Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] Best of 2009 -- last push to get the finalists

  • From"Ryan Hackel" <deeplogic@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateThu, 17 Jun 2010 08:05:22 -0400
If we don't hear back from anybody else soon, I approve of your four proposed finalists.


-----Original Message-----
From: "Bryan Stout" [stoutwb@xxxxxxxxx]
Date: 06/16/2010 12:58 PM
To: "Icehouse Discussion List" <icehouse@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [Icehouse] Best of 2009 -- last push to get the finalists

Here is my ranking, first to last:

Stack Control
Behind Enemy Lines

I'm tempted to say let's have 4 finalists: the first four above.
Scott, what are your thoughts?  And does anyone else have input on the
games themselves?

About your criteria, I agree with them for the most part, but have
these comments:

- I value depth, but for the sake of the awards I consider it subsumed
by replayability.  Not all great, classic games are deep, and I
wouldn't want to bias the awards against any style of game.  If it's
the sort of game people would want to come back to and play again and
again, that's worth honoring, whether or not it is deep.

- The "icyness" issue is a philosophical one I've been wondering
about, and am planning to discuss sometime soon.

It was great having you and Ben over last night, Ryan.


On Wed, Jun 16, 2010 at 9:10 AM, Ryan Hackel <deeplogic@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> I have finally played all nine semi-finalists: (See http://www.icehousegames.org/wiki/index.php?title=Talk:New_in_2009).
> I have judged each game, weighing such traits as:
> * Depth - Were there lots of decisions to make?  Are there different strategies to explore?  Did I win or lose based on good play or by arbitrary fortune?
> * Replay value - How much do I want to play this again?  Do I see myself playing this five years from now, or recommending it to others?
> * Creativity - How innovative is this design?  Is it similar to other games, or is it unique?  Is it ingenious or clever?
> * Accessibility - How easy was it to learn?  Did it require unusual equipment?  Is it simple enough to teach to a child?  How many people are likely to try this if offered the opportunity?
> * Houses - Games that require fewer Treehouse sets are preferred over games that require many Treehouse sets.
> * Iceness - I'm making this word up.  It means "how much does this game exploit the nature of the pyramids themselves"?  An icy game must be played with the pyramids and could not be played with generic pawns (like Icehouse itself).  A non-icy game could just as easily be played with generic pawns, or uses only one property or two of the pyramids, treating them mostly as pawns anyway.  An icy game uses just the pyramids themselves, while a non-icy game brings in lots of other equipment.  Homeworlds and Icehouse are both very icy, while Gnostica and Alien City are hardly icy at all.
> 3-High: Creative 1House co-op game.  Did not do badly in any one field, but did worst in replayability.
> Apophis: Another creative 1House co-op game, much more thematic and tense than Apophis, but not as deep or replayable.
> Behind Enemy Lines: An accessible 2House game, great for 4 social players.  Lacking in depth, innovation, or replay value.  This design doesn't feel finished yet.
> Crosswalk: A very accessible 1House game that is very icy, making good use of the stacking properties of the pyramids.  It is not as deep or creative as other games in the semifinals, but is surprisingly replayable.
> Dectana (my design): Very deep and replayable 3House game, a unique hybrid of two previously isolated game systems.  I will admit Dectana is not as accessible or as innovative as other semifinalists, as it is a reimplementation of an older design with a notoriously steep learning curve.
> Infiltrate: Very replayable game with good but not great depth.  It's only sleight is that it requires 4House to reach full potential, but can be passable with just 3House.  Also feels a little bit unfinished.
> Quicksand:  Very deep, replayable, and accessible brain-burner!  However, not very icy, feels very similar to existing games, and requires 5House.  Still, I see myself continuing to play this for years to come, and will probably recommend it to others.
> Stack Control: Very icy, very deep, and very innovative.  There are few, if any, shared pieces stacking games out there, so this might be in a league of its own.  Feels like Volcano and IceTowers welded together.  However, its strategy is opaque enough to hurt its accessibility., and it requires 5House.
> Ziggurat:  Doesn't feel like an Icehouse game, and is in a very unfinished state.  Keep working on this one, Bryan, and good luck showing it off at Origins as a standalone game.
> Here's the Bottom Line, my preference of these nine games from best to worst:
> Dectana
> Quicksand
> Crosswalk
> Infiltrate
> Stack Control
> 3-High
> Apophis
> Behind Enemy Lines
> Ziggurat
> It was a very close tie between Crosswalk, Infiltrate and Stack Control, and I could be swayed to reorder their places in my list.
> Your thoughts, gentlemen?
> ---Ryan
> -----Original Message-----
> From: "Bryan Stout" [stoutwb@xxxxxxxxx]
> Date: 06/14/2010 10:59 AM
> To: "Icehouse Discussion List" <icehouse@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: Re: [Icehouse] Best of 2009 -- last push to get the finalists
> We probably want to get the finalists selected by Wednesday if
> possible, a week before Origins starts.  Right now it looks like
> Scott, Ryan and I will have tried to play all the remaining games by
> then.  (See http://www.icehousegames.org/wiki/index.php?title=New_in_2009)
> Will it just be the three of us making the decision?  Eric, Jeff, or
> anyone else, will you be able to look at any of the games?  If you
> want, we could probably say which ones we'd most like more input on.
> Bryan
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