I've evaluated RAMbot Factory, after making my own spread-out volcano boards and printing them out. (In short: the combination of RAMbots and Martian Coasters has interesting tactical possibilities, but the addition of Roborally-like board elements needs a lot of polishing and is probably unnecessary; cut.) I will do Dectet today.
While following through on links of RAMbot Factory's designer, I found another game he did that apparently appeared in 2009: High Rise. So I checked on all the other 2009 authors, and found two more from Josh Cole: Fleet and Oshugo. I have added them to the "New in 2009" page; I will see if I can do them after Dectet, but if anyone else wants to, feel free. Or, if they were kept off the list for reasons unknown to me, please say so. This does worry me a bit about 2009 games that we've missed, from authors who don't already have games on the list.
How's it going on your last few games, Scott?
On Mon, May 31, 2010 at 12:21 PM, Eric Wald <eswald@xxxxxxxxx>
Bryan Stout wrote:No problem. With just four unclaimed at the time, it worked well.
> How is it going for the rest of you? We need to wrap this up soon: we want
> to do a second pass on the games with other judges, and come up with a list
> of finalists at least 2 weeks before Origins, which would be June 9.
> Thanks to Erik Wald for signing up for the remaining unclaimed games.
3-High: The cooperative aspect really appealed to my playtesters.
There's a significant luck aspect involved in whether you win or lose,
but the game was fun each way. The subtraction aspect seemed a bit
confusing at first, but quickly became natural. I could see it as a
way to help children learn subtraction, while still being fun for the
parents. Fortunately, applicability to its original competition
doesn't matter for this award.
Ascendancy: As a beginner's introduction to IceTowers, it works.
However, the luck aspect ends up overwhelming the play. In our tests,
the last player won huge every time.
Capture the Flag: As a two-player game, it's a great chess variant; not
quite as deep, but quicker to complete. The real surprise is that the
drones are your most important piece, with their ability to jump over
removed spaces. That leaves the queens prone to getting trapped, and
the pawns almost useless except as decoys. It probably helped that I
have a full hex board to place the chips on, leaving the lines across
missing spaces easily visible. The three-player variant seems prone to
kingmaker problems, though.
CoverFire: Almost unplayable as written. The biggest thing it needs is
a list of possible commands; the examples feel incomplete, particularly
with other pictures seeming to display commands that aren't described.
Beyond that, the order input mechanic is left to be inferred; it isn't
even described well on other Node Wars pages. I'm assuming that we're
allowed to hide our inputs from the opponent, to be revealed together,
but that's just from familiarity with non-pyramid simultaneous turn games.
In my opinion, 3-High and Capture the Flag are worth further evaluation.
Ascendancy is worth playing, but more as an introduction to other games
than on its own merits, so it probably isn't a great fit for a "Best of
2009" award. CoverFire could have been a contender if it were finished.