Talk:IGDC Winter 2008

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Next Competition Design-Restricted?

(David Artman 11:40, 3 August 2007 (EDT)) There's talk already about making the next competition design-restricted, once the Summer 2007 one gets done and the "bottleneck" of past designs has been given a chance to compete. This section is for discussion of (a) the general class of restrictions and (b) the specifics once a class is decided.

For clarification, we are polling for both whether or not there will be a design restriction and what it will be, if there is one. So please express your views on both when posting.

Finally, the common reason that one might favor a design restriction is to encourage new game designs, rather than re-submission of older designs. So please consider that, as you vote in the two polls in this section: the wilder the theme (or the more-recent the related product release), the more likely that a designer will have to make a new game rather than (re-)submit an older one.

I've read the below, and can't really find a good place to put this, so I'm putting it here. In general, I think that design restrictions will reduce the number of entries, if for no other reason than some people might just be in a 'head space' that says "I just can't think of an idea I like with {restriction}. There's also the greater likelihood that games submitted under a given design restriction will be more similar than otherwise - i.e., the games will be less distinct from each other. Short form, I'd be against design restrictions, in most cases.
That said, I do acknowledge that under certain circumstances, design restrictions can lead to games in previously uncharted 'head space', which would be a Good Thing. Were the decision made to go with restrictions at all, I'd prefer loose restriction, and in fact, a 'choose your own' set of restrictions might be the way to go - something like 'A: One tube of Icehouse pieces (mono or either Treehouse, specify); B: choose any one Coaster product (Martian or Cosmic); C: Theme related to any two of the words Heraldry, Dessert, Police, Cricket; pick any two of A, B, C". --FreeTrav 19:49, 27 October 2007 (EDT)
I hear ya, but about all I can do do with this suggestion is to count it as one vote for your idea. If you can build a consensus in three days, perhaps this will be the final format.... --David Artman 10:39, 29 October 2007 (EDT)

Design Restriction Class

I. Mechanics of play

(exs: uses a chessboard, turnless, opaques used to conceal)

II. Particular products

(exs: one each of Rainbow and Xeno, 3HOUSE, 3H + Martian Coasters)

STANDINGS: xHOUSE = 4++ | Martian Coasters = 1 [++ b/c of official statement of Looney business benefit.]

  • My vote (if the next Contest is to be restricted) would be for an XHOUSE catagory - games using a number of Treehouse Sets, be it 1 or 3, Rainbow and/or Xeno. This would seem to be of the most aid to LL, without being overly restrictive. I am not convinced, however, that restricted is necessarily the way to go - perhaps we should let the creative juices flow where they will! --Nycavri 13:07, 4 August 2007 (EDT) ...Clearly, I am on board with Andy's 2HOUSE suggestion. --Nycavri 11:56, 29 October 2007 (EDT)
    • Id vote for a XHOUSE type of restriction, specifically I think 1HOUSE would be best, but I'd go with the 3HOUSE limit. Also, I think more games that make creative use of the Martian Coasters are needed, so those two restrictions are what I'd vote for... --Maka 19:39, 27 October 2007 (EDT)
    • Andy Looney agrees: one or two TH sets required would be best for business, in the long run. I consider benefits to Looney labs to be a significant factor--not quite a trump factor, but I'll need to see major consensus behind any other proposal. Think of it like whoever is the "Official" Looney Rep has about five votes.... (posted by David Artman)
    • 2HOUSE— Timotab Timothy (not Tim dagnabbit!) 14:51, 29 October 2007 (EDT)
  • I still think that there could be two formats, an open format and a theme format. As for what the theme could be--I'd like to see more games involving Martian Coasters. People are already making games with XHouse in mind; encouragement in that direction isn't really needed. Still, how many Martian Coaster games are there? Two? Three? They're a cool product with plenty of potential. Archangel James

III. Flavor or theme

(exs: space, Martian, penguin, elements)

STANDINGS: "Pick-Em" Words = 1+ [+ b/c Mike seems in favor and Coordinator wants it. ;) ]

As I posted to the Icehouse List, there is a strong benefit of using a theme restriction: lateral thinking. A mechanical or product restriction will (I believe) tend to result in a lot of similar styles of play. For instance, Martian Coaster games are going to tend towards maneuvering (the arrows) and position (significant squares).

