Juma Al-JouJou
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Hey everyone,

I designed the casual card game "Pretty Ugly". I'd like to submit its rules for various game design contests and would very much appreciate your feedback on the rule book (3 pages only).

http://share.pdfonline.com/335980f84d804bd585ee706ba80b3fec/...

Thank you a lot for your help!

Juma


 
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Chris Ferejohn
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Egad, it's like if David Cronenburg designed a card game. From a theme standpoint I'd just embrace the body-horror and have them be cyborgs or competing in a tattoo and piercing competition or something. With the theme as it stands this will be somewhere on an axis that goes from misogynist to horrifying, which seems like a pretty tough theme to sell.

OK, actual rules critique:
* So if you use the card for an action is it then not used for anything else? That could be clearer. Also the action symbols on the cards could be clearer (I know it's a prototype). Edit: I guess that's clear from the example, but somewhere near the top I'd say "cards can either be used as an action or as a body part" or something like that.

* It isn't clear to me if there can be *both* a x2 and x3 on the board at any time or if there can only be one or the other. Either way, how about letting people use a second one to "cancel" a first one rather than just making it a dead card in their hand?

* Instead of the somewhat horrifying concept of plastic surgery sabotage (uglification), how about giving the players an in-round way to change the 'ideal'.
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Patrick Brennan
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My feedback would be that there's too much shorthand. If the rules were read by a 12 year old, they wouldn't be able to work it out. Some examples:

a) The game setup should be a sequence of clearly defined steps - how are the random looks and the random ideal done (shuffle legs together, each draw a card, etc?), face-up, face-down?

b) The second para of the goal is confusing ... does that happen after each turn, each round, when?

c) Rounds first para: how do you determine who is ugliest? You can't ask people to work that out from later in the rules and then come back and apply it here - rules should be structured in such a way that everything is explained in the correct order so that theoretically only one read is ever required.

d) "All the following actions require a card ...". Does this mean a card in your hand, an open card? Too much shorthand.

e) Can you pick a blind card from the top of the card pile? Not spelt out.

f) Changing the ideal needs some editing - turn it into a sequence, explain that open cards are not replenished when it's first explained that you can use them. Then at the end say how and when they're replenished. Same for hand cards?

g) Needs a native English speaker to do general editing on some clunky phrasing (eg "less cards on his hands").

h) End of Game - what's the tiebreak?

Anyway, they're some overview type thoughts.
 
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Juma Al-JouJou
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Thank you all a lot for your feedback, it helps me a lot. Feedback for gameplay or theme is also welcome.

May I ask why is the theme offputting to you?

I implement most of all your feedback, so this is the updated version:

http://share.pdfonline.com/335980f84d804bd585ee706ba80b3fec/...

What do you think of it?

About the suggestion of eliminating uglification but adding the possibility to change the beauty ideal in-round: I like the idea. It adds a lotta chaos and thus shouldnt happen very often in the game (about 3 times a game is ok I guess). For instance, if a player trashes 3 cards with different action symbols (eg. P, U, C), then this player can change the beauty ideal with 1 hand or open card. Im not sure though if uglification should be removed because most players love it.

I disagree that the game is misogynist because it is a matter of fact that women (in contrast to men) are mostly defined by their looks and much more than 90% of all women are really unhappy with their looks. I think that is a shame and I simply want to raise awareness about this topic with this satirical game (if the satire wasn't obvious to you, I have to make sure it will). I can imagine having a second version with male models but if I have to decide I definately will go for a female version. Having both a male and a female version could even make a semi-cooperative game where the prettiest females can pick a male partner (another player with male looks) and then try to become the prettiest couple. A couple can trade cards to help each other.
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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Nothing I can respond here that won't get RSPed. Good luck with your game.
 
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Matt Pierce
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I think this game could benefit from a bit of scifi. Instead of just plastic surgery, it could be mutations. Like in the future the new ideal would be to have an extra arm, or robot eyes, or some kind of egg-sac, feathers, etc. As if in the future our perception of beauty will be completely warped, ala Twilight Zone: Eye of the Beholder

It'd also make it so anything in the game that makes people uncomfortable would actually look intentional, which is what you are after. As-is, I wouldn't touch your game with a 20foot pole.
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Matt Price
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I'd also add that the theme is very unapproachable and unappealing. The idea that you're playing women vying to make themselves more beautiful by plastic surgery, or trying to somehow attack their opponent models to make them uglier is abhorrent.

Perhaps not quite the feedback you're looking for, but you're alienating half your audience (women) and making it a tough sell for the portion of the other half who have any speck of a feminist inkling.

Go for the cyborg/sci fi theme. I would never buy something like this, and no woman I know would touch this with a 10 foot pole.
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Juma Al-JouJou
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hmm, that is quite interesting. I playtested the game about 50 times with about 70 different people in Germany, and only very few people disliked the theme. I also asked most what kind of style they'd prefer and some said sci-fi, frankenstein or so on, but most actually preferred a more realistic graphic with caricatures etc.

This may be a cultural thing that people in the US and in EU have quite different taste with that respect.

