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[GDS] MAY 2014 "I Believe" - Critiques

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nazcagames
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Tuesday & Wednesday critique

Dare to Defy

This was a medal winner from me. The game is simply and sounds like a fun little push your luck game with a theme that fits those mechanisms. I saw a comment that they thought there were 21 cards, I first had the same thought but quickly realized that the Priest, Pharisees, and Roman Soldier cards were the three Authority cards. Shame, I think some folks may have penalized it (maybe subconsciously) without realizing that it is within the 18 card limit. The description was clear and easy to follow. Even though the mechanisms were familiar, I thought it was a well thought out implementation and excellent entry.

Suspicious Souls

This game was sooo close to getting a medal from me. I have a soft spot for hidden information in games and deduction (especially social deduction). Althought this game isn't strictly just that, the theme and mechanisms matched and fit the guidelines of the contest very well. But this was also a game I felt "gosh, this game desparately needs more cards!". Overall, I thought this was a great entry and made me wish I had more than three medals to give.

Religious City

This entry was quite ambitious IMO, not in a bad way mind you. It felt as though it had some CCG/LCG-ish elements with direct confrontation. I really enjoy these types of game, but I had a hard time imagining how the game would work with so few cards. Especially with the winning condition being to score 12 (out of the 18) cards. The theme fit well with the guidelines of the contest, but it feels like a game that needs far more than 18 cards to make it fun. Overall a very good entry though.

Theocracy

I have to say, naming the 2 players 'first' and 'last' made reading the gameplay rules somewhat awkward. At the very least, having First and Last capitalized might have helped. The game is a simple bluffing game, which I enjoy. But I wasn't enamored with the implementation here since the bluffing was very shallow. Also, the rules didn't mention that the resources had different values. If they did, it might have added a little more flavor to the bluffing and deciding on which power card to use. Without that, there wasn't as many interesting decisions as I would have liked. Overall a solid entry but overshadowed by the slew of really great entries this month.

Sancti et malum

First off, I have to give kudos for making a cooperative game for this challenge. The theme of Good vs Evil fits the mechanisms but not strictly religious. This seemed like a fun little dice-chucking game. I can see being more enjoyable with each card having special abilities to alter die rolls and provide rerolls. And interesting twist to add might be have one member actually being on the side of the fallen. Since the cards in hand are kept hidden, it may lend itself well to a 'traitor' variant. Overall, it was a fine entry and definitely one I considered.

Wrath

I wanted to give this entry a medal just for the bad @$$ theme of gods battling it out (reminded me of the video game SMITE in terms of theme). But after giving it more thought, I'm not sure this would be categorized as a "religious game". But I didn't want to hold that against this entry. I had high hopes for this entry. But I ended up a little disappointed that the example powers were just adding, substracting, and dividing the results of die rolls. This could have been a victim of my enthusiastic expectations. I was hoping to see abilities like "Death Curse: Place the black die on a god card with the '1' face. Each round that god has that die, he/she loses life equal to the face value of the die. Each time the death god deals damage, increment the black die." or "Fire Blast: Roll three die. You may reroll once. Deal damage equal to the lowest value die to 3 god cards adjacent to each other." If it was closer to what I had in my head.. and let's face it, it's always better in your head, right?.. I would have given it a platinum medal. At the end of the day, the combat rules seemed a little mundane.. again, it could be because of the unrealistic expectations I had. But overall, a great effort.. and one that has the potential to become a bad @$$ game.

andymorris
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Critique On Earth as it is Heaven

I wasn't fond of the title used for this entry. I'm sure I don't need to point out that phrase comes from the Lord's Prayer, so to use it for a game that wasn't thematically Christian didn't jive for me. Nonetheless, it was a creative game idea. I like how the cards are setup.

andymorris
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Critique Short History

This game got my silver medal vote. I really liked the potential to highlight differences between the major religions. I like how the actions are setup and how you have to fight over the dice. I thought how the dice results were assigned to the different religions was very creative. My only concern is replay value, as you have to play the cards sequentially.

danieledeming
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Theocracy - Reading this one

Theocracy - Reading this one was pretty difficult, but if I understand it correctly, it's a pretty plain bluffing game for only 2 players and I could see it stalling out pretty quickly.

Sancti et Malum - This one took my silver medal, so well done. I agree with the above that Good vs Evil is not a specifically religious theme, but the integration of the Angels/Fallen which are strictly Christian beliefs solidified it as one of the few that embodied the GDS goal. Also, the description was clear enough to get a feel for the game and tell that the mechanic would be pretty well balanced.

