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Subject: 2016 Solitaire Print and Play Contest - Discussion Thread rss

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Chris Hansen
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This is the discussion thread for the upcoming 2016 Solitaire Print and Play Contest. This thread is just for discussing feedback and possible changes to the contest so please do not submit game entries using this thread.

The rules for the previous contests can be found on their contest threads.
2011 Solo PNP Contest
2012 Solo PNP Contest
2013 Solo PNP Contest
2014 Solo PNP Contest
2015 Solo PNP Contest

Solitaire Print and Play Contest Family

One of the things I've discovered after running this contest for five years is that the design contest community is small, but very passionate. There were only 55 voters this year, but they are very serious about this contest and want it to be the best it can be. I want to take a hard look at the feedback I received this year and make the changes that will help this contest be more enjoyable, fair, and welcoming to all.

I've posted all the feedback received in the contest below. It's a great way to get a sense of what the community thinks about the contest and what new directions we should explore. A big thank you to everyone who left feedback!

Here is a high level summary of the things I'd like to discuss for next year's contest:
d10-1 The biggest trend I noticed was that feedback for individual games was lacking. I'd like to find a way to improve that in 2016.
d10-2 I'd like to see this contest continue to grow. I'd love to find a way to increase the publicity of this contest and attract more players.
d10-3 I am considering modifying my restriction on game design limits. Instead of limiting a second game to a small game, I'm considering allowing two games of any size.
d10-4 This year we had a problem with a few designers not following all the rules of the entry thread. They didn't include a picture of their game or something else was missing. I do not want to be a jerk about this, but I think I need to start enforcing these rules more. For example, if you are releasing components for your game, you must include a picture of a completed build.
d10-5 This year I did an experiment where games could be entered starting on the first of the year. I ended up feeling like that made the contest too long. In my case, I always felt like I had plenty of time to work on my game and ended up not working on it at all. I am considering going back to a shorter timeframe to design your games.
d10-6 I think the contest is in need of a category overhaul. I'll discuss categories more here.
d10-7 I am considering not collecting anonymous feedback for designers next year. It is a lot of work to collect that information and deliver it to designers. This year, there wasn't very much feedback for most games and much of it was things like, "Great game". That's nice, but doesn't really need to be anonymous. I do appreciate those that left more detailed feedback and don't want to restrict your ability to do so.
d10-8 I think I may need to formally restrict the use of artwork or characters protected by copyright unless permission to use them has been expressly granted.
d10-9 The contest rules have gotten a little long with the various examples of things like adding a game to BGG. I am considering making a separate thread or geeklist with some common instructions that can be used by any contest simply by linking to it.
d10-1d10-0 Anything you would like to discuss.


Update
I've gotten a lot of questions about the start date of the contest. Here is my proposal (not final).

Major Dates
Contest Start - June 01, 2016 (No entries/WIPs allowed before this date)
Entry Deadline - July 31st, 2016
Typo Correction Dealing - August 07, 2016 (No changes to the game components or rules are allowed after this date)
Voting Deadline - September 04, 2016

Other Dates
Voting Page Available - August 28, 2016
Entry Deadline to get volunteer feedback before the Voting Phase - June 19, 2016
Volunteer Feedback Deadline Phase 1 - July 03, 2016
Volunteer Feedback Deadline Phase 2 - August 14, 2016

Important Info:
WIP Threads are not allowed before the start of the contest. Please do not create an Entry Thread or WIP thread until the contest officially starts. Please do not publicly share any PNP games files before the start of the contest. You may work on your game before the contest starts and even do private playtesting with friends and family but you may not post the game publicly online.
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Chris Hansen
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If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
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I have two new 9 Card Games: 300 Spartans and Franky's 1st Christmas
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Current polls will appear here.

No active polls right now.
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Chris Hansen
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If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
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Proposed Contest Rules are now available.
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Chris Hansen
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If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
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I have two new 9 Card Games: 300 Spartans and Franky's 1st Christmas
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I felt that in the 2015 Contest, some categories included too much crossover (Small Game/Hotel Game) and others were too bland (No Board).

The Small/Medium/Large categories continue to be the most difficult to define and frustrating to voters. I've struggled with how exactly to define it every year but its very difficult to find a solution that appeals to everyone. Some of the feedback this year suggested removing the small/medium/large and replacing them with light/medium/heavyweight games. Unfortunately, those category is equally hard to define. Right now I'm using average time to construct (which is also hard to define...)

I felt that the Hotel Game category worked well but needed a better name/definition. I'm thinking of just defining it as game that plays within on a Ledger/A3 size sheet of paper (essentially two sheets of Letter/A4 paper).

Proposed categories will appear here.
d10-1 Small/Medium/Large games - based on printed components, time to build, and difficulty of assembly
d10-2 Best Wargame - This is meant to deal with the mechanics more than theme. Does not need to be a historical war but should include some typical wargame elements such as CRT, hexes, point to point/area movement, battle resolution, etc
d10-3 Best Rule Book - this includes clarity, presentation, layout, organization (This is adapted from Best Written Rules"
d10-4 Best Original Art - Instead of best art in general I'd like to focus and encourage original works created for the game. This should include the presentation of the game when set up on the table.
d10-5 Best Graphic Design - This category focuses on the layout and design of the cards. It could include original works of art or works from the public domain/creative commons, if they were significantly modified for use within the game as in Shadows Upon Lassadar. This should heavily include the presentation of the game when set up on the table.
d10-6 Best Traditional Card, Tarot, or Decktet Game Category - No change to this category. I'd like to find a way to encourage more participation here.
d10-7 Best Game Playable in 11x17 inches or 29.7 x 42.0cm (Size of Ledger/A3 Paper) - Adapted from Best Hotel Game
d10-8 Best New Designer - No previous games in other contests or on BGG
d10-9 Best Returning Designer - Has entered the Solo contest before
d10-1d10-0 Mechanics prizes. I'm considering having some mini categories within one category (Need to work out how to do this exactly...) But my thought is that you could donate geekgold to this general category which would then be divided up between mechanics that got a certain number of games using them. For example, Push Your Luck, Paragraph Game, Deck Builder, etc. This way the category would be adaptable to what was entered.
d10-1d10-1 Thematic prizes. Similar to the Mechanics prizes category, this one would reward certain themes if enough games entered. For example, Zombies/Horror, Historical, Politics, etc.

Categories I'm considering dropping this year:
d10-1 Best Greyscale Printed Game Category (I think this category only affects a small number of people)
d10-2 Most Innovative Mechanic Category (Too vague to be meaningful)
d10-3 Best Game with No Board Category (Ended up being far too broad)
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Chris Hansen
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If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
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I have two new 9 Card Games: 300 Spartans and Franky's 1st Christmas
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Feedback from the 2015 Contest

The following are the responses to the questions about the contest I asked in the voting form. I've done some minor editing for spelling. There is a blank line between individual responses.

