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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 197 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Iron Game Chef Reviews and Results  (Read 30806 times)
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #30 on: May 04, 2004, 12:09:41 PM »

The Dangerous Island of Much Treasure and Terror!- Dav
Style: Barely fantasy, this could just be a game of pirates with some supernatural elements. Very little feel overall except for the treasure hunting conceit (which is muddled up by actually playing the spirits trying to get off the island).

Estimated Effectiveness in Play: I think we have an OK game here, just very little game, and I’m not sure that any role-playing will be supported. So I can’t give a lot of points here. But no doubt fun to play as a beer and pretzels game. Not enough strategy for much more than that.

Creative and Effective Incorporation of Terms
Island: A dangerous treasure island, natch.
Ice: Not really used (well sorta).
Dawn: When the tide comes in ending things. Neat to think of dawn as an end.
Assault: One of the two main abilities of the Malevolent Spirits.

Completeness: Could use some organization, but I think that it’s not missing anything. Except for a reason to role-play outside of the author exhorting us to describe what happens if we want.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #31 on: May 04, 2004, 12:10:04 PM »

The Days and Nights of Onna Oa - Scott Knipe
Style: The combination of WWII imagery with the fantastical spirits is quite striking. There’s also an element of the Lem novel Solaris (the spirits want to connect, but their fumbling attempts are horrific) in this that gives the whole a ton of pathos.

Estimated Effectiveness in Play: Not a lot of meat to it. The Assault phase generates details about the character, and can leverage them into bad positions for the Dream phase (no tokens). But then it’s all Drama resolution in the dream phase, which doesn’t give anyone much idea of where to go. I’m seeing the game potentially fumbling around a lot at times. Sure the players can use tokens to establish communications, etc. But where will it all lead?

Creative and Effective Incorporation of Terms
Island: Onna Oa, the delightfully grotesque island where the action happens.
Ice: not used (refreshingly).
Dawn: a special counter that indicates which phase is in effect. Important as a reminder that it can be turned at any time by any two players in the night phase.
Assault: the attacks of the Japanese each day, and the phase of play that represents it.

Completeness: I don’t think that there’s enough inspiration here to reach an endgame. As it stands the game almost implies that the marines will be here forever. Without going somewhere, it’s likely that the cycle will become monotonous after a bit. Provide a little more here, and this could be quite a game.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #32 on: May 04, 2004, 12:10:35 PM »

The Fall of Atlantis and the Dawn of Human History - Eero Tuovinen
Style: Has a nice feel of the span of a civilization, and I think the play supported will be unique in some ways in how it applies to that. Reminds me of a game available on the net called Evolve (if I recall correctly), in that play is interactive between players, and about species survival over time. Also, of course, Aria. Stylistically, I think the game has huge potential that some serious revisions might achieve.

Estimated Effectiveness in Play: The main problem I see is that the rules for donating dice and adding bonuses are very abstract. Basically give dice for whatever you want. This is mitigated by the fact that they aren’t really there to buy success, so much as to build tension up before the roll (which seems pretty cool). But I think that the game would still operate better if there were some ideas about what should merit a reward, and mechanical handling of these things. If nobody donates any dice, then the game goes nowhere. I don’t think that this will happen, but why not provide a bit more framework?

Other points -
Handling time for all of this seems like it’ll be high (the game suggests practice to get people up to speed).
Vignettes could use more explanation, because this is what I think will keep the game being more of a epic RPG than just some odd game of Civ (that and begging for dice).
Why not make Colonization a full category on par with the other selections?
Disintegration would best be recorded as a drop of an Atlantean Stability score. Would make calculating delegation bonuses simpler.
Most importantly, unless I’m missing something staving off the eventual fall seems pretty easy to me as the game exists currently. Especially if there are lots of players. I sense that I may be misreading somehow.

These critiques aside, I think the overall engine is really neat.

Creative and Effective Incorporation of Terms
Island: Atlantis is an island. Classic use.
Ice: the overarching problem of Atlantis, and therefore a potential endeavor of the PCs to defeat it.
Dawn: Purportedly about the start of human existence, this works as an exercise. But play is all about the fall.
Assault: another recurring problem that the PCs can address (human incursions).

Completeness: as noted, the game kind tails off. Once Atlantis is gone, then what? It might have been better just to make that the end of the game. But there’s lots to contemplate in any case on the way to the downfall, so quite complete from that angle.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #33 on: May 04, 2004, 12:11:02 PM »

The MOUNTAIN WITCH - timfire
Style: the game tries to set up a feeling of isolation and desperation of a group of men relying on each other to kill a supernatural bad guy. The destiny cards should serve to help this feel, but, lacking mechanical backing may fail in play. The text of the game becomes more concerned with being deliberate with the mechanics than ensuring that they reinforce the style of play. On the other hand, the play structure should help some, and if the players play to the intended style it should be interesting.

Estimated Effectiveness in Play: The IIEE is excellently crafted, but it uses far too much jargon. Most readers won’t be able to make heads nor tails of parts. The trust mechanics provide a very interesting twist on player control that feeds into the premise of the game. It may be, however, that the player conflict of interest in setting prices for actions may lead to a breakdown in economics. The concept is intriguing, however.

