For those of you that attended GameCon Memphis I don't need to tell you how well the con went. For those of you that didn't, you missed out on a great weekend of gaming. Jay Tummelson is a fantastic person to sit down and talk with about the gaming industry. But that is a tale for a different thread. This thread is about the board game design contest sponsored by the Chicago Toy & Game Fair and Rio Grande Games.
So, what happened? Well, the reception to the contest was a lot hotter from the designers. We ended up with I believe it was eighteen games submitted. Due to a known limitation of time I had to turn away the last few entries. In the end we had fifteen games signed up to be tested at the con. With one of them failing to get his game to me the number was down to fourteen. Two more than I handled last year.
Two of the designers came over to me and asked a simple question... they went to Jay's Q&A session on Friday night and he told the crowd there that he would look at any game, except for one that was in the design contest. Well, they asked if they could pull the game from the contest. Unsure of how Jay would respond, I asked him if he would see their games if they pulled them. His response was sure. So I told them and the other two designers who showed up to the con that they had the option to pull their games and talk directly to Jay. All of them took me and Jay up on the offer. In the end, Jay liked one of the games enough to take it back with him for further examination with no promises. He gave valuable feedback on the other games including telling one of the designers about another company that may be a better fit for his game.
Before discussing the top four games let me discuss a bit about my biggest pet peeve with prototype games, rules. There was one game in the contest that I wanted to like. The theme seemed original but the rules were bad. I mean really, really bad. It took me nearly two hours to figure out how the game was supposed to play. And even then I'm sure we messed up something. The game took about two hours to play as well. I nearly threw my hands up a couple of times and picked up a different game. One of our guys did, but was later replaced with another player once we figured out most of the rules. The components were nicely crafted and the game looked nice, but the rules were a mess. Needless to say that game did not win the competition, but he did take a slot from someone who may have had a shot to win. Two other games had some pretty bad rules as well, in fact, there was a game designed by an eight year old which had clearer rules than those three. I don't care how nice your game looks, if I mess up the rules then I am messing up your game and then I'm judging something other than what you intended. Do both of us a favor and spend more time working on your rules than working on your presentation. I really wanted to like that first game, but I couldn't because of the rules.
In fourth place is G-Bip by Caleb Frazier and Todd Plesniak. G-Bip is a game where the players are trying to defend a castle, somewhat like Stronghold. What sets it apart is the fact that the players are cooperatively trying to stop wave after wave of monsters, but trying to do so in such a way that their guild gets the glory. I see a lot of potential in this game and would like to play it some more.
In third place is Yoggity! by David Dobson. Yoggity is a game about a factory that produces just about everything, from purple 700lb bar bells to yellow snow cones. Players collect sets of cards to gain resources in the form of shapes and colors. Then using those resources they construct the order of the day. The more complicated the construct or color the more points its worth to complete. There is a trading aspect in the rules; however, no one was willing to trade to give other people points in hopes of being able to get points in the future. Almost everyone who played this liked the game well enough, but we all thought that it would be better targeted towards children in the six to eight year old range.
In second place is Ops Mundi by Jason Roth. Ops Mundi is about building a merchant fleet to fulfill shipping contracts. You start off with your city of origin with some local production. From there you build transports to claim shipping contracts, load the contracts with goods and get goods in return. You can also innovate to improve your local production, or convert raw goods (and food) into manufactured goods. In the end, the player who has built the most efficient shipping engine will claim the most contracts and win the game. The biggest complaint I heard about the game is a lack of trading options between the players. All in all Ops Mundi is a solid game and one that would fit well on my gaming shelf.
And the winner of the GameCon Memphis branch of the ChiTAG/RGG design contest is Kings of England by Rick Goodman. In Kings of England you and your fellow barons are building your small towns into powerful Kingdoms. At the start of the game each player has a small merchant fleet and they each get three cards. Each of these cards is an action that they could take during their turn. The catch is that they get to keep one of those and pass the rest to their neighbor, who then selects and passes the cards on. Once all players have drafted their actions play begins. You can build farms, production buildings, town buildings, knights, priests, barons, and more ships. You can also harvest your fields for victory points (or exchange those victory points for more stuff). Once per trip through the deck the dreaded plague appears and grows, to protect yourself from the plague you need priests (and certain action cards which provide temporary defenses). With a little work, Kings of England could be in the top one hundred here on BGG.
What happened with THIS?
Simon Mueller wrote:
Now our Fans are looking forward to the next match:Zagreb Finger Givers @ "Hover Camels"--------------------_____.___._______.__________