andrewlooney (andrewlooney) wrote,

Game Report: IGDC-5 Report Card

So I've been putting off talking about my review of the rest of the games in the Ice Games Design Contest because I was waiting for the voting to close and I've been too busy anyway. But now that it's over here's how I voted and why:

1) Pylon: I really liked this game, as did my playtesters. (So too did the community itself, since it seems to be the winner!) It's got an easy, clean ruleset, and plays to a nice crisp ending. And it looks great (particularly when played on a Mega-Volcano Board plus a set of ELBS). I even like the name: like the game itself, it's very abstract, yet it reminds me of the pylons in the Land of the Lost (scenes from which were among my original inspirations for the pyramids). Most important of all, it has very compelling gameplay!

2) Penguin Soccer: Even though I'm no fan of sports, I really like the theme of this game and the way all the elements work so nicely together. We found the rules a little confusing at first, but I imagine this problem could be solved by making wonderful cartoon illustrations. I only tried it with 2 players, but I'll bet it's great with 4.

3) Zamboni Wars: I love the way this game uses the components and the light RAMbots feeling of the action. I love the way your armor is peeled away layer by layer as you get hit. My biggest complaint really is with the name. Why do our Zambonis have lasers? Why are we shooting each other with them? The rules describe it as being a tank battle game, but the name makes you think it's going to have something to do with hockey or figure skating. It seems to me this should be about alien battletanks on a frozen moon somewhere...

4) Martian Coasters Chaturanga: I really like the freewheeling chaos of this game and the way it uses the elements. I even decided I liked the name after it I looked up Chaturanga on Wikipedia. The big problem is the end condition. This game seems promising to me, but it needs more playtesting, a faster and cleaner end point, and probably some other simplifications. We didn't actually finish a game.

5) Moon Shot: I really *wanted* to like this game. I totally love the theme, and the idea of a tree being a 2-stage booster rocket with a space capsule on top, and the use of the tube as a game component, and the real-time option. Unfortunately, while it all looks great on paper, it just didn't play very well, at least not for us. We tried it twice and in both cases the initial reaction was very positive but the group quickly became frustrated and lost interest before actually finishing a game.

6) Trip Away: This is another one I really wanted to like but which just didn't work for my group. Again, we didn't finish the game. I like the idea of trying to get rid of your pieces by pointing them at others then moving them in that direction but the action didn't seem to go anywhere. The idea of needing to count until 20 rounds had gone by and then remove a bunch of pieces from play just shines a light on the problem it's attempting to fix.

7) Subdivision and 8) Geomancy: I rated these two at the bottom because I never got around to actually trying them. You might say I was unfair in my judgment thereby, and you'd have a valid point, but I'm including as factors in my judging issues like my opinions based on reading the rules, how much interest I was able to get in the game when describing the options to my playtesters, and yes, whether or not I'd even gotten around to trying it by the time the deadline arrived. I'm sorry I couldn't give these games more attention...

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