Wrath - I LOVED the concept of this game. Really smart, excellent replay and fun interaction. However, my issue was also with the fact that it didn't fit the goal this month - religion wasn't a factor, just the deities. That said, I would play this game. More than once.

A Short History - Honestly, the very first sentence of this entry really threw me off this entry, and I'm not even Jewish. I think that assumption was very damaging to the entry. Additionally, while the mechanic wasn't bad, though might have some inadequacies, it felt pasted on to a theme that was barely there. The two just didn't mesh - there was no deep theme that the contest called for.

OEAIIIH - I didn't think this was a bad game, and the mechanic was alright but it felt like the possibility for player overlap was too likely, rather than the conflict and opposition. So it didn't get a medal, but I thought it was a good start to something if you could work out the kinks.

Battle Between - I really liked the risk/reward of the scoring with this one, but I felt the theme just wasn't strong enough. You could put any number of different skins on that and it'd be the same game.

Mr.S
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danieledeming wrote: A Short

danieledeming wrote:

A Short History - Honestly, the very first sentence of this entry really threw me off this entry, and I'm not even Jewish.

I think the designer was talking about the current populations of religions and not historical influence. There is a clear drop off after Hindu. One could make the arguement that atheism could be included in a "big 4".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religious_populations

Masacroso
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16 Druids:I liked the theme

16 Druids:

I liked the theme and the mechanic and it was one of my candidates for a medal but between 22 games finally I chosen others games. The only critic here if that I dont see too clearly how you can count the believers in a zone, maybe with the dice and I suppose that a sacrifice is counted in another way but isnt clear. Anyway these are little details and I understand that you cant write all details in 500 words.

2 Trinity:

My silver medal was for this game... I really loved the mechanic and abstraction, the more rude (but not unreal) representation of the violence created by ideology. I have just a critic for this game: 6 points seems too low as a victory condition, more low if you take into account some bonus of the secret score rule, this seems to me before any test of the game.

4 Cult:

Something like a PYL with negotiation... the mechanic is more related to represent a search for investors and trying to predict the change of a imaginary market than something related to religion. The game, the mechanic, seems very fine but unrelated to religion.

Tahrirfirma
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Thursday comments

A short history

This was one of the most clearly written rule sets this month. I liked the epoch spanning feeling of the game. And I like the way in which populations are being pulled back and forth. The variable card actions would create a mechanically interesting flow in game. But the problem is that they seem to constrain players’ tactical choices too much, making the gameplay too much based on luck. Thematically – to keep with the “history” title of the game – perhaps you could consider substituting the “religious elements” on the cards with “historic moments” tracing the origins, development and spread of each faith instead of  (i.e. original prophet, early sect or region which took it up, first state to take it up, subsequent spread through empires or trade).

 

On Earth As It Is In Heaven

Thanks for the forthright but thoughtful feedback. On reflection I think that my design suffered from some sloppy choices of language and an underdeveloped theme. The intention of the game was to explore the relationship between religious institutions, their beliefs or ideologies, and more worldly powers, in particular the state. The title was a reference to this relationship, but “Temple and Palace” (or “Church and State”) would have conveyed the idea of the game better, and “Pantheon of the Gods” (my original title) would have fitted the theme better.

Thematically I had in mind a fantasy/fictionalised version of ancient societies like Rome during the period in which polytheism and regional diversity gave way to centralised state religions. (No judgement or pan-historical generalisation about polytheism intended!).  I used the term “cult” in the classical sense of Roman cults devoted to the worship or “cultivation” of a particular deity. Perhaps alternative terms like “religious order”, “devotees”, or “temple” would have less derogatory connotations to a modern audience though.

I would be keen to get more feedback on the mechanics of the game.

Regarding play choices, I was anticipating that the fact that each player’s “obvious” choice is likely to be different, means that each needs to decide whether to go it alone by supporting their own obvious choice or try to team up with another player to support their obvious choice. In this sense alliances and player overlap are design choices which are integral to the game.

Peace was deliberately tough, both as a thematic choice, and to encourage fast risky aggressive play rather than a defensive play which might slow the game down. Though it would obviously need to be tweaked if it turned out to be a totally undesirable option.

