Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I've broken the Game Design Showdown! (plus a moderately off-topic rant)

Finally, I get a chance to host a GDS over at BGDF, and wouldn't you know it, a bunch of things conspire to net me only 2 entries. Obviously, I can't do much about the people who don't have time this month to enter, which it sounds like a lot of the regulars were busy. And there's a lost entry just because I'm not entering it. But still, only 2 entries??? I didn't think the limitations were that tough. Even though, in hind sight, they might have combined for a tough combination. Also, since each of the limitations were fairly unique, as there have been a scant few games to use as examples, it was probably a lot tougher than meets the eye. Let's face it, everyone has typically played some game that included a "pick up and deliver" game mechanic; butfinding a game where players jointly control the weather, which must affect the overall scope of the game makes it tough. Even though, when you boil all the theme off of it and put it in it's simplest form, it's merely some type of rule that all player's must adhere to that can somehow change through player moves. When viewed through those glasses, it should be fairly easy to implement that, and then slap the weather theme on to it. Example, when the top face up card in the weathe deck says "SNOWING," all trains move one less space than usual. It's probably tougher to add the light/dark thing, which clearly is more of a gimmick, but whatever.

Click here for my contest.

But I worry about a few of the "not my cup of tea" responses. Even though i'm not sure why I should worry about that. Early on, in some chat with some people at BGDF, I asked, what would happen if some company offered you XXX amount of money (I think it was $10K) to design a game that, at that point, might have been a CCG, since everyone was ragging about CCGs. To my surprise, many people would turn it down because "they don't do CCGs." This surprised the heck out of me. A bunch of wanna-be game designers being offered a real paying job to design a game. A chance to get in a door at a game company. A chance to get published and get your name out there for future projects. A chance to learn the REAL cycle of how a game is developed. A chance effectively passed up because they, for all practical purposes, didn't like the marketing plan of the game; which is simply, to buy ALL the parts (even though you only need a small subset of parts to play), you need to buy them in individual random pieces.

I guess this ties in nicely with a game called "Blue Moon." Simply, it's two player card game that is styled after CCGs but with the removal of the much-hated marketing/sales plan. In your box you get two decks of cards, each representing a different race for each player. And each deck is a full set of cards for that race. The geeks seemed to love the fact that it was a CCG were you got "all the parts" but still played as a CCG.

Well, until they started coming out with new boxes with more races.

And then suddenly, from what I've been able to read, is that there has been a small groound swell of hatred at Blue Moon now because it's turning into another CCG. I mean, the GAME hasn't effectively changed; just that it's become expandable; and for those who absolutely need to horde every expansion; I guess it's starting to get pricey.

I wonder what would've happened if Carcassonne were played with cards instead of tiles? It's probably a little less apparent, due to the fact that everyone shares the Carc pieces; while one player owns a deck in Blue Moon, or every other CCG.

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