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[GDS] FEBRUARY 2014 "From Nothing, Something" - Critiques

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Pure Stats
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Angry Stickman

Loved this game and i was away from a computer yesterday so I could not give my review. I would sit and play this game with my boys age 7 and 15. Simple enough with the right amount of strategy to make it replayable and fun! Great job!!

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Sow That All May Eat--Critique

I liked the stategy aspect of this game, it just missed out making my top three as it was tied with a few others just out of my top three. The way the rules read to me it seemed like the first person to bid would start with a huge advantage. Well thought out game though with only the one component.

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Ivory Tower -

This game made my top three. Loved the concept of building a tower. I could see playing this game with my kids. The choice of blocks and then building them has all kinds of life lessons built in along with the stategy. great job!!

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Starfield

Well thought out game, but i personally am not a fan of Dexterity type games, however, this did fit with the component restrictions and i could see many of my friends wanting to play something like this. I am way to competitive to play dexterity type games and not upset someone (my 7 year old would be upset most of the night). All adults playing would be a fun game night.

Pure Stats
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Starfield

Duplicate post

regzr
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iwory tower

At first glance this was kind a game what parents play with their children on sundays. But the restrictions of challenge don't allow nesessary color fullness, use of a bag and cards. So not a childrens game, nor a party game. What about a tactical one? I wasn't sure of the bidding: usually on a bidding people must pay/risk something valuable to gain something. Here players just avoid the same situation. All in all random draw - bidding - drafting - building is a process which I like.

regzr
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starfield

A thin theme is nothing special, but okay. The game fulfills all requirements of the challenge. A little secrecy in the beginning was driven in in a complicated manner. Didn't fancy keeping my finger long time on a button. Yet, want to see played, on a video, perhaps?

MaxGamesSeidman
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Starfield - Critique

Okay so not much of a critique, but I'm a sucker for flicking games. This would be a very funny looking game to have set up on your table.

davidwpa
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Ivory Tower-Critique

As I said in my earlier critiques, I took the criteria for this month's contest quite literally especially based upon the comments and questions that were asked afterwards.

This game is interesting and I think if it was entered in a different contest or on its own I would consider it to have a very promising design, but based on the merits of this contest, I think it violated the basic contention of the showdown by using several components. Granted they were all one color but they have different names and different functions and just because they are all made of one substance does not make them a uniform component in the spirit of what was specified.

davidwpa
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Starfield--Critique

This was an interesting game. I think it stretches the one component boundary with the different colors but it falls within the clarified guidelines.

I'm not a big fan of dexterity games. I understand the selection process, but I don't get it. Would it be easier to randomly select a planet from a bag at the beginning. What happens if all the players choose the same color? Also, is it truly secret if the players know the quantity of planets. Only the last player has a chance of having a secret because the others might be able to deduce what the previous players selected.

I'm also not sure I understand the difference between claiming and eliminating planets. Is the idea that multiple planets could be hit at one time causing one to be claimed and others eliminated.

I'm also not sure if it makes sense to have to hold a planet with your finger the whole time is comfortable.

It's an interesting basic concept, but I'm not sure how viable it might be.

sonofman
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Ivory Tower Critique

Ivory Tower did not earn my medal although I think it's a fine activity for the younger gaming crowd. There are a number of stacking games out there that all play the same way - stack objects as high as you can. This has the twist of the mind-game with bidding, but that seemed like an entirely separate concept to the "fun" of this game, which might do better to be focused on the building.

I also was a bit strict with my interpretation of the GDS requirements (my own entry as evidence), and while this did have parts made from one type of material, making the "shape" the differentiating factor and then giving those parts specific functions like "baseplate" and "measuring pillar" is like saying that all the resources in Agricola are the same - they're just shaped differently.

If you were to pursue this game, frankly why not? It's a good sell for spare blocks; I suggest getting rid of the bidding and add in some risky-advantage for using parts that are hard to stack. Perhaps make them bigger or maybe each type of part is worth points and you only score it once it's high enough.

sonofman
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Starfield Critique

In my Ivory Tower critique I mentioned how I thought differing shape and then use was "too far." Star field differs the planets in color and then gives those colors meanings thereby making them "different components" by my standard. And yet, I still gave it my bronze.

Because I liked it that much. I too, am a sucker for flicking games. This game's mechanic of "flick some but not TOO many" is also used in an older flicking game whose name escapes me at the moment, and it holds up here.