 

Battle between the Good and Evil                        

The mechanics here make for good beer and pretzel gambling game. But thematically it does not make sense. Why are players all playing as both good and evil?  It seems like it would work better with a different theme, or simply as an abstract card game.

Mr.S
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Friday Critiques

Druids

I like that this game departed from the major religions to focus on druidism. There are just as many dice as card in this game, btw. That may be a bit much in regards to the point of this month’s challenge.
This game says that it can be played with 2-6, but rules have ‘first player’ + 3 players to the right. Does this mean that this game is meant for 4-6 players? If the dice continue to be divided (clockwise for example), will the druid player also be taking on the role of a missionary? How do you divide the area into three regions? I think a board or something would help to keep everything separated.
I liked the ritual sacrifice mechanic. While, this game gives some options to players who are not ‘active’, it is not enough. I think this game would be boring if you weren’t the druid.

Trinity

This game captures the historical nature of religion… join us or die. I am confused about the hidden scoring conditions. Doesn’t this negate the use of getting 6 points to win (via dice)? I am also unsure about how the game play is supposed to work. It would have been nice to have a list of possible moves per turn than to just say, “players take turns playing worshipers…” A couple examples would also help. It would help me understand why your worshippers are not just part of your religion. Since there are three players, there will only be a maximum of three worshippers per person in play at any one time. Why is this? How do the various bonuses work? What constitutes a “sufficiently higher” score than an opponent?

CULT I think you really need to state how many people can play this game. There are 5 mission cards, so 2-5? But having 5 players trying to get 4 of the character cards would be quite difficult. What if all of the characters are used and no one has reached 4 yet? Is this game really for 2 players?
This game relies too much on luck and ignores the religious aspect of the challenge. Playing this game does not make me think about religion at all.

Zorblag
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Friday critiques

#16 Druids - Silver Medal

My silver medal this month. A push your luck that seems to favor the attacking player right from the start, though maybe the cards provide more resistance than I’m imagining. I think that it could be tweaked to handle any balance issues though. The cards are doing something meaningful, but the main game is in the dice rolling. The three missionary rollers each round do have a somewhat meaningful choice to make, but it could probably be automated so that one poor opponent doesn’t give some players an advantage on the offense based on table position. On the whole this is one of the games this month that I’d be most likely to want to try out.

#2 Trinity - My entry

I definitely ran into the 500 word limit for the description here. The answer to some of the questions already asked had to be cut from my original type-up in order to get the entry down to the right length. I might flesh the game out further here or elsewhere in BGDF in the future to solicit opinions on more detailed mechanics. Out of curiosity, and for future months, was there any part of my entry that people feel could have been left out? I need to get the balance down still.

#4 Cult

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of choice in the game. Each player either wants a character in the cult or not, and so adds the support or not based on that (is there incentive to bluff that I don’t see?) The leader does choose which characters to try to recruit based on the dice, but with the small character pool they and the one die roll they could easily be forced to make a choice that hurts them (I wonder if the option to pass would be reasonable to include as failure to recruit a character takes that character out of contention for at least one round most of the time.)

-Zorblag R`Lyeh

nazcagames
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Thursday & Friday Critique

Almost.. catching... up...

A Short History

This was a well written entry. The design was well presented and had both elements of tactical thinking and luck. And the description of the gameplay sounded very much like they would work well. So great job on that part. The reason that this wasn't a medal contender was that there wasn't a strong connection between the theme and the mechanisms. Each of the cards represented a different character, god, or concept, but the rules for each card had no thematic ties to what the card represented. They were simply combination of goal numbers, and # of dice to take or put dice to the dice pool. I felt that there was a lost opportunity to come up with more interesting & differing mechanisms for each card to add flavor. The three religions chosen each had two numbers associated with them but nothing else to distinguish them.. So there was no reason to even identify three religions. They could have just been three arbitrary cults. The dice pool that players draw from also wasn't explained what it represented (I was trying to picture it as perhaps groups of followers or religious influence). Since the emphasis for this month's contest was on the religious theme, this entry felt too abstract. But it seemed to be one of the more mechanically sound games in the lot. Overall a good entry that reminds me of a good euro: mechanisms > theme. Well done.

