Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] Ice Game Design Competition 2007

  • FromBrian Campbell <lambda@xxxxxxx>
  • DateMon, 16 Apr 2007 01:27:28 -0400
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