What did you enjoy most about this design contest? wrote:
That it was a solitaire PNP.

Designing

Love solitaire games and look forward to this contest every year!

I enjoyed the variety of the games and the interaction with the designers during the design process.

The creations.

as always the community and how everyone helps out

As always, it's the opportunity to work and interact with the designers in the process of developing their games. Such a wonderful part of our hobby that I didn't know existed before my involvement in the 2013 Solo Contest.

Trying out new ideas and mechanics, and having the opportunity to provide helpful feedback to improve games.
Free print and play!

Providing the opportunity and drive to design my first game.

I've mostly lurked, but I've really enjoyed the sense of community and fun. Next year, I look forward to entering.

Getting an idea for a solitaire game pretty late and thus having the pressure of getting a game ready in time.
Also the fact, that it inspires so many designers to create beautiful games PLUS it attracts new designers!

As usual, following the design of the games and trying to help the designers.

I love crafting games, I love playing solitaire, I love trying out new games, I love being part of the play testing process. What's not to love!

The amount of great solitaire games, of which many could be published.

Trying new games. There is always a little gem in there.

The sense of community.

Getting to try new gaming experiences and getting more comfortable with playing tabletop games by myself, which is a mostly new experience for me.

The possibility to playtest different games and to give feedback to the designers. I want to do that more often and earlier in future contests.

Seeing all the creative designs from other people!

Brings attention to the solitaire PnP games!!

Seeing all the variety of what gets turned into a game.

Hard to tell what I liked the best... I discovered the contest last year and followed it with so much pleasure this year.
Many original games and a lot of interactions with the designers. (I was reading for the most part, not interacting... I'm a bit shy by nature)
Excellent!
Thank you Soooooo much for running this!

Various designs.

the management!
the feedback,
the opportunity to give feedback back

Being part of the community and (hopefully) helping other people with their games.

Getting new solo games I can print and play! I am married to a non-gamer ans so must go solo most of the time . . .

The extended development time range was appreciated.

• Forcing myself to make a game within the given time!
• All the great conversations on all the game threads with other designers and with the people who tried my game.
• All the great solo games I will be able to make and play in the future when I have time!

Thoroughly enjoyed play testing all the entries I had time to. Each was unique and would be very re playable. Was pleasantly surprised on the feedback of my entry as well.
It was also nice to provide feedback and geek gold to fellow designers in the contest.

Trying the game out.

It's much easier to get feedback on a game from fellow contest members than random participants in the playtest forum. Plus, contest design constraints are great for forcing innovation.

Having people looking at my WIP and asking questions gave me a stronger motivation to complete my game.

Well-run
So many great ideas
Ability to give feedback (and designers' receptive attitude)

Seeing a number of designers step up to an interesting challenge of making printer friendly single player games. Designing for it was a blast.

Every year, at least a few really great games come out of this contest, and the other ones are always fun to check out.

It was challenging as I never tried to design a solitaire game before, but it was fun and very helpful to get some new experience.

Seeing a range of different games, playing the types of games I wouldn't otherwise play, seeing the work of new designers

Thank you! I appreciate all the positive feedback!
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Chris Hansen
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If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
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Feedback from the 2015 Contest

The following are the responses to the questions about the contest I asked in the voting form. I've done some minor editing for spelling. There is a blank line between individual responses.

What do you think could be improved about this contest? wrote:
Not a whole lot. I think the contest ran pretty smoothly.

I appreciate how you run the contest. I did not have personal access to a printer until late in the contest so only crafted a few games (and read a lot of rules), but that was my fault. Hopefully I'll do better next year.

More exposure

Possibly ending the contest a month or two earlier. Drags out at the end a little bit.

It was difficult to figure out which games were actually playable, playtested, or just in the idea phase. I think some kind of scale would help people figure out which game is in which phase. I also hold off on printing out the bigger games until after the contest for the same reasons.

My amount of playtesting! HA! I just didn't have the time...or didn't make the time...that I have in the past to playtest more of the games. I'm a bit disappointed in myself.
But that's not really your question. I don't think I liked the contest starting on January 1. That is just a REALLY long time. I feel like many designers jumped out to an early start and completely lost interest or just got too busy to finish their designs. Having such a long gestation period allows for too much opportunity for other things to get in the way. I think the summer months is enough time - three months or so.
I also felt like such an early start deflated my excitement for the contest a bit as well. It seemed like the 2014 contest had only just ended a few weeks prior to the next one starting up. I was just not in that frame of mind to put myself into helping anyone at that point. Then, when June/July finally came around, I found many of the threads had been vacant for several months with no updates or interest in them.
I think a more focused time frame promotes a more focused experience on both the designers' and playtesters' side of the coin.

Demand designers to post more pictures of the games they've finished and printed.
Or get more games built digitally, often times I shy away from trying a game simply because I can't print as many.

Not a thing. The contest ran smooth, was well laid out and questions were promptly answered!

I really wish there was a way to encourage more videos with instruction and/or playthroughs, but I realize not everyone has the capability.

Phew .. it is very well thought through anyway .. so: nothing!

I added a couple of category suggestions to the contest thread.

Less prize categories but I see that was addressed already.

I think that designers should have to actively declare their game to be "contest ready" before the entry deadline or the game will be automatically withdrawn when the deadline passes (they should still be able to make changes or withdraw the game before the deadline).

That way games that got into the "components ready" stage but then apparently were abandoned by the designer don't get included in the contest.

The contest is WAY TOO LONG!!! You need to shorten it up and this way we can get more contests in during the year! Pressure is what makes great games and with the length of this contest, there is no pressure!! Please shorten the time frame!

Nothing I can think of right away. Thanks for wrangling this!

There is just one thing I regret about this contest : the dead line... It took place at the beginning of August and some games, I was interested in, were finalized very close to it.
I may be reluctant to pnp a premature WIP for a game entering the contest and I was waiting for the dead line to print some of them. Unfortunately, I'm always far from my printer in August...
Hopefully, I had already PnP most of the games I played and I did import some other in cardwarden (an app on ipad) but I was missing the 'tactical' feeling ...

Seriously - not much. You do an excellent job running things!

Not a lot, to be honest. I haven't participated in many design contests, but I really liked the way this one was.
Having a bigger amount of participants/games makes it a lot harder to follow, though. At first it was ok, by the end I couldn't follow it at all except for my own.

The size categories could be clearer and more consistent.
Maybe instead of a single Best Artwork category, there can be a Best Original Artwork and Best Adapted Artwork categories. It's a little weird to have one single category that pits both Original and Adapted artwork against each other.

Just my own participation. Wish I had interacted more. Next year I will need to make it a higher priority. I also wish there was more availability of digital implementations of games (I am a procrastinator when it comes to print and play), but I know that is 100% up to the designers.

