Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] Icehouse Game Design Competitions and Icehouse Awards

  • FromBryan Stout <stoutwb@xxxxxxxxx>
  • DateWed, 4 Nov 2009 23:11:59 -0500

These are excellent suggestions.  I very much like these points:

- Allowing improvement of the designs during the IGDC. (Hear hear!)
- Having a single annual IGDC, but recognize winners for both themed
and non-themed designs.
- Having ~3 Awards finalists played and judged during Origins. (Great idea!)

Come further thoughts I have:

- If the Looneys are OK with an Icehouse Awards during Origins, I
think it would be good to have the winner announced at Origins as

- I don't think they'll ever publish "Playing with Pyramids 2".
Though I love such things, these rule collections just don't sell well
-- the first printing of PwP1 still hasn't sold out after 12 years.
For the foreseeable future, I think that the best that would happen is
that they might publish individual pamphlets for the best games,
similar to Zark City's pamphlet.

- A good way of selecting a theme for an annual IGDC needs to be
found.  One possibility would be to let potential designers submit
suggestions, and then let them all vote for all the ideas they find
interesting.  (E.g. "For each of these proposed themes, indicate how
interested you would be in designing a game for it this year: a)
absolutely; b) probably; c) possibly; d) doubtful; e) not at all.")


On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 6:42 PM, Jeff Wolfe <jwolfe@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
> I have seen the following stated goals for promoting competitions and
> awards:
> - Encourage more game designs
> - Provide feedback to designers to facilitate better designs
> - Recognize good designs
> - Promote Icehouse games to a wider audience
> But these are conflicting goals.  If we're trying to help designers make
> their games better, then we clearly have games with weaknesses.  We don't
> want to go to the general public and say, "These games might suck, but you
> should play them anyway because Icehouse games are cool."  If the first
> Icehouse game a person plays is bad, that person might not play another one.
> Ever.  What we should be promoting to the general public are games that we
> already know are good, not new designs that still need work.
> The first two stated goals are best served by the IGDC.  The last two stated
> goals are better served by something like an Icehouse Awards.
> Based on the participation we've seen, I don't think the IGDC can be
> sustained more than once a year.  That leaves room for something like an
> Icehouse Awards in the other half of the year.  I wouldn't think we would
> want to do both of them at the same time, because many of the same people
> (i.e. people from this list) will be involved in doing both.  And taken
> together, they complement each other.
> So here is my vision:
> New IGDC
> - Focused on design, playtesting, and feedback
> - Each one has an optional design "restriction" or theme
> - Open to all entrants
> - Played and rated by people who are already fans (mostly us)
> - Designers encouraged to improve the rules while the competetion is ongoing
> - Recognizes best of competition and best themed game
> Icehouse Awards (for lack of a better name)
> - Focused on recognizing excellence
> - IGDC entrants would be eligible, but so would other designs
> - Initial evaluation by self-selected group (i.e. people on this list)
> - Criterion: Would we want this in hypothetical "Playing with Pyramids 2"?
> - A limited number of finalists
> - Finalists evaluated and rated by the general public
> - Scheduled for maximum exposure
> - No more than one award winner every year
> A few words about some of my points:
> IGDC designers encouraged to improve the rules while the competetion is
> ongoing:  If the goal is improvement, we should encourage incremental
> improvement during the competition.  The wiki could help the evaluators to
> keep the versions straight, because it's easy enough to compare the version
> you playtested with the current version when you go to make comments.
> A limited number of finalists for the Icehouse Awards: I think there should
> be three finalists.  More would give us too many for the casual fan to play
> and evaluate.  Fewer wouldn't leave us with much of a competition.
> Icehouse Awards scheduled for maximum exposure: There are hundreds (or
> thousands) of people at the Big Experiment at Origins every year, many of
> them Icehouse fans or at least Looney Labs games fans.  And for the most
> part, they are there to play games.  This would be a ready-made audience for
> opening this thing up to a larger audience.  Because of that, the evaluation
> period should include Origins weekend.  (Note: there are about 10-15
> thousand people at Origins overall, but not all of them go to the Big
> Experiment room).