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[GDS] March 2012 "Dragon Dice" - Critiques

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Avianfoo
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Use this thread to post constructive critiques of the entries to the March 2012 Challenge in the Game Design Showdown, entitled "Dragon Dice".

For those that missed it in the Comments thread:

Cogentesque wrote:
WE HAVE A WINNER! - Its a Tie!!

First of all, I’d like to say - Wow! I’m so happy with the amount of positive responses! The submission, the votings, and the lovely messages that you guys sent me expressing your good will and appreciation in regards to this run of GDS.

Everybody did well, some did better, some did worse, but you ALL rock.As there were so many entries here are the votes for the top 5 games:

1. 4. Avianfoo's "Ryu Rally: First Race" - 13 Votes
1. 7. TeaisforTim's "Have Dragon, Will Slay" - 13 Votes
3. 2. Pastor_Mora's "Cursed Lands" - 10 Votes
4. 8. ryanwanger's "My Dragon is Trapped!" - 9 Votes
5. 10. Orangebeard's "Dragon-fire Tunnel" - 8 Votes
5. 12. richdurham's "King Dragon" - 8 Votes

Onto the critique thread! Now as they are so many entries - you do not need to extoll a story book on each one, but a note on a few entries would make the designers very happy (wouldn't it you?!). Remember the purpose of this is to become a better designer and as such the best you could do is to tell the entries you voted for why you voted for them AND to tell the entries you didn’t vote for why how they could have won your vote.

If you are not up on the top 5, why not?! Ask people! Find out what positive ideas others’ think would go well in your game, perhaps a minor change here or a theme change there, remember this is not a “win or lose” thing, everybody has won already - just form taking the time to enter, you have exercised your thinkin’ muscles and are better off for it - now we learn more about the science and magic of game design!

Thank you everybody for your support of this GDS - you are all very very awesome people.

dobnarr
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Critiques

I voted for only one of the top six listed, and I split my vote and voted for six. Go figure. With that apparent out-of-touchness as a disclaimer, here are my comments:

My feedback:

1 Dragon by the Tail:

Nice non-traditional use of the theme. The dice are clever; it might be useful (though less artistic) to include numbers on them for easier seeing. Very simple, but I think this would be really fun as a quick filler or family game.

2 Cursed Lands:

Could be fun, although with only four dice and five unique sides, I think it might be much more limited than Yahtzee, which is already pretty simple. The combos occasionally contain one Magic side, but the Magic sides are going to be rolled twice as many times as any other, so I think you're frequently going to have two of them (useful for only one of the combos) and roll even more of them when you don't want them. The combos also seem a little hard to remember, but if you had score sheets with pictures, that would go away. The luck factor is very high, but it's supposed to be a "light" game with dice, so maybe that's not a problem.

3 Dragons of the Four Winds:

Interesting idea, and I like the wind theme. I also like the "each player's choice must be unique" part, but why wouldn't you just take the most dice possible, because you have more of an opportunity to score? I'd have to do the math, but I think the doubling if they all match doesn't nearly compensate for this. I think it would be more interesting if the dragon die passed in a different way than the first-move - that would lead to more interesting choices. This would easily be playable by more than three - just roll one of the white dice to see which wind you're matching each turn.

4 Ryu Rally - First Race:

A cool idea; I like the race theme and the three different actions; I'm not sure they're balanced well, but playtesting could iron that out. It's hard to know without knowing how many of these gems you start with or what the dragons' special powers are. You seem to lose more gems than you gain with almost any action, and resting loses you victory points at a 1:1 ratio, so I think the game as written will go on for a time or even forever. I'd take out that penalty. Having random targets to the cards could be frustrating - if they were determined in some way (e.g. the dragon immediately in front of you, your choice of dragon within three movement gems) it could be a more strategic game.

5 Xiao Long Da:

This could be a really cool game, but that would depend on the cards, which aren't fully described (not that there's room in 300 words). I think 30 temples is far too many; it seems like you're going to need a couple of turns even to meet the conditions, and then you have to roll the right numbers. The game would go way faster (and be more fun, I think) if there were multiple temples available at once. Having variable claim conditions is really neat, too - you could even have "roll two threes" or something; that would give the game some interesting variety. I like that the tokens are useful separately from points, too. ==> 1 VOTE

6 The Dragon's Lair:

Different from other entries; this is more of a combat-heavy game. I think you're going to run into trouble with the math, since the only way to defeat a strength 15 dragon would be to have multiple bonus items and roll high. Two steps back for a loss is harsh, too; people are going to be stuck at the in for a long time, and they don't have any choices to make other than when to use their markers (which they'll only have for a short time anyway).

