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Subject: Thoughts on Wacky Games rss

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Walt L
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I was wondering what the consensus is about Wacky games. Do you run from them or run to them and why?
 
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Clive Lovett
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define wacky? examples?
 
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Walt L
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Clive65 wrote:
define wacky? examples?


Along the lines of Killer Bunnies, Munchkin, etc. Themes that are meant to be silly.
 
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Brad Miller
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And once the joke has worn off, all you are then left with is a mediocre game...
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John "Omega" Williams
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It really depends on the game and the setting and the presentation. Sometimes its perfectly fine, and sometimes its the worst possible idea.

Toon! for example is all about the wacky and thrives on it. As does pretty much any Tom Wham game. Though the weird is more subtle in those usually. Fuzzy Heroes and Critter Comandos are other good examples as is Macho Women With Guns.

D&D Gamma World though crashed and burned because it was senseless goofball. And failed for the same reason its predecessor at the opposite end of the spectrum failed for being too grim and serious.
 
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Scott Nelson
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I have run the gauntlet of wacky games. I also have designed them.
Two points: Yes, the jokes in Killer Bunnies runs low after awhile and you get left with a boring game unless the players "get into it, continually". And with a randomness of getting the right coarrot, being any chance, leaves a lot to be desired without the theme shining.

My first game to hit the wacky was my card game Food Fight!: The wacky art is commented on a lot, "I really enjoyed the funny art". So, the concensus is that the wacky will get them to check it out, but then it is up to the game to keep them coming.

My second was Unpublished Prototype: The wacky is in the theme and the game play in this one. I have tested it numerous times, and the wacky wears off to have a game that you rarely hear much of the theme after the first few times. The game play, on the other hand, shines as the theme combines into the mechanics flawlessly. e.g. When you need money, you "do the laundry"...at your laundramat. The mechanism is card allocation, but the theme shows up as you do the different actions available. So, though it is wacky for a bunch of Hogs to be in the Mafia, they are doing regular ideas behind a real Mafia, taking over blocks.

My third is Penguin Panic: The Great Icescape: This one had mixed reviews on the theme. Proponents thought it was funny to have polar bears against Penguins in a Prison of sorts, trying to escape ala The Great Escape movie, which is very common for a parody in the US. Others thought it was in bad taste to have concentration camps depicted with big-bad German SS keeping poor penguins (Jewish and others). So, the theme, though wacky, could have a bad taste to some. Others laughed that penguins would be in a prison with polar bear guards, think Hogan's Heroes wackiness.

Fourth was another card game as Damsels in Distress: This game has had very good marks in the wacky theme idea. "Players are Witches who know about the Damsels in the area, and want to be the fairest of them all, so they are out to knock off the Damsels before the Prince Charmings can save them...and a second chance to knock off a "saved" Damsel as well by creating a monster." This one only works because of the theme. "I'll knock off this Princess." "I'll poison her, Prince Charming can eat it!" or the such, can be heard.

In conclusion, I see that there must be real game underneath the wacky if the game is over 30 minutes. Card games that last mere minutes can live on the Wacky. Killer Bunnies can go too long for the humor to hold it together for _that_ long. If you plan on adding wacky to a game, make it either on a very good game that can play well after the wacky wears off, integrate it deeply in the theme (Dungeon Petz), or stick to short games where the wacky is throughout and over in minutes, to be relived each play (Mamma Mia!).

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Paul Nicholas
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I like them. I find they add another layer to most games and are a great way to introduce new friends to a game. If you can interest a player on just the jokes/cards/artwork alone, then they'll generally be willing to give the game a go.

If the gameplay holds up, you've got a winner!
 
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Timothy Yordy
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The children's game that I'm working on has kind of a wacky theme. The problem with most games for kids is that the themes aren't wacky enough.

I like the idea of wrapping good gameplay in an offbeat theme for kids. That way you can introduce them to bits of strategy concepts without removing the fun.
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J C Lawrence
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Wdljr wrote:
Clive65 wrote:
define wacky? examples?


Along the lines of Killer Bunnies, Munchkin, etc. Themes that are meant to be silly.


I don't care if the theme is silly. I do care if the game is silly.
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Moshe Callen
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Wdljr wrote:
Clive65 wrote:
define wacky? examples?


Along the lines of Killer Bunnies, Munchkin, etc. Themes that are meant to be silly.

I strongly dislike them but seem to be in the minority.
 
