On Apr 16, 2007, at 11:09 AM, David Artman wrote:
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
I'd like to see the competitions--open AND themed--focus on current
Looney Labs products and strategies. Basically, this means it
playable by a totally new user for an investment of (say) no more than
~$25. That's two stashes and Martian coasters, 3HOUSE (almost), two
stashes and Volcano caps, or a stash and a card game (except
Chronauts). So, a game which (say) calls for seven full monochrome
stashes would not qualify for either contest--a player must buy
to play, or a mix of Treehouse and monochromes through the LL site.
might not be a permanent submission requirement, but I'd like to
as a major focus for at least a couple of rounds of contests. Think of
it in terms of ends: the Looneys can FAR more use a bunch of games
help initiate sales than a bunch of games that presume the player
(nearly) complete collection.
I would prefer a combination of the laissez-faire approach taken by
the old competitions, with themed competitions that target currently
available offerings for the first several themed competitions. In the
old system you could submit games that required whatever extra
components you wanted, with the caveat that people may rank lower
games that just require too much stuff. There were no explicit
criteria for voting; people could base their judgements on whatever
they wanted, including that it required too much equipment. That way,
if there was a strong community feeling that stuff that required too
much equipment wasn't worth it, it would be reflected in the votes,
without any rules imposed from on high, and with the opportunity for
really great games that just happened to require more than some
arbitrary cutoff to still be recognized. I think that having the
themed competitions, with particular entry requirements, will be
enough to spur interested in designing smaller, simpler games that
are good entry level games.
That said, MY notion for the "themed" contest is that it would not
be tied to a particular product (because both competitions essentially
have that as a requirement), but rather it would be something more
to the Iron Game Chef competitions:
Basically, the competition organizer(s) would throw out four general
themes (mechanics, flavor, timing), and all submissions would have to
use at least three of them. Example: Turnless, Chessboard, Theft, the
Orient. The ultimate "end' of this sort of competition is (perhaps) to
inspire a new boxed set or create better bridges to the more
board game and miniature markets (or RPGs?). And it pushes the
boundaries of creativity more than just "use Volcano Caps" would....
That's an interesting idea, but I don't know how it will work in
practice. Board game design is a bit different than RPG design, and
having too many requirements may make the games too similar (in RPG
design, there's a lot more room for creativity, since they are a lot
more open-ended), so I don't know if this would transfer over
appropriately. I'll definitely keep it in mind, and maybe try out one
or two simpler themes (Volcano caps, Martian Coasters), and one or
two Iron Game Chef style themes, to see which works better.
Regarding prizes: the idea of donated prizes is nice, but I'd rather
such donations go to environmental groups or to homeless children.
Recognition should be sufficient reward... and, sure, it would be cool
if the wiki had an "Award Winning Games" sub-section and a ribbon
graphic (a Rainbow Rabbit Ribbon? a tie-dyed star?).
It's sounding like a lot of people are uncomfortable with the prizes
idea, so I'll probably hold off on it. If someone with more graphic
design skill than myself wants to design some cool looking ribbons
(maybe a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbon), I'd be happy to give them
to the winning games.
Finally, regarding ways and means: I do not consider wiki
significant barrier to entry submission. It takes about ten
creating a page is no harder than working in Word (there is enough
formatting control in the toolbar for 90% of game designs). Otherwise,
you've to the organizer burdened with hosting and posting in addition
to all the ballot management. If "rules creep" is a concern, simply
designate a date for "lock down" of rules and beginning voting, set
your (the organizer's) wiki Watch Pages to all the games submitted,
aggressively rollback changes made after that date. The wiki will
preserve them (so the designers can "roll forward" after judging is
complete), and it spares the organizer the burden of having to wrestle
with a wild variety of submissions.
As far as rules creep goes, I could link to the specific version at
time of entry from the contest page, so people would easily be able
to get to the correct version without having to worry about reverting
The only issue could be the broken
images thing, but that's easily mitigated by asking the organizer to
host JUST the images and reply with a URL (which, when put straight
into the wiki code, displays the image).
I can certainly provide image hosting to anyone that needs, and
should be able to write up a quick script to allow easy web-based
uploading without much trouble.
Voting by e-mail is both the easiest and most secure way to do
there's nothing preventing vote by wiki. Again, the wiki preserves all
changes, so one could just click the + on the "Votes Tally Page" and a
new section appears, in which the voter can just list his or her name
and rankings/scores/whatever. If someone attempts to change that, it
will show up in the page History (and that user could be "banned" from
the competition and their votes disregarded). And it's easy to
rollback. Heck, or modify one's votes up until the end of judging--the
organizer could allow an individual to edit his or her own "vote"
section, just not anyone else, saving a lot of shuffling and
e-mails, if voters want to change votes via e-mail.
But... mail works fine, too. :)
Yeah, I'd be fine with either mail or wiki, though with the wiki you
can't do secret ballots.