On Earth As It Is In Heaven

This was one entry that I wasn’t sure if I had the gameplay right after reading it. At the start of each round/turn, the top card of the group/opposition deck gets flipped, then the players can flip their belief cards. Then there’s dice rolling based on matching or not matching the characteristics on the group/opposition card. Then players gain or lose points based on their rolls. It seemed that victory and defeat would simply just come down to the dice rolls. Now dice rolling is not a bad thing. I enjoy dice-chucking games. But I didn’t see any interesting ways of altering the dice results other than flipping your belief cards. And it seems that you would just flip the belief card that would just get you the biggest bonus for rolling. There weren’t really any interesting decisions. Like I mentioned before, I may not have the clear picture. But I can only judge based on what I read and how I interpreted the rules. I think the author intended the game to have more to it but perhaps became a victim of the 500 word limit. But regardless, it was a good effort!

Battle between the Good and Evil

At first glance, I thought this entry seemed like an interesting twist on the trick-taking genre. But each player is playing their cards simultaneously rather than in turn order. So this relies more on knowing what your opponent will play. Unfortunately there’s no information as to who has what cards since they are all dealt randomly. And without context or information, it degrades down to a guessing game. There is also the random draw of the cards as well. If each player had the same set of cards, then players could keep track of what cards were played and only the first round would be a total guess with subsequent rounds providing more and more information. But since the cards are randomly drawn, the players have no clue as to what the others have to make any informed decisions on what card to play. I do like the theme and the simplicity of the game. And even with everything I mention above, I can see some people enjoying throwing down cards and having a good time. But I feel like the fun would be short-lived if players don’t have more control over their own fate.

Druids

This was an interesting pushing your luck game with a bit of area control to score points. Since it said you need to have the three players to your right roll dice, I was wondering how you would play it with 2 or 3 players (description says 2-6 players). Since each of the three is just rolling dice for the missionary side, you could simply have one player do all of the rolling it seems. The rules as written were a bit of a challenge to follow and required a couple of re-reads, but it was mostly there. And what wasn’t there, it wasn’t hard to figure out what the author was intending to say. Overall a very solid entry. I didn’t consider it for a medal, but perhaps if there weren’t so many great entries, this one would have been in consideration.

Trinity

The premise of the game is intriguing with the theme of a religious war wrapped around card combat gameplay. Being able to use the cards as multiple things is fantastic. The entry didn’t go into much of the actual detail of the gameplay though. The game describes that each player is dealt 6 cards. One card is played as a religion card, and another as a goal card. Which leaves the 4 cards in hand as worshippers. The rules don’t mention any condition where you would draw more cards. Since you score one point for each worshipper above four and you only have four worshippers, it seems rather difficult to win using spirituality. So I made the assumption that at some point, players draw more cards. One issue that I can see occurring is that first player to win a conflict, either by converting an opponent’s worshipper or killing them, now has an advantage. And that advantage makes it more likely he/she will continue to have an advantage. Since I didn’t see any counter balance for that, it seems the gameplay will be prone to ‘snowballing’ where the leader just gets stronger. This entry could definitely improve by providing a little gameplay details to describe the gameplay. But overall, a good effort. Well done.

Cult

For this entry, I felt the glaring omission was that none of the mission cards were ever described. I had to take a guess that mission cards depict the characters (not even sure how many) and which side they are on (maybe?). Using the white and black dice to represent the good/bad side was an interesting idea. But since this only supports up to 4 players, if players ever roll a 1 and 6, there’s nothing that can be done to change which die will be higher. It also seems possible that none of the characters are recruited. Not sure if this is really a problem, but could make the game drag on. The theme fits well with the guidelines of the contest, well done there. The mechanisms of the game, somewhat tie to the theme. But I feel a piece is missing to make it a more compelling and fun game. If the objectives on the mission cards directly conflicted with each other, then the dark/light side mechanic might break down when two players that want the light side increased will play their angel cards while the other two players don’t want to see that succeed will play their devil cards. Unfortunately this will mean that the dice will dictate the recruitment with very little player impact. I think there is a seed of a great idea here, but just needs more cards and interesting rules to make it happen. Good effort though!

andymorris
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Critique Trinity

There seem to be lots of interesting things happening, so I'm sure there's lots of potential. It seems like there would be a fair bit to factor in with each decision and I like the simultaneous play. However, as already noted it lack for examples which made it hard to really picture everything going on. Lastly, I'm not sure the title fits. Trinity is a distinctly Christian term and this is not thematically related at all.