7 Have Dragon, Will Slay:

I love the charlatan theme - very funny. The game mechanics seem a little confusing; I don't know how you ever exceed the village threshold if it is 8-24 and you're rolling a d6, and you've got separate gold values for the village and on the ruse table, which isn't reconciled. Panache has multiple uses, which is cool, but they aren't all equal, which means you'll probably save it for the better use (which I think will be re-rolls) most of the time. I like the panache gain when you don't get to roll - a good balancing mechanism.

8 My Dragon Is Trapped:

A very clever theme idea; I love the ogre pile. The game is very, very simple, which I think might frustrate anybody who's graduated from Cootie-level play. You'll be down to a couple ogres in a couple rolls, and then it's just a lot of sighing loudly while rolling one die at a time. Anything you could do to make it slightly more complex I think would be a plus.

9 WyrmKyn:

This could be cool; it's very difficult to evaluate without seeing the dragon and mission cards. There sould seem to be lots of tables to consult, which can be daunting for new folks - it might be worth simplifying it to use six-sided dice and have simpler mission plans. It's not clear from the rules how one gets a mutation effect or how the mutations apply, or how one evaluates awesomeness of dragons.

10 Dragon-Fire Tunnel:

This could be crazy and fun - a little hard to visualize, but I think I get the picture. The luck factor is high and could get very frustrating if you never roll moves, or roll a ton of grabs with no gold nearby. There aren't going to be a ton of meaningful decisions to make. Still, it might be fun just to roll it out and see what happens.

11 Dragon Nesting Season:

This is also a simple simulation-type game, with limited player choices. The ending doesn't work as written - "when everyone has died or reached the nest" - because people can't die; they just respawn. Therefore, the only good strategy is to fly around capturing knights, and the first players to move will have a distinct advantage because the nearby knights will be gone for later players. The altitude thing is clever; I like it as a resource, but I think it's not going to enter into the planning much - you'll just float up if you need to. Very hard not to be able to get up to 11 with four dice to roll.

12 King Dragon:

An interestingly-themed betting game. It would be simpler to just have the highest dragon give the coins to the lowest dragon. I like that there's actually a small penalty (becoming king dragon) for getting everybody to drop out. It sounds like the king dragon never has a chance to fold? Or maybe he can't fold unless raised? That could be tricky or frustrating, especially since his hand is known to all. There's no reason to use three dice or have the rearranging here, either, since highest roll is best; might be easier just to use a single die and handle ties. I like it, though you might not want to scale the rounds to the players in the way you do - 3 players = 18 rolls plus betting, 6 players = 72 total rolls plus betting; the game would drag exponentially with more players.
==> 1 VOTE

13 Dragon Dice, Breath of Fire:

A neat simple strategy game. I'm not sure how much strategy there would be in the setup phase, but it would be kind of fun to build the board up. Likewise, strategies could be hindered by the dice controlling movement, but it would be fun to find the best move possible with a given roll, and you'd have to pay attention to where you were and what way you were facing. I'm not totally clear how you collect scorch tokens or how you fight knights and archers. But I think this could be pretty fun.

14 Fields of Fire:

A little hard to imagine without images of the boards. The moves could get pretty complicated, if you're moving all dragons along with the knight. The combat seems straightforward enough, but it doesn't say what happens when somebody wins - are the knights killed? Do they relocate? Are dragons killed? Can they come back? Some unanswered questions.

15 A Landscape with Dragons:

Tricky to understand the math involved without example characters, dragons, and villains, and without the cards described. It might be hard to balance if the villain has so many more moving parts than the hero, although the hero is stronger, and his moves always bring him closer to the castle. Sounds like a fun simple strategy game, though; I'd like to see it more fully realized, when I could see how it might play out.

16 Dragon Eggs:

This is a neat abstract game. I think it could be really fun; it might be a little too hard to score with 30 different eggs, since you only get one move. Maybe having two for each number 1-15 would offer more possibility for scoring. The warp moving is cool - that could make it pretty interesting. However, I think the strategy might be pretty obvious most of the time; your only challenge would be spotting your scoring moves, then checking your opponent's, and figuring out whether it's better to take your score or deny your opponent. Not much else to it. But this is a really neat idea and worthy of more work, I think. It looks like you're well on your way to testing it - how did it go? ==> 1 VOTE

17 Dragon Tournament:

A nice, non-traditional storyline, healing dragon mounts - very creative. It's very hard to know how the game would go without seeing the cards, but there might be something fun here.

18 Dragon Derby:

Interesting idea; I like the initiative system with the possibility to change actions. I'm not sure there are enough choices for what to do to keep it interesting - basically move or attack each time, with the various moves and attacks not differentiated. There could be more here if the land spaces and cards make it more complex, but without knowing what those do, it's hard to see.

