Jan 20, 2006

Dreamation 2006 - Friday

Playing Amun-Re
after round 3
I did a 6 farmers + 1 free range + farmer bonus when the nile was a 4 plus my other provinces made 47 gold for that round, the next person made 40 with a bunch of farmers.
Then I bid 6 for chosen one, won it, used the three to build a pyramid completing a set. Everyone at the table said I made a really good move. However, when scoring was done, I had 6, with the other players at John Woods 6, Matt Kaminsky 14, Edward Balyka 19, and Kieth Bobash 24 (last guy fufilled a bunch of bonus card conditions). The GM says I'm in a good position to win because of my monetary advantage, but it doesn't feel like it. We're takng a short break before the new kingdom.

This game is amazingly fun and interesting. I like the stategies that I'm considering. This is soooooooo much better than any of my designs. I'm quite humbled. I guess I need to get more experience with euros to see the full range of stuff out there. Unfortunately, most of my convention time up to now has been spent playing ccg's. I will rectify that this summer. I might have to give up my judging duties for Star Trek. I'd rather not, but cons are incredibly long and yet still end too quickly.

Final Scores:
Kieth Bobash 45
Michael Keller 41
Eddie Balyke 40
Matt Kaminsky 38
John Woods 28

I didn't win, but I didn't get blown out of the water. It was a good game. Very glad I played. I spent a couple minutes talking with a couple of the other players, one of whom is a former 1e player. There is a Mario Kart session starting but I haven't eaten today and need some snacks and a respite before Louis XIV begins.

There is another Louis XIV tommorow so I think I'm gonna try Mystery of the Abbey.

So far there are three other people playing this game. Half of the players are girls, quite an unusual result for a con from my experience.

Final Scores:
Shadia Zaman 4 (made accusation)
Michael Keller 4
Camille Guidal 2
Kristina Evanouskas 0
John Woods -3

Playing B-Movie again, this time Cannibal Pygmies. The title is "Captive of the Bloody Cult Escapes to the City Tomb".

Final Scores:
Stephen Buonocore 5
Neal Steed 2
Timothy Burrall 6
Amy Farina 0
Brian Billisitz 0
Michael Keller 6 (won random tie breaker)

So I made the championship round on Sunday. Don't know if I'll actually play in it. I have a two hour break before either a paned with Eden Studios or Cosmic Encounter. Not sure which I want to do.

As much as I want to learn Cosmic Encounter, it runs parallel to two industry panels. I need to actually do what I came here to do: meet with publishers.

I talked to a couple of artists here. One of them was Jennifer Rogers, who did the art for two WARS cards, including Well-Concealed Charge, which was by far my favorite Shi card and a draft all-star. I'm gonna bring some hard sleeves back tommorow and buy a signed set of the two cards. I got her business card as well. Andy told me I should try to have a nice-looking prototypes as possible. Even though it shouldn't matter, he says it does. So I figure if I need to, for instance, strip the trek off of Battle Stations and come up with new ships/races for the prototype, I'll also need some conceptual art at the very least to give the publishers an idea of what the game might look like. I could just make basically very boring boxes with hit counters, but that could impact the "flavor" of the game and prevent their reps from getting into the game the way X and Y did.

Met with Alexander Jurkat. Talked a bit about sending him a submissions package. Played an Army of Darkness card game. The game seems deeply flawed. For one, there is no guarantee that it will ever end. Second, the choices at any given point are extremely limited. Third, the game is based far too much on luck. Dice rolls are everything. There are modifiers, but whether you have them is based entirely on the luck of the draw. A lucky draw can also net you the Necronomicon early to end the game prematurely. Lastly, if you have met the victory conditions, there are a number of instants that can prevent the win, but having these is again entirely the luck of the draw. Having one of these played against you when you have actually worked towards setting up a win is frustrating. There is some minor strategy in setting up a good-evil conversion for the win, but that's about it. I guess you have to be a big fan of the series to enjoy this game.

I tried out Vanished Planet. I was worried at first because it resembled a space colonization game I have been developing. However, once the demoer took me into the meat of it, the similarities Vanished. The game is interesting. I like the goal cards. The completely collaborative effort leaves me wanting. Collaborative games can be good, but there should be SOME reason for at least one of the players to not always do what is best for the group. Otherwise you might as well be one person playing all the sides by yourself. It is the same reason Axis and Allies is a failure as a game for more than two people. Since there are two distinct sides and each member of each side never has a conflicting goal, playing with more than one person per side is a waste of time. The technology tree for the game was impressively laid out, with multiple layers of depth. For me, it seemed like there were too many different options in terms of locations, goals, events, resources, technologies, etc. And that is without the expansion rules.

I need to be consciously preventing "idea drift" from these games I am trying out. I don't want my games to be nothing more than a mish-mash of rules from better games. Mechanics will inevitably be used. Look at Twilight Imperium versus Puerto Rico. However, I need to remember to justify exery design as distinctly mine in some way.

There's a panel at 10 that's about innovations in gaming. That should be interesting and provide more opportunities for networking.

Not enough people showed up so the panel was cancelled. While waiting I "talked shop" with a couple of real designers. We were talking about collaborative boardgames and how to introduce an optional competitive element into them, specifically relating to a Zombie survival game that one was working on. It was quite an engaging conversation, brainstorming with other designers. There is a game of Arkham Horror at midnight but I'm burned out and will try to get to sleep early (relatively speaking).

I know these posts have deviated from my announced purpose of describing the process of becoming a game designer. I'm sure tommorow's will be more on point. I'll have an extended description of my meeting with Z-Man Games.

No comments:

Post a Comment