Mr.S
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Saturday Reviews

The Darkness I didn’t understand the premise of the game. Why can’t players ‘see’ each other? Is it the night after the crucifixition? Was there some cosmic event I am unaware of?
So, this is a guessing game right? Why is the die necessary? I think players should be allowed to ask any one question on their turn. Make this game a little more like Guess Who or Who Am I instead of having a bad roll and asking the same question over and over.
This game assumes that players know all about biblical characters. Even a check list would help a lot. I think this game would work in a Sunday school as a review game. There may be too much information for the kids to look through though.

I am GOD This game has the feeling of extraterrestrial or space theme rather than religious. There is not much to do during down time if you are not one of the lead player. I think that the conflict mechanic needs to be explained better. I do not understand how it works. Are you just making it harder for other players? Do you take a hit to your score by using one of these? I assume that you can only use the CV function once per game. If this is true, it makes more sense to deny other players as much as possible right fron the start. Use your CV bonus on the first round you are not the lead and hope that the dice are on your side. If they don’t gain another card, they will have less ammo to stop you. If everyone adapts this philosophy, the game may get boring and just come down to the dice rolls for lead player.

Proper Worship I thought this game was going to be about the rituals of religion and the silly things we do because the church, temple, pope or whatever tells you to do them. I was disappointed that the game assumes that there is only one true god who communicates to all religions. This god apparently has some odd mandates: Why does this god want “Exile” or “Absorption”? The mandates just didn’t make sense to me.
Game play feels a bit boring. Trading followers makes sense for the game, but not thematically. The actions available to each player don’t have anything to ritualism, which was disappointing to me.

To Heaven or Hell (working title) This was my entry this month. It's funny how these things go. I have been participating in GDS since the start of the year, but this is the first one that I am actually planning on developing to play with friends. AND I came dead last, LOL!

I thank anyone who has stuck around in the critiques section long enough to get to review my game. I look forward to ideas and suggestions in regards to this game.

andymorris
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Critique Battle between Good and Evil

This game seems like it would work fine, but I'm not sure there's enough depth. All the cards are face down there's no way of knowing what's going on. Maybe after everyone has chosen their first card, those can be flipped over and then the round can continue with face down cards until everyone has passed.

andymorris
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Cririque Druids

This game has a creative theme and plenty of interesting ideas. It also has more than two dice per player, so that eliminated it from medal contention for me. It felt like the turns would be a bit long a create too much down time and I was 100% sure how you track the believers in each region. I liked the sacrificing of dice concept.

Zorblag
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#10 The Darkness A deduction

#10 The Darkness

A deduction game is a nice choice here, but I wonder how valuable that die roll to decide the question is; I suppose you tailor the person you ask to the question you get, but I’m not sure how valuable that restriction is. I also think it would be nice if there were some penalty for guessing incorrectly. As it is now, asking a question gives everyone at the table more information which you won’t be able to take advantage of until your next turn (if it gets back to you,) but guessing resets any information that others are working with and doesn’t particularly cost you anything for being wrong.

#18 I am GOD

I’m not sure I understand what the conflict value does, but it appears to involve interaction with a card the player already has rather than the dice rolled. It looks like players who don’t roll close to 7 on their dice (compared to other players) will never get a chance to play. In the long run that balances out, but it might lead to a very frustrating game for some of the players. What happens if two players have identical rolls and could both sway a card? The interactions between cards might have the potential to deal with all the issues that I have; it’s hard to tell without more examples which are hard to give with just 500 words.

#8 Proper Worship

I like that followers flip back to face up when all are used. This prevents particularly strong actions from being used over and over again unless the player has very few followers (and I assume that they would be vulnerable to other actions like the Crusader in that case.) As the players share the Mandate each turn I worry that the motivation for trading might normally be pretty non-existant, but perhaps seeing a mix of cards would make it clearer why you would want to negotiate. Is there an order of negotiation for the negotiation phase? If not I worry that the order that saved actions come in might be chaotic and hard to track.

#15 To Heaven or Hell

I guess the biggest problem that I have with games that look for this sort of thing for scoring points is that I just wouldn’t find it fun to be involved in most of the described sin categories. If I’m not going to have fun playing a game then why would I play it? Punching, berating, forcing people to eat foods they don’t like and the like aren’t what I want to do with friends. It’s possible that this could work with the right groups of people, but I’m leery.

