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Subject: 2013 Solitaire Print and Play Contest Discussion and Feedback Thread rss

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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've been getting a few inquiries about the 2013 Solitaire Print and Play Contest so it's probably time to start discussing and planning it. This is not an entry thread. Please don’t discuss individual game designs, etc. I’ll post an entry thread closer to the beginning of the contest. Also, tips to this thread will not go directly to any contest prize pools. You’re welcome to tip, but be advised that I’ll just blow it on microbadges.

There are a few changes this year that I'd like to discuss up front.
1. I will be taking classes this summer to finish my degree so I will not be able to host the contest during the June - August timeframe we've used the previous years. For 2013 I've reserved September - November for the contest. The exact dates of Entry and Voting deadlines are TBD likely the Entry Deadline will be around the first of November with the voting deadling at the end.

2. I received a lot of feedback last year saying that there were too many games entered for any one person to play. This is probably true - I read the rules to all of the games entered but was only able to play about 30 of the 50 games entered. This year I will be capping entries to two games per person.

3. In previous years I've had a wide timeframe for when an entry could be released. (For example, last year games released as early as March 1st could be entered). This year, to emphasize the new designs, the timeframe will be much shorter, most likely beginning in August 2013. If you have a game that you'd like to enter in the contest, please do not add it to BGG before then or it will be ineligible. The reason for this to avoid some designers getting months of BGG feedback before the contest has even began.

4. The categories will be changed to focus more on mechanics and game development rather than theme. For example, there will no longer be an award for Best Sci-Fi Game. The tentative categories will be:
Best Written Rules
Best Paragraph System
Best Wargame
Best Artwork
Best Small/Medium/Large Game
Best Traditional Card, Tarot, or Decktet Game
Best Theme

5. A publisher has expressed interest in publishing the winner of the contest. This would be an optional prize left to the winner to accept. If the winner prefers not to publish or wishes to pursue other publishing options, they may refuse the prize. The publisher may also offer to publish other games from the contest that look interesting. I will give more details on this as I work them out with the publisher.

Those are the main changes - all of which may be changed as a result of this feedback thread. Most of the other rules (Entry Thread qualifications, etc) will remain unchanged from the 2012 Contest.

I'm posting this thread well in advance of the contest so I think we should be able to work out all the details before the contest begins this fall. I'm looking forward to your feedback and to a great contest!
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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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This space reserved for a working copy of the 2013 contest rules.
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Nate K
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Wow, a publishing deal for the winner? That would... REALLY elevate this contest to a new level.

Very cool.
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Michele Esmanech
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Great ideas, Chris, especially the time frame the contest will be held on. I am and will be buisy with Shadow Agent (as the publisher asked me to), reason for which I sadly had to drop out of the 2player design contest held by Nate. But this new period, being after the summer, will help me immensely giving me an actual chance of taking part in it.

Kudos!
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Nick Hayes
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I really like that you've given a restricted entry time frame. I also like that you've limited the number of entries. But why not go further and limit it to only one entry per designer?

Here's why: Consider the number of people who entered last contest. If this year's contest has a good turn out, you could have upwards of 25-30 entries even with a single-entry limit. Additionally, if each designer is restricted to one game, those games would get a lot more attention. This will lead to a higher quality of games across the board.

Your thoughts?
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Nate K
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Black Canyon wrote:
I really like that you've given a restricted entry time frame. I also like that you've limited the number of entries. But why not go further and limit it to only one entry per designer?

Here's why: Consider the number of people who entered last contest. If this year's contest has a good turn out, you could have upwards of 25-30 entries even with a single-entry limit. Additionally, if each designer is restricted to one game, those games would get a lot more attention. This will lead to a higher quality of games across the board.

Your thoughts?

That does limit those designers *cough* Todd Sanders *cough* who are very very fast. Which is not to say that I'm inherently opposed, but it should be a debate.
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Logan Godfrey
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I like the two entry per designer. The problem I see with one is if you enter a small/light game then your done. I know i have a quick light game that i would like to enter in the next contest and if I was limited to only one then I would be done. I think these contest are a great way to motivate us budding designers and with a limit of two that gives us a bit of wiggle room to try different things. So I think that the two game limit should stay.
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Jack Bennett
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Nick beat me to it: I'm on for the one game per person rule. Even with that, there's going to be a lot to play. And I'd rather not see people hedging their bets with multiple games; put in one big effort and make it count.