19 Farmer's Nuisance:

A simple but cool resource management game. Balancing greed (workers) vs. need (warriors) is fun, especially when they exchange at variable rates. Clever; simple; I like it. ==> 1 VOTE

20 Mandate of the Dragon:

This is a neat little simulation. It's a little tricky to figure out at first, but it eventually made sense. The cooperative aspect could be fun as people discuss strategies, but I think you might end up with fairly obvious choices each turn in order to avoid collective death. It might be cooler if there were some random strength effect for the mongols - then there would be risks involved in different strategies, and the optimal one might not be so obvious.

21 Dragon Storm:

This was mine, so I won't critique it. :-)

22 Dragon's Eggs:

A cool idea for a simple strategy game. I really like the balance between strength and movement restrictions you've got here; I don't know for sure whether it's balanced, but it's a neat idea. It doesn't say how you allocate dice to dragons - is that by choice, or does one die have to go with a particular dragon? You also don't say how many eggs there are or where they start. It seems like you could easily stalemate, also, for example by moving your big dragon onto your nest, in which case nobody can enter it. And you could win very quickly just by getting some high rolls while your opponent is stuck with low ones - I'd be interested in seeing how it balances. So, some mechanics questions, but I really like the design. ==> 1 VOTE

23 Drago Masseuse:

Funny, unique theme - I love it. Relatively simple gameplay; the adding is clever, and gives the game some variety and interest. Without it, the press-your-luck part wouldn't work so well. Very cool use of simple components for a complex result. ==> 1 VOTE

Avianfoo
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Votes

My votes fell to the following (in no particular order):

  • 7) TeaisforTim's "Have Dragon, Will Slay"
  • 20) Empires' "Mandate of the Dragon"
  • 21) dobnarr's "Dragon Storm"

7) TeaisforTim's "Have Dragon, Will Slay"
My first choice. The theme of con-men using dragons to get "rewards" really stands out. Thought not stated specifically I assume that in the Braggadocio Phase you keep the previous die roll, so you keep rolling either until you bust (rolling above fear threshold of a village) or beat all other players, presumably when all other players bust? All this just to get the right to attempt to ruse the village. Don't really like the mechanics involved for successfully pulling off a Ruse (rolling dice combinations) unless you always gain gold just for better combinations you get more gold.

20) Empires' "Mandate of the Dragon"
Competitive game where you have to help other players fight off their Mongols or you all lose. This game hinges on the Dragon cards/ Dragon tiles from preventing a particularly bad roll from all players from ending the game prematurely but I like that it has that option. I can see some really tough decisions happening here...ooh we already have that many Farmers.. we can't really afford an uprising. I think this could be quite a tight game. Though I don't know how "light" this game is.

21) dobnarr's "Dragon Storm"
Knight fighting dragons. I like the immersion of this one. Dice rolls are mitigated by equipment you pick up. though the equipment will have to be pretty weak or rare else in later game all players will simply look at dragons to defeat it. I assume the extra Flame and Talon icon on the dice increase the dragons power somewhat? I think a dice with more of these negative effects would also be suitable. But then these are all balancing issues. To me this is an easy to understand and light game which is new comer friendly.

Matthew Rodgers
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Comments, Part One

#1 Dragon by the Tail

I really liked the use of the dice as eggs and the different scoring possibilities. This plus the push your luck aspect meant that this one got my vote.

#2 Cursed Lands

I think a little more explanation of the scoring system would have helped me here. Good thematic tie-in of the Dragon's body parts to the symbols on the dice.

#3 Dragons of the Four Winds

My entry… I'll do a blog post on the game, but I intentionally took the parameters and treated them as absolute (it must be a light three player with dice as the only component, in other words) and I think a couple other folks worked the same way with better results. I did work to make sure that everyone had a choice and that the choices were roughly equal (e.g. expected value on an East/West wind with one die is 2 (6 points if you roll the wind, since all dice show the wind) and expected value for three dice is 2.2 (~70% chance of getting 3 points, plus about 10% chance of getting 3 more). I'd love to hear what others thought of the game (or even better why you passed it over).

#4 Ryu Rally: First Race

I like game with limited actions represented by cards and the abstract movement and give/take of the different actions (without player elimination) was really cool. This got my vote.

#5 Xiao Long Da

Gameplay looked very interesting but I wasn't sure thematically on the polymorphing dragons.

