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090502050550/hanna-barbera/image...) this could end up on the shelves in a store like Target or Toys R Us.

Thanks for your feedback...it is always appreciated!!!

~Brad

starflier
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Saw this....

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

:D Made my day!

In response to criticisms that the game is unbalanced, you're probably right. My solution within the entry was to give each player a turn as the bunny, though I realized afterwards that starting the wolves off further from the bunny might do the trick.

Beyond a chunky plastic board with doors in it, I can't think of a solution for the fiddliness of all the tiles...

Matthew Rodgers
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General Thoughts

@GreenO... I think the tendency for lighter games is part of the nature of the beast. Lighter games are easier to iterate over, even if it's just eigen-testing while mowing the lawn.

Thanks for the votes on Hart of the Forest. Here's the board.

Black cubes are the hunters, the circular tokens have a forest image on the green side, and a picture of different harts with the different values on the yellow side. A Hunter that has gone home with a captured Hart sits on that Hart, allowing easy distinction between the two players' points.

@AndyGB... You'll see that the middle part of the forest (where the hunters deploy) has the most paths. There are a few things that prevent the ganging up from being too bad: whenever a hart is captured, one hunter goes home; hunters can be "dragged" along with a Hart, allowing a clever Hart player to disrupt a screen; and the Hart player must resign himself to having some tokens captured, hopefully of lower value. Since the Hart player can intentionally blunder into a trap with a 0-value token, he can temporarily destroy a trap near the Heart, since the Hunter player will have to redeploy in the middle of the forest and will take several turns to reset.

Re: making individual Harts more powerful. The rules kind of do this in reverse, since having groups of Harts makes them easier to capture. Of course, a lot more playtesting would be needed to suss out if there needs to be more balance. Right now, it feels like being able to send Hunters home with low-value tokens allows the Hart player to thin the Hunters sufficiently.

And no, I don't have any good handle on making this multi-player. Most all of my games are for 3+ players, so I went with a specifically two-player game this time.

@BMinNY... I always have this challenge, especially since I tend to be too literal and write rules instead of a description of the game.

Matthew Rodgers
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Critiques

Fools Rush In: This got a vote from me, on theme mostly. I was a little shaky on the card manipulation stuff, but attributed that to the word limit.

Catch that Bunny: Big thumbs up (and votes) here. Loved the werewolf-like aspect of the wolves closing their eyes for the Bunny's turn. Also appreciated that the river gave an audio clue but stopped the visual clues.

Lhasa: A vote for Lhasa, for a different theme (and weight) than all the rest. I also like the known/unknown terrain mechanic and how snow would reset the terrain.

Let My People Go: A vote for turning a chase/hunt theme into a solitaire game. That's thinking outside the box. I was a little uncertain of what decisions the player got to make in the game, however.

The Great Zvengali!: I really liked the theme of the game and the deducation aspect.

TeaisforTim
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Hi folks, I am happy that you

Hi folks, I am happy that you liked the Great Zvengali!

It was hard to figure out how to balance the penalty for guessing "The Trick." Too light and you get a lot of random guessing, too heavy and people only guess when they are near 100% sure. I figured that the randomizing of the card order would probably be enough to dissuade frivolous guessing, as it is a relatively larger penalty the less information you have. Discarding down to 3 cards of their choice prevents people who had certain knowledge of 4 out of 5 cards from simply auto-winning the next turn because of their hand makeup.

And yes, once the first guess is fired off the game will likely end soon. That was an intentional move to reduce the time between the exciting/suspenseful reveal (The first guess) and the game's conclusion. I figure that most games should be 75% or more over when the major power play/reveal occurs. This is something that makes me, as a player, want to play a game again.

Thanks again for your votes!

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