-Zorblag R`Lyeh

andymorris
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Critique Cult

I like the player interaction and simultaneous play. It seems like it can be fleshed out into a nice, quick, fun game. I think there needs to be a way for the non leaders to be able to recruit a card (maybe more dice would help). I think based on the roll and the choice of character the other players would likely be able to tell if the leader wanted good or bad and make it difficult to recruit anyone.

andymorris
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Critique Darkness

I like the creative choice to highlight the darkness that fell for three hours at the crucifixion. I like the information chosen for each character. I agree that having to wait your turn and lack of penalty for incorrect guesses are the main things to be addressed. What if it was round based? Each player could get maybe three or four questions each per round. After all the questions everyone would secretly write down their guesses for each other character and then score a point for each correct and lose a point for each incorrect.

bike
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Thursday reviews

Sorry for the delay.

On earth as it is in Heaven

As I understand it, the outcome of the dice rolls decide what happens, and the players can only hope they made the decision that is good for the result. In other words, a game of luck. Nothing wrong with that, but this one is rather complex.

Battle between good and evil

A bluffing game with very limited information to base your decision on. Only the cards played this round. Too little game to receive a vote.

bike
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Friday reviews

Druids

I discarded this game because the push-your-luck mechanic. (Druids are fine for theme.)

Trinity

I like the game, but it does not fit the theme very well. There are too much direct attacks. Gangster-theme?

Cult

Some good elements, but it is not working yet. (Or I did not understand). For instance, can only the player whose turn it is recruit a card? The others will then all select their card (angel/devil) against this choice. Only if the difference in dice is enough, the player succeeds. Not too good on the religion theme.

andymorris
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Critique To Heaven or Hell

Personally, I wouldn't play a game like this, but I'm confident that there are plenty of people who would. The setup of the cards and the use of the master die seem like it works well to pick the action. The contrast of being good enough or bad enough to win suits well with what the game is trying to do. I think the game would resolve itself faster than intended. I would imagine that most players would try to take the shortest path to victory as dictated by the initial role of the master die. As result, several people would take the same action someone could easily get two it three points in one round. You might need to predetermine who is good and who is bad and build a means of switching sides and maybe having a way blocking someone from making you do something you don't want.

Masacroso
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8 Proper Worship:I very

8 Proper Worship:

I very interesting game of negotiation, it was a candidate to a medal but after all I awarded others games. My main critic: the mechanic isnt too clear, in a negotiation game is important to clarify the moderation mechanic, the way to create trades in order or simultaneity. Free and not hidden negotiation, as it seems to say the rules, dont make sense to me.

10 The Darkness:

My main critic here: I see the theme too forced, i.e., not really related to some aspect of a religion. More than a game seems a interesting mechanic to teach something about the biblic history of christiniaty. It seems more as a educational game, what is not bad in any way, just that I prefer a different kind of game.

15 To Heaven or Hell:

Funny party game, really open to anyhting. No one critic here, I cant critic a game like this, it is just perfect as is it (at least to me) but I prefer award other games (I played some similar party games, and is really funny with some drinks, lol).

18 I am GOD:

Seems a tweak of a TCG to fit in some way a religion theme. Seems interesting but maybe too much random-based and I doesnt have too clear the mechanic to swear: dice vs card or card vs card... the text isnt too clear to me, maybe cause Im not english, Idk. Anyway I preferred award other games.

andymorris
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Critique Proper Worship

I voted this game for bronze. I like the player interaction. I like the way cards and the dice work together. My only concern is that there seems like there's a good chance of a tie. Maybe there could be a way for someone to get two points at once or only one player can score per round.

andymorris
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Critique I am god

There are some good creative ideas in this game. I think it would work fine. I don't see any real issues, but I don't think it has enough tactical depth. I think there would a clear choice most of the time.

Mr.S
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Heaven / Hell

Thanks to the reviewers who took the time to critique my game. I guess the main objection to the game was that reviewers were not interested in this type of game. I suppose that just means I got unlucky with the group voting. This game originally started as an auction type of game but turned into a party game as i thought through it.
To make the game more thematic, I wanted real life consequences for your actions. Unfortunately, many of you objected to that idea. Keep in mind that you can always refuse to be part of the action (which may actually help you)
One small critique was that the first card determines whether you are trying for heaven or hell. I had hoped that the original roll that starts you at 3 or 4 would be more a determining factor. That starting roll should also split the group in half to make the game more interesting.
I wanted to make the game so that you may want to switch from trying to be an angel to trying for hell (or vice versa), but I couldnt find a decent mechanic to make that work well enough.
Thanks again for the reviews and I look forward to seeing you all in next month's challenge.

nazcagames
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Joined: 04/01/2014
Saturday Critique

Falling... behind... again...