#6 The Dargon's Lair

Thematically awesome, but there's a big problem: unless I'm reading the rules wrong, it's impossible to win. If you are fighting a Dragon of Strength 15 (or 14), the best you can get on the dice is 12, plus either +2 for the sword or the Dragon is -1 (down to 14). Even if you could do both (which you can't, right?), the Dragon would still win, since you have to exceed the value. This issue might be ameliorated by having not all Dragons be placed on the board, but I don't know if I'd break out a game where I knew there was a decent chance it would literally be unbeatable.

#7 Have Dragon, Will Slay

Faking gullible villagers out of their money by staging fake dragon slayings! I'm not sure what the Castle card does though. It did get me vote however.

#8 My Dragon is Trapped

Ogres sitting on dragons… with the right artwork this game could be a lot of fun. I liked that there was a bit of decision in how many dice to roll.

#9 WyrmKin

One of the meatiest games in the bunch, and I think strays away from the injunction to keep it a light game. I wasn't quite sure how to determine how awesome my dragon was, but I'm sure full rules would spell that out.

#10 Dragon-fire Tunnel

Again a very thematic game. I'm not sure of the distribution of the Insomnius die (I counted 8 possibilities, but it's called out as a d12). I think players might get frustrated by the decision-space: it's either use the dice as rolled or don't use (some of) the dice. When three Hides come up with no boulders nearby, I'm sure to hear some grumbling at the table…

#11 Dragon Nesting Season

I really liked the idea of rolling dice but then doing "choose 2" from the die roll, then having the option to press your luck by rolling less dice. The only thing that turned me off was having a number of lives and respawn points --- too video-gamey/meta for me, I liked how Avianfoo solved a similar problem in his game but kept within the story of the game. Maybe dragons who lost all altitude could just land for a turn and miss the next turn as they struggle to get airborne?

The other half is coming soon...

TeaisforTim
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Hi! Wow, thanks for all the

Hi! Wow, thanks for all the votes! I just wanted to clear up a few things in the rules that I suppose were not explicit.

Avianfoo wrote:
7) TeaisforTim's "Have Dragon, Will Slay"
My first choice. The theme of con-men using dragons to get "rewards" really stands out. Thought not stated specifically I assume that in the Braggadocio Phase you keep the previous die roll, so you keep rolling either until you bust (rolling above fear threshold of a village) or beat all other players, presumably when all other players bust? All this just to get the right to attempt to ruse the village. Don't really like the mechanics involved for successfully pulling off a Ruse (rolling dice combinations) unless you always gain gold just for better combinations you get more gold.

dobnarr wrote:

##7 Have Dragon, Will Slay:
I love the charlatan theme - very funny. The game mechanics seem a little confusing; I don't know how you ever exceed the village threshold if it is 8-24 and you're rolling a d6, and you've got separate gold values for the village and on the ruse table, which isn't reconciled. Panache has multiple uses, which is cool, but they aren't all equal, which means you'll probably save it for the better use (which I think will be re-rolls) most of the time. I like the panache gain when you don't get to roll - a good balancing mechanism.

In the Braggadocio phase you roll a die and keep it, then the next person rolls a die and keeps it, and so on. When it comes back to your turn, you can choose to either stay with the current value shown on all of your dice, or roll another die. If you bust, you are out for the round. The phase ends when all players have either stayed or busted.

The winner of the Braggadocio phase is entitled to the gold value on the village card, and will then attempt a ruse to increase the value of the village. If no ruse is completed, the player still gets the value on the village card.

That is a fair point about the panache abilities. I think a possible fix for this is to make them all relate to scoring somehow. In this way, you would have the choice between modifying your chances and modifying the rewards of success (a pretty classic tradeoff in games).

I will come back around to post my opinions on the other games later, but I just thought that I should clear up some of the vagueness of my initial post. Oh, if only people read in our rules what we intended, and not what we actually wrote!

Thanks again everybody! This was a great first experience with the GDS!

Ewain
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A good round

Here are my votes and short notes on each:

4 Ruy Rally
Simple, probably intense, not too long, and Dragons on the wing.
Everything the GDS asked for. And the theme really struck a note with me.

8 My Dragon is Trapped
Another very cool theme, and the game would be a hit with my kids for at least a few games, but the "all dice must match" rule feels a bit harsh and I suspect we'd have to soften it to keep playing.

11 Dragon Nesting Season
Eerily close to where my initial ideas took a wrong turn and became something else.
I would like to be able to attack anything stupid enough to end up straight ahead of me though, whatever the dice shows.

16 Dragon Eggs
What sold me on this one -besides the funny idea of actually Helping dragons.. was the disappearing gameboard (if I have understood the rules correct) as players take egg markers, and the chance to either pick a good egg or take a dice another player need for his best pick.

