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[GDS] May 2012 "Mother May I" - Critiques

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sedjtroll
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Use this thread to post constructive critiques of the entries to the May 2012 Challenge in the Game Design Showdown, entitled "Mother May I".

-Seth

sedjtroll
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Winner = Artifacts of the Dark Jungle by avalaunch

Congrats to our finalists, and thanks to everyone who entered this month's GDS. I hope it was an enjoyable challenge!

dobnarr
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My comments

Boy, did I ever not jive with everybody else this time - my votes went to only one of the top three, and my entry doesn't seem to have placed, even though I thought it was pretty cool. The winner didn't stay within the 400-word limit, which nixed it for me, but I liked it - I guess other folks don't care, or don't do word counts.

Anyway, here are my comments on the entries:

Entry 1 - Rawhide

my entry

Entry 2 - Mother May I

The game sounds like fun for kids, and sweet, with all the nice gifts. I may not understand the strategy or what happens if you land in the wrong cup - this sentence isn't clear to me "They must shoot at that cup and remove the item if they make it in another cup." It seems like fun, but not strategically deep, and the permission thing doesn't seem to make much difference. A lot of the game would depend on how accurate people could be with the catapults; I'm guessing from my experience with other such things that they're not very accurate, which could make the game last a really long time.

Entry 3 - Teddy Bear Rescue Squad

Very whimsical, with the teddy bears, carousel, and jack in the box. Nice use of the mandatory elements, and I like the rest of the theme you built around it; very fun and cute. I was trying to figure out the strategy, and there didn't seem to be a lot; you gradually narrow in on Jack's position, and eventually you're deciding whether a 1/3 chance of another guy winning is worth a 1/12 (or higher) chance of you losing. Could be fun for a few plays, but doesn't seem very deep. (2 votes)

Entry 4 - Fire that Catapult!

This could be fun, but so much is left to the undescribed deck of cards that I can't really evaluate how it would go. The catapult thing is almost unnecessary, although I'm sure it would be a selling point - this could just be a dice game where you roll from a distance. Voting isn't really permission, so I don't think it quite meets the mechanic requirement.

Entry 5 - Artifacts of the Dark Jungle (great title!)

I really like the theme of treasure hunting. There are a lot of clever little mechanics in here - the sharing of bounty, the digging up to three times, etc. Very devious stuff, and all of this would give it replay value. The claw crane thing is fun (and would make the game exciting) but it seems a little forced - are these things really spring loaded? Couldn't you just draw cards off a deck and avoid the expense of the crane? Or is there a dexterity component to it? The artifact auction is a neat balancing mechanic but it seems pretty counter-intuitive and complicated. I wonder if there's a way to keep the balancing stuff you added but make it make more sense. I think the monetary system is needlessly inflated - just use single coins, give people three of them, and earn four per treasure. But all of these are nitpicks - the game looks solid, is complex, and would be fun to play many times.

The entry is 418 words - over the 400-word limit. This is rough, because I like the game, and it's not far over the limit and could easily have been cut down to size. However, I don't vote for games over the limit, so I can't give it any votes. I'd have given it three.

Entry 6 - Tea With the Queen

Great theme and atmospherics. The mood/setting of this is great. I can just imagine sitting around the table with exaggerated accents and gestures. The game seems pretty simple, without too many strategic decisions to make, and the hand-shuffling that happens sometimes could be pretty destabilizing. I don't really see the permission angle, unless it's in the trades - maybe that's it. For a fun light game, this could be a good time. (2 votes)

Entry 7 - May I Come In?

A fun twist on the werewolf-style party game. The crossbows are fun but probably not necessary for the game. I don't see why you would ever play a key color for a house that doesn't exist - so why would you ever be stuck outside? This doesn't make sense, but maybe I'm missing something. I think there might be some holes in the rules as far as strategy goes, but I like the use of theme.