I guess I will make a bigger opinion poll to make sure I get to know the mainstream opinion about the graphics/theme.

Thank you for your feedback!
 
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Guillaume
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Innovatormentor wrote:
This may be a cultural thing that people in the US and in EU have quite different taste with that respect.


^^^ This ^^^

There is a culture of cynicism in Europe that is generally speaking still only at the fringe of US society & taste. Which comes down to the concept that you can laugh about everything, but not with everyone.
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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LocoNeko wrote:
Innovatormentor wrote:
This may be a cultural thing that people in the US and in EU have quite different taste with that respect.


^^^ This ^^^

There is a culture of cynicism in Europe that is generally speaking still only at the fringe of US society & taste. Which comes down to the concept that you can laugh about everything, but not with everyone.


This game does not seem cynical to me. I don't see any sense of parody or irony. It's straight up 50-year-old views about how women are viewed and how women view themselves (90% of women are unhappy with how they look? Seriously? Show me any supporting documentation for that, and that absurd Dove commercial doesn't count).

If it was full-on grotesquerie, with women (and ideally also men) getting absurd piercings and 3rd nipples, I could see where it could read that way, but I'm not seeing it here.

I told you I'd get RSPed.
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Guillaume
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I might have misunderstood the intentions of the game designer, then. So the easiest way is to ask him : is this game meant to be cynical ?
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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LocoNeko wrote:
I might have misunderstood the intentions of the game designer, then. So the easiest way is to ask him : is this game meant to be cynical ?


The artist does not get to decide what his art means. That is in the hands of the consumer.
 
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Guillaume
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cferejohn wrote:
The artist does not get to decide what his art means. That is in the hands of the consumer.


Very nice of you to make my point for me

For me, this project screams "sarcasm" without the need of any explanation. I was just pointing out the fact that, as a rule, the "\< sarcasm \>" tag doesn't exist for Europeans, but is often needed on the other side of the Arctic.

Not always a bad thing, but definitely a cultural one, as mentionned above by the designer. As I hang out with more Americans than Europeans these days, I got my finger burned enough times to remember the necessary disclaimers when I make a slightly ironic comment.

Another source of misunderstanding between Europeans and - basically - the rest of the world, is the commonly accepted rules of what is "bad taste" and what is not. We literally joke about everything. Hence my original comment.

Hope that's clear now.

Cheers !

Edited : sarcasm tag not showing properly
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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LocoNeko wrote:
cferejohn wrote:
The artist does not get to decide what his art means. That is in the hands of the consumer.


Very nice of you to make my point for me

For me, this project screams "sarcasm" without the need of any explanation. I was just pointing out the fact that, as a rule, the "\< sarcasm \>" tag doesn't exist for Europeans, but is often needed on the other side of the Arctic.


Of course, *you* may find this obviously satirical. Your evident assertion that this is due to a more refined sense of sarcasm is...questionable at best.

I don't know what the OP intends to do with this game. If he's just making it to play with his friends or maybe to make a gamecrafter/artscow/PoD version that people can get, then he doesn't really have anything to worry about.

If he's going to try to pitch this to a publisher or kickstart a larger print run, I suspect the theme is going to be a problem for him, and it's not going to matter if he insists it is satirical.
 
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Kris Rhodes
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LocoNeko wrote:
cferejohn wrote:
The artist does not get to decide what his art means. That is in the hands of the consumer.


Very nice of you to make my point for me

For me, this project screams "sarcasm" without the need of any explanation. I was just pointing out the fact that, as a rule, the "\< sarcasm \>" tag doesn't exist for Europeans, but is often needed on the other side of the Arctic.


This is incorrect. Neither side lacks sarcasm tags, it's just that they have different sarcasm tags. (There's an excellent article somewhere online about the different ways sarcasm is used in the US and the UK. Both sides accuse the other of lacking it, but they actually simply use it in different kinds of situations and mark it differently. Wish I could find it. The basic idea was, Americans do sarcasm as one-liners, brits do sarcasm as a kind of role-playing exercise.)

I can see sarcasm in your game because of the arbitrariness of the beauty ideal and because of the explicit unattractiveness of the depicted models. (Those are your "sarcasm tags.")

I still wouldn't be particularly interested in playing the game, would get the "icky, not with a ten foot pole" feeling others have described, because sarcasm or no, the game does not criticize the industry in any particularly interesting or pointed way. And without such a pointedness, satire loses its bite, and I'm left just manipulating ladies' body parts, which feels icky.
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Alison Mandible
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Innovatormentor wrote:
I think that is a shame and I simply want to raise awareness about this topic with this satirical game (if the satire wasn't obvious to you, I have to make sure it will).


Indeed, if it's supposed to critique the restrictiveness of beauty ideals, that didn't come through (in the rules or sample cards) at all.

Quote:
Having both a male and a female version could even make a semi-cooperative game where the prettiest females can pick a male partner (another player with male looks) and then try to become the prettiest couple. A couple can trade cards to help each other.


This also sounds like it would mostly support the idea that being prettier makes you a more worthy person, as opposed to the idea that evaluating people on their looks is harmful or ridiculous.
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