Edit: And in response to Logan, in my opinion most of the games that were entered into last years contest were not "done." Mine most definitely included. Rulebooks had terrible grammar and misspellings, many games (mine included) had broken strategies and obviously untested rules. You may certainly be done, and the smaller the game the easier that will be, but I can't imagine that there's many games that wouldn't benefit from all the extra testing, tweaking, editing, and testing that they'd receive in lieu of another entry.
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Nate K
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pusherman42 wrote:
put in one big effort and make it count.

Well, but that's the thing--some of us might want to make two small games, or a very small game and a medium-sized game, which is perfectly doable in the same amount of time as making one big game.

So while I think some sort of cap is a VERY good idea as an aid to playtesters and judges, I also want to advocate from the side of the designers.
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todd sanders
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i am all for one game as well. give us your best shot. take the time to develop it and make it strong
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Joe Wiltshire
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Why not have space for 2 or 3 initial ideas per person but then when it looks like things are firming up with draft rules etc - restrict it to your best (or most requested) entry so that there is a one game limit when it comes to the actual printing pieces/playtesting phase?
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Nick Hayes
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Green_wombat wrote:
Why not have space for 2 or 3 initial ideas per person but then when it looks like things are firming up with draft rules etc - restrict it to your best (or most requested) entry so that there is a one game limit when it comes to the actual printing pieces/playtesting phase?
That sounds like something a person could do in a separate thread, or in his own notebook, so that it wouldn't clog up an official entry thread.
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Does the game have to be for one player only? Or can it be, for example, a game for 1-4 players?
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Andrew Tullsen
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One more vote for the 1 entry per person. Totally fine with people trying to work on more than one design, but just one submitted to the contest.
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Julian Anstey
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Howitzer_120mm wrote:
One more vote for the 1 entry per person. Totally fine with people trying to work on more than one design, but just one submitted to the contest.

I'd vote for this too. Though I think I could do full justice to two games if one of them were a traditional card game and therefore didn't require making components, a Vassal module or illustrated rules.
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Toco
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dumarest123 wrote:
i am all for one game as well. give us your best shot. take the time to develop it and make it strong

Dito!
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Gilad Yarnitzky
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I'm also for "one game per designer" but for another reason:

Less games mean the test players can really play the games hopefully more then once.
This also means they will get to know and understand the depth of the games which help them give the award to the right game.
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Rocco Privetera
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A few thoughts:

If you are going to limit it to one game design, that's going to encourage bigger games. Which is not bad, per se, but in my case I was assuming I'd enter a big game and a traditional card game (or something else super small to take advantage of a different category). If I can only enter one game, I'm not going to waste it on a playing-card game. So what I guess I'm thinking is one game is going to so favor the non-tiny categories I wonder if you should keep them.

Also: Since designers will have only one game to be working on (only one game, he says ) maybe what about enforcing some kind of review requirement? I'm really only in this for the feedback. But if the contest was something like:

- one game design
- one posted review of someone else's game

... that would really expand both the feedback and the stuff people could read who don't get a chance to play everything, yet still want to make informed votes.
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Paolo G
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Personally, I'd like to see a one-entry-per-participant limit. I echo Nick's and Jack's (EDIT: and Gilad's) posts above: games would receive more attention from both their authors and other people, and some of last year's entries would have benefited from some more attention and further development. Maybe that would have also led to more games having their own entries in the bgg database.

As for the other matters:

The change of timeframe is fine to me, and anyway I will accept the community's decision on this. The shorter timeframe to add games is no problem either, as one can always work at the game in private, and limiting feedback received by a game before the Contest contributes to a fairer competition (I don't see any need for more fairness, but it should not hurt anyone).

The news about the publisher is excellent; it's a well-deserved recognition of the rising quality of print-and-play designs and the dedication of the community.

About categories: it's probably overkill, but maybe we could consider the following issue. Some categories (Best Written Rules, Best Artwork, Best Theme) are inherently applicable to all games. Others can be defined so that each game is part of exactly one of them (Best Small/Medium/Large Game). On the other hand, the remaining categories (Best Paragraph System, Best Wargame, Best Traditional Card, Tarot, or Decktet Game) do not cover the entire space of possible games, as a given game does not necessarily fit in any of these. As I said, a bit overkill; and anyway I don't have a solution (except the inelegant one, of course), but maybe someone has ideas on this.