The rules for my Dragon's Lair is missing one important part , and that's why you can't win the game as it is described for the GDS:
I try to always have more markers available than will fit on the gameboard. Dragon's Lair will use 25-30 of the 40 markers, cutting down on wyverns and dragons so that the (medium level) drakes can be used for beefing up your supply of resources. (The text is 300 words despite some desperate pruning, plus I actually forgot to add it anyway)

My reasoning is that this adds uncertainty to the game on a very basic level, so that even a very young player can grasp that "the best treasure/worst monster may not be there this time".
And since it's a habit, explaining it gets left out unless I remember or get prodded to...

/E
Edit:typo

Matthew Rodgers
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Thanks

Thanks for the clarity on Dragon's Lair... I'm still a little worried if you can only use one counter at a location and the 15 Strength Dragon is on the board, he's still unbeatable but again I might be missing something. It did sound really cool and I could visualize the sort of art I'd expect for the board, with different lairs in each of the different terrains.

I know all about editing down to 300 words, my entry originally came with complete notes on the scoring patterns and alternate way to test the game out using regular dice, but all of that had to be culled in order to make the limit.

AndyGB
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Comments! Part 1

Hi all,

I really like seeing the feedback on my game so far, even when it is brief, so I thought I'd give my comments on the entries, because you all probably also like the feedback too (revelation!). Also, this was a really cool experience, my first GDS, though I hope not my last. Anyway, here's my thoughts:

1. Dragon by the Tail: A nice press your luck game and I liked the custom dice. If anything I thought the limit of 4 dice hurt this game a bit, but nothing you can do about that within the rules. Seems very solid.

2. Cursed Lands: I liked the custom dice for this one as well, and the combinations were good and interesting. My only problem with it was that it felt too Yahtzee-ish to me with the way the scoring worked. It is a clever take on that mechanic though.

3. Four Winds: Good work using a very strictly limited component set. One thing that might be interesting would be adding a reward for North and South since they're harder to get(if I understood the die makeup), or saving them for last to increase the challenge as the round progresses.

4. Ryu Rally: I voted for this one for 1st place, good work. The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the randomly determined target for Strafe, but I do think that random elements like that definitely keep it more accessible to a more general audience. Active, lots of player interaction, I think this could really work well.

5. Xiao Long Da: What a game! Great through and through. A real joy to read! :)

6. Dragon's Lair: I thought this was an interesting start, but would probably need more decision making to give it some more punch. It seems like it would have a good progression as the players get stronger and the enemies increase in difficulty, but that there just wouldn't be that many choices or that much variety.

7. Have Dragon Will Slay: Great use of the theme in an interesting way. I feel like there might be a better way to incorporate the ruses other than the ruse chart. It felt somewhat artificial to use the straight or two pair or whatever and look it up, maybe custom dice could be used? (Notwithstanding the GDS limitations of course.)

8. My Dragon is Trapped: I voted for this one too, I thought it was cute, sounded fun, and definitely met the GDS requirements. I'd like there to be a chance for Ogres to jump back on in the event you don't knock any off (maybe after 3 unsuccessful attempts or similar), but overall very good.

9. WyrmKyn: This one I just thought was a bit outside of the Light requirement, but has some good potential.

10. Dragonfire Tunnel: I voted for this game, which sounded great. Are the hazards in the tunnel randomly placed each play? That would add some good variety. My only concern is that the decision making is a little thin, just being which dice to use if I understood correctly. Maybe there could be a downside to not using dice, such as rolling fewer the next round, something like that?

11. Nesting Season: Good start but I didn't think it would have enough variety to stay interesting throughout, it might need another element or two to develop a bit.

12. King Dragon: Interesting and Unique, I like the liar's dice mechanic. Sounds really good.

dobnarr
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Thanks

Thanks for the comments, Avianfoo - I really appreciate the feedback. The balance problem you mention is mitigated by the gear breaking each battle - that's mentioned at the bottom of the combat section. And yes, the extra talons and flame on the dice help the dragon - makes those dice risky. I didn't have the words (under 300) to say that, though :-)

Avianfoo
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Thanks all

First off thanks for your votes. This was first GDS and you all have made it a really interesting and delightful experience. There were a boatload of entries (23!) So many games just to read through (I seemed to have missed a line or two myself). I applaud those who went as far as to commented on them.

dobnarr wrote:

4 Ryu Rally - First Race:
A cool idea; I like the race theme and the three different actions; I'm not sure they're balanced well, but playtesting could iron that out. It's hard to know without knowing how many of these gems you start with or what the dragons' special powers are. You seem to lose more gems than you gain with almost any action, and resting loses you victory points at a 1:1 ratio, so I think the game as written will go on for a time or even forever. I'd take out that penalty. Having random targets to the cards could be frustrating - if they were determined in some way (e.g. the dragon immediately in front of you, your choice of dragon within three movement gems) it could be a more strategic game.

