Talk:Sphinx's Paw

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Playtesting is coming along; only two-player games so far, though. --Carthoris 19:21, 19 December 2011 (UTC)


Advance warning: this will be harsh. I haven't played this, but I read the rules when you first posted them and again today. I figure you understand my issues since you had it ranked at the bottom of your list when you still ranked your games. You did call it "modestly interesting" in your forum post, though, but I assume that's in regard to the theme?

Issues:

  1. Excessive randomness. The first player wins 25% of the time by guessing the correct direction to move. (This one's even in the rules.) I'm also no fan of the roll-and-move aspect of monster movement, but a game can sometimes get away with that if everything else is fine.
  2. The best play is also the worst play. Adding a monster to the board is the only way to stop your opponent from winning, but it's also the only way you can be stopped from winning. Decisions like this are meaningless when the effects will be driven purely by chance (roll-and-move monsters).
  3. It's possible for every player to always win simply by following the first player.

Those were more than enough to keep me away. I think this game needs extensive reworking to be playable.

- brilk 18:26, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

I totally concur with all of your criticisms, although I myself use "playable" to mean something different than "worth playing." I am absolutely open to any suggestions that will eliminate any of the features that you note. --Carthoris 21:49, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
I think "playable" as "a game that can be played" is a fairly useless term. As an example, I'll create a new game - Poop Hand. This game consists entirely of you pooping, then picking it up with your hand. That fits my given definition of "playable," but nobody in their right mind would actually do so. I obviously place your game a bit higher than Poop Hand, but nowhere near a level that would get people to want to play it.
As you saw with Mystery Architects, my bad games tend to get tossed in the garbage. There needs to be something special about a broken game that motivates me to spend more time on it. I really don't see anything special here that would make this game worth salvaging. If you do, by all means go for it. I just think your energy would be better spent elsewhere.
- brilk 22:13, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
(laughing) Fair enough! I do like the core literary idea enough that I'll continue to search for mechanics that could put it into play more effectively. Given that I agree with your specific objections, I hope you won't count this one against my later efforts. --Carthoris 23:23, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
The first few games I designed were completely awful. You rarely see anyone get it right the first time out, or even the hundredth time out. The high miss ratio in game design is the main reason I test everything thoroughly before posting it now. I'll still give any of your new games that interest me a shot.
- brilk 00:01, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
I just fixed #3, anyway. --Carthoris 17:41, 9 January 2012 (UTC)