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We Need to Talk about Thurn and Taxis
Greg Aleknevicus wrote: most people acknowledge that SdJ winners are generally good games... so what's wrong with trying to design a game generally regarded as good?
Sometimes focusing on meeting award criteria can come at a cost, a pocket of "unfun" that seems to develop in a blind spot where design conceits are just assumed to be fun because of precedent rather than actual creative intuition, an understanding of context, or attentive playtesting. It can come off feeling formulaic to the player.
Greg Aleknevicus wrote:That's overly harsh. First off, most people acknowledge that SdJ winners are generally good games... so what's wrong with trying to design a game generally regarded as good?
hotseatgames wrote: ...I would like to say that if anyone is actually designing something specifically to try to get a SDJ award... well fuck that.
Don't twist my words. Obviously designing a good game is, or should be, the goal. But designing it in such a way as to maximize its appeal to some arbitrary committee, as opposed to making it for the players.... to me that is cynical and soulless.
Also I'm surprised at the Niagara hate. Game's not amazing, but it's clever enough and cute.
Vysetron wrote: Cynically made to sell copies, not to innovate or create a unique experience.
For someone that designs games for a living "cynically made to sell copies" may be a fundamental design requirement before they start working on it. Those bills don't pay themselves.
But in order for a product to sell it must appeal to someone. If that person isn't me I'm ok with it, at least for any one particular title. SDJ winners are generally popular with the public if not with me personally. It's a big market.
Vysetron wrote: Hotseat is right on this one. Designing to win an SDJ is the board game equivalent of Oscar bait. Cynically made to sell copies, not to innovate or create a unique experience.
Yeah, I was thinking Oscar bait too while reading this thread. It's admirable to strive to make a great game, but attempting to please a specific award committee is more likely to cause a designer to just mimic previous winners. It can become a self-destructive feedback loop that ultimately suppresses creativity and undermines the award.
One comment about player interaction. I'm not sure what the definition of "player interaction" is these days. In my mind, this game is nothing but player interaction when played competitively. Every single action the other player takes is considered. Every action I take is viewed from multiple angles, how it could hurt my opponent, how it helps me now, how it helps me later, what my opponent is trying to do. To do otherwise would be to resign myself to losing.
I don't care about SDJ one way or the other. I think this is a game that leans more towards "classic euro" vs the trend of spreadsheet optimization solitaire games that really started to pick up steam a year or two after this came out. I think for the 2006 euros, it is probably best of a weaker bunch.