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[GDS] MAY 2013 "Change, she is a comin'." - Critiques

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richdurham
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Use this thread to post constructive critiques of the entries to the May 2013 challenge in the Game Design Showdown, entitled "Change, she is a comin'.".

-Rich

richdurham
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Make sure to leave feedback!

If you entered the May GDS, please remember to leave some feedback for the other entries! Feedback is one of the primary reasons people participate in the contest, and the best way to get some is to give some.

If you feel you're short on time, leave feedback for just the entries you voted for. A paragraph will do - no one is asking for an essay on each entry - just what you liked and/or could use more attention if the design is fleshed out.

The June GDS starts in little over a week, so make sure you leave feedback before then!

bike
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No cards... aaarggghh

Hello everyone,

I like cards, and even when I start a gamedesign without cards, I end up with them. That is me. So this months challenge was a nice one for me ;-)

My comments (always humble - could be blunt - but meant humble!)

Gold - Elemental Cycle
Wow, I like this one. Simple, elegant. The fact that it is close to Mancala (a variant or a new game) and that I think the changes element is not present in gameplay... I just like it so much it had to be my gold medal. Would like to try it, and, well, material is easy, so why not?

Silver - Kronopolis
A single player game, that is brave. Time-travelling is a theme I like. If the game is good or not is, I think, dependend on what the buildings will be doing. Some suggestions are given, the more diverse the buildings are, the more tactics are possible, the more interesting the game will be.

Bronze - Tymor
Good mix of elements that I know from other games. Only new thing (for me) is attacking better in summer, defending better in winter. Game would not interest me (from a buyers point of view) because I see no interesting new game mechanic.

Merry go round
Game idea is nice, but not suited very well for word-games. I think word-games are best with random letters each time. The outer circle is fixed in this game, and after a while players have seen all sides of it. It is unclear if letters used in the inner square can be reused a second time.

Rivers of the underworld
A combination of Yahtzee and Pachisi (without beating other pawns)? I think the game can be good, but it is not my type of game. I did not see the theme element here. Might be that the game can be made simpler/shorter and still use the key elements.

Lir's challenge
What a nice theme! The connection of the theme and the game mechanic is absent however. I see no player interaction, and I think that most choices in the game are obvious. Would like to see this theme in a game where the difficulties of keeping your water warm (or cold) are presented as elements.

Caterpillars & butterflies
That is mine. Thanks for the votes! I think the butterfly-mating-phase is a bit weak at the moment. I would like to come up with something better for that. I do like the fact that the game changes back and forth from 'eating/growing' to 'mating/egglaying' which are really two games in one.
Maybe the mating-phase needs... cards!

See you next month! Thanks Rich & Mindspike!

KrisW
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Comments on Change

I looked for 4 things in each game, in order of importance:
- Comprehensibility (Most points)
- Playability
- Theme
- Marketability (Least points, just a tie breaker, really)

Elemental Cycle was my favorite, but I like Mancala and was already familiar with how to play it. The added dimension of the elements appealed to me.

I can see how Tymore won, it's a great game. I think the writing could have been edited a bit better, but that's nit picking.

Caterpillars and Butterflies (and pupa and eggs) looked fun, but the strategies seemed like what I'd expect for young adult players and the imagery seemed more appropriate to preschoolers. I just couldn't get a good idea of who would play it. Still, I liked the flow.

Merry-Go-Round Word Game was well written and easy to play, but I'm not much of one for word games. Sorry about that. I also couldn't see the theme in it. I'd give it top grades if the contest criteria had been different. I sort of expect this one to go commercial at some point.

Lirs Challenge was one I had a little trouble understanding. I'm not sure why it didn't click for me. Loved the imagery in it, though, and I thought it was tops in playability.

Kronopolis was one I could see myself playing over and over, once I figured out the rules. Here again the writing or editing could have been clearer. It had a nicely creepy feel to it, too.

Rivers of the Underworld - Yeah, that was mine. I'm still working on editing rules down for comprehensibility. I had to take out all my precious color text to get under the limit. Sigh, it was a good learning experience.

- KrisW

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