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Rocco Privetera
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Eustonius wrote:


About categories: it's probably overkill, but maybe we could consider the following issue. Some categories (Best Written Rules, Best Artwork, Best Theme) are inherently applicable to all games. Others can be defined so that each game is part of exactly one of them (Best Small/Medium/Large Game). On the other hand, the remaining categories (Best Paragraph System, Best Wargame, Best Traditional Card, Tarot, or Decktet Game) do not cover the entire space of possible games, as a given game does not necessarily fit in any of these. As I said, a bit overkill; and anyway I don't have a solution (except the inelegant one, of course), but maybe someone has ideas on this.



^^^^ This. Is it really worth it to have categories where only one person wins?
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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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kurthl33t wrote:
pusherman42 wrote:
put in one big effort and make it count.

Well, but that's the thing--some of us might want to make two small games, or a very small game and a medium-sized game, which is perfectly doable in the same amount of time as making one big game.

So while I think some sort of cap is a VERY good idea as an aid to playtesters and judges, I also want to advocate from the side of the designers.
Perhaps the rule could be one small game or traditional card game and one other game. But not two large games. I haven't seen them post on this thread yet, but I got feedback from some designers last year suggesting that two was a good number. I agree though that I'd rather see one strong game than two half-finished games.

With a publishing deal as a potential prize I'd like to see the games be as strong as possible.
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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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Rocconteur wrote:
Eustonius wrote:


About categories: it's probably overkill, but maybe we could consider the following issue. Some categories (Best Written Rules, Best Artwork, Best Theme) are inherently applicable to all games. Others can be defined so that each game is part of exactly one of them (Best Small/Medium/Large Game). On the other hand, the remaining categories (Best Paragraph System, Best Wargame, Best Traditional Card, Tarot, or Decktet Game) do not cover the entire space of possible games, as a given game does not necessarily fit in any of these. As I said, a bit overkill; and anyway I don't have a solution (except the inelegant one, of course), but maybe someone has ideas on this.



^^^^ This. Is it really worth it to have categories where only one person wins?
I don't understand your question. What do you mean by "Only one person wins"? Of course someone will win.

I'd love to add more specific categories. Are there mechanics we should add? I'm very open to suggestions.
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Rocco Privetera
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chansen2794 wrote:
Rocconteur wrote:
Eustonius wrote:


About categories: it's probably overkill, but maybe we could consider the following issue. Some categories (Best Written Rules, Best Artwork, Best Theme) are inherently applicable to all games. Others can be defined so that each game is part of exactly one of them (Best Small/Medium/Large Game). On the other hand, the remaining categories (Best Paragraph System, Best Wargame, Best Traditional Card, Tarot, or Decktet Game) do not cover the entire space of possible games, as a given game does not necessarily fit in any of these. As I said, a bit overkill; and anyway I don't have a solution (except the inelegant one, of course), but maybe someone has ideas on this.



^^^^ This. Is it really worth it to have categories where only one person wins?
I don't understand your question. What do you mean by "Only one person wins"? Of course someone will win.

I'd love to add more specific categories. Are there mechanics we should add? I'm very open to suggestions.

Oops sorry (its late) - I meant categories where only one game is in the category.
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Pelle Nilsson
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It was lonely in the wargame category last yea, yes.
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Jessey
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I submitted 3 games to the contest last year. All have BGG entries, 2 are properly finished (Nimbles the Spell Thief and Ultimate Chibi Defenders: Wedding Edition) and 1 is so massive I'm frightened of it. Exactly one of these was my "best foot" (although the unfinished one did place in the paragraph category); I would've had no qualms about submitting exactly 1, but had it not been for my ability to submit 2 I would never have set out on Bionic (the third was a serendipity entry, I was making the game for another purpose and it fit with the contest restrictions).

That all said, I am in favour of 1 game per designer -- some people will still design small games, after all small games are known to be played more (lower print requirements) and small games are easier to hone to perfection (as I learned when I set out to make Bionic; a game so large in scope even with 26 pages of paragraphs written it's not close to *finished*).
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