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A helpful resource for all aspects of designing tabletop board & card games:
game design, prototyping, playtesting, publishing, and much much more!

[GDS] January 2012 "Back 2 Basics"

January 2012 Game Design Showdown - "Back 2 Basics"

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

The votes are in, and WE HAVE A WINNER!

First of all, let me thank everyone who entered the Game Design Showdown this month, as well as all the people who voted. I had hoped the new format would encourage more participation - both entrants and voters. This month we had 5 entries and 11 different people voted! I think that's a step in the right direction :)

The next step is to see if the critique thread is more robust this time around, as people discuss how they'd proceed with these games (if they were going to do so). Maybe some of these ideas will evolve into real games one day, perhaps not. The thing about the GDS is this: whether the idea ever becomes a game or not, everyone becomes a better designer through the process!

And the winner is...

Here are the 5 entries and the votes they received:

  • Hollow Words, by GreenO: 5 votes
  • The Dam, by kviki: 10 votes
  • Greed and Government, by richdurham: 16 votes
  • Horde, by dobnarr: 11 votes
  • Vice, Virtue & Values, by ddm: 7 votes

Congrats Rich, and everyone else who participated. The Critiques thread is now open for business!

January GDS:

Starting with the new year I'm going to shake up the Game Design Showdown a little bit in order to make both entering and voting participation easier. I thought it would be good to move back towards the roots of the Showdown... rather than full rules and images for the game entries, this month you need only to describe your game in a short (200 word) blurb. After the GDS, entrants can expand on their entries and post more thorough rule sets in the forums.

The challenge will be open for entries for a week, but I do not expect anybody to spend a week working on their entry. Rather the 1 week entry window should give everyone a chance to see the challenge and send an entry at their convenience.

Main Design Requirements:

  • Theme Restriction: Resolutions.
    January is a time for New Year resolutions! To celebrate that, this month's GDS challenges you to design a game in which players make - and keep - resolutions. This can manifest any way you like - some form of pre-planned turns like RoboRally, or binding deals, or game end goals set by the players. Up to you!

  • Component Restriction: Pairs of stuff.
    Other than basic commodities in the game, all significant player pieces (or communal pieces which players can use) must come in pairs.

Low voter turnout for GDS this Month -

Guys, was the topic for this month's GDS not attractive enough? There were only 3 entries, and only 2 voters so far.

Is it the time of year? Because if the GDS isn't something this community is interested in participating in, then maybe there's no need to go through the motions month after month.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled game designing!

I apologize for the recent down-time - I contacted Dreamhost about it and just received this reply:

I looked into the issue and there was a problem with the permissions on the server. I corrected this for you and everything is working fine now! If there is anything else you need help with, please let me know! Thanks! Have a great day!

Anthony S DreamHost Support

It looks like whatever they did worked, as BGDF is back up and running again! I'll delay posting the BGDF winner so that people who tried to vote and weren't able to log in can do so!

[GDS] December 2011 "Reindeer Games"

December 2011 Game Design Showdown - "Reindeer Games"

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

The December Game Design Showdown results are in!

Only three entrants this month, and low voter turnout as well. According to the votes, we have a tie for this month. Congrats to...

  • Merry F'ing Christmas by Richard Durham (richdurham), and
  • Overnight Delivery by Jim C (magic_user) which each received 5 votes.

Congrats also to runner up:

  • Top Elf by Mike Holcomb (devilindesign), which received 3 votes.

I consider all entrants this month to be winners! The Critique thread for this month's GDS should be open now, so if you have a minute, give these guys some comments on their game ideas.

Hopefully after the holidays the GDS will garner more participation, and potentially a new format. Stay tuned!

[GDS] November 2011 - "Oceans Elevens"

November 2011 Game Design Showdown - "Oceans Elevens"

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown. Note that voting rules are slightly changed this month (see below). All other restrictions (800 words, three small images) remain in place.

Results are in!

Congratulations to the winner, Brian Andrew (Argebie) with his entry Pistols and Planks. He received eight total medals, four of them gold, the highest number for both counts, for a total medal score of 32 points. DogBoy's Commutiny on the Bounty took second with four medals, three of them gold, for 19 points. Full results are posted in the Critiques thread. All BGDFers (and particularly the participants) are encouraged to post critiques of the game submissions there.

Special Guest Host: Dave Dobson (dobnarr)

Direct your questions and comments to the Comments Thread.

Submissions: Completed Thursday, November 10

Click here to see the nine entries.

