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[GDS] JANUARY 2014 "Big Ideas in Tiny Packages" - Critiques

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baberahamlincoln
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Joined: 08/28/2012
Feedback - Time Capsules

This game did not seem to fit the theme based on my read throughs, unless the Dilemma cards were tied to sustainable energy and fossil fuels. Even then the theme tie in seems minimal. I also had a hard time understanding the general flow and feel of the game. For me at least, this entry might have been better received and easier to get into if it did not get so detailed, and used more of its word count to provide a higher level overview and flow, instead of getting so deep in the nitty gritty. Having some idea of what the cards are like (how Dilemmas and Remedies matchup, for example) may have helped contextualize the mechanics better.

Corsaire
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Time Capsules

Time Capsules

Interesting conceptual approach, with setting things into motion and seeing how they work out. I can see how this can be tied into the challenge, but those direct connections are missing. Setting up foundations or addressing issues is a really interesting decision mechanic.

There is definitely a balance in design description for these challenges in letting loose on the game mechanics and explaining the vision. As an elevator pitch, if the game take more than 30 minutes to play odds are components and specific mechanics take away from the presentation rather than add to it.

I do think many game instructions miss out on a key game summary and overview which will be the tool to sell with. The flavor text stuff is conceptually fun, but doesn't provide the overview of play that brings together the whole thing.

Something like...
You'll have one year of monthly turns to fix your part of the world or to set in motion foundations that will change the world while you are cryogenically suspended awaiting a cure.

Each turn you'll collect your money and discover and interact with dilemmas. You can solve them directly or cooperatively or establish foundations to fix them slowly.

When you awaken you'll be the greatest philanthropist if your continent is the least in danger.
...
It'll be interesting to see where you go with this. The premise is interesting but needs a little bit of propping to understand why these multiple people are all to be frozen at the same time and awoken at the same time.

davidwpa
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Explanation about Mine's a Wastin'

I have been looking forward to your critiques, but I want to start by confessing I made a very rookie mistake in my design submission. Originally I had added additional mechanics including solar panel cards and wind mills along with resources called minerals which were to be used in conjunction with coal or oil to construct the aforementioned cards. The idea being that you mined the coal, oil and gas initially to produce energy along with the minerals to build the panels and windmills. When a set was accumulated of some coal cards and the mineral cards (think Iron) to produce a panel or a windmill you could "purchase" one of these renewable energy sources with its output related to the amount of resources invested in it.

The upside is that there would be action cards to enhance their energy output creating clean energy points whereas the coal, oil and gas transmission cards would always output energy points but create pollution points that would subtract from the point total. That was where the goal would come into play in that once you were able to produce renewable energy your point score would accumulate steadily (and be modified with action cards) while trying to produce the same out put strictly with the fossil fuel sources would also produce penalties and make it harder to score your energy points (needed to win the game).

I edited out the renewable energy section or mechanics under the belief that when I read the theme just dealing with fossil fuels was enough and the renewable part could be added as "an expansion", but after I saw the other designs I realized that I did myself a disservice by trying to strictly adhere to the word limit and those extra 50-60 words changed the entire scope of my game.

Anyway, I look forward to your thoughts, but I wanted to make sure that I explained there was more to the game than what I submitted and after a message with mindspike I realized I should have submitted the unaltered design.

Thanks,

David

bike
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Joined: 03/08/2012
Time Capsules - Critique

The game offers interesting options, depending on the exact cards, some tough decisions can be made, when to buy remedies, and to play them now, or wait a bit. I like setting up foundations that will work while you sleep.
No points from me because the theme only vaguely matches the GDS.

bike
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Mines a wasting - Critique

Hard work is needed to get some points. Win an auction, harvest the resources (for which you hopefully have the right cards) and then transport it. The game focusses on making sure you have the right combination of cards to get it all done (and have luck with the mine).
Some things were unclear to me. What is a mine? A deck of some cards? Winning an auction as action... does that mean that everyone who loses the auction as action can pick 2 other actions? Or try another auction?
Drawing one action card seems not enough. Drawing several, and choosing a few from them, gives the players more options.

