Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] ICE Awards 2010 post-mortem: Thanks

  • From"Jeff Wolfe" <jwolfe@xxxxxxxx>
  • DateSat, 10 Jul 2010 14:44:59 -0400
Looking back
I thought the first annual ICE Awards were a great success.  I certainly
would like to see us continue it again next year.

The selection process seemed to work well.  Volunteers screened the entries
to narrow down the selection to a manageable size, then the group as a whole
built a consensus as to which of the "semi-finalists" deserved to be
"finalists".  There wasn't any actual voting until the finals, but I thought
it worked better that way than it would have any other way.  If The Year of
the Pyramid brings in a huge influx of people we might have to rethink
things, but for now I'd say we should stick with what worked.

I'm still convinced that three is the correct number of finalists.  I
actually only managed to play two of the three finalists before the
deadline, but that was enough to cast a ballot.  I'm not sure when the
materials showed up in the Lab, but it could've been earlier.

Looking forward
What can we do to make things better next year?  Presumably, if we have more
time to plan, things will go more smoothly.  Not that we had any major
problems this year.

For the pre-show evaluation, I think we would be well served to have a
schedule, with more time for everyone to look at the games before we make
our nominations.  As I said before, I think the actual mechanics of the
selection worked well, and I'd like to see us continue the same process next

At the show, I'd like to arrange to have the materials on hand from the
beginning.  I don't remember seeing anything on Wednesday, when things were
quiet and there might have been more opportunity for early birds to work the
games into their schedules.  Also, we might consider scheduling a meet-up
time early in the week so that people can identify other people they might
be able to play the games with.

And we ought to do a better job of publicity.  The thing that the ICE Awards
can do that the previous awards did not do is reach out to the general
public.  We lose that if we do insufficient publicity.  The signs were
great, but that's really just a bare minimum.  For example, the awards
GeekList should clearly identify "ICE Awards," which was not the case this
year.  And we should make sure we notify any relevant media outlets we can
find.  We talked about contacting BoardgameNews.com, but I didn't see them
publish anything.

Playtesting and feedback for games
One thing that I liked about the IGDC was the feedback to developers.  I am
hoping that we can do something to maintain that.  To avoid oversaturation,
I think we should only have one award a year, but that shouldn't stop us
from using the rest of the year to playtest and improve the games that are
being designed.

The idea that's been bouncing around in my head is to transform the IGDC
into an "Icehouse Game Playtesting Forum."  The IGPF would be a specific
time that we set aside for people to playtest and comment on new designs
that are coming out.  We would schedule it soon enough that the designers
would have a chance to incorporate the feedback into their games before the
evaluation for the ICE Awards began.  The result would be higher quality
award winners, because the feedback would come *before* the awards, not

There would not be any awards for games submitted to the IGPF.  In fact, the
focus should be more on recognizing the playtesters who provided feedback
instead of the game designers.  The more people we encourage to play the
games, the better the games will be.  How about, "Playtester of the Year"?

As I see it, the process would be fairly informal.  Designers could announce
their games on this list, then all we would need would be a page on
icehousegames.org that coordinated the testing effort (with feedback on the
relevant game pages).  Designers would be free to improve their games
immediately if they got compelling feedback, and they would have time after
the IGPF was over to polish their games in advance of the next ICE Awards.

So here's my proposed calendar for the next year:

August through October - Icehouse Games Playtesting Forum
November through December - Nothing scheduled over the holidays
First quarter - Origins scheduling
January - Designers reminded to finish updating their games
February through April - Preliminary evaluation of games for ICE Awards
April 30 - ICE Awards semi-finalists selected
May - Evaluation of semi-finalists
May 31 - ICE Awards finalists selected
Early June - Publicize ICE Awards and prepare materials for Origins
Late June - ICE Award presented at Origins
July - Plan for the next year

I've heard rumors that Origins is moving to earlier in the year, as early as
2012.  If it moves to the end of May, as rumored, we have enough slack in
the schedule that we should be able to just push everything back a month to
the beginning of the calendar year.  In any event, it won't change for 2011.

- Jeff