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Author Topic: Iron Game Chef - Simulationist!  (Read 65218 times)
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #120 on: May 20, 2003, 12:57:08 PM »

Ubel They: Song of the Blood Spheres
Author:  Chris Morgan

Style: I'm a sucker for fantasy. And this has a lot of classic fantasy style. It's delivered in an uneven tone, however; one that even becomes silly at times. One gets the idea that this is supposed to be light play, but not exactly about what (leaving one to assume monster hacking from the examples)

Estimated Effectiveness in Play: The straightforward system will work, essentially, but is full of problems with auto successes and fails. There's a hint of elegance like T&T, though that might be uncovered with further development. Also, I get a strongly Gamist sense from the game, but one that's not currently supported. My notion would be to have all play be one big co-operative ramp up to fight the big baddie at the end. With roadblocks of different natures with each setting map hex entered. Lot's of potential there.

Creative and Effective Incorporation of Terms:
Volcano, Sphere, Blood, Song - all parts of a theoretically important background myth. That myth is implied to be the point of play, but the text notes that it isn't covered.

Completeness: Bare essentials are there. Yes, as the text points out, an experienced group could make do with the system. But there's very little there to inform play. As such, there are a lot of similar games that have the same amount of support.


Could be real fun with more material, especially if slanted towards a more Gamist approach. As it stands, it's more of a framework for play than anything else.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #121 on: May 20, 2003, 12:57:32 PM »

Vesuvius!
Author:  Tom (bluegargantua)

Style: about as high concept as it gets. While it sticks fairly closely to it's source material, the game still manages somehow to evoke it's own mood. This is especially true in the presentation of the game in stages. By the time you get to the end, what looks at first to be potentially bland in play suddenly becomes much more interesting.

Estimated Effectiveness in Play: I think the game will work excellently. The resolution system seems a bit complex in some ways, and might do with some trimming. But it's all there for a reason, and they're mostly good ones. I think that this game will probably tend to drift to the Narrativist. That is, the Sim system becomes irrelevant in terms of the unique setting. But the goal becomes, obviously, harvesting spheres. As such, it is just a line to be played out, and in that way it's very Sim. But it's definitely interesting in terms of GNS analysis.

Creative and Effective Incorporation of Terms:
Volcano - the central fact of the game.
Sphere - magical crystal spheres that drives interaction
Blood - Tom cites family, and while it's a present element, many games could claim that. Fortunately he only needs three.
Song - represents soul, and is the means to the spheres

Pretty good synthesis of the elements overall.

Completeness: Talk about complete, the game provides rules for several stages of play end to end. I think that adding more to this would be spoiling a work of art. In fact, there are potentially things that I'd remove as I think they're somewhat ancillary. But nothing egregious.


A neat idea for a game that is, as far as I can tell, very well executed.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #122 on: May 20, 2003, 12:57:53 PM »

Volcanoes and Glaciers:Bloodsong of the Spheres
Author: Palaskar  

Style: delivered a bit choppy, but that's to support it's structure and to get all it's elements in. So we'll forgive it that. Otherwise, it does deliver a classic version of the Norse Myth for play. I can't speak to how well the myth sticks to the real myth, but it's certainly compelling enough for play for amatures like myself.

Estimated Effectiveness in Play: The straightforward karma system seems to put a lot on the Guide, but assuming that everyone thinks this is a good idea, I think that the system should work with no problems. The wild points provide an interesting mechanic to shake things up a bit, and are an interesting resource. The bloodsongs need some rules for how you determine what they can do. That is, who gets to make them up? Can a player?

As one can probably refer to actual myth for ideas, and there are some sample plot ideas, I think that there's enough to get play moving. The use of wild points should keep the narration lively.

Creative and Effective Incorporation of Terms:
Volcano - a stat that's part of sphere
Sphere - a set of stats that encompasses volcano (and glacier and prosperity)
Blood - part of a pair of stats the other of which is song. Together they enable the Kewl Powerz.
Song - the other part of the pair

A very tight use of all four terms. Excellent.

Completeness: this is a very complete game. It does seem that parts of the game are from a house system that Palaskar has been working n, however, so we can't give him too many points for this (outside catering). Still, the specific application deserves a lot of credit. Some rules like how to get more Blood Points seem a little tacked on, but, hey, why not?


With a lot of sprucing up, there's a pretty neat game in there.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #123 on: May 20, 2003, 12:58:55 PM »

Vulcan's Forge
Author:  deadpanbob

Style: well, it's mostly style. One definitely gets the aesthetic motifs involved. I know bob said he dropped out, but there’s too much there to not review.