Better category descriptions. Best art should be best game presentation. Best rulebook should be the entire presentation of the rulebook. Innovative mechanic should include a note about not being related to the quality of the game.

give me a time machine so I can play all the games, look after my baby, and do my uni work . I still have a few games that I printed/download vassal mods for and just didn't have time to learn the rules and play...
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Chris Hansen
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If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
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I have two new 9 Card Games: 300 Spartans and Franky's 1st Christmas
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Feedback from the 2015 Contest

The following are the responses to the questions about the contest I asked in the voting form. I've done some minor editing for spelling. There is a blank line between individual responses.

This year I included some new special categories including best game that can be played on a small hotel desk and best game with no board. Do you feel these optional categories added any value to the contest? Did you seek out (or avoid) games that fit in these categories? wrote:
I would like to see a deck builder category.

I'm not sure the no board category really means that much to me but I think the hotel desk is important since I do slip a game or two into my bag when traveling (and especially flying).

Yes

No - there might be too many different categories already.

Too many categories

didnt seek out but yes good categories

I don't find those interesting, myself. I did vote for them, but hotel game is the same as small game. It's redundant, IMO.
Best without a board is very abstract sounding. It essentially means best card game or best "weird" design like the one social deduction game from one of the previous years.
I like the "basic" categories. Overall, small, medium, large, artwork, new designer, rulebook, wargame, traditional/decktet card game.

It's a double edged sword. Card games are easy to print and assemble but feel less innovative.

With travel for my job increasing, solo hotel games are right up my alley. A small footprint, not only on the table but in the luggage as well is really helpful. Yes I enjoyed having both categories in the contest.

While "no board" makes sense for, say, cardgames or dicegames, the "hotel game" category should be seen as another size category. A game should not be able to compete for "best small game" AND "best hotel desk game".
Aside from that, neither did I seek out nor did I avoid those categories.

I don't feel these categories are usefull

These are my two favorite categories!

I don't think they added value but they didn't take any away either.

These both capture really useful restrictions that I think inspire design, and result in games that fill important niche's in the PnPers collection. My game fit both categories (although the second, no board, only by accident).

I like the "best hotel game" category though it could be renamed (as has been suggested in the thread) to be more clear what it should mean.
The "best game with no board" category could be dropped or substituted by "best game that is easily portable" or something like that.

Only the one that was Best game with no board, I liked this new category! The hotel desk didn't matter to me and I felt it wasn't necessary!

I like these special categories, as they help me decide which games to try out first. I usually don't have time to build larger games, so I focused on the smaller ones. I actually was aware of the contest last year but didn't find the time to participate in the voting, I just had played not enough. This year I could go through the list of smaller games and build and play quite a few of them. So I am confident in voting on certain categories, but I still don't dare voting on the main prize.

Yes, they helped. I often look for small, quick play games, and actually did not look at some of the larger games for this reason. My threshold for small is the typical airplane tray. If it can fit there, odds are good I'll play it. So the fewer moving parts, the better- less stuff for my cat to knock around. So maybe there's a future category: most parts or least parts. Or maybe something like most portable would work.

I liked very much the small desk category. Although I would insist on the 'hospital bed' concept rather than the 'hotel desk' : something you can easily play half-lying on a bed may be a precious information for some people.
I didn't care about board or no board category. I usually enjoy 'boards' but I had a great time with games which hadn't any. This category was not relevant for me.

Didn't really seek them out no. I just picked games I thought I would like from the theme and description.

Yes, keep these categories! I like it because it also applies to sitting on a sofa or bed and using a lap table.

I don't really look at the categories in the early stages.

I do think they add value. I think it gives specific games a way to shine when they might otherwise be lost in the overall Best Game category. Perhaps they weren't in the top 5 for Best Game, but the game came in the top three for a Hotel Game, woo!
I often make games that fit a specific category - mostly because that's just how I work when I design things. I do aim for specific categories in the contest too - though my end game might not fit the categories I thought it would at the start.

I personally enjoyed these categories being added, as I would seek them out.

added value, greatly

I gravitate towards small games without boards. However, maybe two categories could just be merged down into the hotel category.

I thought they added interesting starting points when deciding what to do, but when voting I don't think it made a difference because the best games are the best games, board or not.
I really value a game that can be played in a reduced space, but "hotel game" is a weird term for it. "Plane tray game", maybe?

I don't think they added much value. I'm fine with the games themselves, but I feel that the S/M/L categories should suffice.

They were interesting categories, and I like the idea. But some of the categories were so specific only 1 or 2 games were qualified for them (U-Boat being the only war game). Maybe try going for some broad concepts, or just use the experience from this year to help refine what categories you think fit the bill.

These are two of the best categories for my tastes. My favorite game was also the one I played with the fewest components. Definitely keep no board, but I think hotel game has too much overlap with small game.

Hotel games needs a clearer name that describes the area.

Those two didn't do a lot for me, but I think that they're good. I'd probably like a category
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Chris Hansen
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If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
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I have two new 9 Card Games: 300 Spartans and Franky's 1st Christmas
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Feedback from the 2015 Contest

The following are the responses to the questions about the contest I asked in the voting form. I've done some minor editing for spelling. There is a blank line between individual responses.

This year I collected stats for which games you had played.read the rules. Do you think this information will provide value to the game designers? Do you feel people may be hurt if their game receives little attention compared to the more popular ones? wrote:
I would probably leave it as anonymous.

1) Yep
2) Probably. I have felt that the contest has devolved a bit into a popularity contest. Completely terrible games get lots of thumbs due solely to the artwork or designer. And other really good games get ignored and have very little input.
But I am really not sure that there is a solution to this. It has soured my experience of the contest to be honest.

I think the stats are worth having. There's a possibility that designers may not like the results, but given that they have WIP threads already, it probably will be better than they expect from the length of those.

Yes

I'm not sure if it helps much. Some of these design contests seem to be a bit of popularity contest, especially those with good artwork. Yes - some designers might have their feelings hurt.

Yes. Yes.

Possibly hey could get hurt but if you only publish the top 3 (or whatever) hat should be fine.
It does help to explain why certain games win certain categories.

Not sure. I would find it interesting to know, but I didn't enter a game. I just playtested. It could offer some hurt feelings unintentionally though. That wouldn't be good.

I think these statistics are good to have. Maybe don't post them public but let the designers opt in to be informed of their own game's play stats.

All feedback whether positive or negative is valuable, so I'm all for collecting stats.

Yes and yes. I think it is extremely valuable to know this information, but I can easily see someone getting their feelings hurt. It is something I would want to know as a designer.
Maybe the data is something that could be shared with the designer individually about their own game, but they wouldn't see the actual numbers that the other games received. Something like X number of people read the rule book for your game and XX% of games received a similar response.

Yes, it hurts, but it's a pain a designer should get used to.
Also, after a while, you just don't care anymore ...

I think this information is important to weight the votes

Hurt or not it's valuable info.