Entry 8 - Body Wars

Very clever (and weird) idea with the warring organs. This could definitely be in the weird-but-fun category. I'm not sure how all the resources would interact - you'd either have to bend how the body works some, or you'd need to do some other balancing - it's hard to see how the brain, lungs, and heart don't have a lot more power than the lymph nodes. Creative idea, and the trading is sort of like permission. I'm assuming the spring is in the wind-up timer? I have a hard time seeing how the body survives more than a turn or so after failure of a major organ, too, but maybe you could find a way. Fun idea; I'd like some more details to see how it plays out. (1 vote)

Entry 9 - Tactical Frienemies

Could be very cool, but extremely difficult to evaluate without more details, and without the other components being explained - like, what are some of the secret objectives? No idea what these are. What are some capabilities of the units? Too much left to my imagination here. I'm not sure what the difference is between all the different actions - why would it ever be worth approving somebody's entry? What's the difference between Backstab and verbal denial? You never describe how the Deny card works. Maybe I'm not understanding this, but it seems like this is complicated without adding much. I do like the idea of spring-loading the board - although that could be hard to get past modern toy safety mavens - and I love little wargames like this - I just wish I could see more how it would play.

Entry 10 - Out to Sea

Interesting contest-of-wills game; I think the ideal strategy could be figured out via Excel in a few minutes. Could be fun as a light opener to a game night; I think it might be cool to add some more elements to make it more complex and strategic. Good use of both mechanics (although the spring-loaded table could just as easily - and far more cheaply - be somebody's hand rolling the dice).

avalaunch
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I will be back on later to do

I will be back on later to do my full analysis of all the entries, but wanted to throw up a quick reply first.

dobnarr wrote:
Boy, did I ever not jive with everybody else this time - my votes went to only one of the top three, and my entry doesn't seem to have placed, even though I thought it was pretty cool. The winner didn't stay within the 400-word limit, which nixed it for me, but I liked it - I guess other folks don't care, or don't do word counts.

Heh. I made sure everyone was within the word count too, including my own. I used the following tool and came in at 386 words. Yours actually came in higher at 399.
http://www.wordcounttool.com/

What tool did you use for the word counts?

Oddly enough, I mentally disqualified your entry as well. It was really well thought out and had some interesting mechanics, but as far as I could tell, it didn't really incorporate a spring into the game. Sure, some territories included springs, but it didn't seem to matter that they were springs. They could have been tokens of any kind and served the same purpose. I didn't feel right voting for a game that didn't seem to really follow the challenge criteria. Otherwise, it was my favorite, and I would have given it 3 votes.

asakurasol
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Thanks everyone

First of all, thank you sedjtroll for setting this up. I had a lot of fun thinking up ways to incorporate the 2 requirements into game design, it was definitely challenging. I will comment a little bit about my own game before going over the other games.

I am actually pleasantly surprised that "May I come in" got that many votes. I had a tough time with the word limit and really wanted to put in a couple more things in the rules for clarity but simply didn't have any space for it. One was how the game would scale with more than 5 players, and the other was an example of how one round would go and why players would make certain choices since the mechanisms are quite subtle.

The driving mechanism behind people's choices are:
- There are 6 colored houses but only 5 players.
- If a house is not occupied during the night, that house disappears and cannot be used for rest of the game.

So right off the bat at least 1 house will disappear after the first round, but players may hold keys to the house that disappeared. They will have to ask to join someone else's house in order to survive. Vampires will have strong incentive to let them in to convert them, and regular people will have incentive to invite them in just to ensure the diversity of houses in future rounds.

and now onto the other games.

Entry 1 - Rawhide
It seems like a fun game, I just didn't think the challenges were well integrated. I didn't quite understand what spring had to do with the game. I think you meant the water/stream/spring not the spring-loaded-spring right? As for the permission part, I feel like the players would almost always say no to make the opponent walk around their enclosed area. It would be better if they just charge money/cow for entering another player's area. I think this game has a lot of potential, it just wasn't well suited for this contest.

Entry 3 - Teddy Bear Rescue Squad
I loved the name, loved the description, and then I got overwhelmed by the number of components and got lost. I didn't understand how the board, dice, carousel, and Jack In the Box all fit together.

