This was one of my earliest designs, so I ended up overcomplicating things in order to add "more game." Whoops! The fact that Stack Control came in second in the Ice Awards is all thanks to people completely ignoring my awful setup rules. I've finally gone back and corrected that mistake.
- brilk 20:44, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
2009 Ice Awards evaluation
Stout: Like Infiltrate from the same designer, this opens new sorts of tactical possibilities, which will take exploration to fully understand. But I like it a lot, and prefer it to Infiltrate: there is an interesting dynamic between the movement spaces for the different-sized pieces, allowing lots of tactical fighting, even during the setup. During your first game you might as well set it up randomly, and then during the second game you know what you need to think about for the setup.
Hackel: At first, the size of the board arrayed with all sorts of colors and sizes is intimidating, and many early moves are spent "just to see where this goes". But about halfway through, the veil is lifted. Opacity becomes clarity as strategic options crystallize and the decision tree narrows. Unlike many of the better stacking like IceTowers and Pylon, Stack Control is a shared pieces game like Volcano; even though some pieces do belong to you, anyone can move them. Player elimination is present, but thankfully well implemented. You are more likely to be ejected later in the game, after you've had a chance to affect the game's course, and your tenure as spectator will be brief. The learning curve of Stack Control is steep but worth it, but the game is brain-burning enough to deter repeat playings within a session. Probably plays best with four players.
Bentley: A good strategic game, lots of options and moves, and very simple rules. I wouldn't mind playing it again to explore it more, as I don't think one game is enough to truly discern its merits. I think the setup would have probably taken some time had we done it right, and in the early moves of the game there's too much to deal with. Only when the board clears up some can you sort of mentally comprehend the field and start making more strategic moves. Of course, early on you can mainly focus on killing opponent's pieces as a more general strategy. I can definitely see the game taking awhile if analysis paralysis sets in to one or more of the players - I mean really, I suspect that Stack Control has significantly more potential variations than Chess.