I LOVE that you did this. It is very valuable information for designers to see so they can see how many people showed interest. If there was a lot, you know you're doing something right. If not, it helps to know that so you can figure out why that was.

The truth always hurts. Will help designers focus on who will play their games.

Yes. Definitely yes. Designers already know if their game hasn't received a lot of attention. If a game got no attention, that's informative as well (did they enter late? did they stay active? etc..)
It will also provide some helpful analytics. As I know there's a feeling like most popularity/attention correlates with performance in the contest, these data points will let you confirm or reject that hypothesis.

I liked that. I hope it may serve to encourage people to make their games more attractive even at an early stage (better written rules / a little effort with the artwork) and does not discourage anyone.

That is the problem with this contest, since there are so many games it is almost impossible to work on your own game and then print and play others!
Plus, it's very frustrating when you create a game and no one plays it because they don't like the theme or the game system.

I think that direct feedback through comments (either in this survey or in the game's thread) are more useful for the designers.

Yes. Excellent!

It helps. But again, I *could* say I played every game.... If they have a BGG page for their game, they can see who owns their game (right?) and see the plays logged...

I didn't realize you would give this feedback to the designers. I thought it was for your own statistics. I'm not a designer but definitely some of them put a lot of work into this contest and may be over-sensitive...
I didn't played every game, due mostly to their themes but I admired the investment in some games I didn't play...
The figures could be a bit brutal and unfair for some participants

I can't build all the games that I want but the manual at least proves there is an interested market.

yes

Yes I think it will provide value. If someone has read the rulebook but still not played it, obviously there's something they didn't connect with.
Yes people may be hurt, but that's part of putting yourself out there with a design.

Yes it is hellpful. It would be helpful if I was able to say why I chose not to read the rules or printout and play the game, besides not having enough time.

At least it will give designers information, if their game promotion was enough or they need to do something else next year.

Hurt, hmm possible, but not every game type appeals to everyone. It isn't a reflection of the quality of the game as some are slow burners that gain in popularity over time.

Yes, to both questions. I think it is good to know what rules and games are played - but more important is knowing why people choose those games and not others.
I have a feeling it might come down to initial interest in the game, and the interaction of the designer with the people posting to the thread. Oh, and definitely how late in the year you create a WIP for the contest! I found last year that if you post a WIP for a game really close to the end of the contest, your game tends to be overlooked.
I think some people are bound to be sad about the lack of attention their games receive. It isn't a personal slight against them though!
I know I feel terrible that I just don't have enough time to read all the rules, or make all the games. But it means I also don't feel bad when people don't have time to play my game - I very much understand!

Not sure about this one, it did make me wish I had played more than I did for some reason.

the more data a designers can get, the better

I was shocked that the contest is counting votes from people who have tried less than a quarter of the games. I definitely think it hurts some games that aren't flashy but are fun to play.

I didn't give rulebook evaluation and playtesting enough time. I ended up reading a small fraction of the rulebooks/cards and didn't take the time/resources to playtest any of the entries. Life is just busy right now. So, I think it's important to note that my votes were based on that.
Personally, I would like to know how many people were interested in my game. If very few people read/played it, I know that I can work on getting buzz or improving the curb appeal.

Initially yes, but I hope they figure out why people didn't play their games. Some are just cumbersome to build, some have never-ending rulebooks and other ask for very specific components the players might not have around.

I believe it's useful information and designers would rather know even if it's bad news. I also think it would be useful to share these stats on the forum so that we as judges can become more cognizant of bias or uneven distribution on our part and do better next time. (Can hide the game names to avoid embarrassment to the designers, call them game 1, game 2 etc.)

Hopefully it will help send a message to designers about how to market their games. Designers need to develop some thick skin to learn what they're doing wrong and what they're doing right.

No, this is valuable. I think it could even be good to see few people played your game if 100% of them rated it highly, for instance.

I think it's a good thing to know this statistics, but would be more informative if the players should leave a note why they tried or avoided this or that game. (eg.: I opened the rulebook, but it was too long; I saw the word zombie and turned of my pc (not as an offense just an example) )

Unsure. I only ticked read the rules for games that I had really sat down with the rules (probably with the intention of playing). I checked out every game and looked at a lot of the files, but didn't have time to pay for each game.


Link to the statistics from the 2015 Contest

Quick comments from me:
Last year I entered 8 Horrors into the 2014 18 Card Microgame Contest. I really appreciated seeing some stats at the end of the contest about how many people reported playing the game, which is what inspired me to collect stats this time.

One of my goals for the contest is to make sure that everyone feels very welcome and I want to avoid hurting feelings as much as possible. So publishing stats that reveal that only 1 or 2 people played your game is something I'm concerned about.

However, it is fairly obvious from thread activity which games are the most popular. Games like Agent Decker and Deep Space D-6 got tons of questions and comments while many other games got comparatively little interaction. So the statistics probably weren't too surprising.

The reality is that it is difficult to find the time to play all the games in the contest and we naturally gravitate to the ones that look like they'll be the most fun. When tons of people are enjoying Austerity, new players are probably more apt to try it that a game like Between Here and There that has comparatively little feedback - despite it looking like a fine game.

I think it's important to note that few people reading the rules or playing a game is not a personal insult to the designer. I love wargames and was very excited to try out U-Boat Attack but real life got in the way at the end of the contest and I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't get it to the table for a full game. That has no reflection on the quality of the game, just my own time restrictions.

I don't think this is a problem unique to the solitaire contest. Every contest suffers somewhat for lack of participation. We've all got jobs, families, other games, and even other contests competing for our time. I'd love to implement some sort of system that assigns games to people willing to play them, but I'm not sure that's really feasible. The fact is that the design contests are a very small niche of the the PNP Community, which is itself a small niche of BGG. There just aren't that many people checking out the games. There were only 55 people who voted in the contest, which is actually a fairly high number (The 18 Card Contest and the Two Player Contest both had less than 30 voters). I think the contest is just the beginning for most designers and many people discover the games after the contest ends as they are added to BGG and more people discover them.

Quote:
I was shocked that the contest is counting votes from people who have tried less than a quarter of the games.

I would say the great majority of voters played less than a quarter of the games. The average number of games played per voter was 5.2.
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Feedback from the 2015 Contest

The following are the responses to the questions about the contest I asked in the voting form. I've done some minor editing for spelling. There is a blank line between individual responses.

Would you participate in this contest next year? wrote:
Possibly. The summer tends to be a little more unpredictable for me. I'll probably participate at some point though.

If the creative juices are flowing .
This comp is one of my fav parts of BGG

if you host it, i will submit an entry

As a player? Definitely. As a designer? We'll have to see how far I get with my current game ideas.

Absolutely! I'm already reading up on my next theme and laying out the groundwork...

Not as a designer but as a crafter/voter, yes, of course !

Absolutely! It's the only contest on BGG I plan on participating in each year.