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Clive Lovett
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whac3 wrote:
Wdljr wrote:
Clive65 wrote:
define wacky? examples?


Along the lines of Killer Bunnies, Munchkin, etc. Themes that are meant to be silly.

I strongly dislike them but seem to be in the minority.


These were not the games I thought of...to me these are games that have humour but are not wacky and not very good.

Quelf is a wacky game - a game that makes the player do crazy things.
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Brook Gentlestream
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I know a lot of people who like them, but I'm not one of them.
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Matt Green
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My experience is that they only work well if ALL the players are happy when they are playing them. that tends to lead to the more free-form games working the best.

Munchkin and Killer Bunnies are both dire and not worth a second play because the mechanics are terrible and 'fixed'. Anything that involves 'regulated cheating' also makes me roll my eyes: Illuminati, Dragon's Gold- that sort of thing (although Chaos Marauders isn't all bad). However, if the rules are deliberately low-key then the humour and replayability go up. Examples include: Aye, Dark Overlord, the Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen and Tales from the Floating Vagbond.
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Walt L
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The biggest problem that I've seen with wacky games, is that because they are wacky most people 'seem' to automatically assume the mechanics are junk.

Question 1/ do you agree or disagree with the above statement

Question 2/ Do you do more digging about a wacky game before you drop the $ on it, meaning; check reviews, and with friends etc.. more so than you would a non wacky theme game?

 
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that Matt
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I can think of some well-rated games that include thematic or artistic elements that could be considered wacky (or lighthearted, silly, humorous...) but have serious gameplay. In other words, these games might fit clearclaw's "I don't care if the theme is silly. I do care if the game is silly."

Dungeon Lords and Dungeon Petz
Fearsome Floors, Friday, and Funny Friends
Belfort
Discworld: Ankh-Morpork
Shear Panic
Primordial Soup
Nuns on the Run
Red November
Antics!
Nefarious

These aren't all heavy games, but they rise above the level of something like Munchkin or Killer Bunnies.
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Aaron Morgan
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ropearoni4 wrote:

My first game to hit the wacky was my card game Food Fight!: The wacky art is commented on a lot, "I really enjoyed the funny art". So, the concensus is that the wacky will get them to check it out, but then it is up to the game to keep them coming.


The difference being that underneath the artwork, Food Fight is an enjoyable game with some interesting choices. It's not a random "screw your neighbor" game like Killer Bunnies or Munchkin.

I'm on the fence over wacky games. I'll play a game of Killer Bunnies once in a while because I have a friend who just loves it. I won't touch Quelf at all because it's not a game so much as it is an excuse to act goofy. But at the same time, I absolutely love Snorta.
 
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Walt L
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Thanks for the input!
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Oliver Kiley
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Illuminati is an example of a "wacky" themed game that is really pretty brutal, serious and brain-burning, when taken seriously. I think it just depends on the game. "Wacky" as a theme to me isn't anything different than "Farming" or "Trading Snozberries" ... or whatever.
 
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Sen-Foong Lim
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One note of caution:

We designed a game with a wacky theme (it was about juggling progressively harder things - from balls and clubs all the way up to torches, chainsaws, and kittens - don't worry...we had them declawed) that was actually a very strategic partnership game.

When we pitched it to some publishers, the feedback we got was summed up as:

"We liked the game, we liked the theme, but the two didn't fit well. We thought it was going to be much more goofy than it was in practice."

So, there was a "disconnect" for some between the theme and mechanics. Just be careful that the two fit well together, whether you're intentionally making a "serious" or a "wacky" game.
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Adam Kazimierczak
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I agree with the cautionary tale on "wacky" themes. The theme shouldn't overshadow the game. I have recently shelved a game until I can retheme it because feedback was that the theme was "too out there."

If you're Vlaada, then go for it. Otherwise beware the game/theme disconnect.
 
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Rich Uncle Pennybags
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Strange...we play and enjoy a romp through Killer Bunnies...but, of course, we also re-wrote the rules - especially the ending! We turned it into a wargame of sorts as it should be. The way we play it is an intriguing and even strategic game my wife requests to play. Cannot be that with a stick!!!
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Walt L
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senfoonglim wrote:
One note of caution:

So, there was a "disconnect" for some between the theme and mechanics. Just be careful that the two fit well together, whether you're intentionally making a "serious" or a "wacky" game.


Good point!
 
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