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[GDS] July 2011 "Europoly" - Critiques

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sedjtroll
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Joined: 07/21/2008

Use this thread to post constructive critiques of the entries to the July 2011 Challenge in the Game Design Showdown series.

This month's Challenge was entitled "Europoly".

-Seth

simons
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My critiques...

1) Monopoly – Neighborhoods
Descent interpretation: players gather different kinds of resources, and spend them to buy properties. I like how players would need to travel to different areas to get different resources, however I didn’t like how it seemed like they had no control over where they went. If a player really needed to collect different types of resources, this could get frustrating, unless I misunderstood something. Does a player get control over when he leaves one area, or is it only when he lands on a space touching a street? One other thing I was confused about, would each player have their own board, or would each player share boards? If they own their own board, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of player-interaction. I was also a little confused by the point of the pipeline. Is it just a way for players to cycle buildings that they don’t want?

2) Majority
My game.

3) Magnate
3 votes
Overall, this was my favorite, just because this, more than any other game, felt like Euro-Monopoly. Impressive images. You really went all out on this one. I thought that the role choice was a neat addition, especially how you included Chance cards in there. I also liked the end and victory conditions, it felt true to the original Monopoly, but updated. I was a little confused about why everyone would receive a penalty if one person went to jail, but otherwise things seemed very clear. I didn’t particularly like the limitation on trading, it seems like anyone who wants to trade should be able to get what they can, rather than being limited to trading for 2 values higher (unless I misunderstood it, and I could force a player to trade with me).

4) Monepolis
2 votes
This was an interesting take on Monopoly, that I think stayed fairly true to it. The movement mechanic is really interesting. I’m having trouble thinking of where I have seen that before. The one problem is that you can make it possible to avoid any location that you don’t want (which would greatly drive down the value of places like Boardwalk). Also, it interacts in a slightly weird way with jail. I’m not sure what I think of the hostile takeover mechanism. Most of it seems good, except that you need other players to vote. I guess I didn’t understand thematically why people who do not own the property would get a say, and I worry that it would hurt the least-liked player. I like the deck-building mechanic, except I worry that 3 cards at the start will not be enough (especially if you get a bad one like “income tax”). I also didn’t like the end-game mechanic, since it has the old flaw of Monopoly (that it takes far, far to long for anyone to go bankrupt). Although, maybe with the new rules that will be different.

5) Europoly
Interesting idea. I was a little confused what a “share” was. Like, if I land on any dark blue property, can I buy 1 share? Or does each dark blue property have 3 shares on it? I’m also a little confused as to what #3 shares are, and how they are different from buying 3 #1 shares. I like how you managed to make the rent somewhat simple, however I think it might be problematic if owning a single property makes it so that you don’t need to pay any rent. It seems like the optimal strategy would become to just buy one property everywhere and go rent-free (it also seems like the optimal strategy is to be the first person to each place, so that you can buy things cheap). I’m also not quite sure if I understood what the actions are (although, it might be because I couldn’t see your images). Neat idea about chance cards giving extra dice, and being needed to buy new properties.

6) Modular Europoly
(Just a note: I’ve entered BGDF contests several times before, and have never playtested them before hand. The idea of this is not to give a finished game, but as clear of a description of a game idea as possible. What you have isn’t really a clear idea, just a number of ideas that you’d like to include.)
I liked how you included many more Euro-game mechanics than needed (especially multiple winning conditions and language-free board). I was a bit confused about how the movement would work, since it still seems like you have roll-and-move, it’s just slightly more controlled. Otherwise, I feel like there is not enough of a coherent game here to critique. Like, I didn’t catch how you could buy properties and such.

Also, for the future, I don’t care about this, but that much text in the figures might be a violation of the 800 word limit. I feel like they went above diagrams, and included fairly detailed rule descriptions.

7) Monopolis
1 vote
I like the role-assignment. That’s a really unusual take on this challenge. However, I’m a little concerned about how some things will work, however. I would worry that it would get really hard to get a monopoly if there is only one place that the realtor could go, and anyone can take it. Maybe it could work though, I need to think about it more.

