Okay, somehow in June, I ended up trying a decent number of games. Itty bitty games, really, but more than I’ve played in a while.
Two of the games were from the first (and possibly annual) In Hand Design Contest: Brave the Book and Coffee Zombies. I am pretty sure I am not done with that contest’s entries either.
Brave the Book is a bookmark as a game and an exercise in counting words. I’ve already written about it. As a game, it almost felt like a modern veneer over a Victorian parlor game. I found it so-so at best as a game or activity but I really appreciate it as a mad experiment. One of the things I love about PnP and design contests is that they are safe places for crazy ideas.
Coffee Zombies may end up getting a full blog. It’s about using cupcakes to cure folks who have been turned into zombies by coffee. It has a bit of a Palm Island feel since you are rotating and flipping cards. It has one very interesting design choice. It is a separate action to put a card at the end of the deck. So you can keep developing the same card and some zombies don’t let you have the option of putting the card in the back.
I feel like Coffee Zombies could be solved. However, the designer added a special action card and an advanced deck which can be either played on its own or added to the regular deck. There’s more play out of it and, like so many contest entries, I have to wonder if this is the final version.
On the Roll and Write side, I tried out a few games.
I’ve already written about Goblins, Guns and Grog but my opinion of the game has actually gotten worse since then. The theme is good but the actual mechanics are weak. It has become my least favorite Legends of Dsyx game and it likely to stay that way.
However, I tried another of RobinJarvis’s games, one of the paper pinball games Goblin Circus. The last one from the first season I hadn’t tried. The paper pinball series aren’t very much like pinball but they are fun dice chuckers. Goblin Circus has a reroll mechanic, as well as a nifty jackpot goal.
Comparing the two games was interesting. Goblins, Guns and Grog is more ambitious but falls short. Goblin Circus is much simpler but it works and is fun.
I also played a game from an early R&W contest, Babhan. It’s a mixture of Roll and Write and Roll and Move as a solitaire. I’ve written about it, about how it makes several design choices to not make or a luck fest. It still is but I appreciate the effort.
Looking at ‘earlier’ design contests, I feel like design contests are becoming more and more testing grounds for prototypes with an aim for publication. Which is cool but there’s still room for madness like Brave the Book :)
I also actually bought a couple of games (Forbidden Desert and CYOA: War With The Evil Power Master) but haven’t had a a chance to play them yet.