The Darkness

I was actually surprised that this wasn't voted higher. This deduction game got a medal from me. The mechanisms were interesting. The roll of the die determined which question you get to ask, so you are slightly at the mercy of the die roll. But after the die is rolled, then who to ask the question to is also an interesting choice. One issue that may arise is that all players will have the same amount of information if each player has only one card at a time. Perhaps if each player have a hand of cards, and the questions would apply to all cards in hand would add more engagement. The rules were very clear and easy to understand. The backstory seemed to stretch a bit to justify the mechanisms in the game, but that didn't bother me at all. The entry fit the guidelines for the contest neatly. Overall I thought this was an outstanding entry. Great job!

I am GOD

This is also one of those entries that seems like it needs more that 18 cards to make it work. There doesn't seem to be any benefit to being the lead player. So players are just hoping they have the right combination of dice and abilities on the card. The game seems like it could be lopsided at the start since each player is randomly given a card to start with. With some cards having useful abilities and other cards having no abilities, I got the impression that the players that were lucky enough to get a card with useful abilities had an advantage over those that got the cards that had no abilities. Perhaps the card with useful abilities had higher(or lower) CV but it's really doesn't have much of an impact since it depends on your die roll. The theme and mechanisms adhered to the contest guidelines very well. This slipped out of contention for a medal only for some minor gameplay issues that I would imagine would crop up and the feeling that 18 cards is just not enough for this type of game. The rules had a couple of areas where I had to reread it a couple of times. Overall a very solid entry in a tough field of contenders.

Proper Worship

This entry was a little difficult to follow at first, but upon re-reading the entirety a couple of times, I was able to get the jist of the game. I was intrigued by the negotiation element in the game. And it is the only game with negotiation amoung all on the entries, kudos. With that said, I'm not sure if there's really enough incentive to do any trading. Each round, the objectives are determined by the die roll of the mandate die. What reason would player A make a trade that would allow player B to earn a victory point this round (and vice versa).. simply a promise of reciprocation on the following round? With very limited number of components, I just couldn't imagine there would be enough 'things' to trade at all. I could see this being an enjoyable game of negotiation if 1. the goals were more end game goals rather than goals that were only in effect for the round. And 2. there were more components, essentially more 'things', to trade. Overall, another solid entry that's hindered by component limits. Good effort!

To Heaven or Hell

"punch another player", in the best case, slapstick humor shouldn't be necessary to make a game fun. In the worst case, well... people will get hurt. Assuming that issue is ignored (it is a tough one to ignore), the premise of the game had potential. players would choose to be good to try to go to heaven, or choose to be sinful and purposely go to hell. The player to reach one of the two extremes wins the game. The theme is religious only in the reference to heaven and hell. For a party game, I thought that was perfectly fine so the thin religious theme didn't bother me. Now onto the mechanisms of the game... The triangular cards, while novel, didn't really add anything to the game that regular cards couldn't do (just ignore one of the corners, or make the fourth corner the place to 'opt-out'). Which section of the card is used is completely determined by the die roll. Player's place their die on one of the corners of the card. It's here, that it seems a part of the game rules is missing. There's no explanation as to why players would choose a corner. When the master die is rolled to determine which corner is 'activated', are only the players with dice in that corner take part in the 'activity'? If that's the case, players that are trying to go to heaven will always stay on the white sections and those that want to go to hell would stay on the black section. So it seems there's no interesting decision there. Also another issue, and this may be a game breaker, is most of the example actions allow players to pick other players to gain/lose points. If that's the case, the hell player will always choose a heaven player that's closest to winning to lose points, and vice versa. This will drag the game out.. possibly indefinitely. A proper design should always have a force that drives the game to a conclusion. I think overall, this had some good potential. The entry was easy to read, but it seemed there might be a missing rule (perfectly understandable in a 500 word limit). But ultimately it had some issues that couldn't be ignored. It was a good effort nonetheless.

JohnduBois
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Joined: 12/22/2011
For folks who liked (or remember - it's been a while) Avignon...

Following the critiques from this group, I went ahead and made the game. Now it's got a publisher and is Kickstarting in early 2016.

To coincide with the Pope's visit to the U.S. this week, the publisher posted a PnP on his website. Check it out! http://buttonshygames.com/blogs/news-1/50073092-experience-the-pope-at-h...

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