Entry 5 - Artifacts of the Dark Jungle
I really liked this one. The Permission card/Deny Cards was a mechanism I wish I thought of. All the mechanisms fit the theme well. More than anything I like how it is written in a clear and concise manner and I understood immediately what the designer was going for. It is definitely the most "ready" game in this competition. if I really have to pick on something it is that the claw crane seems forced, but a lot of entries (including mine) had tough time incorporating a spring-loaded components into the game play.

Entry 6 - Tea With the Queen
I like the cute theme and I am a sucker for recipe games so I voted for this one even though I don't really consider "trading" the same as "asking permission". And the thought of people sitting around a table attempting to speak Elizabethan English was hilarious.

Entry 8 - Body Wars
This is a great base idea for an educational biology game. To whoever designed this game: please re-design it without having to worry about asking for permission and using a spring or a wind-up kitchen clock, it feels like those mechanisms were holding your game back (or you were forcing the game into those mechanisms). Either way, love the idea, would love to see more, it's like pandemic but inside your own body!

Entry 9 - Tactical Frienemies
I liked this game because I had a similar idea(placing spring-loaded pieces under hex board) but couldn't get it to work, so Kudos for that. Other than that, this game had a bunch of mechanisms I liked, secret objectives, permission/deny/backstab cards, etc. I think it just didn't do so well in the competition because people are getting jaded about hex war games.

avalaunch
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asakurasol wrote: Entry 1 -

asakurasol wrote:

Entry 1 - Rawhide
It seems like a fun game, I just didn't think the challenges were well integrated. I didn't quite understand what spring had to do with the game. I think you meant the water/stream/spring not the spring-loaded-spring right?

Doh. I really missed that. I was so focused on the idea of a spring loaded item that the idea of a spring as in " small stream of water flowing naturally from the earth" didn't even occur to me. In hindsight, I probably would have given rawhide 3 votes then.

asakurasol
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avalaunch wrote:asakurasol

avalaunch wrote:
asakurasol wrote:

Entry 1 - Rawhide
It seems like a fun game, I just didn't think the challenges were well integrated. I didn't quite understand what spring had to do with the game. I think you meant the water/stream/spring not the spring-loaded-spring right?

Doh. I really missed that. I was so focused on the idea of a spring loaded item that the idea of a spring as in " small stream of water flowing naturally from the earth" didn't even occur to me. In hindsight, I probably would have given rawhide 3 votes then.

I don't think spring as in "small stream of water" was part of the intended challenge, it's not really a component.

dobnarr
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Springs

I thought this sentence from the rules:

Your entry must feature a component that is spring loaded, or otherwise utilizes a spring.

would apply to my gameboard, which has springs (the water kind) on it, which are important strategic points in the game. Heck, they even fit with my theme. But I get that people didn't accept that - I worried about whether folks would think that was kosher. Apparently not, or maybe I didn't make it obvious enough that they were springs.

As far as the word count business, I used MS Word. The difference between that and your tool is that your online tool doesn't count numbers as words. You had 30+ of these in your document, so that's the difference. A shame - but I think they should probably count as words, since there's no difference between "8" and "eight."

Thanks for the feedback, and sorry for any confusion.

avalaunch
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dobnarr wrote:I thought this

dobnarr wrote:
I thought this sentence from the rules:

### _Your entry must feature a component that is spring loaded, or otherwise utilizes a spring._

would apply to my gameboard, which has springs (the water kind) on it, which are important strategic points in the game. Heck, they even fit with my theme. But I get that people didn't accept that - I worried about whether folks would think that was kosher. Apparently not, or maybe I didn't make it obvious enough that they were springs.

I would have accepted that, but I had a brain fart, and didn't even consider the possibility of a spring of that sort.

dobnarr wrote:

As far as the word count business, I used MS Word. The difference between that and your tool is that your online tool doesn't count numbers as words. You had 30+ of these in your document, so that's the difference. A shame - but I think they should probably count as words, since there's no difference between "8" and "eight."

