Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] Re: Ice Game Design Competition 2007

  • FromBrian Campbell <lambda@xxxxxxx>
  • DateMon, 16 Apr 2007 11:32:36 -0400
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 should be
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 10HOUSE to play, or a mix of Treehouse and monochromes through the LL site. This might not be a permanent submission requirement, but I'd like to see it
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 that help initiate sales than a bunch of games that presume the player has a
(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 just
be tied to a particular product (because both competitions essentially
have that as a requirement), but rather it would be something more akin
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 mainstream
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 registration a significant barrier to entry submission. It takes about ten seconds, and
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, and
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 too often.

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 it... but
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 sorting of
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.