If I can somehow find the time, but that's not likely :-)

As a playtester definately yes, as a designer only maybe.

No, since I hardly got any feedback I think I would rather work on my own games at my own pace and not worry about trying to play and give feedback to others, especially when I don't have the time. I would love to play and give feedback to others but trying to finish your own game and deal with life it just too much! Plus the cost of printing out all these games is too much money!
Sorry, even though I love these contests they just have become more frustrating and distracting.

As a voter? Yes. As a designer? Probably not.

I'd at least play the games and vote. I do have a few games in mind, it's just a matter of time to actually make them into playable material. But that's why I keep coming back- inspiration!

As a player, DEFINITELY YES! :-)
As a designer, I'm not sure I will ever be able to create a game. But who knows?
Anyway, I already said it above and I will say it again : thank you soooooo much for organizing this, Chris. This contest is pure fun and joy!

I have a written design, just can't figure out how to make cards in a program that is easy to use.

I might. I just entered my first 2 game design contest: August's 24-Hour Challenge and Gamehole Con/The Game Crafter Board Game Contest.

If I get the time.

Oh yes! I so look forward to it! I've already started thinking about what I'm going to design next year... it's a toss up - either make an expansion for the game I made last year, make a choose-your-own-adventure paragraph game, or make a super frugal 1-3 page adventure...

I would be glad to , if a good idea comes to mind.

considering it, yes

Depends who wins this year. Being disappointed in the results and not spending so much time playing these next year is a possibility. I spent most of this month trying to play as many as possible. If 30 people who only played 5 games vote something I'm not impressed with as a winner, then I'd be out next year.

I will certainly play the games , and I've got an idea I may enter with...

I've removed all of the comments that simply said, "yes". Thank you to everyone who plans on coming back!

I did notice a trend here that some designers found the contest to be not very beneficial to them. There were a few comments about not getting enough feedback to make it worth their time. One comment implied the contest was feeling too much like a popularity contest.

See my comments above about feedback and the number of people playing games. I really am trying to think of something to address this. The 18 Card Contest required you to play 3 games for every 1 that you entered. I could try something like this. Obviously it is on the honor system and people might still gravitate to the most popular games but it could be a start.

I'm seriously wondering about getting a small team of volunteers to each play 4 or 5 of the less popular games and provide some feedback.
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Feedback from the 2015 Contest

The following are the responses to the questions about the contest I asked in the voting form. I've done some minor editing for spelling. There is a blank line between individual responses.

Are there special categories you would like to see in the future? i.e. Best push your luck game or Best 27/36 card microgame? wrote:
I like the idea of micro card game and also a micro deck builder.

Best cat game

Best microgame would be fun. I like the designs that are easy to print and assemble.

Microgames have their own contest so don't double up.

best dice game?

Nope. See above.
Microgame = small game. Redundant.
If you're trying to give out GG to more participants, maybe consider a Best of the Rest Category. It's just a catchall. "Please vote for your top three games for any reason you wish. For example, 'This game made me laugh more than any other.' 'This was the hardest game I played.' Et cetera. This category is here for you to honor a game you enjoyed that didn't quite make it to the top of any other category."
Something like that. Then you can give out GG to the top three vote getters. Might not work, but it just came to my mind while typing this.

Light, medium, heavy.

Splitting the mechanic category up into 2 or 3. Since most games have several mechanics working in conjunction the 'best mechanic' category is a bit hard to choose.

Hacko is holding the microgame contests, so I wouldn't take that away from him via this contest.
However, there are a couple of categories that do not get addressed via this contest. As mentioned before: just look at the advanced board game search.
The real question, though, is: what are categories that should be awarded separately?
With Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror and the likes all competing in one category, War gets its own category? Frankly, that's something I do not understand ..
Hmmm ....
I think, I'll start a discussion thread at the boards after submitting this form ....

Best children solitaire game
Best "one and more" players game

I would like to see both of those. I've also suggested Best Standing in Line Game. Or how about Best Playing Outdoors (Park) / Backpacking.

There are none I'd like to see added and the ones listed are too specific IMO. The current categories work just fine.

I don't think that very specific categories should be introduced, because then you would have too few entries (see problem above).

Best worker placement game!

Mentioned above: Most parts (cards, dice, tokens, etc.) and even Least Parts (game board, pencil)
Most portable.
Some of these are where a "wargame" might fit...

I'm not good at 'categorizing' (not sure it's english... I'm not native, sorry) things. I leave it to you to invent new ones :-)

Push your luck would be good, micro card game is another good one, dice only game (with one sheet),

I do like the idea of splitting the Best Art category into Best Graphic Design an Best Original Art. Other than that - you can be sure if I think of a category I'd like for the contest in the future, I will let you know!

Push your luck could be a good category in my opinion.

Best original artwork. Use of public domain art to win best artwork is getting old. Lets reward some of the designers who actually create brand new art for their games.

Based on my experience voting, I would actually like fewer categories.

Component limits would be interesting. Instead of the nebulous small, medium, large terms, best game under X cards could work.

Yes. Best dice game, best card game, best survival/siege game, best sports game (not a category I like, but it seems to be missing), best tableau/engine building game, best worker placement game. Those seem to be the main ones. Also genres: horror, fantasy, science fiction, real world.

- Quick to learn
- Expandable to multiplayer (e.g coop)
- Best PnP components
- Best layout (no excessive paper wastage, misalignment, etc)

I will discuss categories in more detail here.

Just to be clear I don't want to take anything away from other contests. For example, while people are welcome to enter 18 Card games into the Solo Contest, I'm not going to make a category that directly compete's with Hack's contest.

Quote:
Some of these are where a "wargame" might fit...

War gets its own category? Frankly, that's something I do not understand.

I really want to make this contest a community effort and use the feedback to make the contest better, but this is the one area where I don't intend to change. I enjoy solitaire wargames and want to encourage their design so I will always have a special category for them. This contest takes a lot of work and eats up a lot of my personal time so I don't feel bad about maintaining this category.
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Feedback from the 2015 Contest

The following are the responses to the questions about the contest I asked in the voting form. I've done some minor editing for spelling. There is a blank line between individual responses.

This year included two categories (best wargame and best paragraph game) that have been popular in the past but were not utilized much this year. I have considered not announcing categories until later in the contest so I can make categories that are applicable to the entered games. However, I like the idea of keeping the categories to encourage game creation in those areas. What do you think about delaying the announcement of categories until later in the contest? wrote:
I think should keep them announced from the start.

Won't change anything. People are going to make the games that they want to make.

I think having a smaller number of categories might help. Also, it's a good constraint for designers. Possibly have a poll before the start of the contest to see which ones people are interested in.

Or you could remove categories if there are less than 5 entrants. The games are still eligible for the other categories.
That would also allow you to formalize the redistribution of GG of those under used categories.

Put them upfront to encourage someone to make those style of games.