Nice critiques. An example of a dragon with special ability was left out due to word count. And its always better to leave these things to the readers imagination. Then its always better than you could possibly put down in 300 words :) You could also give each player a red dragon whose special power is to attack a person of their choosing instead.

Losing gems at every action? Swallow is purely gaining (power) gems (well you do anway) and you can use them up next round before someone else swallows your dragons power. Swifts gem cost was increased to 3 gems from 1 which was probably a mistake. Probably a better amount would have been 2. Then you really have to roll badly to lose out. Although the expected value of a d6 is 3.5 so you should be gaining 0.5 gems every Swift action :p

AndyGB wrote:

4. Ryu Rally: I voted for this one for 1st place, good work. The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the randomly determined target for Strafe, but I do think that random elements like that definitely keep it more accessible to a more general audience. Active, lots of player interaction, I think this could really work well.

Random targets while making it less strategic (and maybe frustrating for some players) also makes it a less stressful decision for others who just don't like "attack-y" games. It also makes it harder to pick on a single leader which would make the game end faster. Smart players could probably still play around this. So this was a design decision which could drive some serious strategy players batty. But then what are they doing playing a random roll and move game then?

Ironically random targeting and roll-and-move are all mechanics I am not particularly fond of. And yet here is a game that mashes them together with some of my favorite mechanics: variable powers and simultaneous play.

dobnarr wrote:
Thanks for the comments, Avianfoo - I really appreciate the feedback. The balance problem you mention is mitigated by the gear breaking each battle

It's one of the lines I missed (23 games!). Still I would hate my equipment to break every round. Maybe a break equipment on one side of a dice would be another way to handle it. then a player can chalk it up to bad luck rather than the game seeming arbitrary.

AndyGB
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Comments part 2

Hi again, back to do the rest of my commentary, that's a lot of entries! Sorry if I don't go into as great length on all entries, but I really do feel important to comment at least a bit on each. Like I said, I liked getting even the shortest comments on mine.
Cheers,
AndyGB

13. Breath of Fire. A couple of things threw me off on this one, one is that I feel like hex mapped games automatically feel un-light. Even Settlers, would that be 'light' enough for this GDS? Second though I didn't understand from the rules why you'd ever fly over a knight that you couldn't defeat. I think there's some promise for this game but it may need some tweaking.

14. Fields of Fire. Thematically I really liked this one, with Knights enlisting dragons to defend their territory. It didn't read as 'light' as I thought the GDS was looking for, but it has some really good sounding elements and could be a fun strategy game.

15. Landscape with Dragons. Good theme use on this, and I like the asymmetric (am I saying that right) game play. I feel like it might not give enough interesting decisions, i.e. that there might be a 'right' way to play it, just with random results contributing a lucky element

16. Dragon Eggs. This one was a very nice blend of being straightforward and still looking to be fun. Nice use of the dice with the decision to take a good one or screw your neighbor (or both...). I somehow missed the directions that you take the central egg and thought you were depleting the circle the whole time (which could also work, decreasing the size all the while...) but good work on this.

17. Dragon Tournament. I think this would maybe benefit from having more interaction to the actual tournament, maybe instead of just healing the dragons you also buff up their offensive capabilities? That probably pushes it out of the light games realm but I thought it would be a little less random if there was some control in that phase.

18. Dragon Derby. I haven't seen a game with this particular decision before, to change the roll value but lose turn order, i thought it was an interesting idea. Still it seems like maybe a limit on what value you can change to would be good?

19. Farmer's Nuisance. I really like the two-sided card approach to resource management here, I think it lends itself to interesting decisions and is just clever and elegant. I may not have seen it, but is there a job for farmers, some sort of production that you get for having them in play? Or perhaps your number of farmers contributes more directly to the card-purchase budget?

20. Mandate of the Dragon. This seems like it would result in total player kill now and then, but I like the amount of pressure that gives it. It might be cool if the rule about all players rolling the total player # of a certain thing ended up being a benefit in the case of Mongols (esp since you can't re-roll them), so there'd be an element of buildup and relief ... 2 mongols, three... four! A plague wiped out half the mongols!

21. Dragon Storm. I for some reason never saw the graphics on this game during the original voting, I have to say they helped a lot with the visualization (worth adding for future GDS entries of my own I'm thinking...). I like the graphics, and the custom dice, and the gameplay seems like it would be fun and light.

22. Dragon Eggs. My concern with this game was that it might be too small of a field, at 6x6? Not sure about that though, I guess playtesting would show right away. I didn't quite understand the fast, med and slow die or the movement allocation though.

