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

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Rocco Privetera
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Y'know, as long as we're talking about Vassal, I want to bring something up regarding Videos.

Last year I mentioned game creators posting videos as a way to show the game, and the overall consensus was not to do it - more or less because it wasn't fair, in the sense that a lot of folks don't have the time/talent/equipment/inclination/whatever to make a decent video.

But then a few games got Vassal modules and some didn't... and of course not every game is suited for Vassal.

As long as we're talking fair, I thought about it and there's a lot of skills everyone's bringing to the table, right? I'm no Vassal programmer so I can't do that, and my artwork is barely passable as I'm not a graphic artist, but I can do a passable video. Other folks might have experience in Photoshop or Indesign. I do know how to use Publisher. Nobody commented on the use of specific softwares as being an issue, just Videos.

So I think in the spirit of less is more, is there really a big deal if some of us make videos of the games or gameplay? People who would never have a chance to play the game might get an idea of the looks and gameplay and still be able to judge it the same way someone could play a Vassal version without assembling it.
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Andrew Tullsen
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I don't know why anyone would have an issue with that. Yeah, not everyone has the same set of skills. Designers who have made 10 games are likely to be better and faster at making games than me. I don't see why they should be handicapped. If there was a rule that "You can't promote your game in any way", then sure, that would be an issue. As far as I see it, lots of things will bring playtesters to your game - good theme, good rules, good art, good graphic design, cool video, etc. Why not play to your strengths?

(I wasn't in the original discussion, so I don't know if I'm missing something here, if I am, please let me know!)
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Chris Hansen
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I'm fine with videos. Everyone has a video camera on their cellphone now so I don't think it's an unfair advantage.

Honestly, I don't remember this discussion from last year either so I'm not recalling what the arguments about against it even were.

I think you should be able to promote your game with session reports, videos, pictures, vassal mods, etc. People should be able to choose the method that they are most comfortable with.
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Pelle Nilsson
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I think the focus in all these game design competitions is always too much on graphics design as it is (or show me just one top-3 voted game in any bgg compo that had simple placeholder artwork). Videos feels to me like it diverts even more attention from what we are supposed to look at, so I am not going to watch any at least. It's not the bgg marketing competition.
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Pelle Nilsson
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One competition I joined, think it was on bgdf.com, had anonymous entries, so you would not be giving unfair attention to some. I don't think we need that though and it would complicate running entry threads here.
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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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pelni wrote:
I think the focus in all these game design competitions is always too much on graphics design as it is (or show me just one top-3 voted game in any bgg compo that had simple placeholder artwork). Videos feels to me like it diverts even more attention from what we are supposed to look at, so I am not going to watch any at least. It's not the bgg marketing competition.

For better or worse, marketing is a part of the contest. If the designer posts a thread with the minimum amount of information and then never updates it, people are much more likely to pass it by. There just isn't much to engage with. Whereas a thread that that has a detailed explanation of how the game is played, an illustrated session report, a video showing a sample turn, or even just an image of the components set up for a game, is much more likely to attract players and get engagement.

Your point about games with placeholder artwork never cracking the top 3 is well taken though. I wish that wasn't the case. It does seem that people with graphic design talent are able to attract more players (all three of the winners last year had amazing components). That being said, one of my favorite things about this contest is that the participants help each other out, even though they are competing. The Unfortunates of Tozlandia and the Tablet of Doom by Andrew Potozniak started out as a game with very minimal graphic design (it was basically a grid with no markers of any kind) but then Jessey Wright stepped in and made a beautiful board and counters for it. Chad Mestdagh has made Vassal Modules for the other games in the contest at the expense of working on his own game sometimes. I'm sure that people would be willing to step up and help with videos too.

To get rid of the marketing aspect, I think we'd have to forbid all of that. No session reports, no pictures, no videos, etc. Just an entry thread with no further comments. I don't think that's feasible at all. Obviously, no one likes a shill (and the promotion/shill line can be somewhat fine) but to get noticed and compete in this contest you do have to be willing to talk about your game in some form.
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Pelle Nilsson
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I also enjoy seeing the fantastic artwork made for some entries and I don't think it is realistic to keep all the good things about this competition without accepting that winning will always require good appearances and some marketing skills.