The addition of renewable energy options is good. It makes the auctions more interesting. If these options would be available from the beginning, I would like to pay a lot for them. Free points every turn!

baberahamlincoln
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Joined: 08/28/2012
Feedback - Mines a Wasting

This entry was a bit of a mixed bag for me.

I really liked the speculation aspect of the mines, with the ability to check it out after buying it. I like the unpredictable nature of this, and would probably encourage players to bid on lots of mines, but only pursue the best ones. I could see this maybe also working with players being able to look at one random card before buying the mine (so they have some idea of what it’s all about), but only being able to see them all once they make the investment. I think this part of the game is a great foundation, and there’s potential to build it further.

Besides this, I would have liked to get a bit more of a feel for how the game would be played, and less about the specific components. I think I understand the pollution, playing cards against opponents, but this really doesn’t seem to add much. Overall, I think the GDS requirements are met, but for the purposes of voting, I’d rather see them integrated more strongly, such as there being an actual relationship between actions and pollution, instead of what I think is just pollution being a method of attacking / hindering other players.

sonofman
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Mines a Wastin feedback

I don't think the theme and tough decisions of energy production and pollution were robust enough in this entry. Superficially yes, but it seems pollution cards are just played by opponents to lower your production/score? In that case there doesn't seem to be any tradeoff decision the players make in regards to opening new mines as often as possible.

This honestly feels like a game played from the perspective of the mine-operators, where pollution and mining penalties are completely external forces that are happening TOO you instead of related to what YOU are doing. Interesting take, if it was developed, but I think I'm reading too far into it in the design presented.

Overall this game has the feel of a straight-forwards economic bidding game, and could very well as be a game about flower shops with opponents playing the occasional "polar vortex" card to reduce your flower supply.

In regards to it mechanically being a speculation/bidding game, it seems like a sound base. Almost a very euro-style card game like Bohnanza.

Corsaire
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Mines a Wasting

Fun bit of pun for the title, just enough to catch attention. With detail comes responsibility... my first hangup with this entry was understandng what was what. Is an action a card or something different? Are action cards in the power deck, or a different deck? Probably spent too long trying to get that clear in my head.

The auctions seem important and I wasn't clear on the play of the 1-4 cards.

Scored low on fit to the challeneg for me, because I didn't feel any sort of case for lookng at alternative energy. I can sorta see the elements, but wasn't piecing together the bits.

I think I'll have a copy paste of summarizing a game. A gameplay synopsis that is engaging and intriguing is a very important step to get publishers, players, etc. interested in your game. The classic elevator pitch, you have fifteen seconds, make me beg to play your game in that time (about two - three sentences.) Happens in a game store, if I'm browsing randomly, maybe ten seconds. You've nailed the first few seconds with a good title.

If this is a game you are actively developing start a fresh post with a full presentation of it. I can tell from the entry and your post that there is a lot of thought here and I'd contribute more feedback with a complete picture.

richdurham
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Discussion

Another month, another good set of discussions going on. I'd still like to see the designers themselves comment on their own design more. I think a dialogue on a title rather than the repeating the same comments will be even more helpful.

Next month will be a very different challenge, and a dialogue will really tease out the best of each design.

Nice work everyone - take a couple days off before we get in to February's contest!

davidwpa
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Feedback on my design

Hi everyone,

Thank you for your comments and feedback and questions. This is the first time I have participated in a challenge like this and the game was designed in response to the challenge and while it initially was to see if I could do it, I'm actually become interested in possibly making it more viable. It was difficult to explain my idea in 500 words and some of my colleagues observations are correct in that some parts of the mechanics could do with refinement. Let me try to clear up some of the questions though.

I grew up and continue to live in the coal regions of PA and am the first generation to not have involvement with mining which is where my perspective is derived. I tried to incorporate into my design my understanding of coal mining and the business as it was run historically with some poetic license.

I envisioned the mines as being piles of cards randomly dealt out in different amounts and comprised of the resource cards of dirt, coal, oil, gas and minerals. The piles would vary in number of cards just like a real mine does and because these substances form in similar strata it is not unrealistic to find them close together in formations.

In this area the company owned mines, but some people with connections were able to bid on and buy the rights to private mines as well which is where the bidding/claim mechanic came from.