The fate concept is interesting, but ends up merely being inspiration with no mechanical requirements. What if a player chooses to just ignore their fate? There seems to be some incentive in what fate allows you to control, but no real guidelines on where that control starts and stops. Zodiac, on the other hand, does have some mechanical effect, but it’s not lasting, only affecting the beginning of play (and players could collaborate to get optimal results).

Creative and Effective Incorporation of Terms
Island: not used (well, Japan is an island, technically).
Ice: the mountain witch is cold, and, as such, may even be made of ice.
Dawn: when the assault of the mountain begins.
Assault: what the PCs are up to in the game, assaulting the mountain witch’s fortress.

Completeness: the monsters and structure framework are interesting, to be sure, but there really isn’t much telling the GM what sort of conflicts he should include. Which might not be a problem, except that there will need to be many rolls that have to be made before the trust mechanics really kick in with any effect. Other than this the game is mechanically complete.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #34 on: May 04, 2004, 12:11:25 PM »

Trouble in the Island Kingdoms - Rich Forest
Style: meant to play like a “platformer” game, I think that the game approaches this pretty well. I think play will feel like the intended material. Perhaps too much in some ways.

Estimated Effectiveness in Play: Hard to say. I think that it’s all mechanically sound, but, sans the visuals, will the simple mechanics be engaging for more than fifteen minutes? I say this in part because of the lack of progress in terms other than stages. Play just seems to be more of same, more of same, outside of the GM description. In fact, the challenges don’t get any harder, the bosses don’t get harder, and the rewards all remain identical. And when you beat the final boss, most motes wins? Seems sorta anticlimactic.

Creative and Effective Incorporation of Terms
Island: The adventures take place on the island kingdoms. Which suits the material in classic fashion.
Ice: Used in a lot of the examples, and, indeed, a common environment for platformers.
Dawn: not used.
Assault: What the boggies are doing, the main source of antagonists.

Completeness: Seems to miss a number of the clichés from the source games. It’s not missing anything needed to play, but I think playability would be greatly enhanced by not only the suggested “race” expansion, but any number of other additions.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #35 on: May 04, 2004, 12:12:00 PM »

Whispers in the Door - A Snow From Korea variation - Shreyas Sampat
See Snow From Korea. Essentially the same game with switched gender roles and appropriate skills and conflicts.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #36 on: May 04, 2004, 12:12:37 PM »

Wizards of Ice and Twilight v1.0 - Alan Barclay
Style: reminiscent of Earthsea, the PCs are wizards in a world filled with bucolic islands. The mechanics strive to get at a feeling of the cost of magic, but don’t quite get there. Further, play is supposed to be about fighting chaos and “shadows,” but there’s little inspiration in the text to give players an idea of what that should all be about.

Estimated Effectiveness in Play: the mechanics will work, in general, being a simplified form of Sorcerer “free and clear” and HQ extended conflicts. And the “structure” rules give definite targets for play. Also there’s a very clear section on IIEE matters. Still, with all that, it somehow still seems cobbled together somewhat. Most importantly, the “cost” of doing magic seems to be somewhat ineffectual in that the result seems to be easily avoidable.

Creative and Effective Incorporation of Terms
Island: a whole world of islands.
Ice: one of the cardinal points of the world and magic.
Dawn: one of the cardinal points of the world and magic.
Assault: not used.

Completeness: Given that the game is mostly centered on magic, there is little there to vary magic effects from any other. Just some notes on the required pace for magic use, and the requirement that all wisdom dice be used when using magic (why one wouldn’t use them all is a mystery). In addition, despite all the notes on the framework for play, there’s not much saying what to apply it to. That is, it’s one thing to tell the reader to use bangs, and another to indicate what makes for a suitable bang in the game in question. What sort of action should happen?
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #37 on: May 04, 2004, 12:22:09 PM »

Now for the runners up. With this many entries, I included three runners up.

Third Runner Up: G A N A K A G O K --- DAWN BREAKS UPON THE ISLAND OF ICE - Bill White
An interesting interttwining of rules to support an interesting concept, the game has lots of potential.


Second Runner Up: Snow Day! - or Fort Joey Must Fall! - Hans Christian Andersen
Light, and lighthearted, but without failing to provide all the support that such a game really needs, a failure that many other designs might make.


First Runner Up: The Dance and the Dawn - Dev

A very tight, yet complex little game that manages to incorporate all of it's motifs in elegant mechanical ways while providing for interesting gameplay.


And the winner is..........
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #38 on: May 04, 2004, 12:26:29 PM »

The new Iron Game Chef - Fantasy is:

Jack Aidley

for his game Chanter.

One could probably tell from the review, but Chanter is well presented, exceptionally complete, mechanically intriguing, makes great use of the inspirational material, and manages to show Jack's integrity in it's well considered design.

Congratulations Jack!
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #39 on: May 04, 2004, 12:29:14 PM »

Thanks again for the incredible participation!

Please post comments about this thread to to other threads that refer back to this one.

Mike
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