Listing the categories help get the creative juices flowing, but yes it sucks when not enough games are entered for certain categories. Perhaps announcing them later may work, though personally I don't care all that much about separate category awards. I think light, medium, heavy works best.

I would most definitely keep the category announcements as is, it encourages development. The categories listed above have been popular in the past, and I wouldn't change based on the output of this contest alone.

I think delaying would be fine.

Categories should be given right at the beginning, with the option to claim an entry in an additional category according to the BGG's definition of categories (see the advanced game search).
Some differentiation should be left out, though; a game about the American Civil War is still a wargame.
However, we did not have a Trivia game this year (nor in any of the years before) - maybe due to not having this category right from the start (and maybe, because it doesn't make sense in a solitaire contest ...)

No, categories should be know from the start

I think announcing categories is necessary.

I'd rather know ahead of time because I might want to target a specific category,

Announce before the contest to encourage entries.

I started designing a paragraph game.. It just became less of a paragraph game as I went along. I like that category, I try to design for it every year.
I like categories announced early, as they seed my design efforts.

I suggest that you announce categories from the beginning but withdraw those that don't have more than two entries when the deadline approaches.

Delay it! I think this will be ok!

I'd definitely keep those two categories in order to encourage participation. I'd imagine that things might change quite a bit in a year with the growth of the solitaire gamer community.
On the other hand, you could probably take this also as an argument for delaying the announcement of categories

I would continue to announce the contest categories!! Great job!

I think maybe something like last year's categories or historic categories would get people to think where their game might fit. Have that right from the start. But yes, holding off on the actual categories would allow you to craft categories where there would be competition and not instant winners.

As the contest is long enough and most participants (designers or players) are already aware of the different categories and know what to expect, I would say it's a nice idea to delay the announcement.
It's a bit annoying to have one game only in a category like what happened for the wargame one. It's so dependent on the designers participating or not to the contest...
Wait and see seems the best option.

no problem, first the game then the category

I think it would be better if there were fewer categories. If you want to encourage/inspire in a particular area, really emphasize that one category, maybe with a bigger prize.

Eliminate wargame

*cry* Still sad about the lack of paragraph games this year.
Some people need categories in order to be inspired - they work better under constraints. That said, I wouldn't be opposed to not announcing the categories until later in the contest (but I do prefer them being announced sooner rather than later).
How would you feel about having an ongoing discussion earlier in the year about what categories to have, to get people's creative ideas flowing, and leaving the final categories fluid until some later date? Though honestly, that's pretty much what I thought you did this year, and I thought it worked well.

yes delay announcing categories until later

I've seen contests where the participants voted on a set of categories prior. I'm not sure if that yields better results, but it is an option.

On one side it might scare away some designers who want to participate but don't know what they're going to do but on the other it might motivate new types of games.
Overall I think it's a positive thing.

I think having the announcement ahead of time may encourage more submissions in those categories

What I enjoyed about this contest was that theme wise there was no restrictions. I believe trying to push people into certain categories just because it may be small and they may then win an award could hurt the possible diversity of games.

I had every intention of submitting a paragraph game until the last minute, so i do not think it would have made a difference. I think the genre categories need to be more diverse if you are going to have them, though.

I think pre-announced categories is a good thing, it will encourage people to try their skills in other categories. Next year I will create a wargame!

That's fine with me

Roughly a 50/50 split on this question.
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Feedback from the 2015 Contest

The following are the responses to the questions about the contest I asked in the voting form. I've done some minor editing for spelling. There is a blank line between individual responses.

This year I automatically entered games into several special categories such as best written rulebook, best greyscale printing, and best artwork. Do you prefer to have games automatically entered into those broad categories or would you rather see designers opt in? wrote:
Doesn't matter to me on this one.

I would rather they opt in (with the chance to be encouraged by fans if they choose not to).

I think you should use your best judgement here.

auto is good

Whatever is easier for you:
A. Have every designer tell you what categories to include their game. Then you do it.
B. You do it. Then have designers tell you to make changes.

Designer opt in

As a designer I liked the automatic addition into these categories, except the grayscale printing. All the games will have artwork and rules, I'd keep these two as automatic, but not the greyscale printing.

I think auto entered is fine.

I'd prefer opting in. My own submission for example does not work as a greyscale, so there is no point in automatically submitting it. Also it requires designers to evaluate their designs themselves. (Such as: is it competitive enough for the best artwork category or do I not even bother putting it there?)

Automatic entering is good

Auto is fine, perhaps with an opt-out.

I think in those categories it's fine.

You to enter them into the categories.

This should be automatic.

Yes!

I feel like rulebook and artwork should be automatic categories. Grayscale printing is a bit different, though, because it needs specifically designed graphics, and that depends mainly on the designer's intention.

Both. I guess give the designers the right of refusal- or addition. But as the runner of the contest, you should get first say.

I'd rather see the designer chose by themself.
I had a lot of problem to decide what order I should choose in the best grey-scale, for instance. From my point of view, certains games didn't fit well into to that category

Opt in

Both, you might see something a designer did not think of. And a designer might think a category is correct when their game don't fit.

Worked well for me this year.

I do prefer having games automatically entered into broad categories - but I add the caveat that designers should be able to opt-out of them, if they want.
This way the games will be in the categories without needing the game designer to be super diligent about adding their game to every possible applicable category. But the crazy designers (like me) can withdraw their game from a broad category if they feel it really doesn't fit their game.

I think a game that fits the categories is fine to be automatically entered. I thought many of the grayscale categorie entries where a bit too colorful to fit in the categorie for some reason.
auto enter if they fit.

Considering I failed to even realize that I was supposed to nominate myself for the different categories, I very much appreciate automatic entry for a set of categories.

I prefer that to be automatic. I felt I was being pretentious by saying my game deserved to be in this and that category. That should be up to the players.

Automatic entry

Designer opt in unless someone brings to light that a game has a very nice grey-scale printing, or amazing artwork.

Yes, automatically.

Unsure, perhaps for some categories, and opt-out possibility may be good (while everything can be printed greyscale, doing so may render some games unplayable so it's not really worthwhile)

These responses seem to lean towards auto-entry for broad categories with the option to opt-out.
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Feedback Idea
To encourage more feedback, you could have a quid pro quo "Request for Feedback" thread where a person can submit their PnP for feedback, and when posting they have to also review one other submission in the thread. That way people also are asking for feedback specifically when they feel their project needs it.
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chansen2794 wrote:

Categories I'm considering dropping this year:
d10-2 Most Innovative Mechanic Category (Too vague to be meaningful)


I think it would be a real shame to drop this category. New mechanics are one of the main things I look for in a game.

Maybe the explanation of it could be honed? Something like "Which board game has something new and original as one of its core mechanics?" With 2015's into the woods being a prime example.

