I wasn't able to playtest the Summer Contest entries, but I had a great time with the Winter one. I chalk this up to the hazards of living in a college town: some gaming buddies disappear three months out of the year. I loved knowing there was a theme, I loved determining how well a game articulated that theme, I loved knowing that the contest ensured more Icehouse proliferation. I have a few themes in mind that could do that again, and I think they're not too restrictive:
Theme: diner-friendly games. Plusses include a small footprint, a good amount of downtime between moves, etc. I've done more improvised PR work for Looney Labs thanks to Volcano in a diner than I care to admit.
Theme: demo-friendly games. Very elegant rules (Could I give out cards printed with these?) and attention-getting gameplay ("What are those people *doing*?") helps.
Theme: Perfect filler. This is a good game to play if you're waiting for something in the near future. Probably rather light. Anything that can take more than twenty minutes would be a poor candidate.
These themes are nice and open to debate, and I think that's a real strength for them. They force designers to think about something beyond simply "design a game." They allow judges a context in which to evaluate games, and a new dimension to consider when they submit ballots. Form is liberating.
On Thu, Aug 14, 2008 at 3:25 PM, Jason Spears <spielboy@xxxxxxxxx>
My thoughts are already turning to the Winter competition and how that
may be run. There was talk about having some restrictions. At this
time, I don't have a real preference, so I'd love to hear what others
think. I seem to recall that a few others firmly believe that
restrictions can drive creativity.
I do think we need to do more to help drive participation, not
necessarily for entries, but for judging. I wonder if there was more
time for people to play the games would that help? Could we offer a
prize to be given to a random person (non-designer) who provides
rankings and comments for 75% of the games? The prize could be some
more icehouse pyramids perhaps a rare color like pink if it is
available by then, or gray? We'd do well to try and tap the
PrintAndPlay community if we can find some good instructions for
making paper pyramids. That lot loves free games and seems to be
If we ran any sort of contest on BGG, we could even give away GG,
which can drive participation.
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