Voting: Thursday, November 10 to Thursday, November 17


Submit your top three picks to dobnarr. Be sure to read about the changes in voting this month below:

Showdown Voting Change:

For this month only, I'm trying out a new voting mechanism for the Showdown. Rules are as follows:

  • Instead of allocating six votes, each voter instead awards three medals to the three submissions he/she considers the best entries, allocating them as 1st place Gold, 2nd Silver, and 3rd Bronze. When awarding medals, voters should take into account showdown rules and the theme and mechanic limitations in addition to game design.

  • For purposes of winning the showdown, Gold counts as 6 points, Silver 3 points, Bronze 1 point. Highest total points from all medals received wins the showdown.

  • Contestants are strongly encouraged to vote. Contestants cannot award medals to their own submitted games. Contestants who enter a game in the showdown but don't vote for other games are awarded an Arsenic medal worth negative ten points to balance out the ten points they failed to grant to competitors.


Since I will be out of town this weekend, the submission deadline will be extended through the end of SUNDAY, Oct 9th!

I will post the entries on Monday Oct 10th, and voting will run through the following Monday, Oct 17.

Enjoy the extra day for your entries!

- Seth

[GDS] October 2011 "Rest In Peace"

October 2011 Game Design Showdown - "Rest In Peace"

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

The votes are in, and we have a winner!

The October installment of the Game Design Showdown is now over.

This month we had 10 entrants, but only 7 voters. I think it would be cool (and maybe even more fair) if each entrant took the time to vote on the entries. Please keep that in mind - if you expect other participants to read and vote on your entry, do them the favor of reading and voting on theirs.

This month's winner, with 7 votes, is Graveyard Shift by Ilta (Isaiah Tanenbaum)! A close second, with 5 votes, is Zombie Ball by dobnarr (Dave Dobson).

Grave Spotting, Attack of the really long game title, Dorn Bones, and Bone Pile each received 4 votes. Good job everyone! The Critiques Thread is now open for business!

Main Design Requirements:

  • Theme (or Setting) Restriction: Final resting place (or... "Dying to get in").
    In honor of Halloween, this month's games should be about or set in a final resting place - mortuaries, graveyards, catacombs, shallow graves, whatever you like.

  • Mechanics Restriction: "Dorn tower" or "Mancala".
    A neat mechanism I haven't seen used in a while is the "Dorn tower" - a mechanism used by Rudiger Dorn in several of his games: Genoa, Louis XIV and Goa to name a few. This mechanism is pretty similar to the main mechanism in Mancala. For a better description of this mechanism you may want to check out reviews of those games if you're not already familiar with them.

[GDS] September 2011 "Stick Around"

September 2011 Game Design Showdown - "Stick Around"

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

We have a winner!

With 6 votes, the winner of the September GDS is Over There. Runners up with 5 votes each: Last Bot Standing and Nations of the World. Wheel of History, Gods and Heroes, and Shootout at El Tiroteo finished with 4, 3, and 2 votes, respectively.

Congrats to the winner and runners up (close one this time)! The critique thread is now open.

Main Design Requirements:

  • Component Restriction: Permanence
    One of the fundamental aspects of board games nowadays is that they start out the same way every time. This year Hasbro released Risk Legacy, a game in which game state information is permanently recorded, making subsequent plays fundamentally different than the last.

This month's challenge is to create a game which incorporates such permanent changes to some or all of its components, allowing the game world to grow or change from play to play.

Convention Fever Critique Thread now open

Apparently I (a) had a bad link in the GDS thread, and (b) failed to unlock the critiques thread when I tried to...

Both of those errors have been fixed now.

Also, becuase of Gen Con and other basic business, I was late to post this month's and last month's GDS challenges. I fear this may have contributed to low participation, and I apologize for that. You can expect the September GDS to go up on the 1st or 2nd (Thursday or Friday) as per the new schedule!


[GDS] August 2011 "Convention Fever"

August 2011 Game Design Showdown - "Convention Fever"

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

The August Game Design Showdown is now over! The votes are in!

Not a lot of participation this month - I blame myself for that as I posted it late, and it was right on the tail of last months (which also ran late)... We had 3 entries this month, and only 3 people voted. The winner with 3 votes was SwagCon, by Wil Wade. Congrats Wil!

Shamble-Con by loonoly received 2 votes, and ZombieCon by Benj Hamilton (Yamahako) received 1 vote.

The critique thread is now open.

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by Dr. Radut