Estimated Effectiveness in Play: Problems of missing parts aside, what is there seems functional. I'm not sure if the system needs tweaking or not, but it seems based on good theory. I have a feeling it's a bit more handling heavy than it has to be, but I like what it intends to provide.

IOW, for a game that's not entirely complete, it looks like it's pretty functional.

Creative and Effective Incorporation of Terms:
Volcano - vulcan, volcano...I suppose.
Sphere - Stat realms. Very Tri-stat.
Blood - One of the realms.
Song - Didn't get incorporated, but the idea was there.

He got three fairly soundly there. Would have been a solid set if the song chapter had gotten written.

Completeness: funny, bob called it quits, but he has most of a system here. In fact, pretty much everything one would need to play is laid out pretty well. The only really missing things are some setting details in terms of mechanics. That is, what do the technology and songs can do.

So from the POV of the game's goals, it's incomplete. But otherwise, there's quite a lot to work with in there.


I think bob just bit off more than he could complete in a week. Too much time on art, and not enough on the meat. If he had completed it I think this game would definitely had a shot at top honors.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #124 on: May 20, 2003, 01:04:50 PM »

And now for the winners.

This contest had so many entries, and was so close in the scoring, that I am only going to post the two runners up and the winner. The rest should not feel bad. There weren't any bad efforts, and most were in some way exceptional.

But without further ado, here are the runners up:

Second Runner Up:
Jared Sorenson for Tooth & Claw - had the game been more in line with the particular terms selected for the contest, this game would have been number one. As it is, we all, I'm sure look forward to it's publication.


First Runner Up:
Tom  for Vesuvius! - just a little tighter, and this one wins. Small doubts on technical merits were all that kept this one from being number one.


And lastly, the new Iron Game Chef Simulationist:
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #125 on: May 20, 2003, 01:11:18 PM »

Walt Freitag for Precious Fluid!

Innovation, quality design, humor, and a new take on old subject matter. This is the game that most shouted out to me, "play me now!" (though some others did, too). Thanks Walt for this ingenious entry.

Hail the new Iron Game Chef Simulationist, Walt Freitag!


And thanks to everyone who participated. I was astounded by the turn out for the last contest - this one has really blown me away (I may have to reconsider the format). All I can say is that I'd like to see these games get some further discussion in the Indie Design forum, see them get playtested, and, if the stars are right, published. There isn't a design amongst these that couldn't be turned into a product for sale with a bit of work.

Again, proud to be a member of this forum,
Mike Holmes
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ethan_greer
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« Reply #126 on: May 20, 2003, 01:27:18 PM »

I have to agree with Mike's choice for the winner.  Congrats, Walt!  My big goofy chef's hat is off to you.

Second, a big thanks to Mike for the effort and obvious thought he put into the judging, as with the first contest.

And don't worry - Blood Songs of the Volcanic Sphere will rear it's lava-drenched head once I have Thugs and Thieves put to bed...

So, as to my comments on the contest - should we talk about that here or do you want to start another thread?
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C. Edwards
Member

Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« Reply #127 on: May 20, 2003, 02:10:30 PM »

Congrats Walt!

Seventeen games, that is amazing, excellent work everybody!

*leads his army of rapacious, poo-flinging monkeys in search of the Chairman*     (j/k Mike, you know I love ya.)

-Chris
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #128 on: May 20, 2003, 02:12:01 PM »

Ethan,

Definitely new threads, one for each and any games that get discussed.

Mike
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Walt Freitag
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« Reply #129 on: May 20, 2003, 02:47:19 PM »

Yeah, what Mike said. New threads.

But I think this is the right place to thank Mike for all his hard work hosting the competiton. I mean, think of it this way:

Seventeen games, seven days, seventeen authors.

Seventeen thoughtful game reviews, four days, one author.

If the first is amazing (and I agree, it is), what does that make the second?

- Walt

[pauses to update his sig...]
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #130 on: May 20, 2003, 05:15:21 PM »

Thanks, Walt.

Actually on second review, I found that I made an error in judgin (I bet there's more than just the one). It seems that Jared's game has Songs in it after all. I can't make an adjustment at this point, but let's just say that Tooth & Claw is a damn good game as well, and really added a lot to the competition. So thanks to Jared for joining in the fun, and letting us all see this design up front. I'm sure it'll be for sale soon (if Jared has any sense in him).