23. Drago Masseuse. This was a funny idea, of course dragons need a massage after a tough day. I think playtesting would determine a reasonable final score, 100 seemed like a lot with the example of 6 scored on a 'short' turn. I do like the segmented dragon though, and thought this game makes good use of Items you Might Have at home already.

starflier
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dobnarr wrote: ##15 A

dobnarr wrote:

##15 A Landscape with Dragons:
Tricky to understand the math involved without example characters, dragons, and villains, and without the cards described. It might be hard to balance if the villain has so many more moving parts than the hero, although the hero is stronger, and his moves always bring him closer to the castle. Sounds like a fun simple strategy game, though; I'd like to see it more fully realized, when I could see how it might play out.

Just as a quick example, (I haven't worked out how to make it fair and balanced myself) The Hero (Hacking: 3, Slashing: 2, Crushing: 1, Movement:3, Health: 5) Armed with a Flail (Crushing +3) and Shield (Health +1) moves onto a Fire-aligned square, currently occupied by a Juvenile Wyvern, (To defeat: 9 Crushing damage, +2 Fire bonus) The Hero attacks the Wyvern, and rolls one die (for his 1 Crushing Skill) which comes up with a three. Plus three for the Flail makes six, not enough to defeat the Wyvern's eleven total. The hero chooses to discard his shield, rather than take one damage. On his next attempt, the hero rolls a ten, beating the Wyvern's defense.

Hope that helps...

starflier
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AndyGB wrote:15. Landscape

AndyGB wrote:
15. Landscape with Dragons. Good theme use on this, and I like the asymmetric (am I saying that right) game play. I feel like it might not give enough interesting decisions, i.e. that there might be a 'right' way to play it, just with random results contributing a lucky element

A couple of concepts got truncated in my 300 word limit, because they are not exactly core gameplay. One is the hero's ability to combine weapons using his crafting ability. The number of items he can combine, and their odds of staying together both depend on his Crafting skill. This is helpful, since he can't carry more than two weapons at a time. My hope is that switching between weapons and crafting more powerful weapons will provide the hero with enough meaningful decisions in game.

For the villain, I have spells. These are played from his hand and have a positive effect on his troops, or maybe a negative one on the hero. The effects of spells stack, and are ongoing as long as the conditions of the spell are met. Weaker spells might require a dragon of a given element to be located on a given tile to activate, more powerful spells will require more complicated arrangements of dragons, or possibly sacrificing one for every turn the spell is in effect. This should add some resource management to the villain's side of the game, and give him a reason to play more defensively.

Avianfoo
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Xiao Long Da

Commenting on all of the games is no mean feat. So here is some feedback for your game.

5. AndyGB's "Xiao Long Da"

The idea of adding and removing segments of dragons is an interesting one though not exceptionally exciting. Then again farming is not exceptionally exciting and some of the more popular games are farming games. The mechanics are simple enough to understand. Beside the theme not grabbing me, the rules were a little vague. While the general idea is there its hard to tell how the game would play. None of the games mentioned here are expected to be balanced but I would like a better break down of how each turn will play out.

So would it be something like on each players turn: 1) Draw a card 2) Add or remove a card (same card, different card?) to any players snake I mean Chinese dragon. 3) Attempt to move through a Temple gate (The significance thematically is lost on me)

Can you do all three? only 1 action? Any 2?

Hope this helps a little.

ReluctantPirateGames
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Critiques 'n' stuff

So I gave out all six votes like this:

1 Vote Games

#4 Ryu Rally
There were a few "racing" games entered, but this one jumped out at me. I thought the dice were really well integrated into the game, but most of all, I liked the idea of a racing game without a board. It was just really unique and cool.

#9 Wyrmkyn
I basically voted for this one because of the way the mission cards worked. I thought everything else was perfectly fine, but it was that particular mechanic that I voted for.

#10 Dragon Fire Tunnel
The theme got me right away. I really like the treasure-hoarding part of dragon mythology, so I pretty much knew I was going to vote for this one right away. Although it was basically another race game, I felt that it had enough of an identity to get a vote. Plus the theme. So yeah.

#12 King Dragon
This game ended up being voted for after it was in my final pool of "who do I give this last vote to?" The theme of the game was sort of weak, but I was really into the rest of it, so it got my final single vote.

2 Votes (my favorite)

#5 Xia Long Da
Honestly, I was pretty surprised when this didn't win. I just thought it was extremely cool. It was a really great mixture of dragon mythology, card mechanics, and some simple dice stuff. In my mind the game would look really cool, especially the dragon cards themselves. Anyway, good job with this one AndyGB. I wanted it to win.