But it would be interesting to run a game-design design-competition sometime, limiting entries to plain text and components can only be black and white rectangles with text in (and any attempt to use those limited assets to combine into something that looks good would of course ban you from the competition ). A bit off-topic for discussing the solitaire competition though.
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Paolo G
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dumarest123 wrote:
ok i'll use papyrus AND comic sans then

Instead of excluding past winners, maybe we should disallow Comic Sans and Papyrus, just in case.

Videos, superior graphic-design skills, faster posting activity, more time to spare for game development, having English as your mothertongue, first-hand knowledge of many games, ... Would it be possible to have an even field? I'd rather have good games, and perhaps some mechanism to give each game attention (limiting entries seems to me the easiest possible such mechanism). But games entered will not have the same attention no matter what.
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Jack Bennett
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Although it sounds like this isn't going to happen, I'll go ahead and toss in another vote for not leaving anyone out. Although I may not be able to enter this year, I really look forward to this contest. If winning one meant I'd have to wait 2 years to enter the next one, I'd rather just get 2nd place.

Definitely disallow papyrus.

I think that limiting it to one game per person also goes hand in hand with the videos issue. If everyone gets one game, they can spend that much more time perfecting it, and really playing to their strengths. If they're a graphics person, they can do that. A vassal person can make mods. A video person can do that. Someone without any of those skills can work on making the game mechanics as tight and perfect as possible.

Hopefully then, each game will be worth checking out for its own strengths, and there won't be as many to judge, so each one will get a fair shot, and not just the ones with nicer images or awesome videos.

I think you can do whatever you want to market your game. If for no other reason than that it would take too much energy to police it any other way.
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Michele Esmanech
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chansen2794 wrote:
I'm going to throw a new topic out there for discussion. I received a suggestion that the winners of last year's contest not be allowed to make an entry this year - in order to allow people to focus more on newer/lesser known designers. This would mean that Todd Sanders, Michele Esmanech, and Mike Arlington would not be able to participate. The thinking is that when people see a game from one of these designers, they will automatically assume (most likely correctly) that it is a good game and pay less attention to the games from lesser known designers. By keeping them out of the contest, players would have to focus on the games themselves rather than a favorite designer.

I see the logic of that, but I really don't like the idea of excluding anyone from participating. What do you think?

Say what!!!!

After placing third 2 years ago, and placing second last year, mathematically speaking, this year I should place first... You can't exclude me!

I'm joking, of course. Even though you know how much I'd LOVE taking part in this contest, if you think last years winners shouldn't participate in this years contest, I'll be more than happy to step aside and give more feedback to other people's games (which is something I was lacking in last years contest).

What ever you decide, it's ok by me.
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The Chaz
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dumarest123 wrote:
what if i promise to only use Comic Sans
...
We don't take kindly to your type 'round here!

(Obligatory: "We don't take kindly to folks who don't take kindly 'round here!")
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Rocco Privetera
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Perhaps a way to be included in the contest more than once, or to be included if you aren't a designer per se, would be to offer help - or ask for offers?

I'm not the best with graphics and art, for example. Last year's Barbarian Vince was a decent game and then a total stranger on BoardGameGeek to me -
Cinnammon Curtis
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- offered to do graphic. All of a sudden I have a game with amazing art and layout!

If I win a game this year, and someone else wins for art, that's awesome. They get recognition for art and I for the game.

On the flipside, if I get done my game early enough, or I'm in the "mostly occasionally tinkering" phase of the game, maybe I can reciprocate and do a video review of someone else's game if the designer allows.

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Robby Timmermans
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And I support the one (maybe two) entry per participant. I like to try as many of the entries as possible. But when someone has 5 entries, I have to print a lot and many times it are unfinished or untested games (I'm not talking about WiP threads but actual final entries).
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Grégory Guazzelli
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Hi all,

I'm still very busy ... shame on me ( i'm starting to promote the Games done from the last contest on my website) ... but it will be a pleasure to support the contest again.

I prefer the september/ october period because summer time means holidays and then less free time to make modules.

I myslef prefer "finished" games and it was very difficult to follow all games from the last contest ...

If Vassal Modules are still allowed from the new one, count me in !

Be sure that i can provide at least 5 Vassal Modules.