8) Public Works
This is a really neat-sounding game. I like the under-bidding mechanism, and I like the way resources were valued based on the demand. I couldn’t vote for it though, because it didn’t really feel like Monopoly.

Simon

dobnarr
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My comments

Some cool entries this time around. Thanks to all the competitors for their neat ideas, to sedjtroll for running it, and to the people who post critiques here - that's my favorite part of the contest, reading people's comments. Here are mine...

#1 Monopoly - Neighborhoods
I'm not sure I fully understood the game from the rules. There seemed to be a ton of components and lots of accounting to keep track of, which is hard to do. The rules for placing properties and bonuses seemed pretty complicated, and I'm not sure the complexity leads to more fun in this case. The images included were all 1/3 larger than the rules allow. Departs pretty significantly from Monopoly (as my entry did) but still has the feel, I think.

0 votes

#2 Majority
This entry does a really good job of sticking with only original components. It reads more like a Monopoly variant than most of the other entries, which is in keeping with the assigned theme, I think. I'm not sure how it would play out - it seems like there would be a ton of rolling and moving without much progress being made, and the initial rents are very low. Without the property cards, it would be impossible to figure out the rent value - I found myself wondering if it was supposed to be the purchase price of the property, but probably not, because that is specified as the house or hotel cost. I think different victory conditions might make the game more exciting - it looks like it's guaranteed to be a long haul with not a lot of interesting choices and a lot of rolling and luck. I did like the humor present in the rules.

1 vote

#3 Magnate
This was my entry

#4 Monepolis
The card mechanic is interesting, but I found the description of the cards a little confusing. An example card would be very helpful here. How they're used becomes clearer later on in the rules. With this much control over the moves, it seems like it would be very difficult to get anybody to land on a space where they'll pay rent or have a bad outcome. I do like the Hostile Takeover mechanic. The game design here sticks close to original monopoly but has some interesting additions. I have some reservations about whether it would be fun, or whether it would end. In particular, it would be hard to get people to approve a hostile takeover for a player who's ahead, so that might make the game last a long time. Overall, though, pretty interesting.

2 votes.

#5 Europoly
On my computer the image links were broken, so it was hard to visualize. The rules don't describe much about how the board looks, so it's tricky to imagine. The rules also mention a "hostile takeover," and it wasn't clear to me what that meant. The gameplay sounds like it could be fun, but it would still suffer from some of the same problems Monopoly has - lots of luck in how you roll, and early bankruptcy knocking players out of the game. Risk points are incompletely described - is there a total that sends you to jail?

2 votes

#6 Modular Europoly
The images here were both over-size, not 400 wide by 600 tall, which is against the rules of the contest. The game looks like it would actually be a fun monopoly variant; I like the simplifications present with the money and resources. The bank spaces were a little hard for me to understand, but I think I got it figured out. This is a neat idea and seems to reflect the contest theme and challenges well. I'd have given this probably three votes if the images were legal size and if more of the gameplay were spelled out in the description.

0 votes

#7 Monopolis
This sounds like it could be a fun game. There seems to be some interesting strategy with choosing roles, and maybe some secondary strategy on moving the worker camps around. It wasn't clear to me if the camps had to move only forward or could go either direction, which would make a big difference in the game. The Advance to Boardwalk card could make the game end in 3-4 turns, so you might want to take that one out. It seems like bankruptcy would be rare, but maybe I'm misreading it. I like this, and think it could be a fun variant. I like especially that the game ends at a set event (the assessor reaching go).

1 vote

#8 Public Works
This seemed like a really interesting idea and could be a very fun game, but it was too big a departure from original Monopoly for me to think that it followed the contest rules for this month. I like the double auction and the coupling of the speculation with resource buying - there'd be an interesting tension between wanting to make money and wanting to get resources and close out projects. It would help to see a couple of example Public Works cards to understand them better.

0 votes.

joni
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Joined: 07/15/2009
Critiques welcome

I was kind of disappointed that my images broke after sedjtroll posted them. We think it was because of using dropbox to share them. Might need to change the way to share images...

The images explained much of what the text did not. So I would appreciate feedback on the complete version posted here: http://www.bgdf.com/node/5128.

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