Thanks for the feedback, and sorry for any confusion.


Well hell. I didn't even think to check whether it was counting numbers as words. My original draft was actually 760 words, so I worked my butt off getting it under 400. I definitely would have trimmed a little more if I knew that.

avalaunch
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1. Rawhide! This seemed to

1. Rawhide!

This seemed to be the most well thought out game. At first I thought the use of permission was sort of weak, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. Obviously you wouldn't want to help your opponents advance their own play, but on the other hand, you have 3 potentially good reasons to grant permission:

  1. the alternative - giving them 2 more actions could be a lot worse
  2. you could plan to trap them with a future fence
  3. curry favor - "if I help you now, you help me later"

I didn't vote for Rawhide! though because the use of a spring seemed completely arbitrary. At the time I was imagining a physical spring just sitting on the board, and didn't understand why that couldn't be a token of any other sort instead. Today I realized my mistake - that he meant 'spring' as in a "naturally flowing stream of water." That just didn't even occur to me when I read through it before. I would have given it 3 votes otherwise.

2. Mother May I?

Beer pong for kids? I liked the use of permission in it, but kept imagining games that would never end.

3. Teddy Bear Rescue Squad (2 points)

To start with, I like the name. It took me a long time to figure out how to play, but I think the designer just needed more words (and images) to clearly articulate the game play. After rereading the rules multiple times I finally understood. I really liked the way the permission mechanic used the jack in the box. I had originally planned on building a game that did exactly that, but I couldn't figure out a clever way to make it work. The carousel was cute, and worked. If it was me, I might abandon the maximum number of times a player may deny another, and simply state that the game either has 1 winner, or 1 loser. Being the 1 winner is great, but making fun of the 1 loser for the rest of the night is even better!

4. Fire that Catapult

This could be a cute little game. I felt like the outcome would be really random though, regardless of what cards you played. Also, having the opponents select 1 of 3 cards didn't really feel like a great use of the permission mechanic. I would have preferred if you presented 1 card, and the opponents could then vote on whether or not to give you permission to fire, with some sort of penalty for voting against.

5. My Entry - Artifacts of the Dark Jungle

I'll come back to my game in a separate reply.

6. Tea with the Queen

Really well themed. Normally I wouldn't be up for playing this sort of game, but I could see it being fun if everyone was in the right frame of mind. The permission mechanic employed was a lot more like trading than asking permission, which is the main reason I didn't give it any votes. I think it might make an interesting party game, or perhaps a good game to play with children.

7. May I Come In? (3 votes)

I thought this would be a lot of fun as a light filler. I know the crossbows aren't really necessary, but I loved the idea of everyone pointing their crossbows at one another the whole game, and finally firing at the right, or wrong, time. To answer dobnarr's concern as to why you would ever play a key card to a house that doesn't exist any more: you might not have any for a house that does exist! You're randomly dealt 5 at the beginning, and the houses vanish pretty quickly. I also like that you only get 1 arrow, which makes it a bit more strategic as to when you should use it. I think the vampires will usually have the advantage as they know more information (who the other vampires/humans are), but I could see a human winning often enough to make it fun.

8. Body Wars

My absolute favorite theme. I hope this game is worked on further. That being said, it just didn't feel ready yet. I can't imagine how it'll work as is. Also, the use of a spring was really forced (spring loaded timer).

9. Tactical Frienemies

I like the idea of hiding traps. I kept trying to figure out a way to get that to work in my game, but ultimately abandoned the idea. I have trouble picturing how the springs are "activated", but I'm willing to assume it'll work as described. The permission mechanic is ok, but the primary reason for granting permission is to curry favor, which in and of itself doesn't seem like enough. More than anything else, I would have liked an example of what an objective card might say. It's really hard to evaluate a game without knowing what the objective of the game is (or in this case, what it might be depending on what card you're dealt).

10. Out to Sea (1 vote)

Extremely simple, but it works. You have reason to grant permission, and reason to deny. I would prefer a retheme and maybe a little complexity, like dobnarr suggested, but as is, it would still be a fun 10-15 minute game.