Best regards from Paris,

Grégory
www.VassalFactory.org
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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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Thanks Grégory! Your Vassal mods are great and I'm happy to hear you'll be working on making games for the contest into Vassal mods again.
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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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What if we changed "Best Small Game" into "Best Microgame"? Pretty similar concepts but I like the specific trend right now to cram a lot of game into a very small space.
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Jonathan Warren
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Just checking this early, but can multiple designers (two) work on one entry? whistle
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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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JoffW wrote:
Just checking this early, but can multiple designers (two) work on one entry? whistle
Yup. Multiple designers are fine.
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Big Ben McGuire
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I am very excited. I have never made a board game before but a friend let me in on this contest and I am looking forward to the challenge. I kind of like the "can submit two games but the second game has to be a 'simple' game" idea. Maybe limit the second game entry to just a couple of pages worth of game.

Anyways, see you guys on the field...
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John "Omega" Williams
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Chiming in late. But I'll speak up on a irk of mine brought about by the contests.

FINISH YOUR DAMN GAMES!

Boy it really grinds my gears when a nice design gets going for a contest - then - contest over and "Oh well so much for that game. Ta-ta Im off for the next contest."

argh! arrrh argh!
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Nate K
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Omega2064 wrote:
Chiming in late. But I'll speak up on a irk of mine brought about by the contests.

FINISH YOUR DAMN GAMES!

Boy it really grinds my gears when a nice design gets going for a contest - then - contest over and "Oh well so much for that game. Ta-ta Im off for the next contest."

argh! arrrh argh!
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Rocco Privetera
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Omega2064 wrote:
Chiming in late. But I'll speak up on a irk of mine brought about by the contests.

FINISH YOUR DAMN GAMES!

Speaking to this: a lot of the entries were for people barely through brainstorming or the first couple of note card designs.

Perhaps for the contest, it would make more sense to say something like the initial thread entry has to be at the playtesting stage or something.

There's no reason people couldn't have a thread in the design forum like "WIP - Brainstorming idea for Solitaire - Zombie Dungeon Crawl" and screw around to their heart's content. But an contest actual entry I feel should be like an actual entry in most contests - the entry needs to be a completed "version 1" of the product.

I know part of the love of this is the progress from idea to design, and I dont want to quash that. Maybe you could do something like a WIP Design thread, and then when it gets to an official entry (if it didn't start that way) the contest mod can enter it and the forum mods can move the thread into the appropriate place.

Also: I'd love it if the official contest entry threads were def required to be in one place. Last year they could be in the contest forum or the design forum and it got confusing to find them.

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Michele Esmanech
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Rocconteur wrote:

Also: I'd love it if the official contest entry threads were def required to be in one place. Last year they could be in the contest forum or the design forum and it got confusing to find them.


+1 to this

Even though, Chris made a great effort to organize all of the links to the different threads, in the OP of the Contest thread, which, ultimately, made it easy to find and look for games, even if they were scattered.
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Jack Bennett
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I agree, and I'd put everything in the design area. Each of these posts are not contests, they are works in progress that might (MIGHT) end up in a contest.

This would put everything in one place. Any games that don't make it far enough are still in the right place to continue to get worked on during/after the contest. And so on.

In terms of the stage you have to be at to allow entry, I don't see it mattering too much. You just create a WiP thread in the design area. If, by the time the contest starts, it's ready to go, have it entered and tossed up on the contest thread.

It's not like we can play the games before the first day of the "play period" so having a bunch of unfinished games floating around doesn't hurt anyone. I'd just make sure you don't tell Chris to enter your game when it's just a fart in the wind. Wait until it's (let's not stick with this metaphor) to be entered into the contest thread.
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Chris Hansen
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Ikim wrote:
Rocconteur wrote:

Also: I'd love it if the official contest entry threads were def required to be in one place. Last year they could be in the contest forum or the design forum and it got confusing to find them.


+1 to this

Even though, Chris made a great effort to organize all of the links to the different threads, in the OP of the Contest thread, which, ultimately, made it easy to find and look for games, even if they were scattered.
There was a fight on another contest about where the design threads belonged so I might a conscious decision to stay out of it and let people decide on their own. It makes some sense to post the entry threads in the Contest Forum since they are entries for a contest, but I know that more people read the Design Forum so designers are able to get more feedback by posting in there.

In my opinion, the Contest Forum should be for threads relating to the contest and not necessarily the entries. The Design Forum should have all threads related to game design, whether they are Contest Entries or not. I know some people feel very strongly the other way though if enough people think the entry threads should go in the Contest Forum.

I agree that it would be nice to keep them in the same forum so it is easier to find them.
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