But when you have flavor or theme elements from which to choose, the designers' minds are going to trigger tons of divergent associations and notions. Just compare for yourself, using yourself as a guinea pig: First, imagine a Martian-Coasters-based basic game element; now, imagine a game element related to one or more of the words "dark, porcupine, forest, iron." I bet your mind kicked out an order of magnitude more "stuff" from the latter imagining than the former. --David Artman 14:27, 28 August 2007 (EDT)

Several roleplaying game design competitions have benefited from a "four words, pick three" setup. It's more of a constraint, but this has as many benefits for creativity as it does drawbacks. - misuba 18:35, 28 September 2007 (EDT)
So is that a vote in favor (a) of a design restriction and (b) that it be a theme restriction, not a product-based or mechanical one? David Artman 13:29, 1 October 2007 (EDT)

Design Restriction Specifics

[TBD]

Designers' Games on Designers' Ballots?

Things below have gotten a bit thick, with a lot to read, when our question is (seems to me) simple:

Poll

Which of the following should be our rule for designer's own rankings:

  1. Designers don't rank their own games at all (see below for why that's "neutral").
  2. Designers automatically rank their own games first.
  3. Designers may rank their games however they see fit.

Votes

  • David Artman: 3... Designers may rank themselves as they see fit.
  • Dougo: 1... From below: "I prefer the restriction. It removes the dilemma that a designer might face of whether he should vote honestly or vote to win."
  • Kermit: 1... From below: "I agree with Doug."
  • Avri Klemer: 3... Designers may rank themselves as they see fit.
  • FreeTrav: 3... Designers may rank themselves as they see fit. I will assume that a designer will be honest about his opinion of various games, and I don't at all rule out the possibility that a designer might well like his own game, but find that someone else has come up with an idea that he likes even better.
  • Jorge: 1... I also prefer the restriction, otherwise honest designers will have a disadvantage.
  • Andy Looney: 1 (via Icehouse List, posted by David Artman)
  • Timothy (below): 1

Discussion of "Neutrality" of Non-Ranked Games on a Ballot

It only occurred to me recently after finally playing all eight games, but the voting process forces designers to effectively rank their games "worse" than all the others. Not sure how comfortable I am with that. If, as you say, it is assumed designers would rank their games "best", why are we employing a system which in fact results in the opposite? Is it possible to take a poll of the 8 designers and see if a change is warranted? --Nycavri 10:20, 7 September 2007 (EDT)