Mikee
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A look back

Quote:

This could be fun, but so much is left to the un-described deck of cards that I can't really evaluate how it would go. The catapult thing is almost unnecessary, although I'm sure it would be a selling point - this could just be a dice game where you roll from a distance. Voting isn't really permission, so I don't think it quite meets the mechanic requirement.

Quote:

This could be a cute little game. I felt like the outcome would be really random though, regardless of what cards you played. Also, having the opponents select 1 of 3 cards didn't really feel like a great use of the permission mechanic. I would have preferred if you presented 1 card, and the opponents could then vote on whether or not to give you permission to fire, with some sort of penalty for voting against.
Thanks for the feedback. I am just starting out and finding it very hard to figure things out. Especially things like the deck of cards in this game. I know that I needed something to modify the rolls to make it more interesting and to incorporate the permissions mechanic. The thing is I am not sure what to put on the cards and how many of each. I find this issue happens a lot to me when I comes to designing what goes into the cards I get lost and I let my designs fizzle. Any help in this area would be greatly appreciated; it is almost like I need someone or something to keep me on track.

Now let me address some of the comments and maybe ask a few questions so I can get better at this. The first thing is

Quote:

“Voting isn't really permission.”

I am not sure I agree with this comment. I think voting is a type of permission giving. The way I say it is that is I am presenting you with 2 or 3 choices and you look them over and you decide which one you give me permission to do it is your vote. It only is classified as a vote because there are other players also giving permission to use the card and those choices are totaled. That being said I think I could handle this better in the game by a blind “vote” where the player all cast their vote as to which card and if my then one is picked the player shooting gets to use all those modifiers.

Quote:

“I would have preferred if you presented 1 card, and the opponents could then vote on whether or not to give you permission to fire, with some sort of penalty for voting against.”

What kind of penalty would you suggest?

Thanks for all the help and I look forward to attempting the next challenge and discussing more about game design.

avalaunch
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Mikee wrote: What kind of

Mikee wrote:

What kind of penalty would you suggest?

Thanks for all the help and I look forward to attempting the next challenge and discussing more about game design.


You could either punish for denying, or reward for granting.

A couple possibilities:
Lose points for denying
Earn points for granting
Everyone that grants gets to draw a card
Everyone that denies loses a card

avalaunch
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First, thanks to sedjtroll

First, thanks to sedjtroll for putting this together. I had a lot of fun working on the challenge. Limitation breeds creativity and the mechanic and component limitations you set really helped to get my creative juices flowing.

My Game - Artifacts of the Dark Jungle

Like I normally do, I worked on the mechanics first, and the theme evolved from there.

Incorporating a spring was tough, and I admit my use of a spring loaded claw machine was a bit forced, but I think it satisfied the criteria well enough. I'm pretty sure those machines have springs in them. And in any case, if the word limit were higher, I would have described a claw machine where you got to aim it from above but then had to pull a trigger to have it shoot down and dig. That definitely would have required a spring. In future versions of the game, I'll likely abandon the claw machine. While I think it would be fun for kids, and some interesting situations might occur (do you dig in the safe spot that has a little bit of treasure and no visible traps, or do you risk going for the treasure heavy area with the trap visible right beside the treasure?), it would be way too costly to produce, and the game play would be a lot slower than I'd prefer.

What really intrigued me about this challenge was the permission mechanic. I spent a lot of time thinking of a good way to either suitably reward someone for granting permission, or punish them for denying it. As those who worked on this challenge know, it's a tricky balance. You have to make it worth their while some of the time, but not always. After a lot of deliberation, I decided to go with a twist on the prisoner's dilemma, wherein you may or may not be rewarded for granting permission, depending on whether your opponents did as well. My hope was that this mechanic, in addition to being simple, yet strategically complicated, would keep the game relatively close. As a player got far ahead, the others would be less likely to let them dig.

