I met the Pink Godzilla team @ the Penny Arcade Expo this year. If nothing else stands out, it's a sign of DevKit's quality that I kept coming back to their setup downstairs, when there were so many other games available for play that weekend. I even picked up my own copy of DevKit to bring back with me to Texas!
It all started with me looking for something to do between the last panel of the day on Friday, and the concert that was happening that night. I'd wandered into the Magic: The Gathering room for a little while, but I'd forgotten what a vicious and money-driven game that was. Of course, they don't hide that fact from the players - to get the best cards, you need to keep buying the expansions. Well, all they had to offer me was a Booster Draft that would end up costing me about $20; I left, and continued walking.
That's when I ran across the Pink Godzilla guys. They were sitting just outside their room, playing a game of (what I eventually learned was) DevKit. I asked if I could watch, and they gladly invited me to sit down. After about 10 minutes, this one guy with a lot of hair suggested I try to play a game with them; I'd be able to learn the game as I played, he tells me. You see, all you need is the deck - it's a complete setup to be able to start playing immediately.
And that's how it all began. I later learned that it was DevKit's designer that had invited me to sit down and play with them. I also found out that the price of the whole deck was less than it would have cost me to play a single round of the Magic Booster Draft. But before I got to learning those things, I found out that Topher was right - I *WAS* able to learn as I played.
Now, I'll admit this much - having the designer of the game as well as some of the game's best & most frequent players teaching you how to play is definitely a bonus. However, it can also be a challenge - the joy of getting my first points was slightly washed-out by my glance at the scorecard just after.
Up to now, it might seem like this hasn't been much of a review, but let's take a look at what I've told you so far about the game. First and foremost, the DevKit community is outstanding. If you don't know how to play, they're glad to teach you. And learning DevKit isn't hard at all - I'm not going to reiterate the rules, but cmon... I took the game into work my first day back from PAX, and taught 6 people in about 20 minutes. I even lost the first two games, against newbies!
Another great thing about DevKit is its cost of variety. Compare, if you will, buying two Starters of any other game - the cost of entry will be about the same. However, after 3 or 4 games, you'll probably get kind of bored seeing the same cards dropping into play. That's where the cost of variety becomes important - even though DevKit is a fixed deck, the play-style is different every time you shuffle the cards for a new game.
Lastly, I'll take a moment to talk about my experience of bringing DevKit back to Texas with me. The most common comment my friends had about the game, at first, was how pretty the cards looked. After they sat down to play, their next comment was about how easy it was to learn the rules. Now, my co-workers are all software developers, so maybe this is the time to comment on the similarities to how app development really works.
To summarize: DevKit has a strong community, quick learning curve, and a low cost of variety. There are few games that you can play for the first time and win, but I think it's just as important that you're just as likely to lose after your 500th game.
Thoughts on an expansion: where's the background music, guys?! I have characters, features, and a title... but, what, am I just humming to myself? Also, consider bonus cards for optional accessories that can be used in multiple types of games - think SIXAXIS- or DS-style, multi-purpose input devices. Oh, and how can you work in Producers...?
Anyway, great work guys, and I hope to come back up sometime soon for another tourney!