According to the rules (#6), you can't rank your game at all. The Condorcet Ranked Pairs method doesn't penalize an un-ranked game. Think of it like pluses and minuses: not ranking is like getting a zero, not a minus (nor a plus of course). In the grand scheme of things, one vote won't matter at all (hopefully! Otherwise, we have too few judges!). --David Artman 11:54, 7 September 2007 (EDT)
And it just occurred to me that, frankly, the opportunity to cheat the judging is really high: make a GMail account and send in your ranks, including your own game. Heck, make ten accounts and repeat, slightly adjusting the lower rankings to avoid suspicion.
Basically, folks... don't sweat winning. This is all about getting your game looked over by several people and getting solid feedback to improve the game or make variations. If you really want to win, just follow the formula I gave above: cheat. You'll "win." --David Artman 13:06, 7 September 2007 (EDT)
The main thing that matters is the margin, i.e. how many people preferred A to B or vice versa. If you assume that the designer of A prefers it to B and vice versa, then they cancel each other out and the margin stays the same. This assumption is the same as discarding all self-votes. I'm pretty sure this also does not affect the tiebreaker, but I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader. --Dougo 12:44, 7 September 2007 (EDT)
True; that's kind of what I was saying about "think of it like pluses and minuses," but you've done a better job of giving a discrete example: each designer basically offsets one other designer and, therefore, self-ranking doesn't matter--well, unless you'd actually rank your own game less than another (I might), but we assume otherwise. --David Artman 13:06, 7 September 2007 (EDT)
From Condorcet Ranked Pairs method : "unstated candidates are assumed to be equally worse than the stated candidates". Doesn't this mean leaving off your own game counts it as "worst" on that ballot, "penalizing that un-ranked game"?
It's not a big deal, and "winning" is not the issue, but if "it is assumed that you'd give [your own game] #1", why not just allow such a vote in future? Such an assumption may even turn out to be incorrect!
The hard work in setting all this up has been yours, David, and I am happy to accept any decision. Just wanted to point out something that struck me as "off". --Nycavri 14:12, 7 September 2007 (EDT)
I think it's the "equally worst" part that's sticking you, but that's not how it was explained to me. Consider the explanation above, by Dougo: We assume Your Game > My Game for you but My Game > Your Game for me; thus, each of the M>Y and Y>M get 1 point in the tally: a push. Repeat this across all other games (i.e. My Game > Every Game) and you get 1 point in every tally box (M>1, M>2, M>3... M>7) and, likewise, every other game gets 1 point in the tally boxes of It > Any (I>1, I>2, I>3... I>7). SO the difference, there, is again moot: all those tally boxes offset each other. I think.
All I really know for sure is that they made that a rule of the original IGDC (refer to "How to Vote") for SOME reason--maybe we need to ask Jonathan Leistiko (jonathan@invisible-city.com) or Don? But I still think Dougo's explanation covers the basic concern.
All that said, if you'd like to run a poll for the Winter IGDC and ask if designers may rank their own games (first or not!) then go for it, and I'll abide by the decision of a majority. But I can't change it now, when I've already gotten rankings from judges and we're 2/3rds done; it would just generate confusion--and, frankly, we're talking about eight ballots. I hope we have enough rankings submitted that eight ballots won't influence anything.--David Artman 14:59, 7 September 2007 (EDT)
Agreed on no changes for the currect IGDC - that was a given. Just looking at possibilities going forward. And apologies if I'm just misunderstanding the voting process. Guess I should get my new Martian Coasters game written up and into playtest . . .
--Nycavri 15:44, 7 September 2007 (EDT)
I just talked to Zarf (who ran the first four contests) and he says he used a modified Ranked Pairs algorithm that doesn't penalize missing entries. So that sentence on the Wikipedia page doesn't apply, because it's a slightly different algorithm. --Dougo 16:24, 7 September 2007 (EDT)

UPDATE: I have amended the rules of the competition to allow a designer (or collaborator) to rank his or her own game(s). Frankly, I don't see any reason why folks shouldn't be allowed to do so, and I suspect many designers wouldn't even rank their own game as #1 (I wouldn't have, for Moon Shot in Summer 2007). Unless someone else has a solid objection to letting designers rank their own games, this discussion is moot and will be removed in one week. --David Artman 11:13, 24 September 2007 (EDT)

I prefer the restriction. It removes the dilemma that a designer might face of whether he should vote honestly or vote to win. I do think most would vote honestly, but it's still an unpleasant temptation. Also, designers will usually have a natural bias towards their own games, and perhaps have some blind spots about things that were never playtested, so I don't think they're good judges. --Dougo 18:25, 24 September 2007 (EDT)
I agree with Doug. I stated that on the list (I think I did anyway) That I would not have chosen Subdivision #1 but the temptation would have been there certainly. As for cheating, while I REALLY wanted to win winning is meaningless if you cheat to do it. I think (hope) the folks here realise that. --Kermit 16:37, 26 September 2007 (EDT)
I think it should be that designers must omit their own games. That makes things simple, and doesn't hurt of the designers.— Timotab Timothy (not Tim dagnabbit!) 15:16, 29 October 2007 (EDT)

Next Contest Timing

As Andy has pointed out, Looney Labs undergoes two seasons: Origins and Christmas. It only seems natural that the IGDC span those times as well. More than any other time of year, Icehouse fans will be surrounded by gaming supplies and willing gamers. These seem like great opportunities advantageous to voter participation. Furthermore, doing so may help serve the Looneys' interests to help boost product awareness during those big sales periods. I suggest we time future contests around these critical peaks in 'gaming season', the December 15 - January 15 timeframe for the winter holiday season, and June 20 - July 20 for the summer convention season. (Good arguments against this include not wanting to compete for gamers' attention from larger distractions, and wanting contest timing to coincide with college schedules.) - Cerulean 16:00, 24 September 2007 (EDT)