I did think the theme was a bit of a stretch to be knocking around planets. I'd suggest a tornado theme with the objects representing buildings, cars, and cows. Why're there always cartoon cows in tornados?

bike
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M&M Poker - critique

This one came close to bronze. It is well inside the requirements. It just does not feel finished yet. When can I move some to the middle, can I do it until I win? I suggest to give every player one chance to draw up to 3 new M&M (and eat the ones discarded) and then compare scores. Give the winner one point (either write down, or remember) and continue. Everyone could start with one bag of M&M and when it is finished you reached your final score.

bike
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Call my column - critique

Although this is within the requirements, I think I would use colored discs and only one per player per number. The setup is easier, and material is halved. It takes a little longer to see who played what, you need to look around the table.
I see a problem with the gameplay. What if happens if two players select the same number? Who wins it?
Is it ever needed to shift a column to the left? Every player has every number just once, if you win with that number, you do not have that column, so you can keep it.
Apart from that, I do not think the players have a lot influence of the outcome of the game. You will score your 9, you might score your 8 and 7 but you have no influence if they fall for another players 9.

Having said all that, I do think there is potential. Shifting a won line to your opponent if you already have that number is a funny mechanic.

anonymousmagic
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Ivory Tower - Feedback

I liked the bidding mechanic and although I liked a second round (as in Catan), that particular mechanic could likely end up dropping spheres into the lap of the highest bidder because no one else wants them...

I was fine with shape being the defining factor of the pieces, but since you needed a 10 cm piece to determine who wins, they also differed in function, which meant -- for me -- it didn't meet the restrictions of the challenge.

anonymousmagic
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Starfield - Feedback

First of all, what I found most annoying about this game was the name. Calling it starfield when you're playing with planets didn't make sense.

Others have already explained how the game could be improved, but I liked the simplicity of the components and color being the differing factor met the rules.

Strategy, dexterity and theme all mixed into a great game. It received my bronze.

regzr
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m&m poker

One strong trend in modern games is that rules must be as short and clear as possible. This time rules are very short and I envy everybody who is able to compress information in a such clever way.

The bag could be classified as an extra component, but I define "one bag of m&m candy" as one unit.

M&M Poker will be great fun when you have been shipwrecked on a desert island and last bits of food are shared.

regzr
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call my column

Critique has focused on these sentences:
"If they already have a column with the same number on top, the new column moves to the player on their left. If that player already has a column with the same number, the column moves again. This continues until the column belongs to a player who does not already own a column with that number at the top."
I should test, but I doubt if the system is fair. Player's impulse may be zero and an automated distribution process could take control.

Because Call My Column has some similarities with my own design and is an enhanced edition, I was bind to, as well as honored to give a medal.

Pure Stats
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M&M Poker

I wanna Play right now!!. Get the M&Ms. I would like to add the asking for more and discarding (eating) up to three M&Ms. Great concept, simple and ready to play!!

Pure Stats
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Call my Column

I like the concept of the game, but i believe there are a few holes in the game. What if two players pick the same number and i am not sure about the passing to the left mecahnic. HAs some potential, but would need to be played to work out the kinks. Maybe i am just not grasping it entirely

Corsaire
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Call My Column

I liked the concept here, and it met the requirements. The game mechanics description were solid and complete, though needing a bit of a strategy discussion to highlight where the game is.

It isn't obvious that this will work. It is also possible that the fun is located three steps away from beginner mind. The moving column seems an impossible condition as the top has to be one of your tokens that hasn't been played. The game may also breakdown into an irrelevant or impossible RPS.

It sounds silly, because wouldn't everyone play their highest number. In fact if they do, what happens on a tie? Barring a tie, if you have the top number, you will have a place for it because the only way to win a column is by playing a number unique to your set. So columns will never move.

Setting aside the question of ties and non-moving columns... once you have experience in the game, I see strategy (of a vaguely rock, paper, scissors variety) where you are balancing when to play high and score a column with more mid level values in it. But until you have the perspective of that, the game could feel fairly irrelevant and you may never play it enough to get that appreciation.

A word about how the play strategy pans out would've been a good addition to the description.

Corsaire
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M&M Poker

Feels like something done one way or another many times, and poker is only a good game because of bidding and hidden information. I was not too interested in it, and I do see the required bag as a second component. That can be ignored by saying: randomly pick an M&M.