The designers should specify what the mechanic is, which ideally would show in the voting form. I think that would clarify exactly what people are voting for, other than just which game they liked the best. Of course I don't know how much extra work that is for you, Chris.whistle
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chansen2794 wrote:
One comment implied the contest was feeling too much like a popularity contest.


This is definitely something I agree with, for what it's worth - but unfortunately it's pretty much a given when you open voting on the results to everyone. People will only be able to place informed votes on games they've played, and since nearly everyone has limited time, people will generally play the games that look the most likely to provide them some enjoyment or interest, with the extra consideration of how easy those games are to build.

It's a problem endemic to forum contests, but the only way I see to prevent this is to have an independent panel of judges who are required to play each and every game... which is just impracticable, unfortunately.


I'll almost certainly maintain my build-difficulty spreadsheet again next year, if it's not an overwhelming amount of work, maybe I'll track thumbs on the WIP thread and possibly number of feedback responses - or at least pages of thread - as well. Like that at least people could see more readily which threads are lacking in useful feedback and attention.



Some other comments/suggestions:

I kind of get the impression there's a bit of a trend towards small, easy-to-construct games winning - Inspector Moss is a more complex build (double-sided pieces!) than any game that has won the overall prize since, and Austerity is an easier build than any game that has won the overall prize beforehand, for example. I can see why this might happen, but I do worry that some games might be losing out on a lot of potential attention/feedback/prizes because they're not so easy to build. I don't know what can be done about that, though, and I don't know why there might be a [potential] trend towards smaller games. One option might be to simply do away with the best-overall prize and consider the small/medium/large game prizes as having equal standing as 'top' award.

I would be tempted to scrap the notion of "best re-used art" and just have "best graphic design" instead. It's largely going to be the same thing but admits people who don't have any artwork in their game at all, people who do their own art but it's the design that shines, and so on. (There's no skill in simply re-using artwork, and I don't see the point in rewarding "person who can find the coolest public-domain pictures on the Internet"; the skill lies in picking the right pieces and placing them well.)

Regarding encouraging feedback: perhaps just do the obvious thing and have a "best feedback" award? It could be a pain to compile the list of eligible users, but it could also potentially just be left as a write-in; I know Excel has features which could trivially turn a list of names into a count tally, I imagine Google Spreadsheets probably does somewhere as well.

I'd be inclined to agree with the categories taken out, although a large part of me would be sad to see Most Innovative Mechanic go.
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So many things to talk about I'm not sure where to start.

Categories
Most Innovative should definitely be in, it will always be vague by it's nature, but I still think it deserves to be recognised.

Best Returning Designer is a bit moot, most of the time it will be won by the person who won best game. Best new designer on the other hand is great because it will encourage participation

Hotel Game for me there's too much crossover with best small game

Best Modified Art What Jake said

Best Wargame They have their own comp now so I'd leave it at that

Feedback
Feedback happens naturally on the threads so why go through the extra effort

Marketing/Participation
Maybe BGG can help. Some mentions in the Geek Weekly perhaps? Reaching out to the podcast-o-sphere?

Comp Length
I agree it was too long. Far to easy to go "I'll start next moth"
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Bichatse wrote:
chansen2794 wrote:
One comment implied the contest was feeling too much like a popularity contest.


This is definitely something I agree with, for what it's worth - but unfortunately it's pretty much a given when you open voting on the results to everyone. People will only be able to place informed votes on games they've played, and since nearly everyone has limited time, people will generally play the games that look the most likely to provide them some enjoyment or interest, with the extra consideration of how easy those games are to build.

I think this is a common problem for all the contests and even for the Golden Geek awards. I vote in those every year even though I haven't played every game.

On the one hand the stakes are very low. This is just an internet game design contest. But on the other hand, people work very hard on their games and everyone deserves a fair shake.

Bichatse wrote:
It's a problem endemic to forum contests, but the only way I see to prevent this is to have an independent panel of judges who are required to play each and every game... which is just impracticable, unfortunately.

I just don't see a realistic possibility of requiring a group of people to play every game. I didn't even play every game. I would like to explore the possibility of getting some volunteers to play 4 or 5 of the less popular games though. I think that if we could help to generate some thread activity from frequent forum posters, people may take notice of the games more.

We've talked about this before but part of this contest is (for better or for worse) advertising your game. The winners of this contest tend to take us behind the scenes in their design process. They discuss ideas on their entry threads, provide session reports, and upload lots of pictures. They can also do things like participate in an interview with Morten on his blog. Quite frankly, when a player sees a thread that doesn't have much content from the designer, they probably don't feel excited about exploring the game. It isn't going to solve every problem but designers can generate a lot of excitement about their games just by being excited themselves.

Bichatse wrote:
I kind of get the impression there's a bit of a trend towards small, easy-to-construct games winning - Inspector Moss is a more complex build (double-sided pieces!) than any game that has won the overall prize since, and Austerity is an easier build than any game that has won the overall prize beforehand, for example. I can see why this might happen, but I do worry that some games might be losing out on a lot of potential attention/feedback/prizes because they're not so easy to build. I don't know what can be done about that, though, and I don't know why there might be a [potential] trend towards smaller games. One option might be to simply do away with the best-overall prize and consider the small/medium/large game prizes as having equal standing as 'top' award.

I did away with the grand prize in the Children's Design Contest because the reading ability categories felt so different. Instead of a grand prize, there is a top prize for each of those categories (so essentially the contest will have three winners). I'm not sure it makes as much sense for the Solo Contest.

Hopefully the winners of the Small/Medium/Large categories still feel a big sense of accomplishment. To me, those categories are very close in prestige to the grand prize.

Bichatse wrote:
I would be tempted to scrap the notion of "best re-used art" and just have "best graphic design" instead. It's largely going to be the same thing but admits people who don't have any artwork in their game at all, people who do their own art but it's the design that shines, and so on. (There's no skill in simply re-using artwork, and I don't see the point in rewarding "person who can find the coolest public-domain pictures on the Internet"; the skill lies in picking the right pieces and placing them well.)

You worded this much better than I did. I'll redo that category.

Bichatse wrote:
Regarding encouraging feedback: perhaps just do the obvious thing and have a "best feedback" award? It could be a pain to compile the list of eligible users, but it could also potentially just be left as a write-in; I know Excel has features which could trivially turn a list of names into a count tally, I imagine Google Spreadsheets probably does somewhere as well.

Are you saying users should be able to vote for the user that gave the best feedback? I kind of like this idea. It could encourage people to play more games to compete for that grand prize.

Bichatse wrote:
I'd be inclined to agree with the categories taken out, although a large part of me would be sad to see Most Innovative Mechanic go.

We have two votes to keep it now... I think the vagueness of the category was my fault. I like Michael's suggestion to redefine it as "Which board game has something new and original as one of its core mechanics?" with designers explaining what new mechanic they came up with. If I do keep this category it needs a better definition than what I had before for sure.
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I didn't participate in this year's contest for a variety of reasons, but I plan on jumping back in next year. In previous years I've read the rules for just about every game and managed to play a large percentage of them, and I anticipate that will be the case in the future. I'll do my part to up the number of games getting played and receiving feedback!