I like the basic notion, but I would tweak the dates JUST a bit--I presume these are only the dates for judging, with the usual lead-up for submission (adjusted for design time) and period post-judging for tallying (ASAP).
  • Summer IGDC - June 21st to July 21st. Why? First day of summer! Day before my birthday--actually, began being born on that day; finished being born 36 hours later, on the 22nd.
  • Winter IGDC - December 23rd to January 23rd. Why? First day of winter! Right up on the holidays, so folks are with family and friends (and not working, usually) and kids are opening their Treehouse sets presents and jumping right into the judging!
I don't think "competing" with cons is possible--we used the IGDC to demo and judge, at Dragon*Con. As for coinciding with college schedules, I should think coinciding with holidays and breaks is better, overall, than (say) with finals or midterms or semesters. Free time makes for judging time. Though, yes, that could mean college gaming groups have to meet "outside of the school year" to play and judge Summer, or have to pack judging into two or three weeks at end of January (for Winter). I'd call that a fair enough compromise, given how much more we can leverage family gathering times and free time around vacation periods.
It is a tough call, though, the more I weigh it--for instance, you have me wondering if we would have gotten more judges during the school year (Ryan's class notwithstanding). OH! What about year-rounders? Hmmm... OK, I think my dates are fine and are nicely "themed" with the seasonal names, by starting on the first day of each season. --David Artman 10:40, 27 September 2007 (EDT)
It's true our calendar year is dominated by Origins/GenCon and the winter holidays. As such, we're awfully busy at those times (and for awhile afterwards, recovering) so these to me aren't the ideal times to be setting these events. I'd rather see them offset by 3 months, to our quiet(er) times of the year, when I'd have more time/willingess to actually test out the entries. But that's more of a personal opinion... I don't care that much about this. Really what matters is the times of year when the largest number of people would be most likely to be able to fully participate in the judging. -- Andy Looney, via Icehouse list (posted by David Artman)

Poll to see whether the 2HOUSE restriction should be relaxed

It seems every side has posted their opinions on the subject of the strictness of the 2HOUSE requirement (see http://lists.looneylabs.com/pipermail/icehouse/2007-November/thread.html the recent discusion on the list). On one side, is the current restriction:

  • The competition organizer should decide which games fit the theme and should be entered into the competition.
  • The judges should play all of the games submitted and try to rank games taking into account how they fit into the 2HOUSE restriction.

So, I think it's time to vote and see what the community thinks. Just add a comment to this discussion stating your preference. Thanks!

--Jorge Arroyo


  • My vote is to relax the requirement. Let me add that the past poll never discussed this topic in detail, so this is a legitimate poll. I, for example, always understood the requirement as an upper limit. The lower limit is very problematic to enforce, and subjective. And on the subject of helping the Loonies, Andy made clear his preference was 1HOUSE games, so both types (1 and 2HOUSE) will help them. --Jorge Arroyo
  • I also think that the judges should make the call. --Tophu
  • I vote for the already-voted-on, current requirement, to promote sales. --David Artman
  • I'm with Artman (for once). The judges' job is to discover what games they like best. It's not their job to skew their answers by trying to balance a good game with one that fits the theme. By the way, I unbiased your poll. I hope you don't mind.--Archangel James 13:12, 10 November 2007 (EST)
  • B) Let the judges judge with the modification that each judge are allowed to read through the rules and NOT even play a particular game if he feels it doesn't follow the restriction. BUT... regardless of my feelings on this particular topic, I vote that this is the wrong time to have this type of vote. At this time it sounds *way* too much like we're trying to pressure the current organizer. The competition has started -- get on with it. Once the subject becomes moot for this competition (some time after the new year perhaps), /then/ would be a good time to vote for the next restricted contest. --Ryan
  • The judges should decide. If it's a borderline case, it should be allowed in. If it *blatantly* does not fit the theme, then it should not be allowed in. However, if there is ANY doubt, then the judges should rate them. If the judge doesn't think it meets the theme, they should indicate that the game is ineligible. The judges should be responsible for deciding which is the best game that fits the theme. -JEEP 15:53, 11 November 2007 (EST)
  • 2House seems like such an odd theme. If we're trying to boost Treehouse sales, why not do something like, 3House or less. Still trying to use less packs per game, but allowing more options for designers. Steve Omodth
  • Ugh. This was discussed and voted on already. This is David's call. If someone else wants to run it / do the legwork for the next IGDC, I guess we'll be voting on that, too. *sigh*. My vote is for A, with the understanding (on my part) that the expectation is that this won't be necessary. I can't imagine any of the people who entered games last time attempting to enter "unreasonable" 2House games . . . --Nycavri 10:04, 12 November 2007 (EST)

