Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

[Icehouse] Re: Icehouse games: What's the ideal?

  • FromJeff Zeitlin <icehouse@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateThu, 09 Mar 2006 03:31:16 -0500
On Tue,  7 Mar 2006 12:05:59 -0500 (EST), "Ryan McGuire and Kerry
Breitenbach" <kerry_and_ryan@xxxxxxx> wrote:

>Different games lend themselves to demonstration in different settings.  A 
>lot depends on the age of the event attendees and amount of time you have to 
>grab someone's attention.  To a lesser extent, the amount of space you have 
>also matters.  A Mensa meeting at your house or "Other Game Night" for your 
>college Dungeons and Dragons club will indicate different games than when 
>you have a single 3'x3' card table in the vender area at Origins.

This is a good point, and one that I hadn't considered; the motivation
behind the question, quite frankly, is the hope that the feedback I get
from the question will trigger something in my mind so that any future
new icehouse games I develop won't just be riffs on the same old games.
So far, two of the three games I've come up with have been riffs on
pachisi, and while I think pachisi is an underrated game, variations on
a theme get old fast.

> - Can be explained very quickly.
> - Can be played a flexible number of people.  2 - 8 maybe?
> - Have no turns or very little downtime between turns.  This keeps people 
>   from wandering away.
> - Can be played in just a couple minutes.
> - Are apropriate for children without too much adult guidance.

Except for the last two, I think these are good.  I don't think a game
should be TOO short, and not all games should be children-appropriate;
adults sometimes need adult levels of stimulation.

Also, I'm interested in the qualities themselves, rather than which
games exhibit them; as indicated, these are the qualities I want to
strive to achieve in my own future creations.

>If the scenario you have in mind is different, describe it.  That way we can 
>help identify game properties that best fit the situation.

For a scenario, I think the Game Night at the gaming club would be a
good one; the game club has members ranging from teens (or just barely
pre-teen - old enough to be considered responsible enough to babysit a
younger sibling or the neighbor's child, or to spend an evening at a
neighborhood community center without an adult chaperone) to seniors.

>On a side note...
>You say that you're not interested in the name and backstory marketing 
>issues, but those ARE qualities that can make a game more or less 

Yes, but I want to focus on the game itself - good marketing can make a
fundamentally decent game into a winner from the sales point of view,
and can make the difference between success and failure for a
fundamentally mediocre game, but I don't care HOW you market it, you're
not going to turn a horrid game into a success.  I'm looking for the
qualities that a better-than-mediocre game has.

Jeff Zeitlin
My Icehouse Games on <http://www.icehousegames.org/wiki>:
   Pentamid, Pach-Ice-I, Par-Trees-i

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