The first version of the game I submitted (which was actually the second of three versions) had a more complicated reward system than the revised edition that was posted. I had gotten a chance to play test it the night before submissions were due and submit changes the day they were due. Originally, in a 4 player game, if only 1 of the 3 other players granted permission, the treasure split would be 8 gold for the player granting permission and 4 for the player digging. If 2 players granted permission, it would be an even 4-4-4 split, and if all 3 granted permission, only the player digging would get the gold. In the 5 and 6 player variants, there was even a 6-2-2-2 split. That worked, but there was too much motivation to grant permission. I worked out the math and realized that, assuming you have no idea which way your opponents will vote, you were, on average, 4.33 times better off granting permission than denying it. In addition, on those occasions when only 1 person granted you permission to dig, it felt pretty crappy to have to dig even though you knew someone else was getting twice as much gold as you. My solution was to switch to an even split, and only if exactly 1 player granted permission.

To answer one of dobnarr's observations -- that the monetary system seemed needlessly inflated -- this is the primary reason why. Under the very first version of the game, I needed treasure to be worth a number that was divisble by both 3 and 4. In the second version, I needed that number to be divisible by 2 and 3. And in the latest version, it only had to be divisible by 2. My error was in forgetting to go back and actually reduce the amount treasure was worth. On the other hand, there is one positive point to players having more money rather than less: they have more manuervability in what they can bid in the bidding portion of the game.

And that brings me to the bidding mechanic. The idea is to let players set the value of the artifacts they found, with the caveat that the other players can buy the artifact from them at that value. If more than 1 player want an artifact at the set price, it gets a little more complicated, but during the play test, it went pretty smooth. As a designer, I'm a big fan of self balancing mechanics, which this was. I didn't have to figure out how much each artifact was worth - players would decide that for themselves. As a player, it was actually really tricky to determine what price to set, and what price to pay or not pay. Often an artifact was worth more to one player than another, and they were all worth less the closer we were to the end of the game. And sometimes paying a lot for an artifact that seemed valuable would backfire as the other players would now be less likely to let you dig. The game was won and lost primarily because of mistakes made during this phase. One player enjoyed the mechanic and one did not. The one that did not was really bad at setting prices.

I also allowed players some flexibility in how many times they'd request to dig. The more digs you requested, the worse it would be for other players to grant you permission, and thus they'd be less likely to do so... unless they thought they'd be the only one granting permission.

As for the word count thing, I thought mine was within the limits. The first draft I wrote came in at 760 words and I trimmed like crazy. I got it under 400 if you use http://www.wordcounttool.com/. I didn't think to double check with any other programs. Oddly enough, if you use MS Works Word Processor, mine isn't the only one that comes in over 400. Rawhide! comes in at 405.

I am going to keep working on this game and hope to post a print and play version sometime soon. Again, I really enjoyed this challenge, and appreciate all the comments.

Matthew Rodgers
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Post May Eval

#1 Rawhide:

Loved the theme and it got a vote from me, but I did feel like the both the spring and permission mechanics were not as strong as they could have been.

#2 Mother May I:

A kid's dexterity game with a strong spring component but a weak permission mechanic. I'm not sure how the game would work in practice: I kept envisioning little plastic cups and even a light plastic ball launched from a catapult would have a good chance of knocking the structure over.

#3 Teddy Bear Rescue Squad:

Great premise, but not sure how the game would work in practice. I understand the three dice with the rows, columns and colors, but the carousel is still confusing to me.

#4 Fire That Catapult:

It's funny that we got two catapult games this time out, but I guess that the spring-loaded requirement will do that. I do think the permission mechanic is particularly weak here. What if a player choose one card and asked the table for permission. If denied, they then got to play any other card from their hand that they wanted to… it would allow for some bluffing and misdirection which the current voting system does not allow.

