Now that I've gotten some other stuff I've needed to do out of the
way, I feel like I have time to volunteer to run the Ice Game Design
Competition. I've been thinking about a few small changes to the
format, and want see what other people think, as well as if anyone
would object to me taking over running the competition.
First of all, as Doug mentioned, it would be nice to finish off the
old competition, though for many reasons it may be easier to just
allow entries from the last round of the old competition to be re-
submitted to the first round of the new competition. I would probably
go with the latter solution, thought I could be persuaded to look
into the former if people feel strongly about it.
I'd like to run the new competition on the wiki as much as possible.
This will make it easier to pass the hat on when I can no longer run
the competition, and will make it easier to recover if I or a
successor happens to disappear again (as is not uncommon in internet
communities). I'm not planning on abandoning it, but I want people to
have some assurance that the competition can run mostly seamlessly if
something does come up. I still feel like secret ballots are
important, so the actual voting may not happen on the wiki, but
everything else should.
I feel like the old Ice Game Design Competition possibly ran too
often. What do other people think? It was running about once every
three months, while I think that once or twice a year would be a
better pace, since it can be fairly hard to get playtest groups
together that often, and after the initial novelty wears off, it may
be hard to get enough people to submit games or vote on them that
often. I don't feel that new games are generally designed fast enough
to support a quarterly schedule, and I'd rather have this choose
really good games, rather than lots of OK games that just happened to
not have much competition.
I was also considering adding prizes to the competition. This has
advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that there really is
some tangible result of the competition; it may get people more
motivated, and make winning feel better. The disadvantage is that
putting prizes behind something can sometimes poison the friendly
atmosphere of the comminity; there's a possibility that people will
become too competitive. I would probably organize the prizes in a
similar way to how the IFComp (interactive fiction competition) does
it: various people from the community donate whatever they want as
prizes, and then the entrants in the competition get to pick from the
available prizes in order determined by how they placed. What does
everyone think? I feel like I'd be willing to donate the occasional
Crystal Caste Icehouse set, or something similar, as a prize for the
competition. Would anyone else be interested in donating prizes?
ZPIPs? Cool pieceniked pieces? PwP & The Empty City? Cold, hard, cash?
Finally, I have wanted for a while to have themed or other limited
sorts of competitions, but I also would like to recognize the best
games, regardless of whether they fit a given theme. I had envisioned
things like competitions about components used (Volcano caps, one,
two, or three Treehouse sets, Martian Coasters, etc.), types of
mechanics (real-time, tile placement, auction, trading, etc), maybe
themes (space, Martian, ancient Rome), and maybe crossovers with
other game systems (playing cards, Stonehenge, piecepack). I was
thinking that maybe we could have one or more themed competitions per
year, and then one open competition. The themed competitions would be
more about getting people to work creatively on a particular problem,
while the open competition would be about recognizing that best games
overall. What do people think? (By the way, I was in the middle of
writing this paragraph when I got Carlton's email; that's just weird!)
OK, that's a lot, and I'd like to hear feedback on what people think.
Should I do this? Should I stick more to the old competition format,
or be more experimental? Let me know!
-- Brian "lambda" Campbell