I think this touches a problem that generic game systems such as Icehouse and piecepack have. They're excellent tools for a game designer, but they don't seem to have the same appeal to players. I'm thinking more and more (and it's unrelated to the results of the competition) that once you set the ideas for a game down, and find a set of core rules you're satisfied with, then you're better off designing specific components and taking the design a step further. In fact, I've been toying with different ideas since I "finished" VF to take the game to another level, with specific components. I've been thinking the same for some of my piecepack designs, but still don't have anything really definitive...
That's not to say there are no good icehouse games. There are excellent games, but I find these games (with some exceptions) only scratch my inch for luckless abstract play (games like Alien City, Pikeman, Martian Chess, Homeworlds, etc... which I mostly do on SDG). When I play a game at home, I find myself going more for thematic games... It's hard to do a thematic game with abstract components, even though there are some in both game systems that more or less manage to do it...
On Thu, Feb 21, 2008 at 9:42 PM, Doug Orleans <dougorleans@xxxxxxxxx
Jason Spears writes:Sorry, "justify" was probably not the right word. I'm happy to have
> I'm terribly surprised at your comments, considering you've designed 3
> games for the system.
several hundred Icehouse pyramids in my collection (in various
configurations). But they're not something I generally think to put
into my game bag when I'm going to a party. (Unless I'm trying to do
some playtesting, of my own designs or of IGDC entries.) I enjoy
Gnostica, Zendo, RAMbots, Undercut, Virus Fight, and many others, but
just not quite enough to feel comfortable asking others to play them,
unless I know it's a specific crowd that will enjoy those sorts of
As for my own games, while I am reasonably proud of them as design
efforts, they're more expressions of ideas I had than games I actually
enjoy playing. Quintazone is the closest to something I would want to
play regularly, and I like it more than I like Aquarius, which was the
goal, but I think it's missing something-- I'd still rather just play