I also like announcing at least SOME of the categories at the start of the contest. As a designer, those categories give me something to work towards. (I'm kind of sad that paragraph games were underrepresented this year, but I suppose that's partially my fault--that tends to be a category I live in, so without me there's one less voice drawing attention to the things paragraph games can do.) I'm not opposed to adding additional categories as the trends of the contest take shape, but I for one like having categories that encourage my creativity to move in certain directions.

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Chris Hansen
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lukerazor wrote:
Best Returning Designer is a bit moot, most of the time it will be won by the person who won best game. Best new designer on the other hand is great because it will encourage participation

The category was quite popular on the Two-Player Contest I believe. That's where I got the idea to do this.

lukerazor wrote:
Hotel Game for me there's too much crossover with best small game

Possibly but I still see them as different categories. One defines how easy the game is to build and the other how much room it takes to play it. There will certainly be crossover, but it is possible a "Large" game could be playable on a hotel desk or hospital bed.

lukerazor wrote:
Best Wargame They have their own comp now so I'd leave it at that

I suspect that most of the wargames in the contest will be two-player or multi-player. The wargame category will remain a fixture of this contest as explained earlier.

lukerazor wrote:
Marketing/Participation
Maybe BGG can help. Some mentions in the Geek Weekly perhaps? Reaching out to the podcast-o-sphere?

I'll have to do some research and see if anyone is interested in providing some coverage. I think the interview in Geekdad helped bring some eyes to the contest but I'm not sure it increased the number of voters too much. It's hard to get people who aren't already interested in PNP and playtesting to participate.
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Nate K
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chansen2794 wrote:
lukerazor wrote:
Best Returning Designer is a bit moot, most of the time it will be won by the person who won best game. Best new designer on the other hand is great because it will encourage participation

The category was quite popular on the Two-Player Contest I believe. That's where I got the idea to do this.


It was, which I appreciated. The point of the category was to recognize those designers who put in consistently good work and exciting concepts, such as (just off the top of my head) Roxanne Clark, David Thompson (I), or Caroline Berg--people whose work is always admirable but sometimes too niche or complicated to draw enough votes to win other categories. I just really wanted to reward that kind of consistency.
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George Jaros
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chansen2794 wrote:
Bichatse wrote:
Regarding encouraging feedback: perhaps just do the obvious thing and have a "best feedback" award? It could be a pain to compile the list of eligible users, but it could also potentially just be left as a write-in; I know Excel has features which could trivially turn a list of names into a count tally, I imagine Google Spreadsheets probably does somewhere as well.

Are you saying users should be able to vote for the user that gave the best feedback? I kind of like this idea. It could encourage people to play more games to compete for that grand prize.


An idea for rewarding feedback would be to have each contestant submit up to three names of people that provided great feedback on their game. Then at the end tally up which name was mentioned most and award them for best feedback. That would encourage people to provide good feedback on a number of different games, although I'm not sure it could easily be handled in a forum vote unless you limited the feedback winners to just those who also have a game in the contest. Opening it up to everyone would mean you'd need to have a write-in option instead of just radio buttons for each designer with an entry...
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chansen2794 wrote:

Bichatse wrote:
Regarding encouraging feedback: perhaps just do the obvious thing and have a "best feedback" award? It could be a pain to compile the list of eligible users, but it could also potentially just be left as a write-in; I know Excel has features which could trivially turn a list of names into a count tally, I imagine Google Spreadsheets probably does somewhere as well.

Are you saying users should be able to vote for the user that gave the best feedback? I kind of like this idea. It could encourage people to play more games to compete for that grand prize.

Bichatse wrote:
I'd be inclined to agree with the categories taken out, although a large part of me would be sad to see Most Innovative Mechanic go.

We have two votes to keep it now... I think the vagueness of the category was my fault. I like Michael's suggestion to redefine it as "Which board game has something new and original as one of its core mechanics?" with designers explaining what new mechanic they came up with. If I do keep this category it needs a better definition than what I had before for sure.


What if you had several categories (not all) where entry would be determined by nomination?

Basically, after builds are final but before voting begins there could be a nomination period. Most Innovative Mechanic and Best Feedback could be among the categories nominated for. If the category doesn't receive at least three nominations, it doesn't go through to the final vote.

I would suggest that designers not be able to nominate their own games. In addition, when nominating a Most Innovative Mechanic I agree with those above that the mechanic should be specified.
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chansen2794 wrote:
I'm seriously wondering about getting a small team of volunteers to each play 4 or 5 of the less popular games and provide some feedback.


Do you think it would be possible to find volunteers to do video playthroughs for designers who don't have the means to do it themselves? Actually seeing the game played could help entice people to play, and help judge more fairly on the games they didn't have time to build.
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As a relative newcomer to this site (not quite a year I think) this was the first opportunity to be "involved" in something. I enjoyed it- being able to comment on the ideas of others and even see some token appreciation for those ideas. I read lots of rules, played a number of the games, and voted as honestly as I could- no popularity contest. But those games I was familiar with did get more attention from me.

I did avoid some games that just didn't interest me. Some other games were "I'll get to that later" kind of games- and later hasn't arrived yet. So the comments about a shorter time frame would probably end up in fewer votes as the deadline would just be another day. You actually have two deadlines to consider- one for the entries, and another for voting.

What I did find a bit odd is that each and every game (along with many others I've looked at) are single-person affairs. Yet we know the reality is that other folks help out. Some directly, some indirectly- comments on the WIP thread for example.

Should there be some prize/category for a TEAM made game? I think so. I may be much more likely to come up with an entry if I had someone to directly work with. I wonder how many more entries would have been "contest ready" if there was that one other person to help get it finished?

Yes, it does seem a bit odd to have several folks involved in a "solo" game. Which is why it might need to be a separate category.

Chris, thanks again for being ring master on such a contest. I continue to be awed and inspired by what I see here.
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livevyne wrote:

chansen2794 wrote:
I'm seriously wondering about getting a small team of volunteers to each play 4 or 5 of the less popular games and provide some feedback.


Do you think it would be possible to find volunteers to do video playthroughs for designers who don't have the means to do it themselves? Actually seeing the game played could help entice people to play, and help judge more fairly on the games they didn't have time to build.


Possibly a reward for best video? (for whoever enters the video, so it could be a player or designer). I personally found the video for Agent Decker really helpful, and I was able to get into a quick play-through much quicker than other games where I spent more time with the rules trying to get the set-up or passage of turns correct.

When there's a tight window of time and so many games to play (and get confused with the mechanics), having some extra help to get a game up and running would be a good thing. It may also help designers to get feedback for their rulebooks.
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