Also, thanks to anyone who voted for Farmer's Nuisance. I'm holding on to the idea just in case I decide it's worth pursuing.

Matthew Rodgers
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King Dragon

I'm going to do a post per critique, otherwise my other half will never get posted (I'll also go back and expand on a couple ones from earlier, especially AndyGB's entry, which deserved more than a single sentence) .

King Dragon:

After rereading the entry to do the critique, I had a much better handle on the way the digits (dice) were arranged. I think my confusion was just due to the word count limit (or just me being dense about higher being better). I liked the bidding system but the end game trigger seemed off to me. Maybe it would work better if all the players started with a set amount (say 50 coins worth)? Then you pay into a common pot and people who bow out have to take coins from the pot...

The only other thing was I'll agree that this one was a little light on the theme, but that didn't bother me or detract from the game.

GreenO
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Critiques from GreenO

for those I voted for:

7. TeaisforTim's "Have Dragon, Will Slay" 2

This one had me at the concept. I liked the Braggadocio Phase concept and the feeling of brinkmanship. I could see this being a good late night game and filler. The poker-like ruse sheet with hand values was a nice touch. Curiously under-used outside of poker, I liked it here.

8. ryanwanger's "My Dragon is Trapped!" 1

This was a sound lesson in reminding me that what I view as a light game is not the same as what others do. This is feather-light, but the more I looked at it the more I thought I'd like to play it. Maybe a couple of times. Best of three. Call it five.

10. Orangebeard's "Dragon-fire Tunnel" 1

Bucking the trend, I thought was the best race game of the lot. I could see this one being given the full treatment: resin tunnel walls and scenary; iPad app with tunnel filling with fire with a woooshing sound. I'd play this and I'd enjoy it too. Needs lots chrome though, I think, to truly shine, but worth it.

12. richdurham's "King Dragon" 2

I really liked the digit dice mechanism and the king rolling openly was a nice touch. A pretty clean design and whilst it might get long in the tooth with the same players after a while I think the world need more betting games of this sort of weight.

and some feedback on Wyrmkyn.

I should probably stay away from card games that require specific card examples to get across a feel for how the game would play around the basic rules. 300 words isn't enough to do them justice and I got into trouble in January for exceeding the word limit. A different approach is perhaps required.

Only one table to consult: percentage value shows you what dragon you get. 0-20% = red dragon, 21-35% = green dragon...that sort of thing, you take the dragon card of the type you rolled. The mutation dice would have symbols showing which mutation card to take and attach to you dragon.

So you have a dragon card with one or more mutation cards tucked under it: you could have a green, horned dragon; or a skeletal, armoured red dragon for example. Each card would have a points value. The more points your dragon has, the more awesome it is. That was what I was trying to get across anyway. As I said I think the style of game was not well suited to the competition in retrospect.

Thanks for the comments, and well done to the winners.

AndyGB
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Thank you very much for the feedback!

Avianfoo wrote:
Commenting on all of the games is no mean feat. So here is some feedback for your game.

##5. AndyGB's "Xiao Long Da"

...

So would it be something like on each players turn:
1) Draw a card
2) Add or remove a card (same card, different card?) to any players snake I mean Chinese dragon.
3) Attempt to move through a Temple gate (The significance thematically is lost on me)

Can you do all three? only 1 action? Any 2?

Hope this helps a little.

Excellent, thank you very much for the feedback. Also Thanks ReluctantPirate Games, sorry I can't figure out how to quote two people here (though I know folks do it all the time...). The positive feedback I've gotten and the constructive questionsfrom Avianfoo are both super helpful (are the reason I'm here frankly!), and have made me think that I really want to develop this game into a full ruleset and maybe homemade prototype. I'll post the rules in a forum thread when I have them looking decent.

Thanks again folks!
AndyGB

Cogentesque
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Just come back from my

Just come back from my holiday and see this wonderful thread! Wow! Thank you all so much ESPECIALLY you guys commenting on EVERY ENTRY - that is seriously cool. You guys are cool.

Also props to dobnarr for being super keen and going at it FULL BORE. Looking forward to hearing from you guys more :)

Also - if you havent given your critique and would like to , PLEASE do. If you would like any specific feedback, by all means ask "Why didnt you vote for my game?" and "what were the strong and weaker points of my game?" and "how could i improve the concept and the pitch?" are all very very solid questions to ask

Thanks for making this little section of my life fun you guys

sam

dobnarr
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Newbie?

I've been around here for three plus years, so I don't really think I'm one of the newer members...

Thanks for running it - it was a fun one. Nice to have a lot of entries, but I think the six-vote system (which I don't like that much anyway) breaks a little with that many games.

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