Note: I've changed the text for the second option because the point is that it's difficult to say which games fit or don't. There is no absolute distinction. If it was clear there would be no need to change the requirements. --Jorge

Voting on new info box

Here's a new infobox for the contest:

Entered in the Icehouse Game Design Competition, Winter 2008
Winner: Martian 12s - Runners-Up: WreckTangle, Timelock
Other Entries (in alphabetical order): Chicken Run, Hunt, Martian Gunslinger, Timberland, Virus Fight
We've discussed it on the list, but to sum it up: I proposed that we should only display a winner and a couple of runner ups instead of marking all the games with a ranking that was created with too few votes to really be reliable. So far on the list some people have already stated their opinions:

Agreeing with the change: Jorge Arroyo, Dale Sheldon, Timothy Hunt, James Hamilton

Not Agreeing with the change: Doug Orleans, Avri Klemer


If anyone else wants to vote, just add your name to one of the TWO lists (there is no third option, thank you very much, keep other opinions to the discussion). We should wait a bit and then implement the decision. -Jorge Arroyo

Ryan Hackel thinks that non-winners should still be listed in the infobox as 'Participants'. It's a big wiki, and anything that helps people find games is a good thing, even if it gets redundant sometimes.

Ryan, that sounds very reasonable. Here's a new version of the infobox with a list of all the entries. Should we count you as a voter for the change? -Jorge

Update: All right. I think enough time has passed already, but I'll give it 1 more week. If anyone else (that hasn't done it already) wants to chime in and vote, do so now. Next Sunday I'll be implementing the changes if needed. -Jorge

You fail to recognize a basic wiki fact (here at IHG): you can't enforce this box on other folks' pages. Use it on your game; fine. Go for it. Change MY games' pages, which list me 4th and 6th, and I'll change it back. So this vote is moot... or, rather, it's going to go whichever way those who vote want it to go, including abstainers. I won't stop using the full list box, nor will others who want it. Those who want to hide their less-than-stellar participation will use your new box, or none at all.
Oh, and for what it's worth, the plural is "runners-up," and it's typically hyphenated. David Artman 13:57, 23 February 2008 (EST)
Thanks for the correction, English is not really my 1st language... I answered you in the list. To sum it up, the community will decide and that decision will be carried out. Then you can do what you want to your game's page (as can anyone else to their own games). Sorry (And note that until a decision is made, I'm currently displaying the complete ranking on my page). BTW, it's not about trying to hide a "less than stellar participation", it's more about not using unreliable information. As you can well see, the only reliable information we got in this contest was the first (and maybe second) place and the last. -Jorge

I think that the use of a new box going forward (if that's what is the consensus) is acceptable, despite my vote for full disclosure. However, the idea that we would change the boxes of the first 7 contests *really* sits wrong with me . . .

I wasn't proposing to change the box for all the past contests. Frankly I don't know if it would be necessary. I was just talking about this one, and any future one where there aren't enough voters. --Jorge


Apparently I need to be a little more clear: site policy is that designers of individual games are within their rights to use whatever (damnable) infobox they want, or no infobox, or an infobox and some extra comment, to talk about their own design's rank or presence in contests. - misuba 15:20, 20 March 2008 (EDT)