Remembering the relative values would also be tricky.

donut2099
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call my column

I had to go back and reread this one because it sounded more fun today and it had to be a contender for a medal on my list. In rereading, I did find a couple of things that I think break the game. As the players randomly turn over numbers, it is quite likely that players will play the same numbers on occasion and there doesn't appear to be a way to resolve this in the rules. Perhaps in the case of highest number ties, the column should go to the next highest player. I'm not sure what I think of the turning over numbers to reveal what numbers are left. You call it a bluffing game, and though the rules don't demonstrate this, the name suggests that the players are maybe supposed to declare what token they are claiming to play? This would be better in my opinion if the players were forced to try and remember what players had played already . Good concept, reminds me of a simple trick-taking card game.

donut2099
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m&m poker

Seriously? What kind of jerk came up with this? I rest my case.

danieledeming
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M&M Poker Critique

I have to agree with a lot of the other critiques...not only is it two different components, but the poker aspect requires privacy and bidding. Your design is a just a luck draw.

There were two aspects of this I did really like, though. 1) The color distribution would be different for each game, a really neat mechanic. 2) This would be an easily transportable game, or if you leave it at home you can just pick up a new set! You can play any time, any where, really, and for cheap. Always attractive!

danieledeming
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Call My Column Critique

Corsaire hit the nail on the head with my issue for this game - There is no incentive for any player to play any disc other than their highest; while it might mean a potential tie and no gain, it would ensure that they would not lose.

I do enjoy the bluffing mechanic though. Maybe something like "Fist of Dragonstones" would work better for this game, where you're betting for some middle prize but everyone has a fixed amount of 'funds' to try and win several different bets.

anonymousmagic
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M&M Poker - Feedback

Sure, the game could've used a little more detail in its pitch, but the fact it piqued my interest regardless was a good start. I was particularly interested by the fact the game used something you could potentially find in any home, but it received top marks in the components category of my judging for turning something edible into a game component. The sheer creativity and uniqueness in that alone is what eventually made me award my gold medal to this game. It was only when I started reading other comments that I really started wondering about the potential hygiene problem.

I think this game has a lot of potential, especially if the occasional blue M&M we get here is included in the "hand" schedule. It has a unique selling point in its components, easy rules and loads of people can play at the same table. When the components are eaten the game ends: an obvious end point for the game is built in.

Not every design needs lots of details and complicated sub-rules and this game was the perfect example. I felt this design in particular embraced the restrictions of the challenge and turned them into an asset instead of a hindrance.

Congrats to donut2099 for a job well done. :)

anonymousmagic
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Call My Column - Feedback

Although I enjoy games that encourage lying and bluffing, this game just didn't work for me. It lacked any real theme when you could've incorporate ancient Greek pillar builders or something. With so many great components entered, I just felt the common-ness of the tokens and their numbering lacked the thematic drive to really get me interested.

Also, if the person with the highest value chip gets the column with that chip, how would they ever get one with that number again to trigger the column moving to the next player to their left? I liked the idea of that mechanic, but I didn't see how it would happen in this game or why it would even be needed.

Mr.S
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M+M Poker

Love this game idea, particularly because of the unique game component chosen. The only obvious flaw here is that you would not want to eat the candies after they’ve been touched by multiple people and slid around a table. I think you need to add a maximum number of draws for each round; otherwise people will just keep going until they get 5 of a kind. Other than that it sounds like a fun way to divide up candies.

Mr.S
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Call My Column

I really liked this game. It took the constraints of the challenge to heart and delivered a simple, fun game (in opposition to other reviewers, my interpretation of the rules was a little different and possibly more lenient). I think this is more of a guessing game than a bluffing game though. You are trying to guess what the other players will do (being able to keep track of what has been played is an important skill).
Are the tokens recycled each round? If the tokens are being recycled, why would anyone play a number below 5. Even if they need a column with 1,2,3,4… they will never get it. You need two ones to get a 2 row. Conversely, since under 5 is almost guaranteed to be given to another player, you would just be giving it up. I think this critique has been expressed by many others. In a 3 person 9 round game, each player will win a round with 7,8,9 unless poorly played.
If the tokens are not recycled, it makes the game more interesting in when you go for those 7,8,9s.
This description doesn’t say what happens in a tied round. Does the column go to both, neither, or is the round replayed? All of these possibilities would affect strategy.
Overall, this is a decent little game that can be played on the playground or tabletop. I would have liked to see a better description of the game though. It would be interesting to see gambling added to this game.

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