The ability to speculate by using a worker and peeking at the pile gives you an idea what kinds of production and transportation cards you need to collect. Perhaps it is more realistic to allow for trading with other players the equipment as a possible action.

I have no problem with allowing more than one card to be drawn or altering how the action cards are selected. Perhaps it makes more sense to provide some type of economic mechanic to provide the ability to hire workers/production/transport items but the cards to me seemed an economical way of doing this.

The renewable energy items I mentioned where integrated into the design from the beginning and stupidly pulled out to try to make the word limit. My initial explanation probably didn't do this part of the game justice.

I equated the transportation of resources to the production of energy assuming that the resources destination was some type of power plant but I did not focus on the "power plant" part because I thought the mining was interesting so the design assumption was that once you transported it the resources became energy and scored points based on how much you were able to move that turn.

With regard to pollution, the production/transportation cards would have a pollution value and the action modifiers(think events) enabled players to play the finger of fate in interfering with others game play (probably simplistic but i thought it was an economical compromise at the time)

Once you mined the right amount of coal/oil and had a certain qty of minerals (as scored by the point values of the cards) and accomplished through mining and possibly trading with other miners, you could convert those cards to renewable energy production which would enable you to continue to score points as eventually the mines would dry up and you would be out of fossil fuels sooner or later and need to continue to score points. There would be action cards or event cards that also affect these like (high pressure system --no wind effect of cancelling points scored for windmills this turn) , or (Hurricane--lose solar power production for one turn) that type of thing.

So in that sense the action cards provide events that occur that you can play on other players or yourself (some would provide bonuses) to move forward as they are applicable.

Naturally this was an initial design so I agree it is not perfect and could do with some refinement, but for a first try at something like this I was happy with my initial result and appreciative to all of you for your feedback and encouragement. Thanks and I hope this helps. Please feel free to msg me if you would like to discuss it some more.

Peace, David

bike
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Hello, Thanks for the reviews

Hello,

Thanks for the reviews of my game "From Oil to Wind". After reading the GDS I went looking for ways to get a message across using a game. Any message with theme "Fossil fuel and renewable energy". I rejected themes like "Digging for oil on the Northpole", "Making engines, especially cars, more economical" since the actual audience for that message is limited to CEO's, universities and governments. Using less fossile energy and/or switch to renewable energy... there is a large audience. Since I did not only want to reach gameplayers, I came up with the print-and-play idea. Problem is this attracks mainly kids, and the theme is more for parents. An app with more or less the same mechanic would be better there, bring in some nice artwork (http://dumbwaystodie.com/ for instance).

The message of the game is: Fossil energy is finite. The fact that you lose your turn because more and more diceresults are getting blocked, is the sign "no energy for you". If player start to dislike the game, plays it only once or twice, or even stop halfway, that did not bother me. If somewhere in the mind the emotion "no fossil energy - I could not do anything" remains, and pops up (a few years) later when seeing something about it on the news, or when they pick a new fridge which is more economical, that is the real goal of the game.
Of course, that only happens with a few people who have played it, therefore many people must play it. A game has limited influence on people's life.

The choices on the squares could inform people about the energy costs of household machines, trips by plane, etc.

So, Corsaire, I am sorry for your kid ;-) Eight years is a great age to get annoyed and remember it for quiet a while.
Baberahamlincoln, thank you for struggling through my rules. That should teach me to use more general wording. I wanted to share the mechanic, because I loved it. Much easier with a simple drawing...
Davidwpa, I agree we cannot do without oil etc. We better make use of it to make plastics than to fuel our engines. We can fuel our engines with renewable energy. The time left we have oil to make plastics is longer that way. Does that make sense?

Corsaire
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One thought for Mines a

One thought for Mines a Wasting... the dealing out card prep could happen during the game using a die roll to determine as each mine is possessed. That distributes the setup time into the gameplay.

Thanks Bike, he bounces back quickly. Seeing the deeper thought you had to encourage people to think about finite resources with a free-ish game is clever.

davidwpa
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Good idea

Thanks Corsaire, that is a good idea and it can be used to also make sure the mine isnt a useless mess as well...

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