Mike
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Kester Pelagius
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Posts: 508


« Reply #131 on: May 20, 2003, 06:07:53 PM »

Greetings Mike,

Great reviews.  I hope more folks stop by to comment, but until then. . .

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Ubel They: Song of the Blood Spheres
Author:  Chris Morgan

Style: I'm a sucker for fantasy. And this has a lot of classic fantasy style. It's delivered in an uneven tone, however; one that even becomes silly at times. One gets the idea that this is supposed to be light play, but not exactly about what (leaving one to assume monster hacking from the examples)


Yeah, as presented it does seem pretty hack-n-slash oriented.  Not meant to be, but then that's neither here nor there.  You reviewed what was posted, not what may have been intended or might be in the works.  Fair is fair, and you've been that and more.


Quote from: Mike Holmes
Estimated Effectiveness in Play: The straightforward system will work, essentially, but is full of problems with auto successes and fails. There's a hint of elegance like T&T, though that might be uncovered with further development. Also, I get a strongly Gamist sense from the game, but one that's not currently supported. My notion would be to have all play be one big co-operative ramp up to fight the big baddie at the end. With roadblocks of different natures with each setting map hex entered. Lot's of potential there.


If you could PM about the problems with "auto successes and fails" I'd be very interested in your insights.


Quote from: Mike Holmes
Creative and Effective Incorporation of Terms:
Volcano, Sphere, Blood, Song - all parts of a theoretically important background myth. That myth is implied to be the point of play, but the text notes that it isn't covered.


Wow.  My Fung Ku super vagueness strikes again, eh?

Mt. Mordrag = a volcano.

The Blood Spheres = ok, those aren't really covered in detail, so you've got me there.  (The song is in how to activate them, but that requires a LOT of esoteric background.)  What can I say but more to come soon?

In the mean time the rough draft work PDF with the maps and such is still up for DL.  Just be aware that PDF was never properly spell checked, for all that it's mostly white space.  I put it up just to give an idea of what the final PDF should look like.

Still working.


Quote from: Mike Holmes
Completeness: Bare essentials are there. Yes, as the text points out, an experienced group could make do with the system. But there's very little there to inform play. As such, there are a lot of similar games that have the same amount of support.


Well it could have been worse.


Quote from: Mike Holmes
Could be real fun with more material, especially if slanted towards a more Gamist approach. As it stands, it's more of a framework for play than anything else.


Yeah, a "quick play" introductory kinda thing.  Speaking of which I have PDFed this entry (as quick play rules) and it's now up at ye old Fantastic Creations Yahoo group.  Just plain text, nothing fancy.

Cheers!


Kind Regards,

Kester Pelagius
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"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." -Dante Alighieri
Kester Pelagius
Member

Posts: 508


« Reply #132 on: May 20, 2003, 06:14:09 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Walt Freitag for Precious Fluid!


Congratulations Mr. Freitag!

Or, less formally. . .   Way to go Walt!

*Kester showers Walt with Ouzo*

Opa!

Of course we should have known, with a name like Walt.  (Thinnly veiled reference to Walt Disney.)
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"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." -Dante Alighieri
Jonathan Walton
Member

Posts: 1309


WWW
« Reply #133 on: May 20, 2003, 06:34:25 PM »

Walt and Mike kick ass!

But I do have to say that I had SO many friends volunteer to playtest "Tiki God" last week... :)  Too bad it was exam week or there definitely would have been some sofa surfing.  And I'm home now, so it probably won't happen.  Still, come this fall, there will definitely be Tiki Gods battling in Oberlin.  Maybe I should start a sign-up list...

Oh yeah, and the Iron Chef version of Argonauts is now mostly posted here:

http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?p=68091#68091

...though, as the thread shows, I think I may end up going in an entirely different direction for the design, and maybe leaving the original version to be a "bonus game" stuck in the back of the document.
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talysman
Member

Posts: 675


WWW
« Reply #134 on: May 21, 2003, 01:36:57 AM »

I'd like to say thanks to Mike and congrats to Walt also... I predicted Tooth & Claw would be the winner, but that was before the other two games were posted. I did think Vesuvius was intriguing, and the whole "standing vampire-human relationships on their heads" future world of Walt's Precious Fluid to be a hilarious concept. I can imagine it as a very noir-ish feel.

I'd also like to thank everyone else who participated, because it makes these challenges very enjoyable, seeing all the interesting concepts people come up with.

I will be doing a post-mortem on my own game, probably tomorrow, where I will discuss influences, problems, and next steps. hope everyone else does the same!
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John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
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