#5 Artifacts of the Dark Jungle

A deeply thematic game that actually suffers a little for the the spring requirement but makes strong use of the permission mechanic. This got a vote from me. I think that an interesting idea would be if all digs were one time affairs, but if the council is unanimous in approving the dig, you get dig twice. Payoffs only happen if the council is non-unanimous in its voting… this could create an interesting push-pull, where you want to be in on the dig, but if everyone else goes for it too then only the active player benefits. It also "solves" the inflated money problem… in a non-unanimous vote 12 gold gets divided among the yes votes with any leftover going to the digger (in a six player game this makes five yes votes and one no vote almost as bad as six yes votes). Of course, get rid of the claw and just make the treasures/traps chunky tokens that have the same back.

#6 Tea With the Queen

This takes the permission mechanic and runs with it… the whole requirement to use the pretentious titles really sold this game for me. I play in two regular groups: the first are serious gamers who seek to understand games with a critical eye and the second group is much more casual and fun, but still engaged with plenty of competitive players. This is a second group kind of game, but for that crowd it'd be a lot of fun. I also liked that the spring-loaded cup did not seem to be an afterthought but an integral timer mechanism in the game. I think the permission mechanic might be sharpened up by breaking the trades down to two permission rounds: the player asked for the ingredient either hands it over or must say "I so sorry <>, but I'm afraid I can't do that." They must say this if they don't have the ingredient and may say it if they do. Social pressure would make some trades go through, but there's more potential for hurt feelings and group politics, I suppose. This game got multiple votes from me.

#7 May I Come In?

Another werewolf style game but with a good permission mechanic and a really cool spring-loaded toy. I don't like player elimination, but the game will probably be over quickly enough that it won't be an issue.

#8 Body Wars

A very different theme than the others. For the permission mechanic, I'm a little uncertain on the mechanics for less than a full set of players. If I need oxygen, and the brain is not in play, what happens? Also, the last organ standing is a weird and somewhat morbid victory condition. There's no real spring here, a digital timer would be easier and cheaper.

#9 Tactical Frenemies

A hex and counter war-game in one of these contests, wow. I really liked the two-part permission mechanic, you can let enemy units move in your territory to engage other players units later on, to lure them into a trap or you can backstab them and let the mine go off. The denial is interesting as well, you press your luck (literally) or stay put. It'd be an expensive game to produce, each of the boards would have to have some depth to it and each hex would have to be a separate cap and you'd have to make sure that mines didn't go off accidentally. Having just a landmine counter would work too, but not be as much fun. This got a vote from me.

#10 Out to Sea

My entry. I agree with everyone, this is a very light game and the spring loaded platform could just be a communal dice area. The theme is very much tacked on, I just was trying to think of something that would make some sort of sense for a "you'll never know quite what you'll get" mechanic. I agree with dobnarr that the expected value for each combination of dice could be calculated. I'd hope in play that a prisoner's dilemma situation would develop and people who make suboptimal moves trying to preserve their own dice. I've been trying to come up with something better for the denied die and add another decision point to the game, but can't come up with anything that doesn't have an obvious best answer each time.

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Matthew Rodgers wrote: #8

Matthew Rodgers wrote:

#8 Body Wars

A very different theme than the others. For the permission mechanic, I'm a little uncertain on the mechanics for less than a full set of players. If I need oxygen, and the brain is not in play, what happens? Also, the last organ standing is a weird and somewhat morbid victory condition. There's no real spring here, a digital timer would be easier and cheaper.

Thanks for the all the feedback everyone! This was my first challenge, and honestly the spring threw me so I sort of punted, which everyone figured out :)

Yeah - body wars is a sort of black humor game, but it's rooted in some very realistic biology, if someone could make the game. For example, if someone is starving, its sort of a race - the body converts available protein in the muscles into energy for the brain, so you typically have a situation where the heart muscle fails before the brain does. But yes - most games end the same way most people end, with a sickly dying old person, and all the organs failing one at a time. Call me a sucker for theme!

My guess for how the game works is probably one of two things (ad if anybody wants to weigh in, do so): either all the resources the game uses are always present in every game, so games where a specific organ is not present would simply ignore them; or each organ uses several resources, and if the organ that "makes/manages" that resource is not in the game, that particular resource is not used in the game.

Oh - and I loved Rawhide for the first player/ beef eating mechanic.

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